Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The First Time: Buying Foundation

One of the things I really wanted to tackle was how to pick out the right makeup colors for your skin tone and choosing the right foundation colors. I remember always being fascinated with makeup as a kid, but as a young teen the thought of how to pick the right shade for your skin and then what to do with it was overwhelming. It was at this age that I made a major makeup faux pas: wearing the wrong shade of foundation. I wish that when I was younger I had youtube tutorials and instructional blogs to turn to about how to buy and apply makeup. I’m sure I would have avoided many makeup blunders, like wearing a dark brown powder foundation with red undertones while I was a medium tan with yellow undertones or the dreaded makeup line. And don’t get me started on over-plucked eyebrows...

So let’s get started!

First, decide what type of coverage you want: 
-Light: look for things that say “sheer coverage” or a tinted moisturizer; most powder foundations provide a light coverage; example: MAC’s Studio Moisture Tint
-Medium: the standard; most foundations are of medium coverage unless noted; MAC’s Studio Fix line covers this range
-Full / Heavy: for example, Make Up Forever’s High Def foundations and MAC’s Studio Tech are a few examples; best for covering blemishes, dark circles, hyper-pigmentation, tattoos, etc.

Then choose the finish you want:
-Matte: a foundation that doesn’t have any sheen in it or make you look shiny after settling
-Satin / Dewey: gives you that luminescent look (or as I like to call it, oily, haha); foundation has some sheen to it, or “light reflecting qualities”; Chanel’s Teint Innocence is known to give a dewey-looking finish.

I tend to go for a full coverage, matte foundations (my favorite kind is Face Stockholm’s Matte Liquid Foundation in Chesnut) since I tend to get shiny to begin with and a matte base will help reduce that sweaty/oily look and a heavier coverage helps give me a cleaner looking, blemish free base. See?

[Me wearing Face Stockholm's Matte Foundation, after being in the pit of a NIN concert  (hence the shiny, sweat look I've got going on...)]

If all this info is already too overwhelming, don’t sweat it. I didn’t even consider these things my first few times around. It was only later that I learned of the different types that I started caring about coverages and finishes. Just follow the next step.

If it’s your first time buying a foundation, I recommend going to your malls’ cosmetic counter to get help choosing your shade. I suggest the MAC counter only because they have such a great variety of colors that you’re almost guaranteed to find a perfect match to your skin tone. Also, they can let you know of your skins’ undertones (if this matters to you) so that you can choose other colors (not just foundations, but blushes, lip colors, etc.) that would look good on you. [SIDE NOTE: MAC foundations tend to be VERY HEAVY. Even though they claim their foundations are oil-free, you still run the risk of aggravating acne-prone skin.] If you don’t want to purchase their foundation, ask for a sample or two! Along with the chosen shade, go either one shade lighter or darker to test the difference (two colors might be necessary in the rare case that you might need to blend your colors to get the perfect shade); MAC can be pretty generous with doling out samples (though as a courtesy, it’s usually nice to buy something; hint: they have great lip colors). After trying the color out on your skin, go outside in the natural sunlight to see how you like the color (very important!). Even though they are professionals, they can make mistakes too (not to mention those florescent mall lights alter your skins’ color) and you might not like the color selected for you. It won’t cost you anything, so go. Spend some time with your shade and see how you feel about it in an hour or two.

If you don’t want to spend the money on the counter brand, take your sample(s) and head to you local pharmacy’s beauty aisle and do some color matching! [The reason I don’t recommend going straight to say, CVS or Target first is that it’s easy to buy the wrong shade, especially under those bright florescent lights. Matching a foundation color to your hand will also end up giving you a darker color than your face and you cannot always return the foundations if purchased at a pharmacy.] L’Oreal has a great selection with their True Match line as does Revlon and Maybelline. Then you can look at the bottles side-by-side or apply the 2 colors on your hand to match them.

After having your correct foundation shade and living with it for a while, it will get easier and easier to choose which color is right for you. Soon you’ll be able to pick the right shade just by looking at the color in the bottle.

Good luck!

Chanel Teint Innocence Foundation
FACE Stockholm Matte Foundation
MAC Foundations
MakeUpForEver HD Invisible Coverage Foundation
Maybelline Pure.Makeup Shine-Free Foundation with H2O
Revlon Foundations at

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