September 18th, 2015

Angela Hix

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How to Pick a Foundation

foundationShopping for foundation? Know your beauty needs.

Going into a store like Sephora or MAC is wonderful for foundation. You’ll get a myriad of options and someone will help you narrow down a selection. But we need your help. How do we dwindle it down to one option that might work for you? Know what your needs are and what you want out of your foundation.

Is your skin prone to dryness? If so, you’ll want to try a hydrating and luminous one. Is your face an oil slick by noon? You’ll likely want to give a mattifying or long wearing foundation a try.

You’ll also have to keep in mind the coverage you’re looking for. Light? Sheer? Medium? Full? If you’ve got beautiful skin why are you covering it with full? If you’ve got some areas you’d like to cover but the light weight foundation you’ve tried in the past isn’t working, it might not be enough coverage. Don’t forget about the foundations texture too. Dewy? Fresh? Matte?

Another thing to factor in is how you apply it! Sponges like to eat half liquid foundation. They’re just filled with empty holes to hold your foundation for application. Which most times you end up tossing into the garbage. The only sponge I personally like is the Beauty Blender because you dampen it to both help prevent this and the added moisture smooths everything out. I still find however with a Beauty Blender that you waste a fair bit of product which gets washed down the drain.

My favourite application is with a brush. The key to a good brush is using one that has a nicely packed top to it and usually either a domed top, flat top or at least an angle of some kind. These give the ability to get into every nook and contoured plane of facial features. My personal favourites are the:

-MAC 159 brush ($42CA)

-Real Techniques Expert Face brush ($9.99?CA)

-Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush($26CA)


There’s a brush out there for everyone and sometimes it does take trying a few in order to get the one that suits you best. Ask a variety of people what brush they like and why. The brushes I like above are for more of a buffed or second skin look. I don’t like to “see” my foundation. I like my foundation to be buffed into the skin and these brushes achieve that. If you want more coverage and for it to be fuller, these might not work for you.

I’ve personally tried the three above and though my favourite was the Urban Decay one, it fell apart on my after 5 years. My MAC one is the same age and still going strong and worth the investment for longevity. The Real Techniques one is still new to me so the verdict is still out.

After determining what you want out of your foundation, and dwindling it down to this or that, you’ll be able to be colour matched to the foundation. This is where the expert comes in. They play and work with these foundations on the daily and know all the ins and outs of the foundations. They’ll know whether the foundation is prone to oxidizing (what that means is when we secrete sebum, our oil, and it mixes with the foundation and air it can go darker on our skin), prone to dryness, whether you need a primer or even if you need a powder to set it and what powder you should use again based on your needs. Letting an expert choose the colour for you also helps with seeing it on your skin, through a swatch on your cheek, chin through the neck, or a whole face demo. Never swatch on your hand. That trick rarely works. The inside or the out.

If you get your foundation home and it’s just not working, you’ll know in a week to two max. Make sure you hang onto the receipt and exchange it for the right colour or a different formulation. Always be satisfied. Don’t let that foundation collect dust in your drawer that you’ll never use. This is the other benefit to getting a foundation from a beauty store or counter. You have the ability to exchange it after use.

Lastly, always get a seasonal update in your colour. We tend to get more sun in the summer months (even if we like to hide in the house like vampires. I know. I can attest to this) and loose the tan in the winter months. You’ll most likely need to be matched in the summer with a tan and then again in the winter, without. It will look silly if you have a pale complexion and tanned body in the summer. It’s something we call “floating head”. And in the winter the opposite is true, only this time you look like you’re wearing a mask. Two shades a year. In between the major season shifts you can mix the two.

I hope this helps sort through your foundation selections.
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xxoo, Angela