How Do I Choose The Right Foundation?

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Here’s the good news:  Gone are the days of a limited few foundation options. 

Here’s the bad news:  Gone are the days of a limited few foundation options.

If you’ve ever walked up to a department store makeup counter—or gone online to look for a foundation—chances are you might have had a moment of utter overwhelm. As I walked through Macy’s cosmetics area recently, I stopped to check out foundation at one of the best known brands. There were 19 foundation options for just this one brand alone. Thinking the choices for less expensive foundation might be a little less overwhelming, I headed to my nearest Ulta. No less than eleven options were available at the lower cost brand I scrutinized.

So although we can be thankful that the days of heavy pancake makeup—that was once the only option—are long gone, how can we possibly choose the foundation that’s just right for us from the myriad of choices available to us now?

To help you narrow down your choices, here are four of the most important questions to ask when you’re on the hunt for the foundation that will work perfectly for your skin:

1.What is your skin type? 

Is your skin dry, combination (mostly dry, but some shine in the “T Zone” area) or oily?  Almost every makeup line will provide options for different skin types. For instance, if you definitely fall into the “dry” category, you’ll definitely be able to eliminate the foundations that are specifically designed for oily or combination skin.

2. How much coverage do you want?

Are you on the lookout for very light coverage—just enough to even out your skin tone a bit, but still let your skin shine through? If so, head for the foundations that provide sheer or light coverage. If you need a bit more coverage to hide a few more changes that have occurred over the past few years, opt for “medium” coverage. And, if you feel more secure with a foundation that provides a little more coverage, check out the heavier coverage foundations.B e aware that “heavier” coverage doesn’t always equate to “heavier” feel on the skin. Fortunately foundations have come a long way, and no longer do all full coverage foundations feel like you’re applying a mask to your face. 

One quick way to test the amount of coverage of a foundation is to apply a small amount of the foundation to the vein on the underside of your wrist.  A heavier foundation coverage will hide more of that vein color.

 

If you need more coverage, but don’t want to go the route of a heavier coverage foundation, there is another option. You might want to select a “medium” coverage foundation and then dot on a concealer that provides more coverage in the areas where you need a little more help. I have a medium coverage foundation I love, but it doesn’t quite provide the coverage I need over a particularly stubborn age spot. A quick dab of a heavier coverage concealer over that age spot does the trick.

3. What kind of “finish” do you prefer on your skin? 

Matte? (no shine), Semi-matte? (a slight sheen) or Dewy? (a little more dewiness than semi-matte). If you have oily skin, you may wish to avoid a dewy finish since after a few hours, that “dewy” look can sometimes just look—well, just a little greasy. However, choosing a mattifying primer to wear under a dewy foundation can sometimes solve this problem. If you have very dry skin, a foundation with a dewy finish can often bring a look of beautiful, soft radiance to the face.

What if you have combination skin? Some of us have been known to apply a mattifying foundation in the “T zone,” and a foundation with a dewier finish on the rest of the face or mix the two together. (No names here, of course ) Another option is to apply an eye base or primer to your “T zone” area to subdue the oiliness on that part of your face and use the dewy foundation on the rest of your face.

4. Do you prefer a foundation with an SPF or not SPF? 

For some people, SPF in a foundation can irritate the skin. We are also aware that most experts agree that an SPF of 15 (which is fairly standard with many foundations) simply doesn’t provide enough protection. It’s always advisable to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to our skin.

Additional tips to consider:
  • If you have a great deal of redness, there are foundations which are specifically designed to help with this issue.
  • Exfoliating your skin twice a week can get rid of dead skin cells which make our skin look duller.  So to get the biggest benefit from your foundation, be sure to exfoliate your skin regularly.
  • If your skin is dry, you may wish to stick with a liquid or cream foundation rather than a powder foundation.  Powder foundation on dry skin can often look flaky and accentuate fine lines.
  • Some foundations provide skin care ingredients such as green tea, hyaluronic acid, peptides or Vitamin C.
  • Using a dense, flat-topped “buffing brush” after applying foundation can really make a difference in how flawless your foundation looks.
  • To add additional moisture and create an even more flawless look, lightly press or bounce a damp makeup sponge over your foundation as a final step.
  • If you’ll be on the run day into evening or have an important event, spray some setting spray onto your sponge and gently press it all over your face to help your foundation and other makeup stay flawless.

Please help other women in our KUEL LIFE family. We hope you’ll share what foundation you’ve found that you love.  Please share your skin type, the foundation, and what you love about it.

About The Author:

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional, working makeup-artist who is passionate about helping women 45+ get their glow back.  In addition to her work as a makeup artist for a major cosmetics line, she founded Boomer and Beyond Beauty and recently launched “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” –a makeup and beauty YouTube channel specifically for women 45+. Check out Elise’s YouTube makeup and beauty channel specifically for you:  “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise.”  Elise is also an author and speaker and hosts Normandale Community College’s monthly Learning Well Edge Talk Radio show where she interviews experts in the field of health and wellness.

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