Serum Foundation 101

Just when we think we have amassed a makeup collection that covers all the bases – some brand new product hits the market that we simply cannot live without.

For me, that product is serum foundation.

Thanks to the overwhelming influence of Korean beauty trends, these light, fluid foundations are popping up on the shelves from basically every relevant brand in existence.

What is a serum foundation?

The name is pretty self-explanatory but basically it’s an extremely fluid and lightweight foundation (similar to the texture of a traditional skin serum) that has a natural, skin-like finish while also offering coverage. Obviously you’re not going to be getting the same type of coverage from a serum foundation as you would from a full coverage liquid but it’s definitely enough to even skin tone and balance texture.

Why do I need this?

Although the heavy-duty foundation definitely has a place in your makeup bag, a lighter, more user-friendly everyday foundation is something that has been a bit of a unicorn for me. BB Creams are light but not buildable. Foundations with non-matte finishes melt of by the end of the day. So because this type of foundation is light and thin, you are able to customize the amount of coverage you get. Use 1-2 drops for a sheer, natural finish. Use 3-5 drops for more coverage with a matte finish. Let’s not forget that many also come with broad spectrum sunscreen up to SPF 30 – which eliminates an extra skincare step in the AM.

How to apply:

For light, sheer coverage: Dispense a couple drops onto a round end of a damp BeautyBlender and apply directly to the skin by bouncing the sponge up and down.

For fuller coverage: Dispense 3-5 drops onto the back of your hand and buff onto the skin in circular motions using a synthetic foundation brush such as this one (steal!) or this one (splurge!).

Try these:

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – This multitasking BB water with SPF 30 is an ultra-hydrating and oil-free formula that creates a sheer, radiant finish that lasts all day. It delivers a demi-matte complexion that’s never flat, creating a natural-looking canvas, and it minimizes the look of fine lines, pores, and blemishes. This unique BB water allows you to build coverage and does not cause any drying, cracking, or caking during wear.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum, $60 – No Foundation Foundation Serum instantly softens imperfections and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and pores with neuropeptides without settling into fine lines. A luxurious fluid texture ensures a semi-matte suede finish with a breathable second skin effect.

Sephora Teint Infusion Etherial Natural Finish Foundation, $24 – The ultra-fluid texture of this formula flawlessly melts onto skin for buildable light-to-medium coverage and the feeling of wearing no foundation at all. The formula glides on for foolproof application and moisturizes to create visibly smoother skin.

MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation$33 – Introducing an innovative foundation that delivers colour in an ultra-fluid, elastic gel- serum formula. With a virtually weightless feel, this formula is extraordinarily comfortable, lasting for hours. With stay-true colour and sheer medium buildable coverage, it softly blurs imperfections such as pores and fine lines, while also controlling oil. The addition of Moisture-Fusion Complex provides immediate and all-day hydration, leaving skin feeling quenched and silky to the touch. The unique dropper provides you with a drop of perfection.

…or make your own!

Take a medium to full coverage foundation that you already have (I’m using Revlon ColorStay in Fresh Beige)…

and dispense a nickel sized amount to an artist’s palette or, in my case, a blank CD…

Grab your favorite skincare serum (mine is KAPLAN MD Cellular Rejuvenating Concentrate)

Dispense 1-2 drops directly into the foundation.

Add more serum or foundation until you get the consistency you like.


Voila! Your own serum foundation.



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