Using the wrong foundation can lead to irritated skin, unsightly makeup lines, or an orange Snooki “glow”â€”all unprofessional and undesirable side effects. On the flip side, the right foundation doesnâ€™t look like makeup at allâ€”it looks like a better version of your skin.
And taking a good look at your foundation is especially important as the seasons change, because your skinâ€™s needs will be different. If you’re not sure whether yours is hindering more than itâ€™s helping, check out our comprehensive guide.
Best for: Dry or sensitive skin, a â€śno makeupâ€ť look
If youâ€™re looking for sheer and easy coverage, a tinted moisturizer is virtually foolproof and instantly gives you that all-natural, I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-looking-perfect look. It works best if you have a dry complexion, as the good stuff will infuse lots of moisture into your skin. Itâ€™s also great for sensitive skin, but youâ€™ll want to scrutinize the ingredients of any product with SPF to ensure that itâ€™s devoid of chemical sunscreens. For those who want a little more coverage, skip tinted moisturizer and choose a formula with a bit more oomph (hint, hint, below!).
- EltaMD SPF 41 Tinted Moisturizer (although it looks improbable, this works on even the most porcelain of skin tones)
- Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer
Best for: Everyone, worn under foundation
Unless youâ€™re a tinted moisturizer-only kind of girl, you really should be using a primer. Many women are intimidated by primer because theyâ€™ve never used it, or think itâ€™s an unnecessary step added on to their morning routine. And yeah, you may need to allot an extra 30 seconds to apply it, but the end results are entirely worth it.
For one, primer keeps your makeup in place for the day, giving you an extra few minutes at lunchtime or before cocktails that you would have spent re-applying foundation. It also acts as a barrier between your skin and makeup, which helps prevent breakouts. The right primer should minimize pores, fine lines, and wrinkles and generally make your complexion a smooth surface for foundation. Itâ€™s like Spanx for your faceâ€”everything just looks better with primer underneath.
Best for: If you donâ€™t like the â€śfeelâ€ť of makeup
There are only six ingredients in bareMinerals foundation and two of themâ€”zinc oxide and titanium dioxideâ€”are used to protect your skin from the sun. In general, mineral foundations leave out irritation-inducing fillers, so theyâ€™re a great choice for any skin type but are especially helpful for sensitive skin.
Other than its purity, one of the best features of mineral foundation is its buildable coverageâ€”your makeup can be as sheer or as full-faced as you like. Itâ€™s also easy to apply and eliminates makeup lines.Â Itâ€™s made in both the original loose powder format or in a pressed powder compact. (The downside: Loose powder is not on-the-go friendly.)
- bareMinerals SPF15 Original Foundation
- MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Natural
Best for: Oily skin
Pressed powder is probably the most popular type of foundation, but I believe itâ€™s solely because itâ€™s the oldest. Itâ€™s portable, great for touch-ups, and gives good full coverage, but unfortunately, too much can give you a cakey, too-made-up look. Several pressed powders now incorporate SPF protection and have hydration propertiesâ€”but this foundation is still best suited for those with oily skin.
One of the easiest ways to avoid the caked-on look is to use a fluffy brush to apply the powder. It will use less makeup and diffuse the color, making it look more natural.
Best for: Nights out and being photographed
Liquid foundation is offered in tons of varieties, so itâ€™s easy to find a bottle that fits your needsâ€”oil free, moisturizing, SPF, pore-minimizing, the list goes on. The coverage is typically full-faced but forgiving, as long as you pay attention to your jawlineâ€”this â€śchinstrapâ€ť area is often the literal line between tacky and classy.
Exfoliation is always a great idea before wearing any foundation, but itâ€™s especially important with liquids. They glide onto the skin so smoothly that theyâ€™re bound to emphasize any dry or flaky patches. Daily exfoliation isnâ€™t necessary, but 2-3 times per week is recommended for a complete skin care regimen.
BB and CC Creams
Best for: Skincare and foundation in one
Basically, BB and CC creams are tinted moisturizers with even more skincare benefits than a mineral foundation. Some claim to whiten and brighten skinâ€”a trend in Asia where these creams originated. (Wouldnâ€™t it be kind of nice to break from the bronzed look that currently reigns in America?) In addition, these products are tabbed with infusing skin-perfecting vitamins and minerals. Which means you can kill a few skincare birdsâ€”makeup, moisture, skincareâ€”with one of these stones.
CC and BB creams are very similar, but CC cream is heavier on both the skincare ingredients and color coverage. Both are good for normal, combination, or dry skin, but unfortunately, the color shades are still limited due to their relative newness to American markets.
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