foundation masterclass

When we hear that women (and men) in the 17th century perfected their complexions with poisonous lead, we’re rightfully horrified. Fast forward a few hundred years, and surely we’ve found a better way to formulate foundation? From the heavy grease paints used in theatre and silent films, to the introduction of the sleek pancake compact (making it a handbag staple), this makeup mainstay has been steadily evolving. Read on for our comprehensive foundation masterclass.

There are a few major nasties hiding in conventional foundation. Some that you want to avoid include: mineral oil, synthetic fragrance/parfum, parabens, PEGs, chemical sunscreens (like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate), propylene glycol, phthalates, and silicones. A word on silicones: While this silky, slippery substance is not technically toxic, and probably fine for occasional use, it’s not the healthiest ingredient for your complexion long term. The smoothing effect it produces creates a barrier on your skin, or what I call  “the plastic bag effect”. While it may not exactly clog pores, it definitely traps bacteria, sweat, and sebum, which can eventually cause breakouts, flaky patches, and inflammation. Silicones, or siloxanes, come in many different forms. Look for ingredients ending in -cone, -siloxane, or -conol (common ones are dimethicone, trimethicone, and cyclopentasiloxane). It can also be disguised as a polymer like polybutene.


The purpose of foundation is to even out the skin tone and soften imperfections. Whether you like the sheerest tint or a full-coverage formula, there is something for you. You should think of your foundation as an extension of your skincare routine. In green beauty, cheap, synthetic fillers are omitted, and foundation formulas are often packed with skin-pampering ingredients. So your foundation needs to complement both your skin type and the other products you use.

Consider how much coverage you want (light/medium/full/versatile), what kind of texture you prefer (liquid/cream/powder), and what kind of finish you like (matte/dewy/natural). You may like a sheer tint with SPF for everyday, and a more flawless finish foundation for evenings or events. It’s ok to have a couple on hand!

Lastly, let’s touch on matching your foundation. The best way to match is to swatch colors fairly thick on your jawline (at least three), wait a minute to let them dry, then choose the one that disappears the most. Don’t swatch on your hand—it’s not the same color as your face! Is your body much tanner than your face? You have two options: You can match your body and blend really well. In this case, repeat the swatching above, but on your chest instead of your jawline. Alternately, you can match your face, and then add a bronzer strategically for more color.

If you can’t get to The Detox Market in person to be matched, take advantage of the sampling program to order several colors and formulas to find your perfect formula.


Powder foundation is great for a weightless finish. If you don’t like the feeling of anything on your face, but you’d like to wear something, you might love a powder. It’s also wonderful for very oily or acne-prone skin. Your oils will mix with the powder to create a natural finish. Even dry and mature skin types can wear powder, providing you prep with a very hydrating oil, cream, or balm. You can also mix a little loose mineral powder directly into your skincare to create a tint. Powders can be worn sheer, or built to full coverage. Use a fluffy brush for a light application, a kabuki brush to build coverage, and a sponge for touchups.


Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation


W3ll People Altruist Foundation Powder


Alima Pure Pressed Foundation



Liquids vary greatly! You can find something light, something with more coverage, something with SPF, or something very glowy. Just make sure to adjust your moisturizer to suit the formula and your skin. For instance, if you are combination and using a very emollient foundation, you may want to use a lightweight moisturizer. If you’re oily, consider using just a serum underneath. You can apply with your fingers (provided they’re clean!), a flat brush for full coverage, a flat brush for an airbrushed finish, or a damp sponge to create synergy with the skin.

Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation


Sappho New Paradigm Foundation


Ilia Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20



Cream foundation is typically the most emollient and the fullest coverage. It can come in a stick or compact, and is usually concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Formulas range from very creamy to slightly more dry. Some people use a cream foundation in place of a concealer, wearing it only in a few areas on the face. You can apply with the same methods as liquid, or apply the stick directly to your face, then blend with your tool of choice.

Kjaer Weis Foundation


Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation


W3ll People Narcissist Foundation Stick


For a personalized consultation with a makeup artist, simply email us at


  1. Sarah wrote

    What about Silica? This is in my primer.

    1. The Detox Market wrote

      Hi Sarah!
      The type of silica used in cosmetics is a common mineral known as Hydrated Silica. The silica we sometimes hear about being toxic is Crystalline Silica. This mineral is commonly found on construction sites, and can be harmful when breathed into the lungs. Hope this helps!

  2. Angela Bowser wrote

    I have tried organic foundations but I can’t get them to stay all day-yes I set with RMS powder. I’ve tried Vapour, 100percent Pure, Josie Maran, Jane Iredale, RMS concealer…to name a few. I love the look for the first few hours, then poof!! The coverage is gone. I’ve tried all the primers too. What foundation would you suggest for 45 year old normal to oily skin? I use Drunk Elephant, Good Genes and 100percent Pure skincare. Thank you so much 😊

    1. The Detox Market wrote

      Hi Angela,

      ​If your skin is oily, and your foundation is formulated with oils (as most natural ones are), it’s crucial that your moisturizer is incredibly light. We recommend a light, gel-based serum like the Kypris Antioxidant Dew. Apply a light layer, and give it a few minutes to sink in before applying makeup.
      It also sounds like the foundations you mentioned have very emollient bases. Good options for oily skin are Gressa, Ilia, or the Alima Pure loose powder foundation.
      Another tip is apply with a clean makeup brush. Fingers are fine, but if you’re naturally oily, it can contribute more oil.
      Once your foundation is on, go ahead and apply your other makeup, and before you apply powder to set, take a single ply of tissue and blot the whole face.
      We hope these tips help, and as always, you can reach out for personalized help at