New foundations formulations can give you a near-perfect complexion – if you know which one is best for your skin.
Choose a shade that matches the skin on your collarbone. “Your neck tends to be lighter than your face because it’s usually shaded from the sun,” says makeup artist.
The Formula : Solid Mineral
A compacted version of loose mineral powder, solids retain the perks of their original counterparts (fewer potentially irritating or pore-clogging ingredients than traditional foundations) while shedding the less-desirable facets (no mest flecks – your purse and carry-on are safe!).
- Go for it if…
Your skin is oily, acne-prone, or sensitive. Skip if you have dry skin or wrinkles – powders (of any kind) can accentuate these problems.
- To ace this base:
Swirl a short, firmly packed brush into the compact, then buff onto your face in small circular motions. The tight bristles pick up and deposit more powder than a typical fluffy powder brush would, and blending is easier than it would be with flimsy bristles.
BareMinerals Ready SPF 20 Foundation is the first pressed solid from the most popular mineral-foundation company out there. (It seems to last forever.) If your skin is supersensitive, go for a solid without bismuth oxychloride, an ingredient that can exacerbate itchiness, breakouts, and redness. Try Jane Iredale PurePressed Base SPF 20.
The Formula : Foam
Quick chemistry lesson: Adding air to a substance creates something less dense than the original. That’s why the mousse-y foundations offer the buildable coverage and hydration of a rich cream without feeling thick or smothering.
- Go for it…
You covet Kim Kardashian’s luminous, looks-like-it-was-airbrushed complexion. Once set, foam gives the refined finish of a powder but doesn’t appear dry or cracked. It provides medium to full coverage and works best on normal to dry skin.
- To ace this base :
Shake well, pump a quarter-size blob into your palm, then stipple it onto your face with a damp sponge. “It won’t destroy the air bubbles like a brush or your fingers would, and t helps keep that dewy finish”. An expert must-have: The Babyblender, an egg-shaped sponge whose pointy tip “helps you get into the inners corners of your eyes and each side of your nose”.
Maybelline New York Dream Nude Airfoam Foundation has hydration-boosting glycerin, a friend to the dry-skinned. For normal or dull skin, try Revlon PhotoReady Airbush Mousse Makeup; it’s photochromatic pigments reflect light to brighten you right up.
The Formula : Liquid Shaker
Thin and fluid (think hot sauce, not ketchup), these feel so weightless, you might fear they’ll evaporate into nothingness upon contact with your face. But because they’re packed with pigment, they cover a multitude of imperfections, putting Spackle-like foundations to shame. “With light weight emollients and mattifiers, they minimize the look of pores and reduce shine”.
- Go for it if….
Your skin is oily or, when you glance in the mirror at 3 p.m., it’s as if you never put on foundation at all (argh!). Liquid shakers “contain special polymers that keep pigment in place all day”. If skin so dry, though, these positions may adhere to rough patches. Skip ’em if you’re acne-prone-their silicones may be a breakout trigger.
- To ace this base:
Shake well, then divide two pea-size dabs over your forehead, nose, chin, and each cheek; blend with your fingers or a flat synthetic-bristled foundation brush, which won’t soak up (and waste) product the way sponges or natural bristles can.
Shiseido Makeup Perfect Refining Foundations gives a semi-matte finish and “contains a type of nylon that forms a flexible film over the skin without getting cakey”.
The Formula : BB Cream
Also known as beauty balms, these are souped-up versions of tinted moisturizer. “They protected against environment damage with sunscreen and, depending on the formulation, are enriched with antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients”. (You’ll need a separate product for deep wrinkles or stubborn dark spots.) Because most BBs contain silicones, they function as primer too.
- Go for if it…
Your favorite words are quick and easy, or you have seconds to get ready. BBs are multitaskers, and the light medium, and dark shades blend well with most skin tones because they’re sheer. That also means they “work best if you already have good skin”.
- To ace this base:
Smear on an almond-size amount with your fingers, working from the center of your face outward. Globing on more won’t give you more coverage. (If that’s what you’re after, you’ll need a more pigment-rich foundation.) Use daily to rap long-term benefits.
If sin is dry, glycerin should appear in the top five ingredients. Try L’Oreal Paris Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator. If you get greasy, go for an oil-free mattifying formula, like Estee lauder DayWear Anti-Oxidant BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35. Products with licorice (a pigment lightener) can tackle minor hyper-pigmentation. Try Clinique Age Defense BBB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30. Sensitive? Look for nonchemical sunscreens and soothing chamomile; try Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm SPF 20.
When choosing a base, you have to account for the moisture level – in your skin and the air outdoors. If your climate is…
- Dry Skin
Humid: Air-infused foams provide hydration, not suffocation. Try Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Mousse Makeup.
Dry: Buildable liquids make skin dewy, not flaky. Try YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundations, which also helps enhance radiance.
- Oily Skin
Humid: An oil-free mattifying liquid won’t slip and slide. Try Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundations SPF 15.
Dry: A dry oil imparts hydration but doesn’t look – or feel-greasy. Try Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup.