Foundation Match-Making

Foundation Match-Making

by -

Anytime you attempt a painting project, the texture, current layers of paint, anticipated exposure to moisture or heat will dictate which paint is most appropriate. The same holds true for our complexions; by taking into account the texture, tendencies and the environmental factors we expose our face to, we can make better or more appropriate choices when purchases products to enhance the appearance of our skin.

With more than half a dozen different textures and a myriad of different ingredients to currently choose from, the task of selecting a foundation can be daunting, even for the seasoned cosmetic consumer. While there are textures (such as mousse) or application methods (powder brushing) that may instinctively appeal to you, an examination of your skin should always be your guide in making those choices.

Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

The mineral powder foundations may be the best choice for this skin type. These formulations are typically loose powders generally containing no perfumes, talc, alcohol, dyes, oils or preservative, which makes them one of the hottest current beauty trends.

Their light, breathable textures can minimize the appearance of imperfections and large pores and provide the full spectrum of coverage depending on how thickly they are applied. This allows you to concentrate coverage where you need it and blend into areas where you don’t, resulting in the illusion of near-perfect skin. The mineral complex on which these formulas are built also has natural oil-absorbing properties making it the perfect choice for oily skin. FYI: These are the same ingredients that also make foundations adequate sunscreens.

Sensitive/Reactive Skin

Once again, mineral makeup gets high marks due to the fact that it has very few, if any, ingredients that can penetrate the skin and cause irritation. In fact, many formulas have a soothing effect on the skin. This benefit, along with its excellent coverage, has made mineral makeup the darling of the medspa industry because it effectively conceals the redness that occurs in the aftermath of certain procedures, while minimizing irritation.

Another great choice for delicate skin is aerosol foundations. This new spin on what is essentially a mineral powder in a sprayable solution produces the closest thing to the airbrush technique used by professional makeup artists. Before you shell out $55 to $60 for a 2.5 oz can, bear in mind that spraying on your makeup requires a bit of finesse that may take practice to perfect.

Normal or Combination Skin

Women with normal or combination skin will have a broader range of choices. Liquid foundations with formulas that come in many variations such as: oil-free, waterproof, smudgeproof and longwearing, provide light blendable coverage, but may also require that you spot treat the undereye area and any other imperfections with additional foundation or by applying concealer. In either case, take a tip from the pros: spot-treatment is best accomplished with a brush. A brush allows perfect placement and will assist with blending. For long days, the sustained performance of the long-wearing brands is great, but the ingredients creating this durability have been known to cause slight skin irritation in sensitive wearers.

Other choices for skin needing moderate coverage would include cream-to-powder foundation. Products with this unique texture go on as a liquid, but dry to a powder finish that minimizes oil in the areas where it makes an appearance. These products often have superior staying power as well. When you combine that with the easy application and the fact that you don't have to put on powder for full coverage, cream-to-powder can be the perfect solution for a gal on the go.

Mature Skin

It often costs more than other cosmetics because you're paying for the added air and specialized packaging, but just like butter or cream cheese, you’ll immediately note the speed and ease of application that is gained from the innovative texture. While whipped foundation is good for all skin types, it is especially nice for those with mature skin because of its tendency to go on smoothly and evenly instead of accumulating in the facial lines.

Skin that needs to combat the appearance of lines and wrinkles in order to achieve perfection can benefit from the application of mousse or whipped foundation. This type is easier to apply in thin layers than liquid makeup, so you have more control. Mousse makeup is essentially liquid makeup with air whipped in, making it lighter and smoother. The mousse form comes in a spray or aerosol-type can, like whipped cream, whereas the whipped variety usually comes in a jar.

Dry Skin

If dry skin is your facial foe, opt for a cream-based foundation or a moisture-rich liquid foundation. These types of textures are creamier and will "plump up" skin, reducing the reoccurrence of that dry tight feeling.

Ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate (also referred to as hyaluronic acid), which have been used for years in skin treatments cream and mask to re-hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. For a less made-up look, a tinted moisturizer is another good choice for dry to normal skin types. To “set” either a cream based formula or a tinted moisturizer, try a light application of a mineral makeup powder applying it sparingly on top of the foundation. These powders, which are great foundations for oily and combination skin types, tend to make dry skin even dryer when used directly on the skin, but their light formulas work nicely as a powder.

What’s New?

This relatively new addition to the cosmetic shelf sounds just like what it is, and for most busy women, it is a step they can live without. However, for those who were not blessed with flawless skin, but want a truly flawless look, this additional step may be the secret. I was introduced to skin or foundation primers when I worked in New York. Primers literally prime the surface of the skin to produce the smoothest surface possible for makeup and some also provide color correction to cancel out red or sallow (yellow) undertones. So, if the summer heat and humidity has your foundation migrating toward your décolleté or you have found that using foundation alone does not produce the perfectly poreless look you want, a primer could be the solution.

What do I wear?

Well, once you consider skin type and tendencies, the other major factor in selecting foundation is climate. Since my work takes me to every part of the U.S. and sometimes overseas, I will confess that I actually have every type of foundation mentioned above. So, does that mean that we should change our foundation to reflect the season? The answer to that is "probably." In most cases, however, that simply means moving one step up or down on the spectrum; again, my suggestion would be to simply let your skin be the guide.