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Foundation for beginners: your complete guide to choosing the right product

Foundation for beginners: your complete guide to choosing the right product

New to the world of foundation and wondering where to start? We don’t blame you. With so many products out there and different advice at every turn, understanding how to choose a foundation can seem like an impossible task.


But not to fear, our simple guide to getting started in the world of foundation is here to help you find the best formula for you, refine your application process – and wear the result with confidence.

What is foundation?

Let’s start with the basics. Foundation is a makeup product normally applied to the face and neck. Its purpose is to even out the complexion and leave you with a smooth base (or literally, a smooth ‘foundation’).

From a makeup artist (MUA) perspective, your base should always be a perfect match with your natural skin tone – its job is to create the best possible version of your skin. Then if you need warmth after you’ve applied your foundation, you can add it with blush or bronzer.

Choosing the best foundation for beginners

Choosing the right foundation for you can seem challenging at first. Not only are there multiple types out there, but they all come in different shades, with different benefits, techniques, and tools all claiming to be suited to a specific product. But it doesn’t have to be so hard.

Liquid foundations (that’s the type we mix here at DCYPHER) tend to be the most popular and versatile – great for everything from a light touch-up to full-face coverage. Our foundations are also full of plant-based glycerin, which acts as a moisturiser to keep you hydrated without overwhelming your skin. That makes us a great choice for your first foundation, because our products are so versatile.
A note from Claire, our co-founder and beauty expert…“While some foundations have SPF built in, most of the time, wearers don’t apply enough product to get the protection they need. Ideally, your sun protection should come from your skincare routine, not your makeup.”

How to know which shade of foundation to use

Finding the right foundation doesn’t have to mean endlessly searching the shelves for a shade that’s close to your skin tone. You can spend hours reading online tips about choosing your perfect shade – from checking your vein colour to analysing your jewellery collection – but even if you find the time to do all that, chances are you’ll still be guessing when it comes to selecting a foundation colour.

Today, it’s possible to choose your perfect foundation online – all from the comfort of your home. Here at DCYPHER, we take the difficulty off your hands, combining in-depth skin tone science with formulation expertise to create your perfect shade.

We’ve created a pioneering Skin Tone Analyser – a cutting-edge tool that uses artificial intelligence to assess your skin tone and build your completely unique Skin Tone ID. From there, our expert equipment blends your foundation from scratch, using your exact skin tone measurements to mix a shade for you – and only you.

Choosing the right foundation coverage

Coverage refers to the concentration of pigment included in your foundation. A higher concentration of pigment will give you a fuller coverage, while a lower one will be lighter on your skin. There are three main types of coverage, each offering a different overall look and serving a slightly different purpose.

  • Sheer coverage is the lightest option, with ‘ultra sheer’ acting more like a tinted moisturiser, and ‘sheer’ designed to even out your skin subtly without covering it. This option is great if you want to let your skin (and any natural features, like freckles) shine through.
  • Medium coverage gives a little bit more, creating a smooth base while still showing some of your natural glow.
  • Full coverage does exactly what it says on the tin – completely covering your skin for a more intense overall look.


While most brands create one type of coverage for a whole foundation range, here at DCYPHER, we adjust it customer by customer, creating your formula to give you the exact coverage and finish you prefer.

It’s time to apply

Liquid foundations like ours are best for beginners, as they provide the most flexible coverage and are relatively easy to apply. Begin the application by dabbing some product in the middle of your face, ideally using a foundation brush or a damp (but not wet) makeup sponge to gently buff the products outwards.

When you’re finished with the central part of your face, check yourself out in natural light and apply more product to cover up or even out skin on the outer edges of your face. Keep using a stippling motion throughout to avoid streaks and get that flawless finish. If you want to layer up your foundation for more complete coverage, simply apply a thin layer, and wait for it to dry before adding another. You can carry on like that until you’re happy with your look – or check out <<link: our application guide for more flawless tips!>>.

With DCYPHER, you can select the coverage level and finish you like best, and we’ll tailor mix your product to suit your preferences. Head on over to our Skin Tone Analyser now, and start your foundation journey with us. We can’t wait to make your bespoke formula!