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Let's Get to the Base: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Tell If Your Foundation/Primer is Silicone, Water, or Oil-Based

Choosing the right foundation or primer for your skin type can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to determining whether a product is silicone, water, or oil-based. Using the correct base is crucial to achieving flawless makeup application and lasting wear. This comprehensive guide will help you identify the base of your foundation or primer with ease.

  1. Understanding the Basics: Silicone, Water, and Oil-Based Foundations and Primers
  2. Decoding the Ingredients List
  3. Texture and Consistency: How to Spot the Difference
  4. Testing Techniques: How to Determine the Base Type
  5. Mixing Foundations and Primers: Do's and Don'ts

1: Understanding the Basics: Silicone, Water, and Oil-Based Foundations and Primers

Silicone-Based: Silicone-based foundations and primers are known for their smooth, pore-blurring, and long-lasting properties. They provide a flawless finish and work well for those with oily or combination skin.

Water-Based: Water-based foundations and primers are lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for those with dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin. These products provide sheer to medium coverage and can be easily built up for more coverage.

Oil-Based: Oil-based foundations and primers are best suited for those with extremely dry or mature skin. They offer excellent hydration and give the skin a dewy, radiant finish. However, these products may not be suitable for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

2: Decoding the Ingredients List

The easiest way to determine the base of your foundation or primer is to check the ingredients list. The first ingredient listed is typically the primary base.

Silicone-Based: Look for ingredients like dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, or any other word ending in "-cone," "-siloxane," or "-conol."

Water-Based: If the first ingredient is water (aqua) or another water-based ingredient like aloe vera, you've got a water-based product.

Oil-Based: Identifying oil-based products is simple, as the primary ingredient will be an oil, such as mineral oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil.

3: Texture and Consistency: How to Spot the Difference

Silicone-Based: These products have a velvety, smooth, and silky texture that glides easily on the skin.

Water-Based: They feel lightweight, often with a thin and liquid consistency that quickly absorbs into the skin.

Oil-Based: These have a rich, creamy, and sometimes slightly greasy texture that provides intense hydration.

4: Testing Techniques: How to Determine the Base Type

If you're still unsure about the base of your foundation or primer, try these simple tests:

  1. Rub a small amount of the product between your fingers. Silicone-based products will feel silky and slippery, while water-based products will feel lightweight and easily absorbed. Oil-based products will feel rich and moisturizing.
  2. Place a drop of the product on a piece of paper. Silicone-based products will remain intact and not absorb, water-based products will partially absorb and leave a faint residue, and oil-based products will leave a visible oil spot.

5: Mixing Foundations and Primers: Do's and Don'ts

It's essential to use compatible foundations and primers to ensure a flawless makeup application. Remember these rules:

  1. Silicone-based primers work best with silicone-based foundations.
  2. Water-based primers pair well with water-based foundations.
  3. Oil-based primers should be used with oil-based foundations.

Mixing incompatible bases can cause your makeup to separate, cake, or wear off.