Thursday, July 3, 2008

Finding the Perfect Foundation

I have extensive experience in finding the perfect foundation. I've been looking for the holy grail of foundation for my skin since I was 12! I've yet to find the perfect one, but I have some favorites that I rely on, and more importantly, the journey has garnered me some important tips and knowledge on what to look for and how to decide. Here's a list of what I've tried in recent history and why I liked or didn't like it:
  • Bare Minerals powder foundation and mineral veil -- the mineral veil's corn starch broke me out to no end, so I dropped it first. Later, I realized the powder foundation was too hard to keep from streaking during the day, and it did a drying job on my few breakouts and drier cheek area. I also tried these products by first applying spritzes of the skin vitamin spray they have. The fairly light shade was as perfect as they come in matching my skin tone. I left the line (except for the eye shadows) and never went back.
  • Jane Iredale pressed foundation and liquid minerals. The pressed foundation is milled a little thickly, and their lightest color (bisque) was too chalky for me. Their liquid minerals are harder to match my skin tone (I tried 3 different ones!) because they're either too yellow or too peachy pink, and harder to blend than the powder. These are great for someone with a golden tan or as your reliable summer foundation. But after trying three times, I just gave up. They do have wonderful other products which I keep purchasing because of the high quality however and have healthy ingredients.
  • Drugstore. I've tried Cover Girl and Maybelline in my early makeup career (early 90s) to disastrous results because the product quality isn't up to par and because the colors just didn't want to match me. The products are also not always safe for sensitive skin. I also tried a Revlon age defying foundation that just sat as a moist mask on my skin in college for a week, and after that sloppy week went by I finally chucked the bottle into the garbage. The famous L'oreal true match line, that's served thousands of happy customers... just changed color on my oilier combination skin to drastic results. I also tried some of the physicians formula foundations to learn that I'm sensitive to talc in a very profound way! I had a summer where I went by on neutrogena's compact foundation, but I think I had just given up at that point in time.
  • MAC Cosmetics. This is where I first found hope in their spf 15 liquid foundation. The coverage isn't too heavy, the color NW15 is very good for my skin tone, and I didn't break out. It doesn't have lasting coverage, but does provide a nice, light-diffusing even coverage when applied well. I top it with a dusting of their blotting powder in medium or else, their mineralize powder foundation in light. I just wish their products were talc free, particularly the troublesome blushes which I love but can no longer use.
  • Shiseido. These are very nice foundations but I can't get the color right. Their lightest foundation is too pinky beige and sticks out like a sore thumb on my face.
  • Laura Mercier oil-free primer and tinted moisturizer. This has proven to be a great combination when I need to do a very quick face. There's no lasting power unless well powdered and the day ahead promises to be a calm one. Even coverage is very light, good color blending for skin tone match.
  • Stila. I recently acquired the stila illuminating tinted moisturizer and was surprised by its thick consistency. This stays on! With a light brushing of their compact  illuminating powder foundation it's a good combination. Though the powder does have talk, so I'm waiting to try this longer term and see how it goes
Here's my tutorial on finding a good foundation, I hope it works for someone who's about reached their wit's end trying to locate a good product.
  1. The first step is to decide what skin you have. Is it oily? oily in areas with dry in others? dry? figure that out. For skin with oil, oil with dry/oily with normal/combination look for the words oil free or combination skin/balancing. For very oily skin try powder foundation. Get breakouts? Skip talc in the ingredients list. For dry skin look for liquids and creams.
  2. Look at your skin tone on your arm, inside arm, neck, and face. Yes your skin will look slightly different in all these areas, but you'll get to know your undertone and texture. Does your skin look reddish? Do you want to tone this down? Then skip the pink toned foundations. Does your skin have some peachy/yellow undertones to it? Go for yellow tones versus pinks.
  3. Remember that product adds up and can create negative side effects. If you wear a powder foundation and a clear top powder to set it, or if you wear liquid foundation and a powder layer to set it... your total color will change because you're layering two products with color payoff. Adding blush on top? That's going to affect the tonality as well.
  4. Apply sparingly. Yes even those who have skin problems. Just trust a reliable or couple of reliable concealers to help dismiss those trouble areas. The role of foundation is to even out/balance, not cover. Use concealer cautiously and judiciously. Here's a favorite YouTube video tutorial for proper concealer application.
  5. Remember, less is more. We want to see you, but perfected, not someone else, nor an airbrushed fake! Make what you have stand out!
Much love and happy makeup shopping!
- J
Post a Comment