Frustration, thy name is technology! I had this whole grand plan to put up my very first video blog this week; an exploration of under eye dark circles and the best (and proper) way to cover them up. Alas, despite the fact that it worked the few times I was just goofing around with it, I can’t seem to get my webcam to record anything. Sure, I can get a picture of myself, a moving one even, and I can put pink hair and sunglasses on it (not to mention warp my head into any one of a number of amusingly misshapen forms, something my children find endlessly entertaining) but can I get it to record me talking about concealer? Nope. That would be ridiculous. So, in lieu of what would have been my super cool and totally entertaining vlog (video+blog; I’m nothing if not semantically efficient) I figured I’d just do a write up on some tips for choosing two of your most important makeup products: foundation and concealer.
Foundation and concealer are two of the cornerstones of any great makeup application yet they are some of the most commonly mis-chosen products. It may be the wrong shade, it may be the wrong formulation, but I have seen some pretty bad foundation and concealer situations in my day (starting with my grade 7 and 8 math teacher) and they are really, very easily avoidable.
Let us begin with formulation which can also be thought of as coverage. Here’s a basic tenant; the thicker (or more solid) the formulation, the heavier the coverage. Here’s another basic tenant; you should always, always, always, wear the least possible coverage you can get away with if you want to look halfway to naturally beautiful. There is nothing worse than seeing a girl/woman wearing pounds of thick, heavy foundation when she hasn’t got a single blemish on her skin (or even if she does, but we’ll get back to that). If you’re chasing after the porcelain skin you see in magazines, may I humbly suggest you just give it up since 98% of that is accomplished through photo shopping. Also, if you’re concerned about skin imperfections, you should be revisiting your skin care regimen/products before trying to cover it up with a mask of makeup.
Cake, cream, stick and cream to powder foundations (and concealers, when applicable) are generally the heaviest coverages and most people sincerely don’t need it however, in camouflage situations (to cover up scars, burns, dark birthmarks or major pigmentation anomalies) these products may be called for.
The middle of the road, most applicable to virtually any skin type formulation out there is buildable liquid foundation and concealer. Buildable means that you can achieve a sheer look with a minimal amount of product yet build up the coverage to something fuller with more product. I use Smashbox’s High Definition liquid concealer and foundation in my professional kit (and on my own face, though I almost never wear foundation, just concealer and powder) and have yet to come up against a face which it doesn’t suit flawlessly. From acne to wrinkles, this formulation covers it all when applied more heavily (though never mask like) and yet can be applied as sheerly as I want to let particularly good skin shine through. If I ever need slightly heavier coverage in the foundation, I simply mix in some of the concealer and viola. Unlike a cream foundation, even an oily skin type can wear liquid foundation without fear of breaking out because it is lighter and more breathable generally speaking. If you’re worried about shine, get a mattifying primer (Sephora makes a great one) and dust with powder throughout the day, but relying on a heavy handed application of a powder to cream/cream to powder formulation is not actually going to help you out much. Specifically for people with acne or acne scarring, these formulations tend to draw more attention to the skin imperfections as they often settle in pits and lines more as well as build up on any scabbing or dry skin there might be. Generally speaking, on a day-to-day basis, if your skin is behaving itself, apply concealer where needed as sparingly as possible and top it off with powder. Save the foundation for special occasions and when you’re ready for your close up.
Now let’s tackle the shade issue. I’ve seen it more than once, and on women who are with it, together and fashionable generally speaking (ie. not only on total newbies); great eye makeup, the perfect pout and that unmistakable line just below her chin or a little further down on her neck which indicates that she has fallen victim to one of the most common makeup blunders; the wrong shade of foundation. Now, I want you to know, I don’t judge this in the slightest. The lighting at most makeup counters is utterly chalushis (read: horrid) which makes it challenging, at best, to pick out your perfect shade. Also, many of us test foundations on the back of our hands which aren’t the same colour as our faces. Even makeup sales women will sometimes try to colour match on your cheek and this too can be misleading.
The ideal spot to test your foundation shade is right along your jawline and in a downward motion. Imagine that you are essentially making an “L” starting just above your jawbone on your cheek and ending just past your jaw bone on the underside of your face. You’ll know you’ve struck gold when the makeup literally disappears. If you want to make doubly sure, take a sample of the shade lighter and the shade darker and test them near the first patch; if one of them blends better and makes that first one stick out, you know you need to make a change. As for choosing concealer, it is equally as important to get the exact right shade even though there are areas where it will be covered with foundation. If your concealer is too light you will actually draw more attention to areas you are trying to cover (not to mention give yourself reverse raccoon eyes) and if it’s too dark your foundation won’t cover it properly. If you happen to have particularly dark circles under your eyes, you may want to consider either a heavier formulation (this would count as camouflage) but do not, I repeat, do not just try to go for a lighter shade.
Okay, I’m beginning to figure that at over 1000 words, you’re probably as strung out by reading this as I am by writing it. You see why the vlog would have been better*sigh*? But on the bright side, you know where to find me and you can always drop me a line with questions or go ahead and book a one-on-one (or even group) makeup lesson where we can get into even more nitty gritty and have so much fun!
Thanks for reading!
Have a beautiful day!