“A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous.” ~ Coco Chanel
So now your face is clean and moisturized, all ready for makeup. You've already determined your skin type, so you know if you want an oil or water based foundation- next you need to determine what type of foundation you'd like to use. The most common are cream, liquid or powder. Cream foundation is moisturizing- good for normal to dry skin. Liquid is probably the most popular, and is made in a huge variety of formulas- oil or water-based, sheer or heavy. I'd guess there's a formula for every skin type and preference. There's also pressed powder foundation. Powder foundation by itself is good for normal to oily skin, and also has the advantage of being useful to set your liquid or cream foundation if you'd like a little more coverage. Your choice will depend on personal preference and how well your makeup wears over the course of the day. If you like a sheerer look you'll probably go with a liquid foundation or even tinted moisturizer; with a liquid you have the option of sheering it down with moisturizer or primer. This gives you more options- you can choose a slightly heavier liquid foundation and apply it more heavily where you'd like, and sheer it down where you need less coverage.
If you haven't already or are unsure about this, you need to determine your proper color foundation. Head out to your local mall or beauty supply store (with no makeup on, please) and plan on spending some time on this. You need to get this just right. If you don't, then I promise you nothing else you add will work. Also, be picky about what you choose- like I said, it seems like there are an infinite number of liquid foundations out there, so if it's liquid you want there's bound to be one that seems to melt into your skin and make it look perfect. It may take time, but it's worth it. And you'd be surprised how many stores will take returns on makeup- often big name department stores are very obliging about it all. So there's very little risk involved- just the investment of your time. Be sure to ask what their return policy is, and even write it on the receipt if you have a crappy memory like me. :-)
First you'll start with shade- this is how light or dark your foundation should be. Pick ones that you think are close, and put small-ish stripes of each down the side of your cheek crossing the jawline. With a little trial and error you should be able to tell right away which ones are the closest match to your skin. You can also mix two shades to get a more exact match. Remember- at this point we're only looking to find the proper shade.
Now we get to undertone- this means 'rosy' (cool or 'blue') or 'olive' (warm or 'yellow') or even neutral (between the other two) coloring to your skin. Pick 'warm' and 'cool' versions of the shade closest to your skin, and again paint a small stripe of each on your jawline. If all has gone as it should, one of these should seem almost invisible on your skin. That's your color. If you have trouble then you may be more neutral than warm or cool. Most cosmetic lines will have a selection of neutrals as well. As with shade you can always mix colors to get a more exact match. But keep in mind that you may get tired of having to mix foundations every morning….
Application can be done with the same tools you used to apply moisturizer and/or primer- the reason being this makes life easier. Each time you use a brush for anything 'wet'- moisturizer, foundation, concealer- it must be washed to prevent potential bacterial growth, so if you use it first for moisturizer, primer and then foundation, you save yourself washing a second brush every day. (Yes, every day.) If you use disposable sponges obviously you'll use half as many. Some people like to keep things simple and use clean fingers- this is fine too. Whatever works for you. You start in the middle, on the nose, and work your way out, up and down. For every day wear all you need to do is just enough coverage. Many people don't need coverage anywhere but in the t-zone. This might be a good place for the saying 'less is more.' Unless of course it's more your style to do a more dramatic application…and far be it from me to inhibit anyone's personal style. By all means, do your thing!
On to concealer. Some like to put on concealer before foundation; I think it makes more sense to put it on after. The one you put on first is likely to be disturbed by the one you put on top- and where you put concealer is where you want heavier coverage, so to my way of seeing it you're better off finishing with the heavier coverage. But ultimately it's up to you. Do what you're comfortable with.
Which brings me to the last, and what I consider a truly key step - setting your foundation and concealer with powder before adding your color. This is important because it means when you go to apply color in the form of powder- eyeshadow, blush, contour, highlighter, whatever- all will go on without 'grabbing' to your foundation. It means you have more control and can blend properly. If you've ever had issues with concealer settling into fine lines around the eyes, then try this- immediately after applying your concealer apply a very fine, translucent powder over it, and on your entire eye area, with a small, fluffy brush. I make sure to tap the brush off after dipping in the powder to avoid applying too much. For setting the foundation you can use the same fine translucent powder you used on your concealer and in the eye area, or a regular, tinted face powder, or a pressed powder foundation. Remember back when I talked about how pressed powder foundation can be used to set your foundation? Well, here's where you'd do that. One nice thing about using powder foundation to set your liquid (or other 'wet') foundation is that you get extra coverage- meaning you may be able to use a lighter application of the liquid foundation and less of the powder to achieve more coverage yet with a more natural look. (Don't ask me how that works, but it does.)
And here's a final note- if you haven't noticed, there's a hard and fast rule here- liquids, creams and anything with any moisture goes on first. Once you add powder you shouldn't add anything else with moisture on top- if you do, you risk winding up with a gooey mess.
Whew! Another looooooong blog….