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A Professional Makeup Artist’s Guide To Selecting The Right Foundation

Selecting The Right Foundation

Everyone who knows me knows that I am one of those makeup artists that is obsessed with skincare. Using great quality, cruelty free, all natural skincare products is step one to achieving a glowing appearance to the skin. So now that we’ve established that, we can move on to figuring out the next step which is how to select the best foundation for you, your needs and your skin type.

Let’s Start By Reviewing Your Options

  • Pressed & Loose Powders
  • Tinted Moisturizer
  • Sheer Foundation
  • Medium Coverage Foundation
  • Full Coverage Foundation
  • Mineral Foundation

Women can be really funny about foundation. Over the years I’ve developed a theory that they fall into two camps. Camp 1 – Women who enjoy it and embrace wearing it. Camp 2 – Women who swear that they have never worn it, don’t think they need it and wear those words like a badge of honor.

I’ve never quite understood the rationale behind Camp 2, but as a makeup professional I’ve often had to coach many of these women to a place where they can be comfortable wearing foundation. Regardless of which camp you fall into, you can sincerely love the way you look and feel when wearing a great quality foundation that suits your needs, coloring and skin type.

Selecting The Right Foundation

Let’s define your choices to get you on the road to choosing the perfect foundation:

Pressed & Loose Powders

these are lightweight, sheer matte powder formulas that are meant to set foundation and take away shine. For some people who are not comfortable with wearing foundation, using sheer loose or pressed powders is a great beginning to get them comfortable with the idea of wearing a product on their face. These offer minimal to no coverage.

Tinted Moisturizer

this is a fabulous option for women who are not comfortable with the notion of foundation or just want a product with transparent coverage. Tinted moisturizers are sheer and lightweight versions of a foundation. They come in a variety of formulas from oil free to hydrating.

Some will offer more pigment in their formulas than others and therefore give you more coverage. They were formulated to be the perfect hybrid of foundation, moisturizer and sunscreen. For women who don’t want a heavy or made up look, they are the perfect solution. This is a very popular product for women who want a natural look and are great for daytime wear.

Selecting The Right Foundation

Sheer Foundation

these are similar in feeling and formula to tinted moisturizers, but offer a little more pigment. The overall look is somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and a medium coverage foundation. Similar to tinted moisturizers they will come in a variety of formulas from oil free to hydrating.

Medium Coverage Foundation

these are similar in feeling and formula to sheer foundations, but they will have more pigment in them making them less transparent. Medium coverage foundation products offer a finished overall appearance to the skin, but still look lightweight and natural.

Full Coverage Foundation

these will contain the most pigment out of all of the liquid foundations. Full coverage foundations are perfect for when you want a very finished and flawless look. This is perfect for when you are having your photos taken and really want a perfected appearance to the skin. For most brides, tv appearances, head shots & photo shoots I recommend using a full coverage foundation.

Mineral Foundations

these are an interesting category because they offer flexible coverage and for that reason they are very popular. Mineral foundations are typically powder formulas which can come in a pressed or loose version. Most people find the pressed version to be easiest to navigate, as loose powders can be difficult to control.

When applied with a brush mineral powders will look quite sheer and when applied with a sponge they can offer full coverage. If you apply mineral powder with a brush in layers, you can get coverage that you can build upon. It’s this flexibility of coverage that is quite appealing to many women.

Is Your Head Spinning, Don’t Worry

So now that I have you pondering your perfect foundation formula, it’s time to really make your head spin while we talk about how to select your color. I think color is another reason why women feel truly overwhelmed by foundation.

They worry about walking around with a foundation color that’s too light or too dark or having the dreaded “M&M face”. Any extreme can throw off your coloring and make you look tired or washed out. Here are a ten fail safe tips to ensure that you select the correct foundation color:

  1. Narrow down your selection of colors to the three that are closest to your skin tone.
  2. Swipe the three potential colors along your jawline. Back away from the mirror, you will see which one looks best. Blend it in to make sure what you’re seeing is correct.
  3. Stand by a source of natural light. It is nearly impossible to get your foundation perfect without consulting a clear source of indirect sunlight.
  4. Interestingly enough, choosing the perfect foundation is never just about the face. Always Include your neck and chest. Selecting the right foundation color means objectively looking at all three parts and choosing a color to unify them.
  5. Do not try to match a foundation color to an overly tanned chest or neck. Seek a color that can harmonize well with the three areas – face, neck and chest.
  6. It is common to feel a tad pale when your foundation first goes on. Know that you can warm up your face and color correct should you need to with bronzer and blush.
  7. Take a trusted friend with you to the makeup counter. They can help you see the correct color for your skin tone and assist you in seeing yourself objectively.
  8. When applying foundation, always start in the t-zone and blend out from there. Most often coverage is needed in the t-zone and very little is typically needed along the jawline or hairline.
  9. Take care to apply your foundation with a good quality foundation brush or with a dense, latex-free, professional quality sponge.
  10. Blend, blend, blend! Don’t be shy, stand back and assess your work. You’ll see the smooth skin you’ve always dreamed of.

Makeup is not a mysterious as one may think. These tips will get you on the road to flawless looking skin in no time!

Love, Dina
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