How Do You Formulate a Foundation? Types of foundations for make up

How Do You Formulate a Foundation? Types of foundations for make up

Cosmetic foundations aim to cover skin imperfections and give the skin a natural appearance, but how a foundation is formulated is still unknown for many consumers and suppliers. Here we will learn what can make the difference in a cosmetic foundation.

Foundations have been used for cosmetic purposes for many centuries. In ancient Greece, for instance, it was considered very stylish to have a pale complexion, so ancient Greeks used white lead powder and chalk to lighten their skin. Ancient Romans also lightened their skin with white lead, chalk, and tin oxide-based cream. As one can imagine, there have been many different types of foundation makeup throughout history.

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Contemporary Cosmetic Formulations

It was only in the 19th century that the first theatrical makeup was developed. In the early 1900’s an improved theatrical makeup version was developed and this changed the cosmetic formulation’s world forever. It was not only used by artists or the aristocracy, regular people also started to see the benefits of using cosmetic foundations. Now the different types of foundation makeup include:

  • Loose and pressed powders
  • Anhydrous pan cake, including powders, emollients, and wax-based formulations
  • Oils in water, water in oil, i.e. emulsion-based formulations

The Concern for Dry Skin

Having dry skin is a common concern for regular people and many beauty shoppers are very busy looking for the best foundation for dry skin in the market, but they are still struggling to find it. Luckily, we have already learned how to formulate the best foundation for dry skin and we truly believe there are more options now for everyday people.

More Options for Beauty Shoppers!

Foundation formulations are now marketed in a variety of presentations, they are different by shade and level of opacity. Consumers and suppliers can also tell the difference in the foundation by the coverage it has on the skin. By coverage, we mean the amount of color the foundation conceals on skin.

The many shades and opacity levels of foundations include:

  • Sheer coverage: Besides being the most transparent foundation, it is the one that uses the least amount of pigment (less than 5% pigment). It minimizes the contrast between discoloration and the rest of the skin color.
  • Light coverage: It uses 5-10% pigment and it is good to cover unevenness, but it is not strong enough to cover freckles.
  • Medium coverage: It can cover freckles, discoloration, and red marks caused by pimples. It uses 10-15% pigment.
  • Full coverage: It has the strongest opacity level and it is used to cover birthmarks, hyperpigmentation and scars. It uses more than 15% pigment and since it is quite strong, sometimes it is called “corrective” or “camouflage” makeup.

New Pigments for New Foundations

In addition to the foundations mentioned above, water-based foundations are also very popular. They began to be marketed after World War II and now the most popular forms are water in oil/silicone based formulations. But the pigments used in these foundations have also changed, especially in the last 20 years.

Instead of the regular pigment coating, we are now using powder coating and this feels much better on the skin and has helped to improve color development. For instance, our Butterpowder line (powders coated with natural butters) reduce the dry feel of powders. Our BUTTERPOWDER MCB91-Q, just to name one, has excellent moisturizing effects and great adhesiveness.

The Best Formulation for the Best Foundation

You can create a good foundation following the next formulation guidlines:

Water (40-60%) 

Humectant (1-10%)

Emulsifier (2-5%)

Emollient/silicone (10-20%)

Butter Powders (1-15%)

Other Powders (0-5%)

Emulsion Stabilizer (0,5-2%)

Preservatives/potentiator (1-3%)

Dispersing Agent (0,5-1%)

Chelating Agent (0,05-1%) 

You can always check our formulary to find unique & ready to go formulas



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