Here’s another installment of The Beauty Basics. Today I’m going to cover coverups!!! That’s right! Foundations and concealers. I have a quick confession- I actually don’t use any of these products on myself but I have used these on other people.
Foundations and concealers have come a long, long way, especially for women of colour since the 70’s. Now they can be found in tons of shades, from the palest egg shell to the darkest ebony! They also come in a wide variety of formulas – cream, powder, liquid, gel-like, cream to powder etc. With the advent of high definition television, YouTube etc, women (and men!) are constantly looking for the right formula that would make them look perfect and flawless.
Choosing the right foundation is one of the most challenging aspects of makeup application. You need to determine exactly what you are looking for in a foundation. Here are a few things to think about when making a selection:
- What’s your skin colour? – Pale, light, olive, caramel, mahogany, or whatever you describe yourself as
- What are your undertones? Another very difficult part to determine. This is the colour that you would see if you look past the layer of skin colour. Are you red, yellow, neutral (neither predominantly red or yellow) or some combination of the two. Many makeup lines formulate their foundations with this in mind. One example is M.A.C. Cosmetics. They have a number system of NW (Not warm or red undertones) and NC (not cool or yellow undertones).
- What kind of coverage are you looking for? – Very light or sheer (yourself but with a more even skintone), medium or heavy coverage. Are you trying to coverup acne scars and other discolourations?
- What skin type do you have? – Normal, dry, oily or combination.
- What kind of finish are you looking for?- Matte, semi-matte or dewy.
These factors as well as personal preference would help determine what your final choice would be. In all honesty, the best way to find your perfect product, is by good ol’ trial and error. You need to test the foundation out. Buy from different companies and different formulas. The best thing would be to go to a department store like Macy’s or a specialty store like Sephora for your experiments. Test the product along the jawline and it should disappear. Also walk outside into natural light to see what it looks like. Ask for a sample to take home, you may have an allergic reaction or may not like how the formula feels on the face. Also make sure that you extend the foundation down to the neck and that your chest and face matches. If a sample is not available, make sure to check the store’s return policy on opened products. Sephora allows you to test and return a product within 60 days for a full refund.
Once you have found your foundation, next comes the application. There are different tools for different formulas. For powder and mineral foundations, use a fluffy brush. For liquids and creams, you could use brushes, cosmetic sponges or your fingers. Whatever tool is used, slightly dampen with water or another liquid like M.A.C.’s Fix+ to help ensure a smooth application. Apply the product to the areas that are needed or to the entire face, in light, circular strokes to blend away harsh lines.
Popular brands to try: M.A.C., Makeup For Ever, Bobbi Brown, NARS, Revlon, L’Oreal, Becca
If you have fairly decent skin, I personally think that a little concealer is the way to go. Full foundation every day is not necessary. Looking for a concealer is much like looking for a foundation. Ask yourself the same questions. They also come in a variety of finishes, depending on the need, like sheer and full coverage. Chose a concealer that is no more than 1 shade lighter than your natural skin tone or foundation colour. As a matter of fact, there is nothing wrong with buying one that is your exact skin tone. The main reason for buying one that’s 1 shade lighter, is that usually concealers are used under the eye, and a lighter shade brightens up the eye area, making you look more awake. You can absolutely use concealers without using foundation, just use in spot areas as needed (under eyes, blemishes, hyperpigmentation, redness etc.) Concealers can be applied with a stiff brush, dampened sponge or fingers. I’ll talk about brushes in a later post. One tip to note, always dab or pat on a thin layer of concealer and never rub it it, you would just be rubbing it off! This helps prevent it from looking too heavy and settling into fine lines during the day.
Popular brands to try: M.A.C., Makeup For Ever, Yves Saint Laurent, Bobbi Brown, Becca
Which one comes first??? Foundation or concealer
This is a long time debate. Some people swear that foundation comes before and others swear that the inverse is correct. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to do it, it’s up to you!
Regardless of whether you use foundation, concealer or both, always set your makeup with a powder. This helps your foundation and/or concealer to stay put, helps the product blend into the skin, smooths out edges and provides a good base for other products like bronzer, blush and highlight. It comes in both pressed and loose powder forms. Powders also come coloured (i.e. similar to foundation colours) or they are invisible or translucent, which provide no colour but helps cut down on shine. Use a fluffy brush to apply a sheer layer in a circular motion or use a cosmetic powder puff and gently roll the powder onto the skin.
Popular brands to try: Ben Nye, M.A.C., Makeup For Ever, Becca
Whew!! That’s a lot!!! Be back with some more!!