Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back to The Basics

Whew!!! I am exhausted. Trying to reshape your body after just relying on your metabolism to keep the weight off is kicking my butt. Instead of hitting the treadmill like most, I am opting for a low impact workout-swimming. This brings me to my next topic of discussion. It is a topic of mystery for most, leaving most women looking like they have floating heads or someone just painted their faces on. Get where this discussion is headed....? That's right foundation and concealer!!!! Many women are dead set against wearing it, because they are afraid of it. They don't know which shade is best, which formulation is best, and for some reason we feel that it makes us seem vain and artificial for wearing it. Foundation does not compromise your beauty. It enhances it. I am a BIG fan of the natural look (in fact, that is what I am known for), but I have seen some women walk around, and they would look so much better with a little concealer under the eye and foundation in certain areas.

Now here is the age old question....What is the difference between foundation and concealer?

The only difference between foundation and concealer is the concentration of pigment in the product. There is more pigment in concealer than in foundation. Foundations and concealers come in a variety of forms (i.e. liquids, powders, cream to powder, moisturizing, stick, cake, etc.). They also come in a variety of finishes. By finishes, I mean the final texture of the product once it dries down onto the skin (natural matte, satin matte, dewy, natural, radiant glow, pearlized, etc.).

For beauty makeup or day-to-day wear, the biggest mistake women make is applying foundation all over the face. This is a no-no!!! It will look like you have a floating head and too much foudation on. This will totally defeat the purpose of foundation, which is intended to make you look like you have beautiful, even, and healthy skin. The rule of thumb with foundation is to "Apply As Needed." I find that the most discolored areas are the cheeks, forehead, and undereye area. If you must apply all over, make sure that you blend the product past the jawline, so that there are not any demarcation lines. Also, the match. There is no reason (unless you are an actor or performer of some sort) should your foundation be five shades lighter. Trust me ladies....It looks HORRIBLE!! Be sure to purchase the correct shade of foundation, which is why I suggest making an investment by visiting your local department store. Unless you are an expert, don't pick up something out of the Target beauty aisle without testing it out in natural sunlight. In order for it to match perfectly, the foundation needs to have the correct undertone. In today's day and time, finding the right foundation should be a breeze. Many women of color have this problem...but with the right makeup artist (i.e. Myself) this should be a simple process. Below I have listed the pros and cons of a few different formulations of foundations.

1. Tinted Moisturizer-TM

This is a lighter version of foundation that is composed of more moisturizers than pigment. It provides a sheer coverage and imparts a radiant finish. Most even come with spf of atleast 15. I would recommend this IF you have pretty even skin. Some of my favorites are Becca Tinted Moisturizer, MAC, Laura Mercier, and Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisture Balm.

2. Liquid Foundation

No need to be afraid!!! This is one of my favorites. It is the next level up from tinted moisturizers. There are several different finishes when it comes to liquid foundation-matte, natural matte, dewy, etc. They come with atleast an spf of 15 and there are also moisturizing formulations for those with drier skin. The coverage is sheer to medium. To build this one up to a medium coverage, let the first layer dry then apply another. The only thing with liquid foundation is that once it dries onto the skin, the color darkens just a tad (not enough to notice).

My favorites are L'oreal HIP (works well on women of color), MAC studio fix fluid (matte finish), Armani, Makeup Forever, MAC Face and Body (very sheer coverage), and Bobbi Brown (oil free and moisturizing).

3. Cream to Powder

Most cream to powders come in that convient compact packaging with the cute little sponge underneath. Now as I have seen, many women use the sponge incorrectly. I am just down right against using sponges over and over. Why ? They breed bacteria. Think about it....the sponge goes from the compact to your face (which has bacteria), then back into your product, then back onto your face.....EWWW. Then, you get a lovely little visitor two weeks later right on the center of your forehead. Cream to powder foundation goes on as a creamy formula and VOILA!! It dries down to a matte finish. Ideal for the oily gal. The coverage is medium to full. I really only recommend a matte finish if you are extremely oily. I do not like the matte look, because real skin does not look overly matte. If you get oily throughout the day invest in oil blotting paper.

I don't really have any favorites in this category, but Bobbi Brown is introducing her new moisturizing compacts next week. MAC also makes a moistureblend foundation(sheer medium coverage).

4. Powder

This is probably my least favorite, because it isn't used correctly by the masses of women. Like the cream to powder foundations, it comes with a lovely little sponge for women to pack on the product. I can always tell when a women is wearing a powder foundation(i.e. MAC studio Fix), because it looks cakey and powdery. Powdered foundations give a matte finish. It has a medium to full coverage. This product is ideal for the oily gal. Before using this product make sure to moisturize and let your moisturizer sink in. If not, the product will become hard. But this is a BIG "no-no" if you have dry skin. It only serves to make you look drier. I know the packaging is convenient, but moisturing cream in compacts are readily available. Translucent powder is totally different than powdered foundations. Translucent powder "sets" your makeup (by set..think of it like saving your work). It ensures that you will not have to do very many touch ups throughout the day and absorbs excess oil. You only need to "powder" certain areas (under eye area to prevent concealer from creasing, forehead, and a little on the sides of the nose). If you have drier skin, very minimal powdering is necessary. The pigment concentration is minimal, so there isn't much coverage.

5. Cake and/or Stick Foundations

These are full coverage foundations that are very emollient. They glide over the skin effortlessly when "warmed up" (not in the microwave...but on the back of your hand). They provide a natural finish and is ideal for the gal that does not have skin like Beyonce. These can tend to feel heavier IF applied incorrectly. To thin out the product for a lighter feel, apply with a damp sponge or buffing brush. This is good for all skin types.
I love Bobbi Brown foundation stick, MAC studio Stick, Black Opal, and Laura Mercier.

6. Aerosol/Airbrush Foundation

This is a sheer to medium coverage foundation that must be sprayed on a secondary surface( a square of aluminum foil, petri dish, etc.). Do not spray this directly on the face. It has micronized mother of pearl particles that act as optical diffusers to soften fine lines, even complexion, and give an airbrushed finish. This is another one of my favorites, especially when working with models who have lovely skin. Aerosol foundations have buildable coverage. Apply one layer then apply another. They also come in bronzers as well. No powdering is necessary after this, unless that is the look you want to acheive.

My top picks are Christian Dior Airflash (excellent coverage, but only comes in lighter shades), Guerlain, and MAC studio mist.

Concealers come in the same formulations as foundations and give similar finish. Using concealer is encouraged only if you have dark circles to cover or an area that your foundation just isn't quite doing the job. For undereye concealer, I would recommend a color that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation. This is because you want highlight your undereye area and bring forth your eyes. Some cosmetic companies automatically adjust the corresponding concealer colors to a lighter one. It takes out the guess work. Please make sure to blend the foundation and concealer so that there are no lines. I find the most effective application is next to a window. Natural light highlights flaws, making it easy to identify where more blending is necessary. Now this is not to say that concealer can't be used as foundation and vice versa. Sometimes if I would like sheer coverage I use a sheer concealer under my eyes, cheeks and forehead.

Last but not least, who came first...the chicken or the egg???? Which comes first? Foundation or concealer? This is an age old debate. I adjust this technique accordingly. If I am doing a lighter concealer under the eye and I want to blend the two together, then I place the slighter darker foundation on top of the outer edges of the concealer. The effect is a natural transition of color. This is what I would suggest for you-adjust accordingly. Play around and see which technique works best for you.

Ok class this concludes our chapter on foundations and concealers. In the next chapter, we will discuss the proper tools to apply foundation and concealer. Any questions please feel free to post. And remember....Your makeup should look and feel like your second skin.

Attention !!! Achtung!!!

There is a runway africa show happening on Saturday, September 15th at the French Embassy here in DC. The show is going to be HOT!! The designers are phenomenal. Visit for information on tickets. I will see you there!!!

Don't forget to test your knowledge below on America's Next Top Model.

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