so I decided to start a new series about the basics of makeup and techniques you may be curious about.
of course I have to start with the beginning, so here we go with foundation!
when choosing your foundation, there’s a series of variables to choose from:
Finish — matte, demi matte, satin, dewy, lustre
Formula — liquid, cream, stick, pressed powder, mineral powder, BB Cream, tinted moisturiser
Coverage — sheer, light, medium, full, total (and every other in between)
long gone are the days where you could put things in boxes: nowadays, a stick foundation is not necessarily high coverage nor dedicated to oily skins; a liquid foundation is not necessarily sheer nor greasy-feeling; and mineral powder foundations are agreeable with so many skin types and coverage… it’s a mess. the best thing you can do is think about YOUR skin type and the kind of finish and coverage you’d like to have, pick a foundation and
take a sample home. no matter what, there’s a lot of little deal-breakers that you will only notice after using the foundation for a while. be it if it oxidises, if it sets too dry, too flakey, too oily, if it breaks you out… sometimes you think you have the perfect foundation, and then you come outside just to realise you actually have an orange masque on your face… so ask for a sample and give it a good test-run. you can go back and purchase it when you’re absolutely sure.
colour matching is a bit tricky for some people, but I find it pretty simple: since I don’t want to apply foundation on my neck (waste of product and the risk of getting all your collars dirty), I try to match it on the lower area of my jaw, making a vertical line and blending the edges. if it meshes with the surrounding skin — including with my neck — I’m good to go.
prepping the skin is a must. if your skin is not properly moisturised, it will start to eat up your foundation, the foundation will cling more easily on your dry patches, and all-round will not smooth on your skin easily. and for us oily gals, if our skin feels that it’s dehydrated, it will soon start to produce excessive oil, which will, in turn, break down our foundation.
so apply your moisturiser/oil/SPF and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. if you have oily skin, you’ll need to blot the excess your skin hasn’t absorbed after that, and you’re good to go.
the tools can be as simple as your clean fingers. but there’s sponges, paddle brushes (for heavier coverage), flat-top kabuki and buffing brushes (for medium-full coverage with a smoother finish), duo-fibre stippling brushes for less coverage — anything you’d like to adjust to the finish and coverage you’re intending.
primers are optional, but can be a great help — they even out the surface of your skin so that your foundation goes on smoother, they create a barrier between your skin and the foundation, preventing your skin from eating it up too quickly, have binding properties that hold the pigments in place for longer, and some come in an assortment of cares for many skin booboos: redness, dullness, dehydration, oiliness… the list goes on.
applying your foundation should be a way to even out your skin, not to totally cover your imperfections. I know, if you have acne, that’s what you’ll want to do, but hear me out.
foundation is not made to cover your skin thickly: it cakes up easily and breaks down quickly. you go from a spotty face to a cake face in no time at all.
you should work in thin layers, starting from where your problems are (most people start from the centre of the skin, but I start from my jaw line, where I have most of my problems), and blend it out. if you have healthy areas of skin, let them shine through, really buffing the product out. this will help to trick the eye into thinking you’re actually not wearing any product.
I like to use brushes that allow me to pat the product in, instead of buffing too much — this can lift dry patches and irritate sensitive areas, and I find it drags product around instead of placing it in place. of course, always blending it…
you can only build your foundation to a certain extent, so after — if needed — two thin layers, stop. let the concealer do the rest.
concealer is a great friend. if you’re just starting out or on a budget, get a concealer that is the exact shade as your skin/foundation, so that it can be used all over the face. lighter concealers are great for under the eyes, but they can create a spotlight on your blemishes…
Urban Decay Naked Skin or Make Up Forever Ultra HD are not the cheapest, but are some of the best all-rounder concealers out there. invest in a good one.
concealer is the product that is going to conceal your imperfections.
if you have the odd blemish, just take a small brush and pat the concealer right on the blemish. if you have a large area of discolouration/imperfections, you can use small dense buffing brush to pat the product in.
yes, pat it in, don’t swirl it around and spread concealer all over. it’s a waste of product.
then blend out the edges so that they fade into nothing (nothing being your foundation).
*if you’re using a powder foundation, put the concealer on first.
powder is a must to set your creams in place. they are creams, they are meant to slide off of your face if you don’t tell them to sit down and stay quiet with a thin amount of finely milled loose powder, also patted on your skin. if you have oily areas, go a bit heavier there.
if you need extra coverage after the foundation and concealer, try applying an extra thin layer of powder foundation.
if you’re for the dewy look and you have extra dry skin and you’re afraid the powder will ruin it, know that some powders have illuminating properties to them, but you can replace them with a setting spray.
by the way, segway — as they say
a setting spray is another optional step, but I find it to be a great option. it also contains ingredients that make the pigment stick to the skin — extending the wear of the foundation — and a couple of spritzes make any powdery finish melt away, toning down any cakey-ness. it’s especially great for those with dry skin types that dread powders but still want some staying power.