Foundation 101

Makeup Monday

People have been applying cosmetics to enhance the skin for decades, the earliest bases were more like paint to conceal skin rather than a cosmetic to enhance it. 

As actors made the transition from stage to film, they needed lighter cosmetics that could pass scrutiny during a close-up shot. The earliest foundations were solid cakes, but when foundation moved from films to everyday wear, lighter liquid formulas overtook the heavy cakes and sticks.

Liquid foundation remains popular today because of its convenience and accessibility. It needs no water to moisten it, and it comes in an abundance of colors and formulas. Even the closest color match cannot look its best without proper application.

1. Start with a Clean Canvas
The first step to applying foundation is a thorough cleansing. A clean face is an essential element to a smooth foundation application. Wash gently to avoid redness that might show through the finished makeup. People with acne-prone skin must take special care not to scrub too hard; scrubbing only produces inflammation and may spread acne-causing bacteria from one part of the face to another.
Look for formulas designed for the appropriate skin type. After washing and rinsing, blot skin with a soft towel, leaving some water on the face.

2. Moisturize 
Dry skin produces less of the natural oils that skin needs to stay smooth and supple. This lack of oil leaves skin with a rough texture that traps liquid foundation, leading to an uneven, blotchy application. While those with normal or combination skin can also apply a moisturizer before using foundation, it is an essential step for those with dry or mature skin.
Moisturizer improves the texture of dry skin. After applying moisturizer, give it a few minutes to hydrate the skin before applying another product.

3. Use Sunscreen 
Many of the signs of aging skin such as fine lines, uneven coloration, and age spots are more accurately attributed to the sun. Using sunscreen daily reduces the amount of sun damage skin takes. Darker skin is less susceptible to sun damage, but sunscreen is an effective measure to protect against skin cancer for all skin colors.
Some foundations include sunscreen as part of the formula. However, some formulas have a low SPF, or sun protection factor. If the foundation has an SPF lower than 20, apply sunscreen before the foundation.

4. Choose the Right Foundation Formula
Liquid foundations come in a wide variety of formulas. Some are optimized for oily skin; others are designed for dry or mature skin. Manufacturers also make products that offer a broad spectrum of coverage. Getting good results from foundation application depends on choosing the appropriate formula for a specific skin type and coverage need.

5. Use the Right Tools
One of the benefits of liquid foundation is its easy application. Everyone has a favourite method to apply foundation, experiment to find the methods that work best for you.

Cosmetic sponges have a smooth, velvety texture that creates a similar fine surface on the skin. Some sponge users prefer to dampen the sponge with clean water and squeeze it mostly dry before applying foundation with it. This method results in a lighter application and prevents wasting foundation by keeping less of it from soaking into the sponge. 

For more coverage and a satiny finish, applying liquid foundation with a flat foundation or complexion brush works well. The technique is similar to painting on a canvas. Pour a small amount of foundation onto the back of the hand and dip the tip of the brush in it, then use small, circular, light strokes to apply and blend the foundation.

Applying foundation with the fingers eliminates the need to buy special tools. Many makeup artists opt for fingertip application because the warmth of the hands helps keep the liquid spreadable. Smooth foundation on as if it were a moisturizer, then tap the fingers on areas of unevenness to blend them thoroughly. Although hands are the most convenient tools, they still require cleanliness; always wash before applying foundation.

All makeup application tools must be kept scrupulously clean, so wash or dispose of sponges and brushes regularly *

6. Be Sparing
The point of foundation is to create a smooth, even texture to the face. Apply liquid foundation in the center of the face and blend outward toward the hairline and jaw. Starting with the nose, cheeks, and chin puts the thickest concentration of pigment where it is most needed.

6. Blend Blend Blend
A well-chosen foundation color will match the skin tone well, but it still needs thorough blending to create a seamlessly smooth look. Even a close color match can leave blotchy lines if it is not blended.
Even a non-smudging formula will wear off on clothing at the neckline, and it looks less than natural. Blending is key.

8. Reassess Foundation Choices Occasionally
The foundation that was ideal in high school may not be the best choice a decade later. Skin changes over time and with the seasons, so take a close look at how well a favorite foundation is doing its job. If it streaks during application or no longer covers as well as it should, it may be time to try a different shade or brand.

Foundations have come a long way from the paint-pots of the silent film era. Versatile and easy to use, liquid foundations are deservedly popular. Learning new application techniques and experimenting with them can help anyone apply foundation like a professional.