As a Make-up Artist one of the questions I am asked most frequently by clients is how to choose the right foundation. There are so many brands and formulations now vying for space in our make-up bags that the choice is bewildering, from BB and CC creams to mineral powders and Cushion Compact foundations it can be difficult to know where to start. To help, I’ve put together a three-step guide to help you navigate the make-up product minefield, avoid the common foundation falterings, and ace your base!
Step One: Identify your skin type
Many make-up malfunctions can be avoided simply by using products that are appropriate for your skin type. For example liquid foundations with a matte finish and mineral make-ups work well for oily or blemish prone skin, whereas skin that is drier, or mature can benefit from creamier formulations, or products containing moisturising ingredients. If you find that your foundation tends to disappear (either entirely, or in patches) within a couple of hours of application then using a primer will help it to stay put. This can also happen if your skin is dehydrated, which can be a problem for many of us at this time of year, so be sure to keep skin well moisturised, and after moisturising wait a few moments before applying foundation to avoid ‘diluting’ your foundation, or causing the products to mix and bead up on top of the skin.
Now, this is completely down to personal preference, but I have found through my work performing countless individual make-up consultations that many of my clients have been using a foundation that provide a heavier coverage than they needed, and we have in fact achieved the even toned natural looking result desired by using a foundation product with a lighter level of coverage (and also by applying less product in general) and concealing any blemishes individually with concealer. When it comes to foundation it is true that, in my experience, less can often be more! The technique of applying less foundation and concealer only where needed also helps to provide a longer lasting result.
Step Three: Select your shade
When choosing your foundation, for the most natural looking result, look for the shade which when applied to your skin seems to ‘disappear’ as you blend it. Foundations that are too light or dark give the impression of sitting on top of the skin, and are difficult to blend away at the jawline. However, honing in on your perfect shade is easier said than done! I have found that the most efficient way to find it is to try no more than three shades at a time, apply a small stripe of each product close to one another on our cheek (close to the jawline) disregard any that are not a close match and repeat the process until you have narrowed it down to the shade closest to your skin tone. If you are unsure many make-up brands provide samples and I would always recommend trying a product for several days if possible before committing to it, as for many women foundation is one of the make-up products that is worn everyday, so it’s worth investing the time to find the right one.
Base Basics – Foundation Products at a Glance
Tinted moisturiser – Provides very sheer coverage, ideal for young skins or anyone who doesn’t like the look or feel of foundation.
BB Cream – Offers more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, but less than a standard foundation. With added skincare benefits such as built in primer, SPF or sun protection BB Creams (which usually stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm) are a great option for make-up minimalists and anyone looking for an all-round multi-tasking and multi-benefit product.
CC Cream – Provides sheerer coverage than a BB Cream the CC Cream (which generally stands for Colour Correcting) is designed primarily to target complexion concerns such as redness, pigmentation or sallowness.
Mineral Make-up – Often in powder form, mineral make-up is popular with those who like a natural make-up look and feel. Offers buildable coverage and skincare coverage. It is a good option for oily, blemish prone and combination skin.
Liquid foundation – A hugely versatile product which offers a variety of levels of coverage and finish, depending on the brand and formulation. Widely considered to be ‘standard’ foundation, and is globally the most popular foundation product type
Cushion Compact – One of the newest players on the foundation field Cushion Compacts offer the benefits of a liquid foundation with the convenience of a compact. Often with illuminating or hydrating properties they provide a buildable sheer to medium level of coverage.
Cream Foundation – A heavier texture than liquid foundation, which offers full, buildable coverage. They often contain moisturising ingredients so are a good option for drier skins, or those who like a heavier made-up look.