• Elise Marquam-Jahns

The Four Most Important Questions When Searching for the Foundation That’s Right For You--Part 1

While walking down the cosmetic counter aisles at Macy’s recently, I decided to check out the foundation options available at some of the high end cosmetics counters. One brand offered six different foundations, another boasted twelve and a third had a mind boggling choice of 20 different foundations! Thinking there might not be such an overwhelming number of choices with drugstore brands, I checked out several brands on-line and was amazed to find 23 different foundation options with one brand and 15 with another. Who knew? And more importantly, how can we possibly make the right choice?


Well, though the choices may feel overwhelming, it’s actually beneficial for those of us with seemingly ever changing skin landscapes, to have options. And we can also breathe a sigh of relief that the days of the heavy, only-one-choice thick, pancake makeup have gone the way of carbon paper and exaggerated shoulder pads.

The Four Questions to Ask

So, here are the four questions to ask yourself that will help you narrow your field of options:


1. What is your skin type: dry, combination (dry, but some shine in the “T” zone) or oily? Yes, there are different foundations in most makeup lines for different types of skin. You can definitely cross off your list the foundation that works for oily skin if your skin leans toward dry . . . and vice versa.


2. How much coverage do you want? Opt for “sheer” or “light” coverage if you have no major discoloration or issues such as age spots. “Moderate” coverage is for those of us whose skin has experienced a few more changes over the years. And “heavy” can provide the optimum amount of coverage. And though the term “heavy” coverage may make us feel a bit queasy about how the foundation will actually feel on our skin, “heavy coverage” does not necessarily equal “heavy feel.”


And here’s a quick way to test how much coverage a foundation really has: dab a small amount on one of the veins on the underside of your wrist. You’ll see a definite difference in how well the sheer, medium and heavy coverage foundations camouflage your vein.


3. What kind of “finish” do you want the makeup to provide on your skin? Matte? Semi-matte? Or dewy? A matte finish is evenly smooth with no shine. Semi-matte has a slight sheen and dewy foundation has the most sheen or radiant glow or can even be quite high shine. Needless to say, if your skin is oily, a dewy finish might look too “greasy.” However, even people with oily skin can sometimes wear a dewy finish foundation provided they use a mattifying primer first. (If the concept of primers is new to you or you’d like to learn more, we’ll discuss both eye and face primers in an upcoming blog). For those of us with dry skin, a dewy finish can bring a welcomed look of moisture and radiance to our face. And what about those of us with combination skin? Well, some of us have been known to put a matte finish foundation in our T-Zone area and then mix in a small amount of a dewy finish foundation with the matte foundation to add a bit of radiance to the rest of our face. (I won’t mention any names here, however :).


4. Do you want a foundation that has an SPF in it or do your moisturizer and/or sunscreen provide enough sun protection for you?


Some Additional Helpful Hints

And here are a few other helpful hints to get the best results from your foundation:


  • Exfoliate your skin twice a week to get rid of dead skin cells which can make our skin look dull. Just about every makeup line has an exfoliating product and you can even make your own exfoliating scrub out of ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. (More on this in an upcoming blog).


  • For most of us as we get older, our skin has a harder time retaining moisture. Thus, it’s absolutely essential to cleanse and moisturize our face before putting on foundation. However, if you have an oily nose and T-zone area, you may want to forego moisturizer in those areas.


  • Some foundations also provide skin care benefits with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, green tea or peptides.


  • If you do have dry skin, you’ll want to stick with liquid and cream foundations rather than powder. Powder foundation can look flaky and accentuate fine lines on dry skin.


  • For areas that are harder to cover due to oiliness (such as your nose) or discoloration, you may want to skip the foundation and just use concealer.


  • And if you have a great deal of redness, there are foundations that specifically address this issue.


Now that you know the answers to the four most important questions to ask when searching for a foundation and have some other helpful hints, we’ll cover the all important topic of how to find the right foundation in Part 2 of this blog.

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