In the business of assessing your cosmetic assets, careful
attention to these five foundation steps plus five skin-color choices adds up to big improvements in your beauty bottom line.
by Christina M. Kayne
A beautiful makeover starts with the right foundation. Applied properly, foundation can make any complexion look healthy and flawless. The aim is to leave the skin appearing as natural and unmade-up as possible.
The word foundation means exactly that: It is the first layer and step in your makeup routine. Always choose your foundation color to blend with the skin tone of the neck and not the face. If the foundation color isn’t right, your whole look may be off. Foundations come in many formulations to suit all skin types. Here’s
Step 1: Choosing Your Hue It is important to choose a foundation similar in color to your own skin. Always choose your foundation color to blend with the skin tone of the neck and not the face. You are looking for a color that literally disappears into the skin. It may take several tries to get the perfect shade, but it is worth the effort. The newest foundation mineral formulations on the market are very forgiving. Because they are naturally mineral-based, the color of the foundation will adjust slightly to the skin tone and generally will appear to be a second skin — providing, of course, that it is the right undertone and level.
Step 2: Identifying Your Color Temperature You must check and see if your skins undertone is warm or cool. Cool undertones appear to have a slight blue look to them; warm undertones appear to have a slight green look to them. The quickest way to determine which applies to you is to compare the veins on the inside of your wrist to the veins of several other people. Your color temperature will become quite obvious once you observe someone with the opposite undertone.
Step 3: Shopping for Your Formula To find the perfect foundation for your particular coloring, apply three suitable shades in strips across the cheek and jawbone. You are looking for the one that literally disappears into the skin. If you can’t find the perfect color, you may want to blend two colors in your level to get your perfect shade. When you try a new shade, check it in natural light; you should always aim to apply your makeup in daylight for the best color accuracy. When trying a new foundation, always wait 15 minutes before reaching a decision, because the oil on your skin and the air usually darken the shade you have chosen.
Step 4: Considering Skin Health If you have sensitive skin, look for formulations which do not contain potential irritants such as fragrance, chemical sunscreens, and alpha hydroxyl acids. Mature, dry skins will benefit from rich, creamy foundations that contain emollients to boost the skin’s moisture content. Your foundation choice should contain an SPF of at least 15 for daily use, and higher during the summer, because the sun is responsible for 10 percent of premature aging. Products containing antioxidants will also help protect the skin from visible signs of aging, and light-reflecting pigments will give a flattering finish, taking attention away from any dark circles and sallow-looking areas while adding instant luminosity. Oily, problem skins will benefit from oil-free formulations that are enriched with oil absorbers to keep unsightly shine at bay. In hot, humid weather, every skin type will benefit from an oil-free foundation.
Step 5: Applying It Like a Pro To apply foundation, start from the center of the face, dotting on to the cheeks and forehead and blending outwards, first making sure your fingertips or makeup sponges are spotlessly clean. Gently blot the skin with a tissue to remove any excess product or surface oil. Never drag the skin if you are using your fingertips to apply cosmetics.
Smooth foundation over the lips and eyelids to act as a base for lip and eye products. If you’re not very good at blending foundation, try applying it with a makeup sponge. After smoothing, moisten the fingertips and then work over the neckline to remove any signs of haphazard application.
1. Very Light
Cool – For very light skin with a pink glow. Generally this skin burns easily. Pink has a transparent look to it.
Warm – For very light skin with a yellow undertones that burns easily. Can have light freckling and/or some redness. The warm undertone in this shade helps neutralize redness and discoloration.
Cool – For fair skin with pink undertones that burns easily and usually has some redness. Fair cool works well for women with light skin who find Light Warm too yellow.
The most common level of color in women found in the U.S. today. Medium tones can usually be worn as great summer shades for the fair undertones.
Cool – For medium skin, with pinkish or olive undertones, that tans easily. Medium cool is a great summer shade for Medium Light Neutral women who have a light tan.
Warm – For medium with golden neutral to yellow undertones with some redness, freckling or uneven skin tone (discoloration). Your skin may burn lightly then tan or may tan without burning.
Cool – For deeper cocoa skin with pink and peach undertones. This skin tone is rich in pigment, and often women in this category do not wear foundation; for other reasons mentioned, they should.
Warm – For darker honey skin, with caramel or golden undertones, that tans very easily.
Cool – For rich espresso skin with deep blue and red undertones.
Warm – For rich mahogany skin with deep yellow and red undertones.
Christina M. Kane is the founder and chairwoman of the Make-upChannel.com, an online career and education company serving the beauty industry. Ms. Kane led the team of hair and makeup artists who styled the 2008 Pageantry & PromTime Fashion Showcase. She is a qualified makeup artist and aesthetician who holds diplomas from ITEC, London; Cidesco, London; Confederation of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology, London; Dr. G.M. Collins School of Aestheticians, Paris; Linda Meredith Make-up School, London; and Portobello Beauty Therapy College, Dublin. Ms. Kane is a former booking agent for makeup professionals and owner of one of the largest accredited makeup schools in the United States.
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