Makeup Lessons: All About Foundation

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There are few products that lift a makeup look more than a good base, but there are many misconceptions about how foundation should be used and which coverage is best for which skin texture.

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Coverage is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a foundation. No matter how bad you think your skin is, almost nobody needs 100% coverage. One of the biggest misconceptions about foundation is that it is the answer to all of your skin problems. Unfortunately, this results in people wearing foundation as a mask and missing out on the opportunity to show off their skin’s natural texture.

Light Coverage

Tinted moisturizers, or very thin liquid foundations, such as Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 – Illuminating $42 are perfect for people with very good skin. If you don’t need any coverage, just some color to even out your skin tone, a product like this can work as your foundation, moisturizer, and highlighter without adding excess product.

Medium Coverage

Traditional liquid foundation is the best product to go for if you have normal skin. A product such as Smashbox’s High Definition Healthy FX Foundation $38 works perfectly to even out the skin tone and hide any pigmentation issues without looking heavy.

Heavy Coverage

Heavy or full-coverage foundations, usually compact or cream based, should be used at your own risk. It is not advisable for anyone to use a full-coverage foundation because you are almost guaranteed to look like you have too much makeup on. If you take any tip out of this lesson, please let it be that foundation is not a replacement for concealer; acne, scaring, or other more serious skin problems can be easily covered by the right concealer but foundation is not the answer. If you have extreme skin redness, consider a green correcting primer such as Make Up For Ever’s HD Microperfecting Primer in Green $32.

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How to Choose and Apply Foundation:

Choosing a foundation is something that must be done in person and if at all possible in direct daylight. If possible, take an empty makeup pot to the store with you and ask for small samples that you can try at home in natural daylight as you don’t want to compromise with your color.

To apply foundation, you can either use a brush such as Sephora Collection’s Proffessionnel Platinum Foundation Airbrush #56 $32, a sponge, or your fingers. It is completely up to you. But be advised that using a sponge can often cause you to use much more product than you need as a lot of it will absorb into the sponge.

After applying primer, use your tool of choice to apply a thin layer all around your skin, blending outwards so that the edges of your face hardly have any product on them. If necessary, go back and apply another thin layer to any areas with heavy pigmentation and then apply concealer to your problem areas. 

For more Makeup Lessons, see our guides on blush and eyeliner