Make Up 101: Foundation

Image by Salon de Maria via Flickr

A new series, Make up 101 will focus on all aspects of make up and break them down into a dummy-proof process. Not that you are dummies, but those of you who are new to make up might find it useful.
Second base: foundation.

While most of us have pretty decent skin, on certain events we want to put our best face forward. Foundation helps create the illusion of a good, even toned skin canvas against which our features like eyes & lips can command attention & shine through, without competing for attention with the ungainly acne marks or sun spots.

What does it do: 

1. Even out skin tone so that you have a good base to apply the rest of your make-up
2. Helps concealer hide scars or dark colors more effectively
3. Protects the skin from dirt, & if it has SPF - the sun as well

How to apply: Dot foundation all over face. Blend with quick even strokes using a damp sponge. This is the second step after concealer application.

Types of foundations:

1. Tinted Moisturizer

If you don’t need a lot of coverage but do want something to even out your skin tone and relieve dry skin, try tinted moisturizer. Tinted moisturizer is perfect for softening and protecting the skin while adding a hint of foundation color. This makeup is also ideal because you don't have to put on moisturizer and then foundation: it's a one-step process. However none of the Indian brands offer this as yet. 

(UPDATE: 12th Oct 09: Ponds has come out with a range of Anti-Aging Tinted Moisturizers with SPF 15. They are available in 3 shades for Rs. 215/-)
SPF making your life simpler by combining moisturizer, sunscreen & foundation. A great time & money saver.matte finish, most of them (and most tinted moisturizers) are not for those with oily or breakout-prone skin. If you have a tricky skin tone to match, a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer may still present problems, and there will be fewer shade options than with standard foundations.

Some tinted moisturizers are even fortified with
Quite a few of the newest foundations provide coverage that's so sheer, it is barely perceptible on skin. For casual weekend makeup, sheer foundation or tinted moisturizers are excellent options for normal to dry or slightly oily skin that does not need significant coverage.

Pros: Sheer foundations and tinted moisturizers are extremely easy to choose and use. The shades are so sheer (some bordering on transparent) that getting the color exactly right is not essential. These are a great way to add a touch of color to pale or sallow skin, and the sheerness prevents a slightly dark or tan-toned shade from looking wrong.

Cons: The coverage can be too sheer for those whose flaws are more apparent, including skin discolorations, broken capillaries, dark circles, or birthmarks. Although some sheer foundations have a
Product: UPDATE: 12th Oct 09: Ponds has come out with a range of Anti-Aging Tinted Moisturizers with SPF 15. They are available in 3 shades for Rs. 215/- each for 50 ml)

2. Mousse or Whipped Foundation

Mousse or whipped foundation is easier to apply in thin layers than liquid makeup, so you have more control. Mousse makeup is liquid makeup with air whipped in, making it lighter and smoother. It costs more than other cosmetics because you're paying for the added air (yea, air), but if you've ever spread whipped butter on a hot piece of toast, you know the difference is vast. Whipped foundation is good for all skin types, but it's especially nice for those with oily skin.
Pros: Very good coverage, it goes on easily & dries to a matt finish with no sheen. It also is long lasting. Very good for oily skin

Cons: Can be drying, and if not applied properly can look cakey or fake. 
Product: A very good option here is Maybelline Dream Mousse Foundation (Cost: Rs. 450 for a tub)

3. Liquid Foundation

These foundations look like a somewhat thick liquid and pour slowly but easily out of the bottle. They are perfect for women with normal to dry skin and the number of foundations fitting this description and performance abound.

Tip: Dry skins can dilute it with moisturizer to make their own tinted foundation version at home

Product: You have lots of options here in Indian companies such as Lakme. They even offer a 9 to 5 version that they promise will stay put the entire day.

 Pros: Most water-based foundations provide light to medium coverage and are best for those with normal to dry skin. The oil or emollient part of these foundations gives them good movement, which allows blushes and eyeshadows to blend on effortlessly and evenly over the face. Mistakes are easily buffed away with the sponge.

Cons: If you have oily or combination skin, this is not the foundation type for you. Even the little bit of emollients in a water-based foundation can show shine almost immediately if you have oily skin. For the right skin type, there aren't any disadvantages to using a water-based foundation.
But.... Some liquid foundations are Oil-free and matte!!
This has a smooth finish with no shine or dewy appearance. Most oil-free and matte liquid foundations provide sheer to medium coverage.

4. Liquid-to-powder foundations
These liquidy powders with a gel-like wet feel, apply easily and dry to a satiny-smooth, slightly matte finish. They typically contain water as the first ingredient, along with a slip agent such as glycerin. In contrast to cream-to-powder foundations, liquid-to-powder foundations feel lighter on the skin. They also tend to last longer over combination or oily skins since the creamy, waxy ingredients are either decreased or absent.

Pros: Liquid-to-powder foundations blend on quickly and relatively easily and provide a semi-matte to matte finish with sheer to medium coverage. They work great for someone with normal to oily or slightly combination skin. The consistency doesn't require powdering after you apply it.

Cons: Liquid-to-powder foundations dry quickly and can blend on choppy. This type of foundation does not work well over dry skin, because the water portion tends to cling to dry areas, leaving a powder finish that is not easily moved. The product itself must be kept tightly closed, as the water component will evaporate if it is left exposed to air. Some of the compact liquid-to-powder makeups can break apart if you are not careful.

Product: Streetwear offers a good liquid to powder foundation (costs Rs 550/-)

4. Stick foundation (Cream to Powder foundations)

They provide great coverage. They have a thick texture and can cover any color imperfection in the skin. They are ideal for dry or normal skin. They also can be used as concealers. People with uneven skin tones or some skin conditions can benefit from using this type of foundation. They are not easy to apply, but with practice it becomes easy.  These foundations are creamy in nature and best blended using a damp sponge.

Pros: Stick foundations blend on quickly and easily and provide a semi-matte or powdery finish. They work well for someone with normal to slightly dry or slightly combination skin. This type of foundation doesn't require powdering after you apply it. If you wish to use powder, make sure you apply it as lightly as possible to avoid a caked, heavy look.

Cons: Stick foundations can blend on slightly thick, producing a made-up look. They don't work well for someone with oily skin because the cream components can make skin look more oily, and they don't work well for dry skin because the powder element can be too powdery looking and cause more dryness. They are best for normal skin types. 

Product: Oliva offers 5 different shades in this at a very affordable 75 Rs. 

6. Pressed powder–based foundation (Compact)
These foundations come in a compact and perform much like any pressed powder, which is what they really are, only with a bit more coverage and ability to stay put. Almost all of them have a wonderfully creamy, silky feel, but when applied to the skin they blend on as easily as any pressed powder. Most pressed powder foundations provide light to medium coverage.

Pros: Powder-based foundations are great for women with normal to oily or combination skin. They’re convenient, blend on easily, last all day, generally don't change color, and feel light on the skin. They are best for those who want a minimal feel and polished appearance from their foundation. They also work very well over sunscreens, and can help take down the shine some sunscreen ingredients can leave on the skin.

Cons: This is not a good option if you have any amount of flaky skin. The powder content makes this type too drying for someone with dry skin. Also, women with very oily skin might want to be cautious, because powder-based foundations can appear thickened and pooled as oil resurfaces on the face during the day.

Products to try: Maybelline whitestay UV compact with SPF 18 (Rs. 150/-)

7. Foundations with shine
A trend in the world of movies is having your entire face shine, either with a makeup primer, a foundation or a powder that shines. In real life, full-face shine tends to look sparkly or extremely artificial, and if you have normal to oily skin, it looks like the oil you were trying to do away with. The concept works better as an evening look than for a classic daytime look.

Pros: For dull or dry skin, foundations with shine can indeed add a subtle glow to the face.

Cons: Too much shine can accentuate wrinkles or less-than-perfect skin and can make oily skin look greasy, not glowing. There's a lot of variation when it comes to how much shine you'll get from these products, so choose based on whether you want a subtle glow or high-wattage shimmer. 

Product: Lakme Sheer Face Powder in Desert Rose is a good option here to get your face to be bling-bling. Though I would personally use it only as a blush. Never as foundation. Too much sparkle.  

1. Oily skin? use powder or compact to soak up the oil. A good option is Maybelline's whitestay UV Compact (150 Rs) or their dream mousee matt foundation (This offers thicker coverage. Rs. 450/-)
2.  If you have oily skin, consider makeup that is a shade lighter than your skin. The reason is because makeup tends to turn a shade darker once it mixes with the skin's natural oils.This point even hold true if you are going to spend time outside where you will sweat. Sweat has sebum which again truns foundation dark. (I once used a pink based foundation, by evening I was looking orange - You don't want to do that)

3. Stick to foundations with a yellow base. Even if you have rosy cheeks. Yellow base tends to suit Indian skin better. Besides, you can reclaim the rosy cheeks with a blush, but there is no undoing an entire face that looks like you are dying of a sun-stroke.

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  1. nyc review tanveer, vry hlpful ..

  2. how did i miss such an informative post? must be hibernating...tanvi, again u r a genius :)

  3. @ Ramya: Thks :D

    @ Divija: I wrote this a long time back.. so maybe tht is why u missed it.. Thks for all the good things u say! :D

  4. HIIIIIII. i loveeeeee your blog and how it focusses on indian products. u r amaziiinggggggg. i heard about a new foundation from revlon,revlon colorstay liquid foudation in combination/oily. would love to try it out but in trivandrum its not available in all the shades. are all the shades available in mumbai?i am looking for caramel shade which i heard is closest to mac nc45. hope u will help me. byeeeeee


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