5 Foundation Formulas For Every Occasion And How To Apply Them

Going out without foundation can feel like leaving your wallet, keys, and back-up phone charger at home. Because while we love a day of no makeup, foundation's ability to smooth skin, even tone, and conceal zits and redness is unbeatable. It's basically magic in a bottle. But with all the various formulas out there, finding the right one for each occasion in your life — and figuring out the best way to apply it — can depend on certain factors, like your skin type and activity. Does your face turn super shiny before lunch? Do you spend all weekend at the beach? There's a time and place for one-size-fits-all...and this isn't it.

The good news: Choosing the best foundations for you is about to get a whole lot easier. Not only has the technology in formulas come a long way (they're pretty much everything-proof), but there's an application technique for every effect. And did we mention the shade ranges are also wider and more inclusive than ever? If you've ever spent an afternoon swatching a dozen shades only to find that nothing matches your skin tone, you're in luck. You can find a foundation that fits your lifestyle and blends in without a hitch for a my-skin-is-naturally-this-perfect finish. We've partnered with Sephora, where you can find over 3,000 shades in store or online, to bring you the best formulas for any look you may want to create and how to apply them. Want to keep it polished at work? Heading out to a hot date? We've got you.

Best For Girl's Night Out: High-Tech Formula

Your go-to Insta filter can make your pic look just right, but why not get that effect IRL? Enter FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, which has a range of 40 shades (count 'em!). It has a blurring effect on blemishes and reduces shine, so your skin looks fresh all night. Plus, its climate-adaptive technology gives it staying power through sweat and humidity, meaning you can dance all night without it wearing off. For precise application, use a classic foundation brush to sweep the formula onto your face in a circular, buffing motion. Use one layer of product for sheerer coverage, or build on as needed.

Best For The Weekend Warrior: Skin-Enhancing Ingredients

Do you make a to-do list for your weekends? Are you usually done with spin class, showered, and hungry for brunch by the time your friends are crawling out of bed? Get a super efficient foundation that can keep up with you, like SEPHORA COLLECTION 10 HR Wear Perfection Foundation. The oil-free formula comes in 37 shades and pairs serious skincare ingredients (like moisturizing hyaluronic acid and antioxidant vitamin E) with buildable coverage, so your skin looks radiant 24/7. With clean fingertips, apply light layers of the foundation to the center of your face and blend out. The natural oils on your fingertips will help the formula melt into your skin for a natural, dewy finish.

Best For Your Busiest Day of the Week: Longwear Foundation

For the most jam-packed day on your cal, nothing beats LANCÔME Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation. The formula offers medium coverage, so any redness or stress breakouts go 'bye without you having to pile it on. It can also outlast even the trickiest schedule by staying put for a whopping 24 hours while keeping skin matte with an oil-absorbing team of perlite and silica. Plus, with 40 shades in the line, you're bound to find a match. Try using a sponge (but make sure it's damp!) for a sheerer, more even finish.

Best For A Date: Full-Coverage Foundation Stick

A full-coverage foundation — plus some candlelight — pretty much guarantees to erase any first impression nerves. HOURGLASS Vanish™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick's 32 shades pack double the amount of pigment of other foundations for a totally flawless finish. The waterproof formula also lasts 12 hours, so your coffee date can turn into a long walk, which can turn into dinner, which can turn into drinks — all without requiring a touch-up. For creamy foundations like this, use a dense brush and make sure to really swirl and blend it into your skin. This will ensure that the product looks seamless and stays in place all.night.long.

Best For Spending The Day Outside: Lightweight Hydration

Who wants to wear a full face of makeup for a hike or at the beach? (No one, that's who.) Your best bet when you're dealing with surf and sand is a formula that's equally refreshing, like TARTE Water Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 - Rainforest of the Sea™ Collection. Its 21 shades contains 20% water and antioxidant-rich algae to hydrate and nourish skin — and the built-in SPF 15 is a bonus if you'll be outdoors, too. With this lightweight formula, try a stippling brush for a smooth, more diffused finish. Most stippling brushes feature two sets of bristles: white synthetic fibers at the top to pick up the product and help deposit on your skin and dense, natural black fibers at the bottom to blend.

This post is sponsored by Sephora.