Liquid Foundation - What is it all about? Buy or formulate your own?

There isn't many formulas out there teaching how to make liquid foundation.

If there are, most of them are likely done this way:

  • Mix spices like cinnamon, ginger, arrowroot starch and cocoa powder
  • mix 2 pre-made products together - bareMinerals powder with innisfree moisturizer
  • mix powdered mineral foundation into oils like coconut oil or argan oil

Because Liquid Foundation falls under the category of Advanced Color Cosmetics formulation, not many bloggers fully understand the chemistry:

  • making W/O and O/W emulsions
  • adjusting pH and working with ingredients with pH sensitivity
  • SPF ingredients and compatibility
  • choosing suitable preservation system to ensure product safety
  • cosmetic pigments and its stable dispersion
  • cosmetic actives and its functions
  • chelating agents
  • rheology modifiers
  • the difference between high shear and homogenizer and when to use which

To join my upcoming online class on How to Make Natural Foundation, subscribe below!

Natural Foundation online classes will commence on Nov-Dec 2022

So, what is a liquid foundation all about?

A liquid foundation job is simple - act like your second skin! It is worn by both men and women to:

  • cover blemishes
  • even skin tone 
  • enhance your appearance without making you look artificial

A liquid foundation is an emulsion where water and oils are combined. It can either be a Water-in-Oil emulsion or Oil-in-Water emulsion. 

Hydrosols, Extracts and Glycerin are considered water. 
Plant oils, Essential oils, Wax and Butters are considered oil.

What's the difference between a W/O emulsion and O/W emulsion?

A Water-in-oil emulsion has water inside oil and an Oil-in-water emulsion has oil inside water.

The difference between the 2 is in the emulsifier or emulsifier blend that you use.

For W/O emulsions, you need emulsifiers with a low HLB (4-6).
For O/W emulsions you need emulsifiers with a high HLB (8-16).
HLB stands for Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance

So, it does not matter whether:

  • you pour oil phase into water phase or vice versa
  • your formula contains more water or more oil
  • speed of blending is slow or fast although some formulas require high shear
  • the type of viscosity that the emulsion has

Liquid Foundation ingredients

Now that you know a foundation is actually an emulsion, you already know that it contains both water and oils!

Apart from that, you can also find:

  • extracts
  • solvents
  • emollients
  • emulsifiers
  • actives
  • chelators
  • fragrances
  • preservatives
  • rheology modifiers or thickeners
  • anti-oxidants
  • thickeners
  • butters
  • silicones or film-formers
  • pH adjusters
  • colorants
  • clay
  • mica
  • oxides
  • waterproof agents
  • other functional ingredients like flowers, herbs
  • other aesthetic ingredients like 24k Gold, flower petals

Types of foundation

20 years ago, there ain't many types. But now, you can find plethora! (please note that these products may not be vegan and/or cruelty-free)

  • Serum Foundation
    L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation

  • Balm Foundation
    Jones Road What The Foundation

  • Light Reflecting Foundation
    NARS Light Reflecting Foundation

  • HD Foundation
    HD Skin Make Up Forever

  • Weightless Foundation
    BOBBI BROWN Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation

  • BB Cream
    L'Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

  • CC Cream
    IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

  • DD Cream
    VOOX DD Cream

  • Pressed/Compact Foundation
    KVD Beauty Lock-It Powder Foundation

  • Cushion Foundation
    Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion

  • Liquid Mineral Foundation
    BareMinerals Original Liquid Mineral Foundation

  • Powder Mineral Foundation
    Everyday Minerals Rosy Almond 6C Matte Loose Powder Foundation

  • Mousse Foundation
    Elizabeth Arden New York Mousse Foundation

  • Baked Foundation
    Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten Baked Foundation

  • Color Changing Foundation
    TLM Flawless Color Changing Liquid Foundation

  • Ceramide Foundation
    Ceramide Lift and Firm Foundation SPF 15

  • Bakuchiol Foundation
    Make The Make Bakuchiol Second Skin Foundation

  • Retinol Foundation
    PARA MI Retinol Expert Full Foundation

  • Vitamin C Foundation
    Skeyndor Vitamin C Hydra Comfort Foundation

  • Water-based/Oil-free Foundation
    Born This Way Flawless Coverage Natural Finish Foundation

How to choose the best foundation?

This is how to choose the perfect foundation for your skin:

  1. Know your skin type - Dry, Normal, Combination, Oily, Sensitive

  2. Know your skin color and undertone - Your foundation should match your neck, just below your jawlines! Not your hands, forehead or wrists.

Then, apply foundation with buildable coverage to achieve that flawless look.

Your foundation, your way!

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