Ask MBB: What’s Your Favorite Foundation for Pictures?

Published in: Just For Fun, Makeup Tips/How To

I was wondering what is your favorite foundation to wear when you are taking pictures?

–Jeannie Tran

Hey Jeannie,


Wow! I’ve actually been getting asked this a lot lately (YAY!), so it must have something to do with the changes I’ve made to my foundation routine.

The whole shebang’s kind of involved so, uh, maybe the best way to handle this is to just go step-by-step.

1. MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Base Visage

My first step — the product I use as a primer all over my skin — has been a staple of my makeup bag for a really long time. I never, ever skip this step when I’m going to be taking pics and have any say in the matter because I sincerely see a difference between when I do and I don’t.

It just makes whatever foundation I’m wearing look…better, and more natural, and mellows out my pores.

There are so many different face primers out there. I’ve tried a bunch, but one’s my favorite. I think I’m on my third of fourth bottle now. I love it that much.

I love how the formula feels — like a face lotion, and not like a regular primer just sitting on top of the skin, like the kind that have a lot of silicone. It’s also moisturizing, but it doesn’t give me breakouts, which is great, especially this time of year when my skin gets dry.

2. MAC Face and Body Foundation

mac face and body foundation application tips

LOVE! I’ve written a few posts about MAC Face and Body Foundation (I use shade C5) because I absolutely love it. Long story short: it’s lightweight, more like a tinted moisturizer than anything else, but you can layer it to build up the coverage. I love that it doesn’t look obvious or heavy in pics (you see it used on a lot on movie sets), once it dries, it won’t budge.

Seriously, I’ve worn this out and about on 16-hour days, and it’s never caked, streaked or gotten funky.

It does have a dewy, slightly shiny finish, which I actually like for everyday wear, but for pics, which is what we’re talking about here, I set it with a powder to tone down the shine.

3. NARS Radiant Concealer

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer Pictures

This is one of the more recent adjustments I’ve made to my routine. I had been using Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation wherever I needed more coverage, but I ran out a while back and grabbed NARS Pure Radiant Concealer on a whim.

I wear the shade “Biscuit.” I dab a little on the areas where I want more coverage — usually my cheeks, around my nose, around my mouth and along my jaw line. Then I buff it into the Face & Body with a skunk brush.

I actually prefer this now to Bobbi Brown’s Stick Foundation, which I still think is great, but Pure Radiant takes much less time to use because it’s easier to blend into MAC Face & Body.

Plus, I think it feels lighter, lasts longer and just looks really seamless in pics.

4. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat

Another one of my recent changes. Ya know, I didn’t really like this the first time I tried it years ago, but then I saw a new shade, 4.5, at Sephora last month and thought, why the heck not? It’s still loved by zillions of people. Maybe I’ll give it another shot.

And ya know what? I like it. I don’t think it’s going to cover enough for those really rough mornings when my dark circles have dark circles of their own, but it does a good job most days.

For pics, I think it’s fab, because it doesn’t look thick or heavy or settle into my fine lines.

And I like the brush — really convenient.

I just brush a light layer under my eyes, pat that down with a finger, and set it with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder in Medium.

5. MAC Studio Careblend/Pressed

Dang, this stuff looks like real skin! — and it doesn’t look too powdery or cake-y. Been wearing it for a couple years now. I dust it across my forehead, on my cheeks, nose and chin, and along my jaw line.

Thanks for the question, Jeannie! HTH. πŸ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. If you have a question you’d like to ask, let me know in the comments. If I can, I’ll try to answer it in a future Ask MBB post.


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So far, 29 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Awww, you look so adorable cuddling your foundation! πŸ™‚ My personal favorite foundation is the Inika Liquid Foundation. So natural! And such a great color match!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Make-up look | Three eye looks with the new Smashbox Wonder Vision Eye Sets

  2. Chelsea says:

    I have so much trouble finding foundation that matches that I don’t really have anything special for photography! For my wedding I used a combination of Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet+ in 15 mixed with a little bit of the Missha Signature BB Cream in 13. It made the Mat Velvet+ a little more lightweight/natural, and photographed really well.

    I just got a sample of Sleek Makeup (UK brand) ReVive foundation in Linen, and it’s really fair without overly pink or yellow undertones, which is really hard for me – anything that veers too pink or too yellow just doesn’t work for me. Formula’s pretty nice too!

    My undereye concealer has been Maybelline Dream Lumi in Ivory. It’s got a bit of a peachy hint that helps with the dark circles.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chelsea,

      You’re the second gal so far to recommend a drugstore concealer. I must do some investigating! πŸ™‚ Hopefully they’ll have a shade I can wear.

      How’s your week been? Anything new to report?

      • Chelsea says:

        I had a phone interview with the company of my dreams yesterday, for a position I hadn’t applied for – they head hunted me! It went really well, I haven’t heard back yet, so I’m just sitting around anxious.

        One of my professors who’s quite fond of me is high up at this company, and I’m having lunch with him next week.

  3. Chaitra says:

    I Love love MAC MSF πŸ™‚ I wear it in Medium Dark! Its really light weight n comfortable to wear!
    Chaitra recently posted … Inspiration: Applause Please, Italian Artistry

  4. Agata says:

    A great post! I have never tried this MAc Face and Body foundation but I feel like I should give it a try. I told you a while ago I am in love with YSL Touche Eclat foundation, I think it’s amazing!

    And NARS Radiant Concealer is amazing. I just ran out of my first tube, definitely need to repurchase it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Agata,

      I bought a bottle of that on your recommendation! I have it here in on a shelf and keep meaning to give it a try; I just get so distracted so easily, LOL. What do you usually set it with?

  5. Jeannie Tran says:

    Thank you so much for answering me question! You look so carefree and beautiful in your pictures!

  6. Alison M says:

    Oddly enough, I find NARS Tinted Moisturizer to be fantastic in photos. My other favorites are Kett Cosmetics Fixx Creme and NARS Sheer Glow. Even more importantly is setting with a fantastic powder. NARS Light Reflecting loose powder is the best!
    Alison M recently posted … NYX The Smokey Eye Shadow Palette Review and Swatches

  7. Rachel P says:

    I LOOOOOVE this post, SO helpful!! I got matched for Face & Body foundation last month when I got to go to a MAC counter (I’m an N2), so once I’m out of my current foundation, I plan on making the switch! And I’ve definitely been interested in using MAC’s Prep & Prime products- I wonder if the lip primer would make any difference for my lipsticks. And for the undereye circles, I have been using the L’Oreal Magic Lumi pen in Ivory (I believe), which is an awesome dupe for Touche Eclat… it doesn’t blend in quiiiite as evenly as Touche Eclat, but it still does an amazing job!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel,

      I hope you love Face & Body as much as I do. The finish is really dewy — so if you like a matte finish don’t forget your powder! πŸ™‚ What foundation are you wearing right now?

      Thank you for the recommendation for the Magic Lumi pen. Hopefully they’ll have a color that I can wear.

      • Rachel P says:

        Currently I’m using Revlon: Colorstay foundation and PhotoReady BB cream (for lighter coverage, which is most days). I’ve always been reticent to purchase nicer foundations, simply because I go through so much foundation, and I try to be cost-effective. But I am thinking more and more that having nice-looking skin is worth investing in! The Colorstay is my drugstore favorite, but it can cake, and I’ve gotten progressively more MAC-obsessed with time πŸ™‚

        And I double-checked on the Magic Lumi highlighter- I use it in Fair and love it, but they also have Light, Medium, and Deep. So, not a huge selection, but I hope they have a good match for you!

        • Karen says:

          I’ve heard good things about the Colorstay line! I totally understand using drugstore stuff for the things you go through quickly. I’m the same way when it comes to things like lotions and conditioners.

          Ooh, you know what you could do is mix your pricier foundations with your drugstore stuff, like a 50/50 mix. I do that when I’m running low or when I don’t have time to go to the counter to pick up a refill. It really helps stretch out your purchase! πŸ™‚

  8. Vineetha says:

    My fav is guerlain lumiere foundation! MAC prep+prime is my fav too….

  9. camille says:

    Oh, thank you for this post!

    I have tried MAC F&B (C4) and I did like it for a bit, but felt that it was too…..light. I will have to give it another try and be more patient.

    You’re killing me with the recommendations! πŸ™‚ I’m definitely going to hit up the MAC counter before The Man’s work holiday party. Thank you for the suggestions! More stuff to add to my wish list.

    Oh, I have tried Bobbi’s foundation stick. I figure it’ll be nice for photos, but I found it a tad heavy (I usually use Skin foundation in 4.5). Maybe that’s because it’s still warm here. :/ Or I need a new setting powder. I should have read this post before I went to Sephora at The Venetian. It was like a wonderland over there! Wish I could go on a spreeeeeeee!

    Happy Thursday! Any weekend plans?

  10. hanna says:

    I use that nars concealer all the time!
    hanna recently posted … How to Wear Bows and Uggs

  11. sarah says:

    I have question for you. I have eyelashes that take some work to hold a curl. I want to find a lash conditioner/clear mascara for my low makeup + glasses days. My lashes hit my glasses and leave smudges, without a curl, but I also want to give my lashes a bit of a break. Ideas?

  12. Karina says:

    Hi Karen!!!

    I tried this foundation but It makes me breakout :C Do you have another suggestion :O? BTW I like the photo where you are cuddling your foundation πŸ˜€

  13. Natalie says:

    I love wearing YSL Touche Eclat foundation in pictures, I think it just looks amazing.
    Natalie recently posted … An Eye Opening Eyeshadow Quick Tip

  14. yunie says:

    I love MAC Studio Careblend/Pressed too. Been repurchasing it three times now πŸ˜€

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