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Foundation Wars

When performing makeup services on a client, the most frequently asked question I get is “How do I choose the right foundation for me?” Well, I figured this would be a great topic to relaunch my Beauty blog with. When helping clients figure out what is the best foundation for them is, I mention several deciding factors. Let’s discuss this a bit further, shall we? Welcome to “Foundation Wars” Choosing the correct shade of foundation can be the most challenging process in makeup. Though it can be difficult, it is the most important. If your house does not have a good foundation, it won’t stand, right? Well, the same is with makeup. A bad foundation will not enhance your beauty at all, it will take away from it. To achieve a flawless finish, being able to choose the right shade of foundation is key. Before I get into the different types of foundation, let’s talk about choosing the correct shade. The most important step in choosing your proper shade is to first identify your skin’s undertone. The skin’s undertone is the natural tone that will never change. Your skin’s undertone can be categorized as one of three types:

  • Cool – pink, red, or bluish undertones
  • Warm – yellow or golden undertones
  • Neutral – a mixture of warm and cool undertones

The easiest way to determine your skin’s undertone (but doesn’t work for everyone) is the vein test. If your veins look blue, you have a cool undertone. If they look green, you have a warm undertone. If you can’t tell you are neutral. Once you have determined your skin’s undertone, it’s time to start swatching foundations. Remember, your foundation should be a second layer of skin. When blended properly it should fade into your skin. Most people are taught to swatch foundation along your jawline, but I have found that doesn’t always work because the shade may not match the color of your neck. Therefore if you swatch your foundation on your neck and it blends in, it will more than likely match the color of your face.

When swatching foundations try to pick three shades within the same undertone. Usually, one shade should be the closest shade possible, with the other two shades being either too light or too dark. Another factor in determining the correct shade of foundation is light. There are three types of light. Incandescent, Fluorescent, and of course the most important is Natural or Sunlight. Let’s say, for instance, you were at a makeup store and you were able to try out some foundations. You feel you have picked the correct shade. Now it’s the next day, you do your makeup. I mean face beat to the heavens. You go outside, and then take a look in a mirror. And what do you notice? You’re looking a little dark. The stores have artificial lighting and most of the time it’s kind of dark. The only true light is sunlight. If you are in a free-standing store vs. say a mall, you can always ask the associate to let you borrow a mirror and go outside. Hopefully, it’s a nice sunny day. While standing in the sun you will be able to see if the shade of foundation truly matches.

Types of Foundations

Liquid – Works with all skin types. Light to full coverage. Dewy to Matte finish. If you have oily skin avoid dewy finish foundations and set using a translucent powder to control shine.

ex. Makeup Forever HD Foundation, MAC Studio Fix Fluid, NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation

Powder – Illuminating or Matte FinishLight to Medium coverage If you have dry skin avoid powder foundations as they tend to settle into dry areas.

ex. MAC Studio Fix, Bobbie Brown Skin Weightless Powder Foundation, Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder

Cream – Good for all skin types. Medium to full coverage.

ex. MAC Studio Fix Tech, Fashion Fair Creme to Powder Skin Foundation, Laura Mercier Silk Cream Foundation

I hope this blog post will be useful in selecting a foundation. I tried to answer most of the concerns brought to me by my Facebook friends. If there is something I may have missed, feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to get an answer for you. Until next time, remember whatever you do BE BIG IN IT!


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