Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to blog some tips on mastering the basics of make-up application to achieve a flawless and flattering look. Starting with foundation…
For me this combined with concealer is the most important step, and if done right can make the difference between a youthful radiant complexion and an obvious mask like finish.
1. Choosing your foundation
1. Choosing your foundation
The first step (and the hardest) is to choose the right texture and colour. I prefer a very light and “free” foundation for both young and mature skin as I really do I believe less is more! You should be using a foundation to even out your skin tone and balance out any changes in skin pigmentation, the foundation will also cover very slight blemishes….and that is it, the rest of the work is done by the concealer.
By using this method you avoid covering your face with too much product and hiding the natural luminosity of the skin. As this naturally diminishes with age, by applying too much foundation we are in effect aging the appearance of our skin.
The texture you are looking for is something not much heavier than a tinted moisturiser and something reasonably thin. When applied you should not really be able to see the foundation on the skin’s surface. I’m also not a fan of matt finish foundation as this again dulls the skin (we can deal with oily/shiny skin using loose powder later).
In terms of which colour to choose (the tricky bit) first of all you need to establish whether you have a yellow or pink undertone to your skin. Most people are yellow, but a few fairer complexions have a pinkish undertone.
All brands will produce colours in both pink and yellow tones; this is generally found by the name or number of the foundation. For example MAC uses N or NW as a prefix for pink (warm) undertones and C or NC for yellow (cool) undertones.
Once you have established this you need to get the right shade, first of all I strongly advise you try before you buy. Ask a sales assistant for some samples or take some travel pots with you and take a small amount from the tester. This will allow you to try the shade in daylight and out of the artificial shop light.
Test the foundation in 3 places, the jawline (does the colour stand out too much on the skin), the forehead (as our faces can be slightly different in colour from top to bottom) and on the chest just below the neck (will our foundation match our face to the rest of our body).
As skin colour will tend to change from season to season and if you apply fake tan, eventually try and have two colours of foundation on the go at once. One for you at your darkest, and the other at your lightest. Using both of these you can mix the colours on the back of your hand to achieve the closest match to the skin. This sounds hard but after a few attempts you’ll be surprised how easy it is to gage.
Both the tone and the shade are equally important, get one wrong and you won’t achieve the natural finish.
Some of my favourite foundations are:
MAC – Face and Body. Comes in a wide range of shades and is great value for money. This is the most commonly used foundation for catwalk and editorial work. It is also very easy to mix shades together.
Chanel - Aqua Vitalumiere. Has a light reflecting property which further hides imperfections and give radiance to the skin, really light in application and great for oily skin as oil free. Unfortunately it is quite expensive and comes in limited shades.
Bourjois – Healthy Mix. A baby sibling to Chanel the Bourjois range is much cheaper. At first it seems thick out of the bottle, however applies very thinly over the skin. However compared to MAC has limited shades available.
**Before application ensure your moisturiser has soaked into the skin to avoid the foundation slipping around on top of the skin and wearing off quickly.**
There are no rules to applying foundation and there are a few choices of several brushes, fingers or sponge.
Firstly I would very rarely use a sponge, I find it absorbs and wastes too much product and tends to leave a streaky effect on the skin.
I prefer to use a mixture of brushes and fingers, a synthetic foundation brush as shown below is ideal.
Start by putting some of the product on the back of your hand (the one you won’t be using the brush with), this is both easy to apply the product from and also warms the foundation to the same temperature as your skin, making it blend nicely when applied.
Start from the centre of the face and blend outwards, use downward strokes as this minimises the appearance of pores and fine hairs. Make sure that you have very little product towards the edge of the face as here is where thick product will leave tell-tale lines. Blend a little product into the neck if required.
Finally use your fingers to pat and blend the applied foundation into your skin, particularly around the centre of the face. This will work the foundation into the skin as often the brush will leave some product sitting on top of the skin.
Next step concealer….