Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Beauty How-to: Wear Foundation

I think the trickiest, yet most essential, product to apply is foundation.  Harder than perfectly smudging a quad of eyeshadows, getting your mascara to adhere only to your bottom lashes (and not the skin below), harder even than creating a budge-proof red lip is using foundation to create the illusion of perfect skin. A lot of women simply over-do it; or they feel overwhelmed by the process and don't even try.  Which probably explains the sheer volume of women walking around with a visible line of demarcation at the jaw or with blotchy, uneven skin tone.  

Choosing the right color, the right formula, and then slapping it on in a way that looks natural can seem extremely daunting.   Let's make it simple, yes? Most women will jump right to choosing their shade.  I say, choose your formula first.  Your goal should be to wear as little product as possible to achieve an even, natural skin tone.  
  • If you have pretty good skin with only mild discoloration, choose a tinted moisturizer.
  • If you have dry skin, choose a creamy formula.
  • If you have oily skin, you need an oil-free formula; cream to powder works well on oily skin and allows for buildable coverage. 
  • If you have combination skin, again cream to powder is a good choice; you can also try an oil-free liquid formula. 
Most everyone should avoid matte formulas - who actually has matte skin in real life?  If you have oily spots, prime your skin with matteying lotion in the areas that really need it.  But don't try to cover and hide every inch of your true skin. 

Once you've got a formula picked out, test two or three shades that look pretty close to the natural color of your skin.  Draw one vertical line along your jawline with each shade.  Blend each shade lightly - whichever color fades into your skin and is no longer visible is the right choice for you.  Your face and neck should blend together - your face should not be lighter or darker than your neck.  

Now, application.  Some people say you have to use a sponge.  Others say the only way to go is with a foundation brush, while still others tout the benefits of your fingers.  No one technique is right for everyone.  I've found that your application will be lightest with a sponge, a little fuller with a brush, and the heaviest with your fingers.  Choose your tool based on how much coverage you need. 

Very few women actually need a full face of foundation.  Apply it only where you truly need to even your skin tone.  For me, that means a good coating on my nose and a couple of dabs along my chin and my hairline.  Again, the goal is to use the least amount of product possible to get the job done.  Seal the deal with a light dusting of powder to help keep it in place, and you're good to go.  Not so intimidating, right?  

A few of my favorite foundations include:
With SPF 20 and just a hint of color, Vincent Longo's Light Canvas Tinted Moisturizer provides just enough coverage to make your skin look like you, but better.  Wear alone if you have a touch of redness or discoloration, or layer under a fuller-coverage foundation if your skin craves extra moisture.  
Lancome's Color Ideal foundation is available in 20 shades, so your ideal shade is bound to be found here.  I like the way this choice blends and covers redness like rosacea.  It feels weightless and lasts all day.  
Some Kinda-Gorgeous, by Benefit.  This creamy formula goes on with a sponge and dries down to a powder finish.  You can build the coverage and touch-up throughout the day without getting a cakey, overdone look.  Also available in deep. 


  1. This is a very thorough and concise explination! I commend you on this - hopefully it will help alleviate pancake face around the world and ladies will begin to diminish not only the fine lines on their face as well as the harsh line under their chins!!! =)

  2. Thanks, Gracie! I'm glad that you approve. Personal crusade- eliminate foundation masks. :)


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