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Should You Wear Powder, Cream or Liquid Foundation?

Should You Wear Powder, Cream or Liquid Foundation?

If you obsessively follow makeup accounts on Instagram and YouTube like we do, then you've probably grown accustomed to seeing gurus and makeup artists who seem to own every single foundation on the planet. 

To answer your biggest question, no, you do not need that many foundations. It's fun to own a few options so you can play with textures and finishes, but unless you're working in the industry, there's no reason for your foundation stash to resemble the Frends Beauty stockroom.

Your next question, however, might be about what formulation you should be using. Trends come and go at a lightning fast pace in the makeup world. One month it might all be about cream foundations, whereas next month liquid reigns supreme. The truth is that your makeup choices shouldn't be governed by trends so much as they should be determined by your skin type, your preferences and what works for you.

To help you decide your perfect base, here's a breakdown of the three most popular foundation formulas: cream, liquid and powder.


Powder foundation isn't like a finishing powder, which is light and meant to lock product in. Rather, powder foundation is extremely finely milled and highly pigmented. It's meant to replace liquid foundation altogether.

Why It's Great: Powder foundations are generally mineral- or talc-based. Talc-based powder foundations sit just as heavily on the skin as liquid foundations do, so avoid them if you're using powder because you want something lighter. Mineral-based foundations, however, cover up impurities and even out the skin tone while being utterly feather-light on the skin.

Why It Might Not Work For You: Mineral foundations had their moment in the early 2000s when everyone and their mother raved about how non-comedogenic they were, with many companies claiming that you could sleep in them. (Don't sleep in any makeup. Anything you put on your skin has the potential to become comedogenic if left on for too long.)

While many powder and mineral foundations are purported to give just as great of coverage as their liquid counterparts, this simply isn't the case. Mineral foundations are stupendous for daily wear when you just want something light, but you're never going to get a dramatic finish or truly full coverage from a mineral product. If you want that, you need a cream or liquid.

Try It Out: We adore the Youngblood Natural Loose Mineral Foundation, especially for its diverse shade options and buttery smooth finish.


In the old days, cream foundation was only used by industry professionals in stage and film. Thanks to the huge boom of professional techniques like contouring finding their way to the mainstream, cream foundation is becoming more and more popular for use by ordinary people.

Why It's Great: Powder and liquid foundation is hard to concentrate in one area. Both of them lend themselves better to an even application all over the face. Cream foundation, however, stays where you put it. If you want to do contouring, cream is simply the best option. Anything else is going to travel and slide around your face as the day progresses.

Why It Might Not Work For You: This is a great formula, but this is a heavy formula. You need to give yourself a good block of time to apply cream foundation. Furthermore, even if it's a great formulation, cream sits heavy on the skin. This is not the best choice for daily wear or for a light, simple look.

Try It Out: The Kehoe Palettes from RCMA Cosmetics are pretty much the perfect cream foundation palettes. You get enough colors to not only custom-blend your perfect shade, but to contour.


The granddaddy of them all. When we think of foundation, we think of liquids. The average woman uses liquid foundation and it's the most easily accessible for most people. It's available in a very wide array of formulations, hues and textures.

Why It's Great: No two liquid foundations are the same. Some provide light coverage while others are more full coverage and matte. Generally, however, liquid is very easy to work with. You can apply it with a wide array of tools and it's relatively foolproof.

Why It Might Not Work For You: The truth is that liquid foundation will pretty much work for everyone, but a specific liquid foundation might not work for some people. If your liquid foundation isn't working for you, try a different formula or brand. 

For example, oily skin types might find that dewy finish liquid foundations travel throughout the day and dry skin types might find that matte finish foundations cause their skin to flake. There's a perfect liquid foundation out there for you, you just have to hunt for it.

Try It Out: While everyone's skin will require something different, it seems to us here at Frends that the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation is pretty universally loved by a wide array of skin tones and textures. When working with a liquid, always finish the look with a dusting of a loose powder, such as the RCMA No Color Powder, to lock everything into place.

This guide isn't about steering you towards one formula of foundation and committing to it and only it for life. Remember, makeup is fun and meant to be experimented with. You can collect a powder, cream and liquid foundation in your beauty arsenal and alternate them depending on the look you want to create. This guide is merely meant to help you understand how these formulas differ and which looks they each lend themselves to best.

Do you have a preference when it comes to foundation formulas? Are you all powder all the time or does liquid have your heart? Let us know in the comments below. As always, join Frends Beauty today. You'll save 10% on your first order of the products mentioned here or any other items in our store. You'll also be notified of our latest and greatest product releases, promotions and blog posts.

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