Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Make Up Basics: Foundation, Oh Foundation

Foundation is pretty much a staple product in a make up collection.  There are so many different variations and formulations in stores (drugstore/high street, mid-range, high end) today and the many types can get a little overwhelming at times, especially for anyone who has just begun treading the beauty scene.  Here is a basic overview of what's out there:

Let's start with the most commonly sold type of foundation. Pretty much every make up counter or display will have their version of the liquid foundation.  As the name suggests, it has a liquid-like consistency and depending on the formulation, some can be slightly thicker than others.  These are normally packaged in bottles (glass/plastic/acrylic) with or without a pump or in squeeze tubes.  Liquid foundations are available in forms specifically for oily/combination skin types as well as normal/dry skin options.  Coverage offered varies depending on the product itself but you can expect sheer to medium coverage in general and is normally buildable.  The finish also varies based on the product formulation ranging from matte, demi matte to satin and dewy.

Due to the thickness of the product, cream foundations are better suited for dry skin types.  Normal skin types might be able to pull off wearing these types of foundations when set properly.  If you have oily/combination skin, I would recommend that you opt for a different formulation altogether or layer this on top of an oil control primer and set with translucent or oil absorbing powder.  Oil blotting papers may come in handy as well to combat shine unless you'll be in an air conditioned room for most of the day. Cream foundations are very easy to apply and blends well. You can expect medium to full coverage.

Gel or mousse type foundations generally offer medium to full coverage and are thicker in consistency than liquid foundation but thinner than creams.  Words like whipped, souffle or creme might also be used to label these products.  These types of foundations doesn't feel thick or heavy when applied and are great if you want a more flawless finish.

A lot of people opt for mineral foundations for it's natural/mineral ingredients.  These are available in various forms (i.e. loose powder, pressed powder, liquid) and usually offers light to medium coverage with a natural, demi matte finish.  Most mineral make up is gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin types and the mineral properties can be good for the skin.

Another widely available type of foundation is the powder foundation or in some cases known as the 2-way cake.  Some of these powders tend to complement their liquid counterparts but can also be used on its own.  For those with dry skin types, some formulations may not be suitable as they accentuate dry patches.  In those cases, moisturize well beforehand and try using a hydrating mist after foundation application.  Some powder foundations may oxidize on oily skin types so test it out first before purchasing.

If you're not looking for too much coverage, then a tinted moisturizer is a safe bet to even out your skin tone or if you only need a hint of colour.

BB and CC (now even DD) Creams are largely popular in Asia but has also gained attention everywhere else.  These are a cross between tinted moisturizers and foundations with added skin benefits.  Today these types of products come in various forms (i.e. liquid, gel, cushion compacts, cream, powder) and provide generally light to medium coverage depending on the product.  BB and CC creams tend to contain skin treating properties to help improve skin condition and provide hydration.  Typically, BB and CC creams comes with some sun protection as well.

It is very important to select the shade of foundation that matches your skin the best.  It shouldn't be visibly lighter or darker when applied.  Here are some simple guidelines to identifying your shade:

  • If testers are available, swipe the shade you think would best suit you along your jaw line (not your arm).  Then swipe a shade lighter and darker next to the shade you've selected earlier just to be sure.
  • The shade that blends effortlessly (disappears into your skin) into your face and neck is your shade.
  • For powder type foundations, consider to go a shade lighter if you have oily/combination skin as the product might oxidize on your skin and you might appear visibly darker towards the end of the day.
  • Most importantly, choose a formula that best suits your skin type (i.e. normal, oily, combination, dry, sensitive).

  • Brush : Use a make up brush that works best for you be it the traditional flat tapered synthetic, duo fibre/stippling, flat top, dense, angled or the likes.  Allows for a more even distribution of product.  Streaking may occur but can easily be remedied by patting on the streaks to blend or swirling the brush to buff in the foundation.  Suitable for all foundation types.  Might not work too well with BB and CC creams.

  • Clean fingers : The warmth from your fingers can help melt the product and ease application as the foundation would be able to glide on smoother and blend quicker.  Most suitable for applying BB and CC creams as well as tinted moisturizers.  Less precise and uneven distribution when used to apply other types of foundation.
  • Sponge or Beauty Blender : Dampen the sponge, squeeze out any excess water and pick up some of the product with the sponge.  Apply to the face and blend by using patting and rolling motions.  Suitable to use with most foundation types. Might not work with loose powder and some mineral foundations.
  • 2-Way Cake/Foundation : Apply with a medium dense brush for a lighter coverage or apply with a dampened sponge for a heavier coverage.
  • Mineral Foundation : Most mineral make up is best applied with either a kabuki or a dense brush as you will need to buff in the make up to the skin for the desired effect.

  • Setting your liquid/cream/gel/mousse foundation with powder foundation (or a tinted powder) provides additional coverage.  Be careful not to cake on the powder to avoid making your foundation look patchy throughout the day.
  • Setting your liquid/cream/gel/mousse foundation with a translucent powder helps to absorb any excess oil and ensures your foundation stays at its best as the day progresses.  Too avoid looking too powdery, lightly sweep off any excess powder after letting it set for 5-10 minutes.  A light mist of a hydrating spray like MAC Fix+ could help tone down the powdery look.
  • Mineral foundations don't necessarily require setting as the product is buffed directly onto skin.  However, if you may sweep a light setting powder such as a mineral veil atop foundation for a subtle glow.
  • A setting spray can be your new best friend if you need your make up to stay fresh for longer periods of time.  Gently mist your entire face with the spray bottle held about 6-8 inches in front of you.

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