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Which Type of Foundation Should You Wear on Your Wedding Day?

Learn about the differences among cushion compact, liquid, powder, gel, and mousse foundations. 

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Here's a bridal beauty tip every makeup artist wants you to know: If you have a great base, you're going to look good no matter what else you do to your face. But with so many types of foundation on the shelves, it can be difficult to know which one to choose, especially for an event that's as documented as your wedding day. As you start shopping for a big-day foundation, think about your skin type and how much makeup you typically like to wear. Once you've got that settled, you can start to discern the pros and cons to different formulations and help you determine your favorite. We asked makeup artist Andrea Tiller, who works with celebs like Olivia Palermo, Lea Michele, and Olivia Culpo, to break it down.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Wearing Foundation on Your Big Day

 

Liquid

This one is probably the most versatile type of foundation, because any skin type can wear it, and you can control how much coverage you want. Tiller sometimes mixes Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk with a few drops of moisturizer for a sheer finish. She prefers to apply it with her fingers: "I use my index and middle fingers to massage it into the skin, like you would if you were putting on moisturizer," she says. "Focus on the T-zone and working your way outward. That will give you the most natural dewy finish." Alternatively, she also uses a stippling brush, like MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush, because it "buffs the foundation so that it just looks like skin."  

 

Cushion Compact

Like so many awesome new beauty staples, this trend started in South Korea. Think of them like a sponge soaked in BB and CC creams. "They're super convenient and great for touch ups," Tiller says. She recommends applying them with a damp beauty blender by pressing down on the compact, and then pressing it onto your face. Brides who aren't fans of foundation may love cushion compacts since they're lightweight and have tons of skincare benefits. Just keep a good concealer on hand because they usually don't cover blemishes or dark spots. Try Amorepacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+.

 

Powder

Those with oily skin, like Tiller herself, can benefit from a powder foundation. "I use liquid foundation and then set it with powder, because I'm looking for full coverage that's not cakey," she says. "I have acne scars and sunspots, which people have no clue about because of the liquid and powder." Right now, she's alternating between Giorgio Armani Power Fabric and Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation and finishes with Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder. For brides, she also recommends Estee Lauder Double Wear, because she says it stands up to sweat and humidity without smudging. 

 

Gel

"Think of gels like a foundation with a built-in concealer—they're thicker, usually offer full coverage, and have a matte finish," Tiller says. "They're also often silicon-based, which makes the formula waterproof." Because of the amount of coverage, they're great for those who want to camouflage acne marks or sun spots, she says. Apply a gel with your fingers, she says, and then pat it down and blend in with a damp beauty blender. Try Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation.

 

Mousse

If you don't like a lot of coverage or the feel of foundation, a mousse will give you a light finish, Tiller says. Mousse can also be beneficial if you have large pores because it won't sit on top of your skin and sink into pores like some foundations do. We like Marc Jacobs Beauty Marvelous Mousse Transformative Oil-Free Foundation, which you can apply with your fingers or a foundation brush.