Did you know that 80% of all women are wearing the wrong shade of foundation? Typically, women are lighter in the winter and darker in the summer, even if sunscreen is worn daily.  In fact, according to a worldwide study conducted by Estee Lauder of more than 5,000 women, 8 out of 10 women were wearing a shade that did not match their skin tone.

As a working makeup artist, one of the biggest challenges I face with my customers is convincing them to select a foundation that matches their skin tone.  It is not uncommon for them to say “I feel like it makes me look washed out, I want something that is going to give me more color”.  Makeup is designed to enhance a woman’s natural beauty, not mask it.  In fact, in most cases, wearing a foundation that is darker than your skin tone will accentuate blemishes, fine lines and age a woman beyond her years.  This doesn’t mean that you have to look like a ghost in the winter, the key is to learn how to create dimension with highlighters and bronzers which warm the face and look much more natural.


Which foundation formula is best for you?

When working with a new client I always begin with a client consultation where I ask several questions that will help me understand her needs, wants and expectations.  It is important to understand their lifestyle, what look they are trying to achieve, skin type and amount of time they are willing to spend on their daily makeup application to make an educated recommendation that will suit all of the above factors.  As we age our skin gets drier and we experience tone and texture changes making it more challenging for find a foundation that provides a healthy, youthful appearance.  These factors should be considered when selecting a foundation formulation.

powder foundation

Powder foundation is best for teens or oily skin types

Powder foundation
Powder and/or Mineral Powder foundation is typically the product of choice for women with busy lifestyles, especially those with small children as they are less likely to spend a lot of time on makeup unless it is a special occasion.  Powder foundations are best for teens or women with oily skin types because most powder foundations contain ingredients that aid in oil absorption and provide a matte appearance to the skin.  I would not recommend powder foundation for dry or mature skin types.  If you fall into this category and desire a powder foundation it is important that you select a brand that triple-mills their powder so that it doesn’t settle into skin imperfections and fine lines and accentuate them.  Also keep in mind that most mineral based foundations are not suitable for photography.

Self-test: If you wear a mineral foundation take a look at your face in the sunlight.  Do you notice that the skin looks sparkly?  If so this is a dead giveaway that you are wearing makeup.  I don’t know about you but the last thing I want is for my face to look like a disco ball!

If you desire to use a powder foundation, I highly recommend Mirabella Pure Press Mineral Foundation.  I discovered this brand in 2010 and have yet to find a foundation that can provide coverage and yet look natural and feel clean.  Pure Press is a triple-milled, mineral foundation that contains reflective ingredients that diminish the appearance of fine lines without looking “sparkly”.  Not only is Pure Press long wearing and water resistant, it contains certified organic ingredients and provides additional sun protection.

Unlike other mineral foundations, Pure Press is suitable for photography and film and is the sole line of makeup used on the set of NBC’s 1600 Penn, received kudos from many beauty publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Modern Salon and is used at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week which is a major accomplishment for a mineral-based cosmetic company.  These accolades by experts in the industry speak volumes to the quality and performance of the brand.

Speaking of ingredients, it is important that you read the label of all foundations before you purchase, even those that state they are “mineral based”.  With the success of Bare Minerals and growing public demand for cleaner, healthier cosmetics, many brands claim to have mineral products because they have a small percentage of titanium dioxide and/or zinc in them.  A true mineral makeup that is good for your skin doesn’t just add these two ingredients; they also remove harmful or controversial ingredients which could cause irritation or breakouts.

tinted moisturizers

Tinted moisturizers provide sheer to light coverage and area ideal for those looking to even out skin tone on clear, blemish free skin, especially in warmer months of the year.

Tinted Moisturizer
Tinted moisturizer is a cross between a moisturizer and a light foundation.  Tinted moisturizers provide sheer to light coverage and area ideal for those looking to even out skin tone on clear, blemish free skin, especially in warmer months of the year.  Many tinted moisturizers also contain SPF however; using a moisturizer with at least 30 SPF is also highly recommended.  I highly recommend Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, which has been the #1 selling tinted moisturizer in the world for 10 years.  This was also my product of choice for ten years until I needed a bit more coverage due to tone and texture changes that occurred in my early 40’s.

BB Creams
Blemish balms were originally formulated in Germany in the 1950’s and introduced to Japan and South Korea in the 1980’s, entering the US market in 2011.  BB creams are multi-tasking products combining moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunscreen in most formulations while also providing anti-inflammatory and soothing effects to the skin.  In reality, these “miracle creams” are mostly fancy tinted moisturizers and would appeal to the tinted moisturizer client.  Although these creams tout that they are “all-in-one” products, it is highly recommended to prep skin with a moisturizer containing SPF prior to BB cream application.  I personally do not recommend BB creams as I don’t believe that “one-size fits all” however, two of my favorite beauty experts shared their favorite BB creams with me which I will in turn share with you.  Emily Foley of Atlanta LOVES Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream and says that it is the only product that she uses on a daily basis.  You Tube guru, Kandee Johnson highly recommends L’Oreal’s Magic Skin BB cream.

CC creams

CC cream is my favorite complexion perfecter and product of choice for everyday wear.

CC Creams
Color/Complexion Correctors, a/k/a CC creams, are very similar to their predecessor (BB creams) however they typically contain light reflecting ingredients to help even out skin tone and minimize redness in the skin.  CC creams typically provide light to medium coverage however, most formulas contain color correcting pigments which provide much better neutralization to dark spots and hyperpigmentation than regular foundation products.  CC cream is my favorite complexion perfecter and product of choice for everyday wear.  Two of my favorite CC creams are Mirabella’s Crème de la Crème which provides full coverage with a satin finish.  (my “go-to” CC cream!) and Stila’s CC cream which provides a light to medium coverage.

liquid foundation

Liquid foundations are the most popular foundation types and are best for women with dry and/or mature skin offering more nutrients and hydration to the skin along with increased coverage

Liquid Foundation
Liquid foundations are the most popular foundation types and are best for women with dry and/or mature skin offering more nutrients and hydration to the skin along with increased coverage.  Oil-free formulas are available for those with normal-oily skin combinations.  (Tip: If your foundation formula is too oily add a few drops of witch hazel or astringent to the bottle to cut down on the oiliness and provide a more sheer coverage.)  My two favorite liquid foundations are Mirabella Skin Tint Crème and Hourglass Veil Mineral Foundation.  Both of these foundations contain skin loving ingredients, feel light on the skin and leave the skin looking radiant and healthy.

What is your favorite skin perfector?  What foundation formula do you like best and why?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Sending peace, love and happiness to all!

Kelly Kirby Walker, Professional Makeup Artist and Beauty Blogger

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  1. Anne Laney September 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm Reply

    Great Information! Am off to purchase a CC cream!

    • Kelly Walker September 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm Reply

      Thanks so much for your feedback Anne! I would love to know which CC cream you purchase and your thoughts on it. Hugs to you sweet lady, xoxo

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