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How Should I Choose the Best Foundation Makeup?

Foundation acts as a canvas for other makeup, like blush and powder, to be applied.
A "clarifying" foundation might be an option for women with acne.
Foundation makeup comes in many forms, including pancake and liquid.
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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2014
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Foundation makeup, base, liquid makeup, pancake — whatever a woman calls it, the flesh-toned cosmetic that goes on first can make or break a woman’s “look.” With so many colors, kinds and formulas available, choosing the right foundation makeup can seem like an impossible decision.

A woman should first remember that foundation makeup is just that — the layer upon which all her other makeup will rest. How good her foundation makeup looks will determine how the rest of her cosmetics look, so she should keep in mind that foundation makeup is not meant to change the skin’s color. It is meant to match the color as closely as possible. A woman with sallow skin should not attempt to “pink” her skin tone with a rosy foundation makeup, and a pale-complexioned woman should not attempt to “tan” hers with a bronze tone.

Bronzers are available to give skin a sun-kissed look, but these are usually in some kind of powder form and are meant to be used after makeup is applied. In any case, the woman should seek to match her skin’s tone as closely as possible. If her foundation matches her skin, then her blush and powder will match, as well.

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Foundation makeup is available in many forms: liquid, crème, stick, crème-to-powder, and so on. Liquid foundation makeup is the most commonly available and can be bought in department stores or in drugstores. Depending on the manufacturer and the purpose, these liquids can range from giving very light coverage to moderate coverage. Crème and stick foundations give moderate-heavy coverage, ranging to the consistency of spackle. Crème-to-powder varieties begin as a crème foundation and dry to a powder finish.

A woman should think carefully about what she wants her foundation makeup to do before she buys it. Foundation makeup can and will hide small wrinkles, for instance, but cannot work miracles. Also, foundation makeup that is applied too heavily will sink into the skin’s crevices, further defining the wrinkles.

Formulas are available that claim to promote anti-aging and younger-looking skin. A woman will simply have to test these and see if she notices an improvement in her skin. Women should choose a foundation makeup with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, if she is not allergic to it. The sunscreen will help protect her skin from aging as much as any other formula. Light to medium coverage is usually the best route for most women.

Women should also be conscious of their skin type and what foundation makeup is best suited for it. Women with normal skin can wear almost any formulation. However, women with oily skin should look for a water-based foundation with no mineral oil, or mineral oil as one of the last ingredients. Women and teens with acne trouble can try a “clarifying” foundation meant for breakout-prone skin, but this formula can make bad matters worse if it dries out the skin too much. Women with dry skin should look for a hydrating or moisturizing foundation.

Sensitive skin requires special treatment. A woman should try brands that say they are hypo-allergenic or especially for sensitive skin. If the brand offers a sample pack, she should buy this first and test the makeup on an inconspicuous patch of skin to see if she has a reaction. She may not be able to use drugstore makeup, but may have to go with a hypo-allergenic department store brand. Samples of these are always available at the makeup counter, where she can try them before buying.

So — department store versus drugstore — which is better? It all depends on what a woman is looking for. If, as mentioned above, she has sensitive skin, the department store may be her only option. However, she may also not be sure how to choose a good foundation color, or may not really understand how to buy for her skin type.

This is when those associates at the makeup counters seem like angels from heaven. They usually do their best to make sure a woman has a good foundation that looks nice and is best for her skin. All this assistance and quality costs extra, however. However, the woman can buy one bottle of foundation from the department store and let it guide her decision if she wants to go to the drugstore the next time. She can just take her bottle with her and compare the colors with what she sees in the store.

A cosmetic counter associate will probably tell a woman how to apply her foundation, but a few tips never hurt. Fingers are good, but only with light coverage. For heavier coverage, use a makeup sponge.

Also, make sure the makeup is blended in well at the jawline. Otherwise, the woman will look as though she has a mask on. However, when the foundation closely matches the skin tone, this is rarely a problem. “Feather” the foundation at the edges and around the eyes, so the makeup will not creep into any folds.

Since foundation is so important to how a woman’s makeup looks, she should choose her base carefully. Thinking about skin tone, type and coverage needed will help her make the best decision.

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Discuss this Article

anon183746
Post 6

I would try Lycogel uk. It is a high end foundation and camouflage. It helps deal with so many issues and has apple stem cell technology. I have been a dermatologist for 20 years.

anon121241
Post 5

Any thoughts on airbrush makeup foundation. I have been looking at dinair. thanks.

anon117888
Post 4

Try bobbi brown and mac. definitely don't let beauty counter make up artists to try and match your foundation with the tone of your body! Pink based foundations will never work with your skin tone. Try to get a foundation to match your jaw line.

You can use bronzer to then warm up the paler bits. If I were you I'd go with concealer on any blemishes, tinted moisturizer and bronzer.

anon89674
Post 3

If I could wear no foundation I would do so, but i have a few breakouts constantly on my cheeks and chin and some acne scarring.

I am currently getting treatments, some facial peels, and also I started using really good products and am seeing a difference. I have always had trouble with a make-up shade. I am Romanian with a bit of gypsy. When people see my skin color they try to match me with a really dark bronze, but my face is extremely white. A whole lot whiter than my body. My body is bronze with a lot of yellow. My face has just a bit of yellow, but no pink undertone. Mainly white. It's weird.

I usually do just light foundation, and as I mentioned, I don't like foundation. I use concealer to hide spots. When I put on a yellow based foundation, it's too yellow on my skin and you can see the difference at the jawline. A pink toned foundation is the same. It makes me look way too pink. I have never found something to be even close to what I need. I tried LaRoche Posay, Avene-not the USA mark, Bourjois, Bare Minerals, Pure Minerals, Maybellene, Clinique, L'Oreal,and a few others. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

anon68318
Post 2

I think that some women do better when they cover their whole face with the make-up because if you have some parts with make-up and some parts of your face bear, the face will have an uneven texture. There are some women, particularly asians who can get away with less makeup.

dfrum32
Post 1

Make sure that you don't slather the foundation on like it's lotion or moisturizer. Foundation should only be put on those parts of your face that have an uneven skin tone, not put on like a mask.

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