Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tips for Choosing Foundation

The photo below is of beautiful ingenue actress Susannah Hart Jones and I did her hair and make-up. While you may be thinking "What make-up?", in reality the no make-up look is actually a full face of make-up and that lovely complexion was arrived at with tinted moisturizer, foundation, highlighter, concealer and powder. The secret here is getting a perfect color match, using a light hand and blending, blending, blending.


Photo by Lori Dorn

I was recently asked by a writer to provide some tips regarding foundations and that got me to thinking about what an important part it plays in the whole finished "look" of your make-up as it truly is the foundation to whatever other cosmetics you plan on using. It's probably one of the things my clients ask me about most often and it's also one of the things that I frequently notice women get wrong, and I swear as a general rule I don't go around checking out people's faces looking for make-up blunders, it's just that a really bad foundation job is hard to miss. So, as a service to all, herewith are some general helpful hints:

*Never choose a foundation color without first seeing it in the sunlight. Ask for a small sample or try it on at the store and walk outside with a mirror. Good sales people won't mind. They'd rather you get a color you're happy with than have to deal with a return. Finding the right color is probably the single most important thing. Don't rush it. Take your time. If you're wearing the wrong color, all the make-up tips in the world won't make it look good.

*Even if you've tried a color you think matches, don't purchase it immediately. Foundation colors can change slightly as they settle onto your skin, warm, and combine with your personal chemistry. Wait about 30 min. and then check to see if it looks darker or more orange.

*Blend the color on the side of your cheek, over your jawline and slightly down onto your neck. You should not see a streak of color. It should disappear.

* If you are a person who tans and your face and neck are a lot lighter than your chest and shoulders (because you wear sunscreen) and your chest and shoulders are going to be exposed ... which would probably be most of the summer months, try a sheer tinted moisturizer that's darker than the skin on your face and neck and closer to the color of your chest. Blend this all over your face and down onto your neck to even everything out so you don't get the dreaded "white face on brown shoulders" look. Then go back and spot cover where needed with a more covering foundation or lightweight concealer in a color that blends with your now more tan complexion. But don't put a darker foundation all over your face and down onto your neck. It's too heavy for this which is why it's best to stick with a tinted moisturizer.

*Other than tinted moisturizer, which can be blended over your whole face, you shouldn't think of most foundations as a mask. Once you've found a color that blends seamlessly with your skin and you're moisturized, dot small amounts in those areas that need a little coverage and evening out, and then blend outwards onto the rest of your skin. If you've chosen your color well, there's no need to coat your entire face. Not only will this look more natural, but then it's less likely to get cakey as the day wears on.

*Generally, the areas to concentrate coverage on are around the sides of the nose, the chin, tops of the cheek bones and between the eyebrows. Move from these areas fading outwards towards the rest of your skin. Step back and if something is still standing out, pat a little extra foundation on in those areas or dab a little matching concealer on them gently with a brush and then set with a dusting of the sheerest translucent powder you can find.

*When blending on your foundation, use light strokes and follow the direction of growth of the little micro hairs on your face. Generally that is horizontally across on your forehead, downward on your nose, upper lip and center of your chin, and then outwards at a diagonal towards your jawline on your cheeks and either side of your chin. Blending around in circles, or back and forth will make your foundation look cakey and not as smooth and will actually work it into your pores more, which can cause clogged pores and blemishes if your cleansing isn't super thorough. Which brings me to another point ...

*never, ever, go to bed with foundation on. That's the subject of a whole other post, but just quickly: your skin repairs and secretes and pushes dead skin cells out while you sleep and as gross as that sounds, what's even grosser is a layer of make-up preventing that from happening by sealing everything in.

Here's the link to the article by Jennifer Craig-Geisman where I'm quoted along with some other great L.A. make-up artists:
http://www.examiner.com/beauty-trends-in-los-angeles/put-your-best-face-forward-2

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