A beautiful face may only be skin deep, but a healthy, youthful, and blemish- free skin is something all women of all ages constantly aspire to achieve. And yet, among women, only a handful of us has been genetically blessed to be naturally flawless. Thankfully, since perhaps as early as the time of Egyptian goddesses, makeup has been helping us achieve our “perfect look” — giving us a much-needed confidence boost.
What is Makeup Foundation For and Why is It Important?
Foundations comes in a variety of forms, such as powder, stick, liquid, and cream compact. Whichever type it is, it all serve the same purpose: To create a good uniform color to one’s complexion and help cover our ‘flaws’. Sometimes, we even use it to completely change our natural skin tone to a more desirable shade, depending on the lighting of the occasion we intend to use it for.
Based on the meaning of the word ‘foundation’ itself, you cannot create or build anything without first creating something underneath to hold everything up. Of all the products cosmetic science has invented and stated to be essential, the most important of all is the foundation — foundation is undeniably a major game changer when it comes to being able to achieve a natural look with makeup on.
Thus it is true to say that, if you wish to spend on quality make-up, invest in a good quality foundation.
The Challenge of Finding the Right “One,” (or Two, or Three…)
We know that the key to making our makeup work is having the right foundation, yet — while undeniably fun at times — hunting for the perfect foundation can sometimes be frustrating (sometimes, just as much as finding the right partner is). Having heard countless positive reviews online and from friends, you decide to jump in and purchase a full size of the product, only to find that it does not suit you. We’ve all been there!
Despite there being so many makeup foundations available in the market, for some reason, we can’t seem to find the right one for us, even though we religiously google through the top brand reviews each year. Or even worse, when we actually find one we think works well for us, the company decides to reformulate and “improve” it and, all of a sudden, it’s no longer compatible (again, similar to your pursuit of the right partner). Good make up is not cheap either, and doing a hit and miss of everything we hear good things about is far from financially practical. So what have we been doing wrong?
Well, for starters, if you’ve been relying on online makeup reviews, you must first understand that they are pretty much useless if you don’t know your skin type. A product may well be deserving of the recognition of its performance, but may just happen to not be the formulation that’s ideal for your skin.
So before you start typing the “best foundation brands” on your search bar, whether you are fiercely passionate about makeup or not, here are some things you need to know about finding your perfect foundation:
1. Formulation is Key
To get the right formulation suitable for you, first identify what skin type you have. Do you have skin that’s dry, oily, or a combination? *Combination skin has both dry and oily areas (usually the T-zone). After identifying which category you’re in, here are the basic rules to follow:
- Oily skin requires oil free formulation, so you can try the new Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15. Oiliness usually come out when we’re under the heat of the sun, and one great thing about this product is that, it also claims to help with sun damage, dark spots, and age spots.
- Dry skin requires cream-based foundations. Cream- based foundations are often packed in compact and has a consistency similar to contouring makeups like Aesthetica Cosmetics Cream Contour and Highlighting Makeup Kit, which has a very silky, hydrating feeling on the skin.
- Combination can handle either, such as Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte Plus Poreless Foundation which works well from normal to oily skin. It’s a good product to try,since it is decently priced at around $8.
2. Finding Your Shade
When we’re at the store, we often make the mistake of testing the shade on our hands. The problem with that is, more often than not, our hands are not the same shade as our face, which is where we intend to apply the foundation. Moreover, even if it actually were the same shade, the skin on our hand may not react in the same way as our face might.
Testing on the entire face is also not recommended, as you would not be able to see the difference between the area where the foundation was applied and where it was not.
Instead, I discovered that the best way to test for shade is to draw a streak along the jaw and neck areas. If it is the right shade, it should completely disappear, or at least it should be seamless enough for you not to know where it starts or ends.
However, do not check the results inside the store as the finish may seem flattering as an effect of the store’s lighting. Look for a natural source of light instead. Leave the store and walk around a few minutes to see if there would be a reaction, such as oxidation.
3. Mind your Undertones
Every skin color has an undertone or base color (pink, yellow, tan, olive). There are 3 primary categories with which you can identify yourself: warm colored, cool colored, or neutral.
*Fun fact: Warm colored people outnumber cool colored people; neutral colored people are also better categorized as falling under the warm category.
If all this is beginning to sound like gibberish, don’t fret. You will find that there are many simple ways to test for undertones. One of the easiest techniques I learned is to simply check your wrist for vein color under natural light. If the color you see is primarily greenish, you’re warm, if it seems to be more bluish or purplish, you’re cool, and if it seems unclear, it’s always safe to assume that you’re either neutral or warm.
Below here is a chart I have provided which shows which colors are cool, warm, and neutral:
So what does knowing about undertones save us from?
For one thing, you’re less likely to be fooled into buying a lighter tone for having “acidic” skin. Truth be told, there is no such thing. If you use a pink undertone and your base is yellow, the effect will be ashen (dull gray, bluish), simple as that. It has nothing to do with your skin’s acidity.
4. Identifying Your Need for Coverage
Your need for coverage may depend on several factors such as the natural condition of your skin and whether you intend to apply makeup for daytime or nighttime. Foundations are often designed for a certain amount of coverage. There are four main categories for coverage:
- Sheer cover– has the least amount of pigment and an almost transparent coverage. It is good to use if your intention is to simply minimize some spot discolorations and to help smoothen the appearance of your skin, but it is not very helpful for concealing dark spots and pimple scars. If you want to look fresh and natural under the sun and have a relatively healthy- looking skin, sheer will probably suit you best. Sheer cover foundations are often in the form of loose mineral powders like L’Oreal Paris True Match Mineral Foundation, but an excellent sheer coverage can also be provided by mineral powders in pressed form when you want a product that is also buildable, like the Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation.
- Light cover- can handle blotchy and uneven skin color. Though less transparent than sheer, it still may not be enough to give full coverage to problematic skin. Among the better light coverage foundations you might want to try is Covergirl Outlast All-Day Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation which has a built in primer and concealer,an spf of 20,and gives a powder finish.
- Medium cover – can manage discoloration and acne marks. It is opaque but can still look natural under natural light. A good bet is Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup. It is lightweight, but at the same time, has buildable coverage that can perform as a full cover makeup as well when needed.
- Full cover- also known as “corrective” makeup is highly pigmented and somewhat heavy. It is often used for photo shoots and theatre and film to conceal flaws under bright spotlights. Consider a brand you would often find a professional makeup artist would use, such as the popular Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus.
To determine your need for coverage based on your everyday makeup, be honest with yourself. Sometimes, we put too much foundation on because we are unforgiving when it comes to our imperfections. If you have minor issues such as few blemishes, you don’t need to use full coverage makeup on your entire face, instead, you may opt to spot treat with a concealer.
5. How You Apply Your Foundation
Sometimes, we may already have a product in our hands that has the potential to work well on us — in fact, we may even have found the ONE, but just not know it yet. The problem? Not really understanding makeup and how it’s meant to work. Putting on makeup is an art itself, and takes a certain level of skill to master. Over time, we may ‘perfect’ our look through practice.
Another way to improve and enhance the effectiveness of your foundation is to use a primer.
What Do Primers Do?
Often, a perfectly applied foundation starts to feel sticky and heavy at the end of the day due to oxidation, so oxidation is definitely something we want to avoid when wearing foundation. Even the good kind of foundation and the right formulation may cake up over time as a reaction to you sweating or oiling up. When you use a primer, it creates a barrier between your skin and the foundation product you use, thus the tendency for your foundation to react to your skin is lessened.
Primers such as Avon MagiX Face Perfector, prepares your skin for the actual medium (foundation). It smoothens the surface of your skin, often by filling out your pores so that foundation will not build up inside them. Depending on the variants it can serve as an anti-shine medium, a hydrating medium, or like the Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer, as a color corrector. If you wish to achieve the benefit of more than just one variant, different primers can be used on top of each other so long as you let each layer dry completely.
A basic guide to using tinted primers for color correction is as follows:
- Green for redness
- Yellow for dark spots
- Purple for dull skin
- Salmon or peach for rosy effect
It’s Not About the Price Tag
Another thing to take note is that finding the best performer has little to do with price; what really counts is finding a product that is compatible with your skin. In other words, it is perfectly possible to find the perfect “one” among various brands that are well within your price range.
Now You Know
Now that you know the basic things to consider in finding that perfect foundation, your search for top brand reviews may make more sense — and should be less overwhelming. At least now, instead of blindly following random raves and rants, you know what you should really be hunting for.
- Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte Plus Poreless Foundation Makeup, Natural Ivory For Face
- Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup For Face
- Covergirl Outlast All-Day Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation Ivory For Face
- Avon MagiX Face Perfector For Face
- Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer, 0.91 Fluid Ounce For Face
- L’Oreal Paris True Match Mineral Foundation, Soft Ivory For Face
- Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation, Neutral 2 For Face
- Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 For Face
- Aesthetica Cosmetics Cream Contour and Highlighting Makeup Kit For Face
- Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation N5 For Face