Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Basic Makeup series: Foundation

When I first started experimenting with makeup I didn't care about foundation.
Mainly because I couldn't find a color that didn't make me look like an orange mess but also because I was too busy playing with fun colors to care about the very basics ;)

I still have more fun with color that anything else but I've realized that colors stand out more and everything look more put together and amazing when the skin looks great as well! :)

Finding the right type of foundation:
Finding the right foundation can often be a bit of a challenge so I've always found it easiest to go to a makeup counter and get help to find the best type and get matched for the right color. However, the makeup artist/sales person can't help you unless you've decided some things for yourself before you come in to get a foundation:
  • What is my skin type?
  • What coverage do I want?
  • What finish do I want?

The reason why you wanna take your skin type into consideration is that different skin types will have different effects on how your foundation wears throughout the day. For example, you want a moisturizing foundation if your skin is dry but a moisturizing foundation will often look greasy on oily skin.
If your skin is oily you might want a foundation with little or no oil but such a foundation will often look dry and flaky on dry skin.

It may seem obvious that you need to decide what coverage you want but not all people think about this. Most brands have foundations ranging from very little coverage (almost like a tinted moisturizer) to almost full coverage.
If you feel your skin looks good but not really great you might find a light-medium coverage foundation enough. If you get breakouts the light-medium coverage foundation will still work but you might want to use a concealer with it for those spots that need a little extra coverage.
Light-medium coverage usually look more natural than a full coverage foundation if your skin is great but using a full coverage foundation is better than slathering on a light coverage foundation if you need more coverage ;)
In my opinion, the best choice is to go with a foundation that gives you the coverage you want when you apply as little foundation as possible.

What finish your foundation has may or may not be important to you but it's something you'll get asked if you get help finding a foundation. Now, there are foundations that'll give your skin a matte finish, foundations that'll give your skin a dewy finish and everything in between.
Dewy-looking foundations are usually best for normal to dry skin and not so great for oily skin since it often enhances any oil you may have on your face.
Matte foundations are often the best choice for oily skin since they don't have any shine in them at all and therefore won't look as shiny when you start getting oily throughout the day.

Finding the right foundation color:
First thing you want to do is find out what your undertones are. Is your skin more red or more yellow?
That'll help you decide if you need a foundation with warm(red) or cool(yellow) undertones.

Applying a foundation on your hand will not show you if it matches your face. You need to try the foundation on your face :) Pick up 3 different colors that you think could work and apply a little amount of each side by side on your chin. The color that blends into your skin so that you can't see it is the right match for you :) If you're looking at foundations at a makeup counter the MA there will be happy to help you with the color matching :) If the counter is busy you can ask if it's ok that you try to match yourself.

Do I need a different foundation when I get a tan in the summer?
Yes, you do. At least if you want your foundation to look natural :)
A great idea is to buy a foundation in the winther when you're palest and a foundation in the summer when you're most tan. That way you can mix the two foundations when you're a color inbetween and you'll always have a color that works. Mixing foundation colors will usually work best if it's the same foundation type.

Oh no, my foundation makes my skin break out!
Let's just face that anything you put on your face can break you out. No matter what brand and what type of foundation. Even mineral makeup can break you out.
Why is that?
There's a chance that you're allergic to an ingredient in the product, and if that's the case the only thing you can do is use another product.
There's also a chance that your skin is just too sensitive/the product is too heavy/the product is clogging your pores and all you can really do is try another product.
I think a very common reason that a lot of people break out when using face makeup is because they don't keep the products/brushes/sponges clean.
PLEASE keep your brushes clean and throw out sponges regularly! I think I'll make a separate post about this since it's super important and not everyone think about it.

High end vs. Low end foundations:
I've tried both low end foundations like Maybelline, highend foundations like Lancome and am using a medium-high end MAC foundation right now.
I must admit that the Maybelline foundation I used was great for the price but there are a couple of things I like better with higher end foundations:
  • They usually have a better range of color which is especially great for pale girls like me and women of color
  • There are usually more different types and finishes available for you to choose from in a higher end brand.
  • It's nice to go to a counter and get help with finding the type and color that's right for you.
  • It's usually easier to get samples of the higher end foundations or to at least try it on at the store.
  • Out of the foundations I've tried the low-end ones were the ones that lasted the shortest time before settling into fine lines/pores or sliding of my face.
That being said, I haven't always received the best service at high end counters! A woman at the Lancome counter wouldn't even try the color on my face but matched me by trying the color on my hand - and she wouldn't give me a sample to take home. I went to another counter!

No matter what brand/type/color of foundation you choose it's a great idea to get a sample of it to try it a couple times to see how you like it. Or to at least try it on at the store and walk around with it for a little while to see how it wears/how the color looks in natural light/if the color oxidizes/what it feels like before buying :)


Marie said...

Great post! What's your tip on reapplying? Powder to control the oilies - yes, but how does one go about fixing a foundation-free nose after a snog? ;)

But... hang on, red is cool and yellow is warm. Right?

Ildergreien said...

Tusen takk for informasjonen.

Sofie (Zoffe) Sørensen said...

Marie: I like to use a powder like Studio Fix or MSF natural(or another powder that gives coverage) to touch up when foundation starts rubbing off.
I find using a powder often looks better than trying to touch up with foundation since it often ends up looking cakey ;) If the powder gives a too powdery look, a spray of Fix+ (or another moisture spray like it) will make it look better :)
About the red/yellow.. MAC consideres red warm and yellow cool but I guess pretty much any other brand is the other way around... Hmm, I should have written that ;)


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