Foundation's Foundation

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am very picky about my foundation. There's really no other way to say that. I think that other than your skin care routine, nothing can ruin a good makeup attempt like bad foundation. Demarcation lines, ashyness, premature fading  - it's all pretty abysmal if you've gone to the trouble of creating an overall look to present to the world. Thus when I run out of one foundation I always like to take another look at what's available; no matter the year or season, there's going to be at least one or two prominent makeup brands that have a new formula for you to play with.

The biggest deterrent to this I've found? Sales assistants. Nice or rude, their help always seems to come with a downside. If they're rude I don't want anything to do with the product (please don't make me feel like I'm wasting your time when this is your job), and if they're nice I end feeling bad when I ask for a sample instead of buying anything right then. But ladies let me tell you - ASK FOR A SAMPLE. It can be uncomfortable at first if you've never done it before, but it's an invaluable skill to learn. Asking for a sample lets you take it home, try it on, and - the most important - wear it for a day or two and see how your face responds. Because the truth is you'll never know how your face will react with a particular product until you take it for a test drive; as a makeup wearer you want to know if the color will change as the day goes on and it mixes with the natural oils on your face, if the coverage is actually what you need it to be, if the color itself even has the correct undertone to prevent any unsightly lines. It's all only really visible in natural light after a few hours, so always ask for a sample and take it home. I've never had the effort not go rewarded. 

After I finished up my MAC Studio Fix Liquid (which I like and recommend if you're looking for full coverage), I decided to step out of my box and try something which means one thing: a trip to Sephora! They always have the best variety and if after sampling I still end up buying something that doesn't work the store has a great return policy. I did my research before hand, reading up online, seeing swatches - the whole nine yards. After my disappointment with Makeup Forever's HD Foundation a few years ago I knew that it whatever I picked would have to be better than just its hype. I wanted to love Laura Mercier's creme foundation - I really did. It had phenomenal coverage and the texture was divine; unfortunately nothing could change the fact that the color had too much of a beige/pink undertone for it to work. I got a sample of it anyway, but it just confirmed what I could see in the store.  My next two contenders were the NARS Sheer Matte and the new MAC Pro Longwear Foundation. I'd heard good things about both but NARS was about $15 more expensive. I tried them out in store, even bought both of them, because I wanted to give each a week to see how they performed. Initially I leaned towards the MAC Pro because of the coverage it gave me (medium to full) and the way it did really seem to last all day (its promos say that it's supposed to last up 15hrs). What did NARS have? Sheer to medium coverage which isn't perfect for someone with acne scars and INCREDIBLE tone matching. I mean, I have never had a foundation that blended so perfectly from my face to my neck, with absolutely no issue even at the end of the day. Plus there's all this hooplah about oil control and Vitamin C and how it's supposedly going to help my skin over time; that's nice and all, but I needed coverage on a bad day, ok? Everything else is gravy. Nice gravy don't get me wrong - but gravy just the same. 

Ultimately I did what every good makeup girl should do, I tried, changed my routine, adapted and tried again. I found that using the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer under my NARS gave me the long lasting coverage I needed while letting my skin breathe everywhere else. I'm having my cake and eating too because on the left side of my face and forward where I don't break out as much the NARS foundation is on in sheer amounts just to even out the skin tone, but on the right side of my face I'm able to build it up with the MAC concealer so that everything looks as smooth and even as possible. A great result to a kind of complicated journey.

But in the end, what do I want you to take from this? Don't settle and don't given in to pressure - you know what works for your skin, life, and routine. Stick to your guns and try new things but stay true to that 'foundation' for foundation. You'll end up much happier with less  money wasted.

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