Today we will be talking about the backbone of your make-up regimen: foundation. The job of foundation is to even out your skin tone and cover up small imperfections (if you have big imperfections you either have to come to terms with them or try to cover them up with concealer. Obviously if you have a weird nose or squinty eyes concealer won’t really help).
Foundation has come a long way since the 80’s when I first started wearing it. Back then it was thick and heavy and felt sort of mask-like. And it came in various shades of orange. There was a lot of room for improvement.
And improved it has. Most foundation is lightweight and almost breathable. Hardly any are thick and heavy. There have been huge improvements in coloring. Extra pale and extra dark women should have a much easier time finding the right shade. Several kinds of foundation also have sunscreen built-in which is wonderful. You can never have too much sun protection. I mean if you want to get skin cancer and sun spots and extra wrinkles, be my guest. But less sun means your skin stays healthier (healthy skin = pretty skin).
Choosing a foundation can be a little daunting. Say, for example, you walk down the Revlon aisle at Target. There are five different foundations. How do you know which one to pick? The big difference between foundations is going to be coverage. Coverage, as the name implies, indicates how well it hides imperfections. You might assume, as I did as a teenager, that heavy, full coverage is the best. The more coverage the better, right? Not necessarily. More coverage can make your skin look mask-like and artificial. If you have rosacea or blotchy skin, full coverage is better for you. But for most everyone a light-to medium coverage will be best. Your skin will be evened out but your natural glow and coloring will still show through. We want to see those rosy cheeks!
Another major difference between foundation types is the form it’s in. Liquid is the most common, but there is also a creamy kind that’s usually in a compact. Powder foundation is also available (that would be something like mineral makeup).
Basically the form of foundation you like is a personal preference. I usually use liquid since creams and powders often settle in wrinkles and lines. But makeup is constantly evolving, so maybe you’d like a few different options.
Alright, so you have decided that you want to wear foundation so you go to the store. Which store? Fortunately the drug store brands have a lot of really nice choices. I have two favorites; one is L’Oreal Infallible. It’s an 18-hour make-up (that’s what it claims, but the only way it lasts for 18 hours is if you’re in a coma. It’s more like 8-10 hours in real life.) I have used everything in the L’Oreal line and have been very pleased with all of them. I like to do my make-up and not think about it again for a long time, so that’s why I’m currently using something long-wearing. It has medium coverage. Newsflash: someone just told me they have reformulated Infallible lately and it’s not as good. Sooo, buyer beware, I guess.
My other favorite is Lancôme Teint Idole. It’s another long-wearing foundation, although I would say it only lasts about 6-8 hours. The coverage is very nice (light-medium) and it feels like you have nothing on your face. It’s pretty spendy, though, at $42. I try to keep my eyes out for it on ebay, but it’s pretty rare in my shade. I refuse to pay $42 so I only get it occasionally.
The next thing you need to do at the store when you’re looking for some foundation is to decide what color you wear. Some people suggest that you try the makeup on your wrist, hand or neck, but I don’t thing you can get an accurate match for your face. Pretty much the best thing to do is to guess the best that you can and take it home to try on. A few types of makeup have little matching guides and those can give you a nice jumping off point. Remember that you need to find the color that most closely matches your face color. If you happen to be sallow, don’t get a foundation that is much pinker, hoping that it will somehow make your face look rosier. It won’t. Instead it will just leave a big line along your jaw where the fake foundation color meets with your natural neck color. So ghastly and 80’s.
Make peace with your skin color. It is what it is. Just learn to love it and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.
OK, now you’ve chosen your foundation (hopefully at a store with a liberal return policy). How do you get it on your skin? Yes, you can always use your fingers but that is messy and gross. I recommend sponge wedges like these:
I really dislike the sponges that Target carries. The latex is really porous and coarse. I get the sponges at Walgreens. I like those a lot better. At any rate I pour a little bit of foundation on the sponge and smooth it on my face. I repeat that as often as I need to blend it in all over my face. I make sure it’s blended in very well along my jawbone where the foundation leads to my neck. I hate throwing away a sponge after just one use, so I usually flip it over and use the other side for another day. I throw it away after three or four uses. Some people really swear by foundation brushes. I have never used one, but maybe one day I will. If you have tried them, let me know.
After you have applied your foundation, you’ll apply your concealer (if you need it). Next will come blush (we’ll talk about that soon) and finally powder to set all of it. It seems like a lot, but I can get all my makeup done in under three minutes. It’s worth that little bit of effort to look good all day, isn’t it?