In general, I’m not a big fan of foundation for daily life. Our skin is our first indicator of our inner state of health. It tells us when our bodies are over taxed. It tells us when we are dehydrated, in need of sleep, stressed, worried, if our pH balance is off, or if we have accumulated too much toxicity in our body (from chemicals or bad foods). It tells us when our bodies need a break. Additionally, our skin needs to breathe, even more so when it’s irritated. Covering up distressed skin adds insult to injury.
Since our skin tells us when we are engaging in behavior that is hurting our bodies, if we keep it undercover all the time, we run the risk of becoming blind to our bodies’ more subtle red flags. We are then less likely to cease our damaging behaviors and can fall pray to ailments far more severe than pimples or dark circles. For example, smoking tends to give skin a strange kind of oily dryness and a certain quality of wrinkling. When our skin gets this way, it’s an indication that our smoking is having a serious adverse affect on us, that our immune system just can’t keep up with the onslaught of smoke, nicotine and tar. The wrinkles, oil and dryness are an S.O.S.! We can cover our skin with make-up and pretend like it’s not happening, but the damage will continue and the signals will become increasingly severe, like lung cancer.
Interpersonally, covering up our skin also makes it more difficult for our partners and loved ones to “read” us. For example, if I’m really tired and stressed out but cover up my skin, my boyfriend will have a harder time recognizing my stress and exhaustion. In my fragile state, which can skew the way I experience things, I might interpret his otherwise normal behavior as insensitive to my especially weary state. But do you see how I set him up? I find that my boyfriend, given a chance to read all the signs (like my ruddy skin or dark circles) is actually very perceptive and lovingly responsive to what he perceives. Covering my skin, which he uses as an indicator, whether consciously or not, deprives him of the opportunity to be really attune to me and help in the way that makes him feel like a hero (he LOVES being a hero! ;). Really it deprives us of so much. He doesn’t get to show me that he loves me with or without “perfect skin”. I don’t get to feel loved even when I’m a wreck. Essentially, we don’t get to engage in some really loving experiences of support, connection, mirroring, seeing and being seen. We want our partners to be able to “read our minds” right? Well one of the ways they do that is by reading our faces. Let’s give them a chance!
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Having said all that, sometimes we don’t want EVERYONE knowing the depth of our souls. Sometimes we have a show to put on, either literally (on a stage or in front of a camera) or figuratively (at work or just out in the world). In this case, foundation can be seriously awesome!
FOR REAL LIFE – LESS IS MORE:
By “real life” I mean the kind of make up one would do for the naked eye and in this case, LESS IS MORE! The following list is in order from the heaviest to the lightest. What I use on camera can also be used for daily life as they still achieve a very natural, “skin-like” finish. The daily life recommendations are not good for camera, however, because they all have SPF which can interact adversely with flash photography.
PETER THOMAS ROTH UN-WRINKLE FOUNDATION– ($45 for 1 oz) This is my absolute favorite and what I use on myself. It evens skin tone, provides SPF protection and allows my freckles to show through. Falling somewhere between a full coverage foundation and a tinted moisturizer in consistency, it is slightly buildable. The real advantage to this foundation is that it’s basically a skin care product with color. Peter Thomas Roth is primarily a skin care line, and a good one, so using this feels less like putting dirt on your face and more like using a good moisturizer with real skin enhancing benefits. The only real sticking point, that actually verges on a moral dilemma for me, is that is only comes in four shades. It’s basically foundation for white people…from pale to tan ones. Why? Why?! It’s 2014! Anyway, though it’s $45 a bottle, you can rest assured that it’s better for your skin and a little does go a long way.
STILA ILLUMINATING TINTED MOISTURIZER– ($32 for 1.7 oz) When it comes to “illuminizing” I am VERY picky! So many products are just highly visible, glorified glitter. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE glitter, but deliberately wearing glitter and trying to create the effect of luminous skin are two completely different things! I love this Stila product. It’s infused with micro-fine light reflecting, or light diffusing, pigments, which means no big sparkles! Under any light, or under a microscope, you will just look like you have amazing, glowy skin and as if you are not wearing a stitch of make-up! So, if you are trying to dupe your date, rest assured, he or she will be none the wiser. They will only smell the SPF (if they get a kiss) and think you take good care of yourself, even if you don’t (but you should!).
SENSÉ Daytime Protective Emulsion with SPF 15– ($37.95 for 1.3 oz) This is a moisturizer, with no tint whatsoever. So why is it here? Well, it’s a well made moisturizer with safe ingredients that have mild light-reflecting properties. Anything reflective is deflective, obscuring irregularities in your skin and making you look just a little more glowy than usual.
These are foundations that photograph very well while still looking great to the naked eye. So if you have an event or if you’re a make-up artist looking for recommendations…these are my faves!
MAKEUP FOREVER HD FOUNDATION– ($42 for 1 oz) This is number one on my list because of the great combination of price point and performance. It looks very good to the naked eye and the minute my models get in front of the camera the results never cease to amaze me. If I could only have one foundation in my kit, this would be it. At around $40 the price is better for the retail consumer than Armani and even better for pros, since MakeUp Forever has a professional discount program.
ARMANI LUMINOUS SILK FOUNDATION– ($62 for 1 oz) This stuff is truly remarkable. It is nearly invisible to the naked eye, blends perfectly, maintains a perfect skin-like texture and photographs like a dream. It is full coverage without ever masking the skin and it works just as well on wrinkly skin as it does on smooth skin. What’s also impressive is the color range and the ability of Armani’s make-up consultants to color match for their clients. When friends pull this out, I am always pleased to see that whoever helped them at the counter steered them to their exact right color. At $62 a bottle it is pricey, but a little goes a long way here too. If you are looking to try this in your kit, the colors I’ve used most are 5.5, 6 and 6.5. This is an instance where you really do get what you pay for.
INGLOT CREAM FOUNDATION– ($22 for 1 oz) I bought this on a whim, just to try it because I was exploring the company’s products and really liked some of their colors, namely 26, 31 and 38. It looks very good to the naked eye and photographs well (though not as magically as the Makeup Forever HD). It is a buildable, full coverage foundation that never looks cakey. I also love the scent and the way it feels on the skin. It’s very pleasant to wear which is why I use it on myself at times when I want a little more coverage, like for a stage performance. At $22 a bottle, it’s a good solid option and Inglot does give a small professional discount. I should mention that I tried to find color matches for 26, 31 and 38 in the MakeUp Forever HD foundation but had no luck. So, these colors will remain in my kit!
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Tip: The best way to apply foundation is to stipple it on, whether with a stippling brush, a sponge, a Beauty Blender or by patting it on with your finger tips. It prevents the product from catching on pores or baby hairs and also guarantees you won’t have any streaking. The added moisture of the Beauty Blender helps to create a more dewy effect, keeping the application from ever looking cakey.