Foundation etc – Which One Tho?

by Olivia Cox July 15

So, here we are. 15 weeks into the “new normal”, with ten days grace ‘til masks become compulsory in all public spaces. As someone who stuck their head entirely firmly in the sand until circa last week, I reserve the right to feel quite unjustifiably shocked and kind of entirely unprepared. Every. Single. Day.

The “new normal” – as seems to be the fashionable term for our current mess – has yielded some pretty wild new trends. I just ordered a “lap desk” to better allow me to work from bed, and I’ve just this second opened a mailer titled “marketers in pyjamas”. See? Wild.

Something that really caught my eye recently though was an email lamenting the demise of lip treatments. Once the most popular of all non-surgical treatments, the necessity to now don a partial facial covering is predited (apparently, although I’m really not sure who came up with this theory) to impact the popularity of bothering with enhancements south of the nose. I’m not sure I entirely agree with this – the concept of undergoing the pain, expense etc of injectables just for the benefit of fellow commuters / neighbours / colleagues seems a little far fetched. But that aside, what does seem unanimous is the increasing importance of skin and eyes for engaging in basic human interaction.

So. How do we nail it?

The skin category of make-up is something of a jungle. What was once a relatively simple choice of foundation shade has been peppered with the addition of all manner of similar-but-not-quite products. Tinted moisturizer came first. Initially billed as an alternative to a full face (with the added extra of skincare benefits),  this was sort of nullifies as foundations upped their game and became enriched with skin goodies. Next, the trends straight from Korea. To me, BB Creams were arguably a sort of glorified Tinted Moisturiser, and I sort of lost track when CC Creams emerged.

So I did some digging, and here’s the actual difference between them all.


What? The classic base


  • Blends easily
  • Broadest range of shade choices
  • Ranges from heavy coverage to sheer, and generally buildable. Using differnet application methods will also affect coverage – a brush will deposit product more sparsely, wheras a sponge can be more precise and concentrated.
  • Variety of finishes (natural, matte, dewy etc)
  • Multitude of different formats – pressed powder, loose powder, spray, mousse, liquid, pen, stick….


  • Can go cakey if you try topping up too much – especially if you’re powdering in between
  • Higher coverage ones can make you a little two-tone if you haven’t matched your shade accurately. Ok in jumper season but less ideal if you’ve got body skin on show.

Tinted Moisturiser

What? The least amount of coverage, and layering won’t really change that


  • Easy and quick to apply – treat it as you would a regular moisturiser and apply with your hands
  • Hydrating


  • I find coverage sort of diminishes throughout the day, and I also tend to gets quite shiny..
  • Tricky to achieve optimal coverage if you have problem skin

BB Creams

What? These sort of sit between a foundation and a tinted moisturizer. They were initially billed as an all-in-one to replace a traditional regime of serum, moisturizer, primer and coverage but I stick to my skincare steps anyway.


  • Again a time-saver and good for travelling if you want to minimize your beauty luggage.


  • Almost always have SPF which is sort of pointless, since the amount you apply won’t be enough to actually protect your skin from UVA + B rays (obv you should use a daily SPF as a step in your regime – try these). The difficulty with spf in coverage is that it causes extreme shine under flash-light, so is a bit dramatic if you have a photo taken.

CC Creams

What? This one technically stands for Colour Corrector. It does similar skin things to BB (priming, moisturizing etc) but the focus is on evening out tone rather than coverage.


  • A sort of bespoke addition to your arsenal – pick green to even-out redness, purple to brighten dull skin, or the pinky-beige one to add warmth. They work best in conjunction with a BB / foundation etc as they are lightweight enough to layer.


  • An extra step so if efficiency is your game, best to swerve.

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