I’ve worn makeup since the 7th grade. I first started to get seriously into makeup a few years ago. Foundation was naturally one of the first products I felt was important enough to invest in. I bought the TooFaced Born This Way foundation and the Real Techniques beauty sponge after watching countless hours of beauty influencers, ready to beat my face harder than Muhammad Ali.
My skin is one of my biggest insecurities- I have mild rosacea, texture, and pretty dark circles under my eyes. When I feel my skin is congested and needs a break from the cake-face, I’ll suck it up and not wear any. I think it’s important to let your skin breath and to let the hundreds of dollars of skincare (@ Sunday Riley and Fresh Beauty…I’m talking to YOU) work its magic. This is a pretty big deal for me! I don’t like not wearing foundation because I feel like people are staring and judging my skin. Which, realistically, is probably so far from the truth. Below is a photo of my face with half foundation and half natural. My redness has gone significantly down (will go into this more in my skincare post coming next week!), but somedays I have flare ups. I always have under-the-skin texture and decent-sized pores.
What’s frustrating about finding the right foundation is there are so many other factors that affect its application, finish, and wear. If you don’t have your skincare, primer, and powders right your foundation will be off too. It’s easier, and in the long-run less expensive, to pin the foundation as culprit and to continue to change that until you find the one. However, those other factors are just as important and are often overlooked.
Keep reading to follow my foundation journey, and my tips for really finding the right one for you!
Finding Your Shade
Your ideal foundation should make you feel your best. The coverage, color, and type is up to you. Lately, I like a natural/radiant matte finish with any type of coverage. The first thing to do is figure out what your skin type is. I’m oily, so I don’t like to look too greasy. I have tips for figuring this out in my skincare post here.
Next, you’ll want to figure out your shade, specifically your undertone. I like a foundation with a neutral or slightly yellow (warm) undertone. One way to figure this out is to hold a sheet of white paper to your neck/chest (because that’s where you want to match your foundation to) and see if pink or yellow tones pull through. Another is if you feel that silver or gold jewelry looks better on you (silver leans cool and gold leans warm). If you don’t think you can figure it out because you feel like it can go either way, go with a neutral undertone. This is usually a safe first bet if you’re really unsure.
Unfortunately, many brands struggle coming out with inclusive shade ranges. This is a topic I can rant about all day, but I’ll keep it short and sweet. It’s 2018. There is no reason for brands to not go light or dark enough for anyone who wants to try their product. I’m very fair, and I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to try a foundation but couldn’t because they didn’t have a light enough shade. That goes for women of color, and on a much grander scale. A foundation range will have 15 ranges of tan and throw in a couple fair and deep shades. That just isn’t adequate anymore. No one should feel left out in the beauty community. It’s great to see more and more brands taking the steps to be more inclusive, however, there is still a lot of progress to be made.
Skincare, Primers, Powders…Oh My!
Like I said earlier, all of the above factors make a huge difference on how your makeup is going to apply and last. Unfortunately, these are more products that require a trial-and-error approach. You can do all the research and watch all the videos, but you’ll never truly know what works for your skin until you put it to the test.
I have a whole post on skincare here, so I won’t spend much time on it now. Having a solid routine that brings your skin into a normal state will only make everything else you put on top look that much better.
As far as primers go, knowing your skin type and choosing a couple problems that the primer can counteract is key. Personally I typically use two primers at once because different parts of my face have different problems. I’ll start with something hydrating for all over my skin, either my daily moisturizer or an actual hydrating/radiant primer. Then in my t-zone I’ll use something pore-filling and mattifying because my pores are horrendous and need all the help they can get.
I always set my face with a powder to keep my makeup in place and keep the oil at bay. But if you choose the wrong one it can look too heavy, accentuate any fine lines or texture, or not do anything at all. The foundation makes all the difference on how the powder is gonna work. Not everything is made to work together!
How you apply your foundation is just as important as the product itself. There are an endless number of brushes, sponges, and other methods of application- including your fingers! I’ll switch between my Morphe M439 and a beauty sponge. Typically, and this certainly isn’t always the case, a brush will give you more coverage than a sponge because it soaks up less product. I hate saying this for the millionth time, but this again comes down to personal preference. It’s essential to figure out what works best for you!
Don’t forget about concealers!
Concealer is great, whether you like foundation or not. You can cover your under-eyes, blemishes- anything that needs a little extra coverage. As you may or may not be able to tell from the photo above, I lean towards full coverage concealers like the ones above. Your concealer and foundation should mesh well together, or it can look cakey, patchy, or just off.
Drugstore vs High-end: Is there really a difference?
For a long time, there was a misconception that high-end was synonymous with being the best. That’s long proven to not always be the case. I’ve tried as many high-end foundations drugstore ones and have yet to be happy with a high-end one! Currently the only one that truly lasts me all day is the Maybelline SuperStay Foundation. It pulls a little pink on me, so I mix two shades to achieve more neutrality. It’s a matte finish that lasts all day long. The best piece of advice I can give is to try foundations for about a week, and if it’s not working at the level you want and isn’t compatible with your other products, return it and try something new. But keep in mind your skin type and the use of all the other products you’re using!
A final note…
The beauty of the beauty industry is that there is so much variety. It can certainly be overwhelming, but that’s part of the fun! I wouldn’t say the hunt for my perfect foundation has been “fun”, but I think it’s because I’ve taken it too seriously. Makeup is meant to be fun. It’s nothing to stress over!
I’ve let foundation mask my insecurities, leading me to be less and less confident in my own skin. I’ve decided to let go off those negative notions and stopped taking it so seriously! If my redness or texture are peeking through, then so be it. If you can see some of my pores, oh well. I’m the average gal with her own skin problems, and it’s totally okay if those problems make an appearance. I won’t let it get in the way of my day or having fun with makeup, and neither should you!