Beauty U -- How to: Shop for Foundation

Foundation is one of those beauty products that many women are willing to shell out big bucks for -- almost as much as anti-aging cream.  Well, then, if celebrities can afford expensive foundation, why do we see photos of them with white powder around their eyes and two different skin tones -- a lighter on their face and their actual skin tone on their neck and collarbone?  Most of us don't have the funds or the personal makeup artist to help us with choosing the right foundation, but these SIX tips (some are more like rules!) will definitely help: 
  1. Know your skin type. If your skin is on the oily side, I recommend looking for a stick (solid to cream), powder, or oil-free liquid foundation. If you are on the dry side, go for a foundation with a liquid consistency.  If you're prone to allergic reactions, try foundations with a shorter ingredients list and keep track of brands that break you out.
  2. Don't skimp!  If there were any other feature on your face you could save some bucks on, don't let it be your skin.  In other words, if foundation is something you use daily, invest in one that doesn't make you break out or doesn't rub off on all your clothing.  Besides, buying a higher-end foundation may last longer since they tend to be more pigmented, so you end up losing a smaller amount each time.  
  3. Don't forget to prep & seal.  99% of the time, a well-laid foundation makes all the difference.  The same is true about prepping the face for makeup because dry skin makes for a cakey foundation look and oily skin leaves foundation gliding on the skin's surface.  Moisturize your skin from the inside (hydrate) and the outside and your skin will not only thank you, but you'll look even more gorgeous than you anticipated.  Like any liquid to cream product, foundation in the same form needs to be sealed to prevent rub-off and transfer.  Follow up your foundation with a light dusting of fine powder -- the finer, the better to prevent it settling into fine lines, not that you or I have any, of course.
  4. Trust your eyes.  Grab a bottle that looks like it matches your skin tone.  Then, grab the bottles immediately lighter and immediately darker than the first one you chose.  Apply one streak of each foundation beginning from the corner of your mouth to your ear.  Whichever foundation disappears is likely the one that best matches your skin tone since you can't tell the difference between it and your skin color. 
  5. Two are better than one.  I don't know about you, but my face never stays the same shade during the entire year.  This is why I recommend that you purchase two shades of foundation -- one lighter for the winter months and one darker for the summer months when one tends to catch more sun.  For liquid foundation wearers, mixing foundation (one drop of the lighter and 2 drops of the darker during the summer) is just as easy as swirling your brush in both the lighter powder compact and the darker one.  To double the powder foundation's usage, try applying the lighter shade in a vertical fashion down the middle of the face, at the tops of cheekbones, and underneath eyes while applying the darker one around the outer edge of the face (jaw line, temples, hairline, etc.) as a sort of contour.  
  6. Don't commit.  Time and time again, I see women buying foundation that looks great in the mall, but once they get home, their faces appear orange.  This is most often due to oxidation and the way the ingredients react with our facial oils and prolonged exposure to the outside environment (air!).  What's worse is the "reverse raccoon" look seen frequently when flash photography is used.  To remedy these foundation no-no's, follow these rules:
    • Ask for a sample before buying the entire bottle!  It'll save you a trip to the return line.
    • Always walk out into direct sunlight before purchasing. Tell the sales girl that you'll think about it & come back -- the way you look in natural lighting may be a deal breaker.
    • If you are frequently photographed, buy foundation SANS (without) SPF!  I know, I know, I am all about protecting the skin against harmful UV rays, but believe you me:  wear your favorite moisturizer/facial lotion containing SPF underneath your foundation instead because it works just as well and will still reduce the reverse raccoon glare.
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