Not Pink, Not Green, Not Aquamarine!
Sep 19, 2000
Choosing the right foundation can be a daunting task. You can go to your local drug store and guess at the color you might get based on a mirror and a photo, or go to an expensive department store to have some sales person tell you what is just perfect for your skin regardless of what you think. The least I can do is share what I have learned based on personal experience.
If you've read any of my other reviews on foundation and the like, you've probably heard a lot of this before. I have very fair skin. In the cosmetics industry, color made for fair skin usually has a pink cast. This is because most people who are fair are said to have blue undertones to the skin. Those with blue undertones supposedly need a foundation with a pink cast. This (in my humble opinion) is wrong wrong wrong!!!
First of all, I don't think there is such thing as a blue undertone to the skin. All people have some shade of beige (with the exception of the very very fairest). Some have more red, some are more olive, and some are chocolatey. But beige means there is some form of yellow. The blue undertone is a fabrication. All it means is that your skin is translucent (and therefore fair) enough to show the network of veins beneath the skin.
Second, I consider it a benefit to neutralize strong colors in the face. Blue tones (i.e. showing veins) will be neutralized if I wear a yellow based foundation. The reason? Blue and yellow are nearly opposite on the color wheel (think High School Art Class here). Mix any color with it's opposite and you will almost always get a brown or gray tone. This is the reason why people often suggest a greenish tinged makeup to cover up very red areas. They neutralize. Pink, on the other hand, clearly does not match blue...nor does it do anything to counteract it. When I put it on, it always looks like I'm wearing a mask.
1) I keep hearing raves about Prescriptives, who custom blends foundations for women. Be ready to go to the counter with a firm idea of what you do and do not want. I tried their counter and was promptly told that I would need a pink based foundation. I flatly refused.
2) When you go to the local drug store store, look for a foundation that is labeled as neutral or warm. If it says cool, it's got a pink base.
COVERAGE & CONSISTENCY:
Next, you need to decide what level of coverage you would like. I, personally, have several different foundations for different levels of coverage. The standard for most women is a medium coverage foundation. The benefits of a medium coverage are that they can be used to completely even out the skin tone and hide imperfections. If you don't want to wear it all over the face, it can be used as a concealer only. Medium coverage foundations come in every shape and size now-a-days. The most common types are liquid and powder foundation. Some people would consider a stick foundation to be a medium coverage, nut I would say that it's bordering on heavy, so I generally put it in that category. I personally use Cover Girl Continuous Wear Foundation (liquid) for a long lasting medium coverage.
Light coverage is great for those with good skin and in the summertime for most. These have the sheerest coverage, and won't hide blemishes or imperfections. They should, however, even out the skin tone. Light foundations should always be a liquid in some shape or form. I personally use and suggest a tinted moisturizer (try CG Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer).
Heavy coverage is the last option. I think that this is by far the most unnatural looking, but is sometimes necessary to cover blemishes highly uneven skin. I think that a cream based foundation works best, although there are also cake and stick foundations on the market. Those tend to be even heavier and often separate after long wear (meaning slides from parts of the face an sticks to others, creating uneven coverage). Beware these features.
There are a few other things you probably want to consider when picking a foundation. Do you need a sunscreen, or does your moisturizer already contain that? Do you need extra hydration for dry skin? Do you want staying power? There are several formulas our there that will probably suit you, but you'll have to look carefully.
Remember, don't let anyone try to talk you into buying something your uncomfortable with. Examine your lifestyle and features and determine what is best for you. It may take a while, but there a new options emerging all the time. You will eventually find what you are looking for!