Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Uncovering the Secrets of Foundation

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This is a major pet peeve of mine when I see people out there with faces a good 2-3 shades lighter than the rest of their body. So that is one topic I will be covering today, picking the right color for your face! Next I will do a quick over view of picking the right kind of foundation for your skin type, however you can find a more in depth look into different foundation types here. Finally there will be a wrap up of tips for how to help prolong the wear of your foundation throughout the day! Let's get started.

Picking the Right Color
This may seem out of order, but I just really need to talk about this first! People tend to assume that the color of foundation you wear should match your face..NO! Unless you are uniformly one color of tan (or pale) all over your body, please do NOT do this. This will result in what I call ghost face, because typically people's faces tend to be lighter than the rest of their body (why? because everyone is taking care of the delicate skin and wearing SPF daily!!). Instead of matching the color to your face, you should be matching it to either your chest or upper arms. This is how you will be able to pick a color that blends seamlessly for you. It is also important to match the shade in natural light, because artificial lighting causes all kinds of crazy on colors. 

Also it is important to be aware of the undertones, what looks like the right shade for you can be ruined if you pick the wrong undertone. As a general rule if you walk in the sun and get a tan after ten minutes, you have a warmer undertone so look for the more yellow based shades, and if you walk in the sun and get a burn after ten minutes (I know I'm exaggerating here a bit), you should look for the more pink/beige based shades.

One more common fallacy to avoid, don't match your color to your neck! This might seem like the obvious choice since you want your face to blend out onto your neck, however due to your head, the neck is often cast in shadow and therefore will be a much darker shade.

Picking the Right Kind for Your Face
To be able to pick the right kind of foundation for your face you must first determine your skin type! Skin typically falls in four main categories, normal, oily, dry, and combination, and there is also sensitivity and acne prone to keep in mind which can occur on all types of skin. Here's a simple at home test you can do to help determine what kind of skin you have:

1. Wash your face thoroughly, making sure to get off all traces of makeup, moisturizers, etc. PAT your face dry with a clean towel (this is important rubbing will cause excess oil to form and won't be a true determination of your type)
2. Wait one hour which is the time it takes for your skin to return to its natural state. Do NOT touch your face, which again will promote oil production, and try to just go about your day normally.
3. Grab two tissues and start blotting. With one tissue concentrate on your T-zone: forehead, nose, and chin. With the other blot over the rest of your face. If you have oil blotting sheets go ahead and use that, that would be easier to see potential grease marks!
4. Look in the mirror. Lightly press down on the skin on your cheeks and take note of the elasticity and look for any redness in your skin.
5. Now look at the oil marks on the tissues (eww) and match it to the types below!

Normal: First of all congratulations! You are one lucky bum if you have normal skin. There would be basically no oil on your tissues, barely visible pores, good elasticity (your skin bounces back!) and even skin tone all over. The world is your oyster my friend, go forth and use any foundation your heart desires.
Oily: There is grease on both tissues, in the mirror your skin is shiny with larger pores and you can see blackheads and typically you are acne prone. Look for oil-free liquid foundations which will give you the even coverage you crave, as well as powder foundations that will help sop up that excess oil throughout the day. Be wary of mineral formulas because while they do great soaking up oil, it can very easily look cakey and dysfunctional on your face the longer it sits there.
Dry: There would be no oil on your tissues, skin may feel taut when you tested for elasticity and there might be flakes of dead skin. Skin may also exhibit redness and have a dull, rough all over complexion. Pores are basically invisible because the skin is so dry and pulled so tightly. A liquid or stick foundation is the best bet for dry skin. They both have a creamier more moisturizing formula which will apply more evenly and help keep you moisturized. Stay away from powders as those will tend to cling to dryer patches of skin and give you a patchy look.
Combination: This type of skin is the most common for people and could exhibit traits from all three types above. Normally there will be oil in the T-zone and then normal to dry everywhere else. You may also have large pores, blackheads and shiny skin. Most types of foundation will work with combination skin, it is just important to strategically apply powder at the end to the places where you are oilier. 

Tips For All Day Flawlessness
  • The best tip I can give is to moisturize first! There is nothing more important that keeping your skin healthy to provide you with the best possible canvas for your face. Face the harsh reality, wearing makeup daily promotes early signs of aging and wrinkling, so it is very important to take good care of your skin! Also unmoisturized skin will often produce excess oil on your face to combat the drying and you will end up a grease ball with your foundation slipping off.
  • Next is using a primer, however pick a primer that best suits your needs. Acne prone skin? This Smashbox Blemish Control Primer is amazing and makes me feel less guilty about caking on the makeup to cover up pimples. Oily skin? This Mary Kay Primer is fantastic for helping keep you matte all day long. Large pores? Find a silicone based primer which works great for filling those pores in and smoothing out your skin.
  • Less is always more. You can always build up coverage as you apply foundation, and putting on just enough gives the product a better chance of adhering securely on your face. It is also important to use the correct tools for applying your foundation, you can read more about some preferred methods of application in my in-depth foundation review here.
  • For those who suffer from oily or combination skin (like me), keeping blotting sheets and a pressed translucent powder is a must have in the purse. Blotting followed by pressing some powder in the areas where you get shiny (T-Zone and cheeks for me) will freshen up your face with minimal effort.
  • Caution you must apply this with a VERY light hand, but dusting on a light layer of corn starch at the end will help set your foundation all day. Corn starch works very well at absorbing oil so this is a great trick for those super oily faces.
  • If using a brush to apply your foundation, a pressing motion rather than sweeping or swirling gives a more natural look and also helps sets your foundation better onto your face.
That was just a lot of text, but clearly you guys can see I am quite passionate when it comes to foundation. What are some other good foundation tips you may have?

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