Thursday, July 30, 2020


Sally Stone has kindly written a series of articles about makeup and makeup application that is specifically targeted for girls like us. The third installment of her series deals with foundation.

By Sally Stone

Artists will tell you that in order to create a masterpiece it is important to have the right canvas. Where makeup artistry is concerned, the canvas is just as critical to a perfect face as it is to a perfect painting. Foundation is makeup’s canvas and if we don’t get it right, anything else we put on it is likely to fall short of our expectations. In my opinion, foundation and more specifically foundation applied correctly, is the single-most important component of a makeup routine.

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When choosing foundation, there are several characteristics we should consider as important: how well/easy it is to blend, is it buildable, what level of coverage does it provide and finally what shade/color is it? Other considerations like “is it long-wearing” or “what kind of finish does it provide” are not particularly important to me because I create my own wear and finish characteristics when I set the foundation.

Blend-ability: A good foundation is easy to apply and blend. To get blend-ability, I use creme formulas. They generally go on easily and they are compatible with the crème contouring products I use. I don’t use powder-based or waterproof foundations because in my experience, they don’t blend as well as non-waterproof cremes.

Buildable: Foundation must be buildable. This is important because building foundation in very thin layers until you just cover the targeted flaw is the only way to get a natural looking result with full-coverage formula.

Coverage: If you have perfect skin and facial features that are decidedly feminine, you can probably get away with a foundation that offers minimal coverage. For many of us, though, we are going to need a foundation that can effectively hide flaws and help to overcome some of skin characteristics that come from being born male. This usually means we will need a product offering full-coverage. The good news is that full-coverage doesn’t have to mean heavy or unnatural. In fact, with the proper formula and the right application, full-coverage foundation can look just as natural and beautiful as those sheer formulas do. I get great results with full-coverage foundation, so it has always been my go-to formula.

Full-coverage foundation can be grouped into two general categories. The first group is designed for serious concealment, hiding major flaws. Dermablend Cover Crème and Mehron Celebre Pro HD are super-pigmented and can cover flaws like birthmarks and tattoos. The second group is still full-coverage, but these foundations are designed for general coverage. These include foundations like Loreal Infallible Total Cover, MAC Pro and Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer & Foundation. Any of these foundations are good choices and possess the characteristics we are looking for.

Shade/Color: The hardest part about choosing a foundation is finding the correct shade. Some makeup companies offer a dizzying array of shades, while others have a limited number. If you want a natural look, it is imperative you find a foundation shade that matches your skin tone. This can be difficult.

I had to resort to mixing shades (always of the same brand and formula). It was the only way I could get the brand I use to match my skin tone.

Another option is to allow a makeup specialist help you find the correct shade. This is a viable option, but be forewarned: if a specialist is trying to sell a particular product and their shade options do not exactly match your skin tone, they might end up recommending something that is only close.

Using a shade that doesn’t exactly match your face can still work, it’s just that using this option means you’ll have to apply foundation to all of the skin that frames your face. This means the neck and exposed chest area.

Most makeup sellers allow you to sample different shades and the back of the hand is perfect for matching the proper color. The back of the hand mirrors facial skin tone and tends to show the same tan level as the face. It is also the perfect pallet for mixing shades to find an exact match.

Putting It On

Begin applying foundation all over the face and neck. Start with a very light application. The key here is adhering to the “less is more” theory. Start by putting a few dots of foundation all around the face and neck, then with a stippling brush, work it into the pores using a combination pressing, swirling motion to ensure the foundation gets pressed deep into the texture of the skin. This is important for both coverage and staying power.

I find the stippling brush the best way to apply makeup to male-pattern skin texture because it provides the most coverage with the least amount of product. Many makeup artists will recommend letting foundation “cook in” after applying it, that is, it needs to melt down into the pores with the aid of body heat before being set. I have discovered that by stippling the foundation, “cooking in” is a completely unnecessary step.

Makeup sponges are popular with women for applying foundation, but in my experience, they do not get the product deep into the pores the way a stippling brush does. As a result, a sponge tends to result in sheerer coverage for the same amount of foundation applied.

After the first light layer of foundation is worked into the skin, reapply additional layers to areas that need more coverage. If possible, wait five or ten minutes between each layer to allow the foundation to dry. Add layers to the areas of beard shadow and areas of discoloration like birthmarks or dark circles under the eyes, but again, use just enough to cover to avoid the heavy or unnatural look.

Concealer can be used to deal with problem areas, but if foundation is built up properly, often concealer isn’t even needed. If concealer is necessary, I recommend applying it on top of the first layer of foundation and then applying just enough foundation over the concealer to ensure an overall uniform shade.

The cheekbones, forehead and eyelids get the lightest application of foundation, often only a single layer. Subsequent layers of foundation can be applied using the stippling technique ensuring it is blended really well. When finished, the entire face and neck should be a uniform shade ready for contouring, blushing, bronzing and all the other things that go on top.

Source: MatchesFashion
Wearing Madame Butterfly

Janek Traczyk femulates Slawa Przybylska on Polish television’s Your Face Sounds Familiar.

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