e.l.f. Discovery

What's the Difference Between Liquid, Powder, and Cream Foundation?

By Brooke Sager

Foundation makeup often comes in three popular formulas: liquid, powder, and cream. We use it for a multitude of reasons, whether it’s to even your complexion or providing a smooth base for the rest of your makeup. How do you choose the right foundation for you? Do you need a light sheer or medium coverage? Let’s explore the different types of foundation and give you the lowdown on what’s to love about each.

Liquid Foundation

One of the most common forms of foundation is liquid foundation. Liquid foundation can range from sheer to full coverage, as well as offer a range of finishes from matte to dewy. One thing to love about liquid foundation is how buildable it can be. You can apply one thin layer of your favorite liquid foundation for a more sheer, natural look or apply a second layer for a more full coverage makeup look.

When using a liquid foundation, we recommend using a damp makeup sponge for easy blending.

Powder Foundation

There are two types of powder foundations - loose and pressed. You can use them by themselves, or you can use them on top of other foundations to help set your base, as well as add more coverage. Powder foundation provides sheer to full coverage and may help control shine and oil on the skin. Powder foundation is great for on-the-go touch-ups throughout the day, as it can easily be applied over other makeup or liquid foundation without appearing too heavy.

Powder foundation may be used alone for a natural, lightweight finish or layered over your favorite liquid foundation for added coverage and staying power. Some powder foundations may even contain skin-loving ingredients, making them a skin-friendly option for daily wear.

How to Apply Loose and Pressed Powder Foundations

Application for both loose powder and pressed powders are fairly similar. To apply a loose powder foundation, we recommend using a fluffy powder brush or powder puff for a flawless finish. Simply dip the powder brush into your loose powder, tap off the excess, and dust it across your complexion. If you’re using a powder puff, start by pressing the powder puff into your loose powder, tap off excess, and gently press into skin. Repeat steps above for the application of pressed powder as well.

If you are using a mineral loose powder and want to buff it in for more coverage, use your favorite buffing brush or kabuki brush. Dip the brush into the powder, tap off the excess, and then gently buff into skin using circular motions, focusing attention on those areas where you want fuller coverage.

CC Cream

CC cream, short for color correcting cream, is a lightweight, tinted moisturizer that usually provides sheer to medium coverage while evening out skin tone and hiding imperfections. It's a hybrid between a foundation and a tinted moisturizer, offering more coverage than a BB cream but with a more natural, dewy finish.

e.l.f.'s Hydrating Camo CC Cream is a cult-favorite CC cream that delivers buildable, natural-looking coverage while nourishing and hydrating the skin. Infused with skin-loving ingredients like argan oil and vitamin E, this CC cream not only evens out your complexion but also leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth, and radiant. It's the perfect multi-tasking product for a fresh, no-makeup makeup look.

There’s a lot of choices out there for all skin types and skin tones when it comes to foundation, and a little trial and error is needed to find the right format for you, but when you find the one you love, it’s amazing how great it can make you look and feel.