Foundation: Quick Fix

As far as beauty products go, foundation is one of the trickiest things to buy and use. Lipstick and liner are meant to be seen, but foundation is supposed to be your invisible ally, masking imperfections, evening out skin tone, and creating a nice canvas for the rest of your makeup. Since that’s easier said than done, we’ve created a guide to common problems and how to fix them.

  • Snafu: My foundation doesn’t match my skin tone

  • Solution: The color should blend seamlessly with your own skin tone, so you will need to test out different formulas, brands, and colors until you find the exact right shade. After you’ve narrowed down your choices, test a few on the inside of your arm, which has the most similar coloring to your face. Once you’ve found a favorite, apply a small amount just above your jawbone. Wear it for a few hours (some formulas oxidize over time and may change color slightly) and be sure to go outside to look at the shade in natural light. If the formula blends right in, then, you’ve found your match.

  • Snafu: Liquid or powder? I don’t know what to buy!

  • Solution: It is often said that if you have oily skin, you should stick with a powder foundation and if you have dry skin, you should opt for a liquid one. We don’t buy that — it all comes down to the look you prefer. A liquid foundation offers more coverage and mimics your skin’s texture. A powder is more of a light veil that sits atop your skin.

  • Snafu: Foundation brushes and sponges scare me.

  • Solution: Don’t be intimidated! Fingertips work great but application tools are good for precise, professional application. For liquid foundation, apply some product to the back of your hand and pick it up with a damp sponge or foundation brush. With all foundations the most important rule is to blend, blend, blend (and be sure to pay special attention to the hairline and jawline).

  • Snafu: My foundation fades by lunchtime.

  • Solution: You need a good primer, which will help makeup adhere to your skin and last longer. Plus, primer smoothes out your complexion to allow your foundation to go on more evenly. You can also use a long-wear foundation like smashbox’s Studio Skin 15-Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation, which has a super-sciencey polymetric matrix that ensures budge-free wear.
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