Foundation seems to be one of the biggest make-up challenges for women – so I’m devoting an entire post to the stuff.
First things first:
You need foundation. Yes, I’m talking to you.
Foundation evens out your skin tone, provides a base for the rest of your make-up and offers protection from the elements (sun, pollutants, etc.). Today’s foundations are more lightweight and sheer than in the past and are actually better for your face than wearing nothing at all.
I’m currently a big fan of beauty balms, but there are so many options to choose from, so you can pick a foundation that contains exactly the features you’re looking for – sunscreen, moisture, oil-control – and get a more flawless, polished looking complexion in the process.
So, how do you pick the right foundation?
Foundation is the only product that I would suggest you purchase in a department store. The only way to know if it’s the right shade, coverage and texture is to – guess what? – put it on your face. Swatch cards, testing it on your wrist – none of this will tell you if the foundation is right for you. If you’re concerned about the price point, remember – a little bit of a higher quality product lasts longer, and looks better.
Hopefully you will get a salesperson that knows her stuff and can advise you on the right product. But just in case, here are some things to keep in mind while you shop:
The more sheer the formula, the more natural the finish. If you are concerned about a perfect match, or just prefer something that’s lightweight, go with a foundation that is more sheer. Buzzwords like “almost” makeup or “tinted moisturizer” are good clues.
If it matches your neck, it will match your skin. I’m not suggesting that you wear foundation on your neck. But as you’re sampling different shades, swipe each one from your jawline down to your neck. If it blends into your neck completely (= it disappears), you’ve found your match.
Don’t try to correct your skin tone with your foundation. Ever. If you’re pale like me you might want to deepen your complexion by choosing a foundation that’s a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone.
Promise me you will never do this.
You know “those” women? The ones whose necks are one shade and faces another? You can avoid that every time by always matching your neck. However, there are a few subtle tricks I employ for deepening skin tone:
Powder. Dust a slightly deeper shade of powder over your foundation. The lighter, more translucent finish of a powder does the trick nicely and never looks unnatural.
Bronzing gel. A tiny dab of gel (mixed into your foundation before applying it – use the palm of your hand to blend) takes the edge off that too-pale look.
Self-tanner. I wear sunscreen every day of the year, so I rarely get tan. But I love how I look with “some color”, and self-tanner gives the perfect boost to my foundation. Just remember – self-tanner is NOT a replacement for sunscreen!
Now you’ve got your perfectly matched foundation home – here’s how to apply it:
Properly prep. Your make-up will only ever look as good as the skin underneath it. A skin that is clean, exfoliated and moisturized will result in makeup that looks better and wears longer. Read my post on skin care tips for more on this.
Fingers are your best applicators. The warmth of your fingers makes them the best tools for applying and blending foundation. I detest sponges and never use them – they are unhygienic, wasteful, and tend to streak the product along the surface of your face, rather than blend it in. And you always have your fingers “handy”. Get it? Handy???
Step away from the powder. You know who you are. And I’m talking to you. Powder junkies need a major intervention and I’m doing it right now. Chronic application of powder – throughout the day, every day – causes the product to eventually embed itself into the surface of your skin, rendering it flat and dull. Powder absorbs light rather than reflecting it, highlighting every little line and crease you never knew you had.
That said, powder can be convenient for touch ups – just apply it very sparingly. And please, toss out that “puff” that comes with the compact. They are impossible to clean and pack the product on to your face. I flatten a large cotton ball to tuck into the compact and use that instead, tossing it at the end of the day. Easy peasy.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful – are there any you would add? I’m curious to know how many of you wear foundation, and if you do, is it every day, or just for special occasions? Share here!
Next up – eyes, cheeks and lips!