Your Guide to Buying Liquid vs. Powder Foundation

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Your Guide to Buying Liquid vs. Powder Foundation

Most women establish their morning makeup routine through a series of trial and error experiments over the years. From adolescence and sometimes even earlier, we read magazine articles, ask friends and family members for tips, and take risks with different types and shades of makeup until we find what works. This is a great strategy, but eventually, this experimentation gets exhausting. Women find a routine that is 'good enough' and not necessarily ideal for their changing skin.

In fact, learning about makeup application and the ins and outs of different products should be a lifelong process which takes into account the realities of your skin as it ages and its changing needs. One such area where this need for reevaluation is of the utmost importance is when it comes to foundation. With the important function of setting the base for one's entire look, knowing about the benefits and drawbacks of buying liquid vs. powder foundation as well as strategies for the purchase of whichever foundation one needs is absolutely essential.

When to Use Liquid vs. Powder Foundation

The first and most essential step in learning about foundation is understanding when it is most appropriate to use one type vs. the other. Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question that works for every woman since each person's skin and needs are different. However, learning about the general advantages of each type of foundation as well as the instances when liquid vs. powder foundation is more appropriate is the best way to fit one or the other into a routine.

Using Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundation is generally the best choice for women with normal or dry skin. This is because most liquid foundations are made with an oil base and therefore trap moisture against the skin. This increases the issues most individuals with oily skin wish to avoid. Namely, the oils in most liquid foundation can clog pores, causing breakouts, as well as provide a 'dewy' look to the face that may simply look greasy on oily skin. This is why it is important to understand the types of liquid foundation available on the market as well as the benefits of choosing to use it for certain skin types.

Using Powder Foundation

Powder foundation is actually a lot more versatile than liquid foundation since literally every skin type can wear it. This includes those with normal, oily, or combination skin, as well as sensitive and acne-prone skin types. In addition, women who do not like the 'feel' of heavy makeup on their skin are best off with a powder foundation. Like liquid, there are several types of powder foundation to consider, as well as some distinct benefits in choosing it over liquid foundation.

Types of Liquid Foundation

Although liquid is generally best suited for normal and dry skin types, specialised types of oil-free liquid foundation can be used on any skin type, including oily skin. In addition, there are two major looks that one can achieve through the use of liquid foundation: full coverage with a matte look to light coverage with a dewy appearance.

Women looking to simply even out their skin tone should opt for a light coverage foundation that helps set the tone for the rest of the makeup. However, those looking to conceal blemishes, cover up spots or rosacea, or create a truly 'clean' slate for other makeup may want to get a full coverage matte foundation. Those with normal and dry skin can achieve a more glowing and radiant appearance through those dewy-finish foundations that generally contain oils.

Benefits of Liquid Foundation

There are several benefits that the skin achieves through the use of liquid foundation. The main reason that women, especially more mature women, choose liquid instead of powder foundation is because of its ability to fill in lines and wrinkles as well as reduce the appearance of pores. For this reason, most anti-ageing foundations are in liquid form.

The other major benefit of using liquid foundation is limited to those women with drier skin and those living in certain climates. The layer that liquid foundation forms on one's face actually acts as a barrier of protection for the skin, retaining moisture and often providing SPF, or sun protection factors, as well. Liquid foundation is therefore a great option during the dry winter months as well as for those individuals who are frequently outdoors in the sun.

Types of Powder Foundation

Powder foundations come in many finishes that range from brightening or illuminating to a flat, matte look, similar to liquid foundation. In fact, there are powder-to-liquid foundations that go on as powder, yet feel and cover the way that liquid foundations do. Many women find that it is best to own several different types of powder foundations for different ends. For example, one may want to wear a matte powder with bright red lipstick and dark black eyeliner, and a foundation with a more illuminating finish with metal-toned eyeshadow.

Benefits of Powder Foundation

Powder foundations do not clog pores the way that liquid foundations do, which makes them the ideal choice for those with oily skin. This is because powder foundation is not occlusive on the skin but, rather, simply sits atop the skin to create a smoother look. Some powder foundations can actually absorb oil and lessen the shiny effects typical of oily skin types. However, for these same reasons, those types of powder foundations are not generally recommended for those with dry skin, since they may make rob the skin of precious moisture instead of adding and protecting, as is done with liquid foundations and less absorbent powders.

Buying Strategies for Foundation

Once buyers have a general idea as to whether they need to use liquid vs. powder foundation, the process of buying the foundation itself is the next step. However, this step is more easily said than done. Buying foundation in just the right complementary colour and texture can be somewhat tedious, especially when one is experimenting with new brands or shades and even more particularly when trying to do so online. There are a few important strategies to keep in mind that may work to make your foundation buying experience a positive one.

Take Your Time

Unless you have already determined the type, colour, and brand of foundation you wish to buy, the process of searching for the best foundation takes time. Plan to spend a few hours looking at different brands and trying out different shades. Even if one is acceptable, it may still not be the best or the least expensive option out there. Commit yourself to spending considerable time looking for foundation without intending to purchase.

Try Before You Buy

Another important point to remember is that it is impossible to know what foundation looks and feels like through a written or verbal description. The only way to tell how it works on your skin is to try it. This strategy appends nicely with the 'do not rush' creed, since it is the modelling process that takes time. When shopping for foundation, take time to look at a number of brands in several different shades. Also, make sure to sample the foundation on the very area it is going to be used in practise: the face. Testing foundation on the back of the hand is not always accurate as the skin tones and pigmentation variations may not be identical.

Natural Light Is Best

When trying on foundations, natural light is the very best option when it comes to evaluating the true colour and effect of a shade. Most stores use fluorescent lighting that can distort colour, so make sure to get outside before making a final judgement. This is another reason why you should sample and experiment without making any purchase decisions the first time out. Also, consider bringing your own mirror so you can see yourself if you need to step outside of the shop.

How to Buy Liquid and Powder Foundation on eBay

One final strategy to keep in mind when buying foundation is that trying does not equal buying. In other words, there is no rule that you need to purchase foundation from the store where you try it on. Therefore, the trial period should be treated as just that – a trial. Generally, buyers can get both liquid and powder foundation at much better prices online through eBay.

How to Search eBay for Foundation

Using eBay to search for foundation is really quite simple. The website has a main search bar at the head of each page. From there, buyers can simply type in the exact brand, finish, and colour of foundation they want. Make sure to be specific. Typing 'Cover Girl foundation' yields literally hundreds of results, whereas typing the slightly more specific term 'Cover Girl clean makeup ivory' provides a far more manageable pool of perhaps a few dozen options.


Learning to properly use makeup is a lifelong process. As women age, their skin changes and so too does their need for different types and formulas of makeup. That is why it is important to continually learn about makeup, like foundation, to see whether alterations should be made to your routine, such as the type of product you use. When it comes to buying liquid vs. powder foundation, there are quite a few considerations for women to ponder. Each type of foundation is best suited for particular skin types and particular circumstances. For example, those with oily skin need to be careful when using liquid foundation, opting ideally for oil-free options.

Knowing about these different types of foundations and their benefits is the first step in buying the right foundation, but the next step, the actual shopping process, is equally important. Women must take their time when shopping for foundation, trying on different brands, formulas, and colours, before committing to only one. This also means also being sure to evaluate the effects of a particular foundation in natural instead of artificial light.

When you are ready to buy foundation, however, it is not necessary to purchase it from a retail store. Rather, going online to sites like eBay is a great way to utilise the information gathered in the shopping process, that is, exact colours and brands, while still getting the best deals. Entering onto eBay's site with an exact brand and colour in mind makes the shopping experience fast, simple, and more pleasurable, saving users both time and money.

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