Of all the masks and disguises we wear in life, makeup should rarely be one of them. Everyday makeup is all about enhancing one's natural beauty, not hiding behind a mask.
One fundamental area that people tend to struggle with or misunderstand is foundation. There are countless brands offering various types and numerous shades. How do you know what shade or type of foundation to choose? Where do you even begin?
Finding the perfect foundation is an important task, but it doesn't have to be stressful. There are three main considerations when making a selection: skin type, coverage and finish. The main purpose of foundation is to even the skin tone. Some people have more discoloration than others and may need or want more coverage. It is not necessary to cover the entire face with a heavy layer of foundation.
Before even looking at shade selections, skin type must be considered. The dryness or oiliness of the skin is key in making the best foundation selection. In addition to counteracting the skin's discoloration, balancing the skin's oil and moisture levels is also necessary to allow for maximum wearability.
Most people are relatively aware of how their own skin behaves. The common skin types are oily, dry and combination. Someone with oily skin will notice a shine over the majority of the face. Someone with dry skin may experience tightness or even mild flaking or dullness of the skin. A person with combination skin may notice symptoms of both dry and oily types. Usually, someone with combination skin will have an oily "T-zone", which is the area across the forehead and down the center of the face (especially the nose).
Someone with excess oil would benefit most from using an oil-free foundation. Powder foundation is generally ideal for oily skin, as powder absorbs oil. Whipped foundations or mousse-like foundations also work well. In addition, cream-to-powder foundations can be a good choice. Dry skin needs moisture, so a liquid foundation tends to work best. Those with combination skin can fall into limbo - some having to use a separate foundation for each area and some able to use whatever they choose.
The desired amount of coverage is determined on an individual basis. Some people may have severe discoloration, yet dislike "feeling" like they are wearing makeup, so they may opt for something more sheer. Most foundations will advertise the amount of coverage they provide but typically, the thicker the product is, the more coverage it will give.
A person's foundation should match their skin tone. This may mean that a darker foundation is required in the summer than what is needed in winter. When applied vertically from the jaw line to the neck, a matching shade should basically disappear.
Finally, the finish of the foundation should be considered. "Finish" refers to what the product looks like on the skin after it has been applied. People with oily (shiny) skin tend to prefer a matte or powder (no shine) finish. Someone with dry (dull) skin may wish to use a satin (dewy) finish to leave a glow on the face.
As the saying goes, "Knowledge is power". Knowing how to work with individual types of skin will greatly assist in foundation selection.