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Enter the world of 21st century makeup, where there are more products within each beauty category than you can count. For foundations, we have walked out from the time when only powder and liquid foundations reigned, to an era of BB creams, cushion compact foundation, and more recently, “serum foundations”. If you ever feel confused or even intimated by the sheer (pun not intended!) number of foundation choices out there, this guide should help clear your doubts.

Serum Foundation

Say hello to the newest kid on the block. Just as its name suggests, a serum foundation is a multi-purpose product, encompassing both the properties of a foundation and a serum. It is generally lighter than your average foundation but can provide fuller coverage than it feels. They are intended to mimic the appearance of bare skin, so a couple of drops is enough to do the trick.

Application and finish: As serum foundations are typically light and watery, they tend to provide a sheer to medium coverage, depending on how much layering you do. Shake the bottle before dispensing a drop or two on the back of your hand. Then use a traditional flat foundation for a more even application.

Works for: Dry to normal skin. Those with oiler skin may find this a tad too greasy as it can sit on the face for a whole day.

Kill Cover Airwear Protexture Liquid Foundation_With cap

Try: CLIO’s Kill Cover Airwear Protexture Foundation (SGD29.90). This serum foundation from the Seoul-based brand promises a super soft and airy touch upon application. Its lightweight formula also claims to conceal blemishes while erasing signs of tiredness.

Cushion Compact

Contrary to popular belief, cushion compacts are not new. The first cushion compact was introduced back in the 2000s by Stila Cosmetics (called Pivotal Skin), but it was too advanced for consumers then so it never gained much traction and has been discontinued. But thanks to the recent K-wave, cushion compacts have made a comeback and are more popular than ever.

Application and finish: Press against the sponge and lightly dab on the face for a light finish. Cushion compact grant us the gift of sheer and dewy coverage. It’s great for those who are after the “no-makeup” look. For those interested in cushion compact but prefer a fuller coverage, most cushion compacts allow you to layer it on for extra coverage.

Works for: Combination-dry to combination-oily skin types.

real powder cushion 1

Try: Etude House Real Powder Cushion (SGD32) comes with a new air-light powder conversion technology that converts the liquid formula into a matte powder finish upon application. We also like its ability to conceal enlarged pores and slight blemishes.


The Shu Uemura Blanc:Chroma Brightening UV SPF50/PA+++ cushion foundation (SGD55 for refill and SGD20 for case + sponge) makes a good non-Korean alternative. Its SMART cushion system has an auto-wiper membrane and dispense which promises a better pick-up of product and application.

BB Cream

In case you are still unaware, BB stands for blemish balm or beauty balm. Many women fancied the BB cream for its unique colour-matching property, allowing them a beautifully perfected skin at all times. Some BB creams are great multi-taskers designed to replace your primer, sunblock and foundation.

Application and finish: BB creams typically give a light to full coverage with most being moderate. Dot all over the face and smoothen with fingers.

Works for: All skin types. Different BB creams have different properties for different skin types so be sure to choose one that will keep your skin happy.

ultimate uv shield spf50 30ml 0001

Try: Kiehl’s Actively Correcting and Beautifying BB Cream with SPF 50 PA+++ (SGD68) is a crowd’s favourite. We’re thinking its popularity is mostly attributed to its powerful clarifying ability. Much to the delight of ladies with sensitive skin, this product is fragrance and paraben-free.

Tinted Moisturiser

Another multitasking product, the tinted moisturiser is essentially a moisturising lotion or cream with a slight tint to it, allowing it to provide some skin coverage.

Application and finish: Tinted moisturisers typically have sheer to medium coverage. Apply product all over the face and use your fingertips to blend it out.

Works for: Tinted moisturisers are great for women with normal to dry skin, and those who don’t require so much coverage.

Urban Decay’s Naked Skin One & Done

Try: Urban Decay’s Naked Skin One & Done Hybrid Complexion Perfector (SGD50). This product promises to give you enough coverage to have you skip the foundation itself. It also claims to have light-diffusing spheres to make your flaws disappear.

Liquid & Powder Foundation

Before everything else, women were happy with their trusty liquid and/or powder foundations. These classics still retain a strong foothold in the industry despite the exponential rise in popularity of its newer counterparts.

Application and finish: Both the liquid and powder foundation generally provide medium to full coverages. Use a brush to apply liquid foundation on the face to prevent streaking. Smaller brushes are great for hard-to-reach areas like the side of the nose. For powder foundations, you may use a brush, or the sponge that comes along with the product, but never use your fingers.

Works for: Liquid foundations are generally suited for drier skin but those with oilier skin may pick an oil-free or water-based option instead. Alternatively, powder foundations can help oily skin stay matte. The rule is to choose according to your needs. To even out your skin tone, choose one with a light coverage, full coverage works for those looking to conceal imperfections, while radiant and glowing skin calls for a dewy finish.

MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation

Try: MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation (SGD62) for its nice and silky finish. While it doesn’t exactly have a watery finish – it’s slightly more viscous, it glides on skin easily like water, leaving a light finish that blurs away the imperfections on the surface of skin.

Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation

Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation (SGD48) has an oil-absorbing formula that’s infused with cocoa complex to offer antioxidant benefits to skin. Besides covering up imperfections, this foundation also has a chocolate scent that makes usage experience a complete joy.