Monday, June 22, 2009

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundation is a fairly popular product known for giving sheer to medium coverage. Most average users cannot get full coverage with this product because it is not applied properly. Which type of foundation and products to use are personal preference, there is no one single type of foundation that is considered better than others. All foundation should always be set with setting powder.

Application Methods
  • Fingers - This method is used by people in a hurry, who do not own tools or do not need much coverage. It usually gives sheer coverage, but can give medium coverage.

  • Cosmetic SpongeCosmetic Sponge - This method wastes a lot of product because the liquid is absorbed by the sponge. It also gives sheer coverage. If this is your desired look, make sure to wet the sponge before to avoid too much makeup absorption. Wet the sponge well, apply a little makeup to the sponge and wipe it on your face until you have even coverage blended together.

  • Foundation BrushFoundation Brush - This is a good method for medium to fuller coverage, especially with thicker formulas. Without experience too much product may be applied, it just takes a little practice. This is the most common method used by makeup artists. These brushes can now be found in certain drug stores as consumers are starting to learn more about makeup application. Apply a small amount of foundation to the back of your hand or a palette and work on one area of the face at a time. Get a little product on the brush and brush it onto the skin until you have even coverage and it is blended. You can built foundation this way to fuller coverage, so if the initial application is too sheer don't worry. Just add more product.

  • Stippling BrushStippling - A stippling brush is another type of foundation brush that has a blunt end. To use the stippling brush, pour a little liquid foundation onto the back of your hand or a palette. Very lightly tap the ends of the bristles onto the liquid so that there are small drops on the end. Do this very lightly, it is easy to over-apply the foundation. Lightly tap it onto the skin without dragging it or swirling it on the skin. Dab over and over to fill in one area of the face at a time and continue until the entire face is covered. This is also a method where coverage can be built up by layers. This will give an airbrush-like full coverage. If you want to reduce the coverage to medium, swirl the brush after tapping. This is my favorite method.

  • Airbrush GunAirbrush - Any liquid foundation can be mixed with airbrush makeup medium to be used in an airbrush system. Special airbrush foundation is also available in different formulas, just like any other liquid foundation. These systems cost a considerable amount for the average consumer and is normally used by professional makeup artists. It gives full coverage by using only 2-8 drops of foundation for the entire face, will last for over 12 hours, and is water and rub proof.
Suggested Products

Revlon Colorstay FoundationBest Long Lasting, Full Coverage Liquid Foundation: Revlon Colorstay with SoftFlex for Combination/Oily Skin
  • Oil free
  • Controls oil
  • Lasts for 16 hours
  • Will not rub off with normal use
  • Lightweight with full coverage
  • Stippling method is really recommended for this foundation to get an airbrushed look finish with full coverage
  • Very little product goes a long way applying this with a stippling brush
  • $13 / 1 oz at most drug stores
Laura Mercier FoundationBest High End Liquid Foundation: Laura Mercier Oil Free or Moisturizing Foundation
  • Blends into the skin for a flawless finish
  • Lightweight formula
  • Coverage can be built up through layering
  • Can be applied evenly with fingers
  • Long Wearing
  • $41 / 1 oz at department stores

Maybelline Pure MakeupBest Thick Formula for Acne Prone Skin: Maybelline New York Pure Makeup
  • Oil Free
  • 50% Water
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Thick formula for those who prefer it
  • Can be thinned with moisturizer for a dewy or more sheer look
  • $5 / 1 oz at most drug stores or Ulta
MAC Studio FixIndustry Standard: MAC Studio Fix
  • Commonly used by professional makeup artists
  • Long lasting
  • Matte finish
  • Oil free
  • May cause breakouts in certain individuals
  • Contains SPF (cannot be used with flash photography)
  • $26 / 1 0z at MAC stores, counters and online

Thursday, June 18, 2009

All About Face Primer

Primer is a product used under foundation for a number of reasons: to make the texture of skin smoother, to create a barrier between the makeup and skin, to control oil, and to keep makeup on longer. Most people do not wear primer on a daily basis. Makeup artists use it so that foundation glides on smoother and it helps to protect sensitive skin. It can also control oil with the right formula and help makeup to stay on when it will be worn for a long time.

Smashbox PrimersSmashbox Photo Finish
This is the most popular and widely used primer. It helps to inhibit the destruction of collagen, and fills in fine lines and pores. It has a really silky texture and dries perfectly matte. A normal (1 oz) bottle will cost $36 at Ulta or Sephora. I suggest getting the travel size (0.5 oz) in a tube for $16. Only a pea sized amount can cover your entire face. Dryer skin may require a little more as it absorbs.

There are different varieties of this primer:
Original (Colorless) - A lightweight silicone emulsion
Light (Colorless) - Oil free for acne prone or sensitive skin, controls oil and is 60% water
Color Adjust (Green) - Minimizes redness
Color Blend (Apricot) - Conceals under eye circles, veins, and sunspots
Color Balance (Lavendar) - For natural yellow skin tones
SPF 15 with Dermaxyl Complex - Clinically proven to reduce wrinkles
Bronzing - Adds a bronze hue to the face

I use the Light formula because it is just as effective, but it water based and oil free. Colorless primers work on any skin tone.

Laura Mercier PrimerLaura Mercier Foundation Primer
This is another popular primer for makeup artists. Many of Laura Mercier's products are expensive, so people may shy away from this product. These products are known for being creamy and blending into the skin well. A 1.7 oz bottle costs $30 at Sephora.

There are four varieties of this primer:
Original - Oil free with vitamins A, C and E
Oil Free - For acne prone, oily and sensitive skin, its high water content soothes surface dehydration around blemishes
Hydrating - A creamy gel for dehydrated and/or aging skin
Mineral - A superfine, translucent powder to be used under mineral makeup (0.17 oz)

Rimmel Fix and PerfectRimmel London Fix & Perfect Foundation Primer
This is a primer available at drug stores including Walmart. I haven't seen any other drug store primers before. This primer is different because it's tinted apricot, but it doesn't come in any other shades. The color should disappear when blended into the skin, unless you have very pale skin. I have not tried it on dark skin either. If you are a first time primer user, you may want to try this one. A TV personality uses this and likes it, but it does not say that it is oil free or non-comedogenic. I tried it and it slightly irritated my skin, but I have overly sensitive skin. The primer quality was really good. I would recommend this for people who do not have sensitive or acne-prone skin. A 1 oz bottle costs about $7.

MAC Prep + Prime SkinMAC Prep + Prime Skin
MAC is a makeup artistry standard. Their primer has special effects silicone, calms and soothes the skin, blots away excess oil, and evens out skin redness. It does not mention being oil free or non-comedogenic. It is available at MAC stores or online. 1 oz $23.

Other Note Worthy Primers:
I have not tried these, but I would be willing to based on the description and price.


Sephora Smoothing Primer - Mattifying and smoothing, reduces shine, can be used as mixing medium to lighten foundation coverage 0.05 oz $18

Sephora "Tricks of the Trade" Anti-Shine Primer - Mattifies skin for up to 8 hours, controlling and balancing sebum production 1 oz $18

Phisolophy Never Let Them See You Shine Velvet Touch Primer - Dramatically reduces oil, enhances skin exfoliation and trans-epidermal water loss 1 oz $20

Bare Escentuals Primer Time Foundation Primer Oil Control - Water-based primer for oily, sensitive or problem-prone skin, oil, fragrance, sulfate, dye, phthalate, and silicone free 1 oz $21

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch - Fills in lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores with acacia micro pearls (unknown size) $30

Make Up For Ever All Mat - Silicone gel base, oil free, and designed to remove shine with long lasting results 1 oz $45

NARS Makeup Primer - gel-cream with natural botanicals to reduce redness 1.7 oz $33

LORAC aquaPRIME Oil Free Makeup Primer - water-based makeup primer, lightweight, oil, fragrance, silicone, parabens, sulfate, dye, petro-chemical, and phthalate free 1.35 oz $30


Sephora Professionnel Pefection Makeup Base - pink pearl infused for a subtle glow 1 oz $12

Sephora "Tricks of the Trade" Perfection Primer - pink pearl and soft-focus pigments to reflect light 1 oz $18

Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base - oil free with a sheer green tint to correct redness 1.35 oz $17.50

Applying Primer
Apply the primer after applying moisturizer. You want to have a thin layer on your face that is evenly distributed and smooth. If you are applying it to yourself, you can use your fingers like you apply moisturizer. If you are applying it to someone else, you will likely use a foundation brush. The primer should set quickly and then you can apply foundation.

All About Moisturizer

Even if you have oily skin, moisturizer is a must. Not only does it prevent premature aging, but skin can overproduce oil if it's too dry. It's important for makeup because it will prevent dry makeup from looking chalky and helps the makeup stay on longer.

Oil vs Oil Free
I always suggest using oil free moisturizers. The only exception would be if you have skin that is so dry that it continuously flakes or if you have mature skin that is no longer prone to break outs or other sensitivities. I also look for ones that say they are non-comedogenic (won't clog pores).

Face vs Body
Always use lotion that is specifically designed for the face. Lotion designed for bodies have more potential to block your sebaceous glands, which produce oil. They may also contain other ingredients like wax and fragrances.

SPF vs Non-SPF
These days it's hard to find a moisturizer without at least SPF 15. For everyday use, you should use a moisturizer with SPF to prevent skin damage. However, SPF can cause white reflections with flash photography leading to a ghostly, shiny looking face. If you will be wearing sheer coverage foundation or tinted moisturizer in flash photography, make sure it doesn't contain SPF.

Acne Medicated
There are many products advertised as medicated for acne that contain salicylic acid. Anyone who has a sensitivity to aspirin products should not use salicylic acid products. Salicylic acid may irritate skin and worsen acne. If your acne does not improve at all within 1 month or worsens when using a salicylic acid product, discontinue use.

A few over the counter medicated acne products contain benzoyl peroxide. This is an ingredient that is prescribed by dermatologists to treat acne as facial creams. You may be familiar with the brand Proactiv, these are very low strength (2.5%) benzoyl peroxide products. You can find benzoyl peroxide products over the counter that are equally or more powerful (2.5-5%) for much less than the Proactiv system costs. You will need to read labels of the acne products and look for benzoyl peroxide. Again, if it has no effect or your acne worsens you may want to discontinue use. I was prescribed a benzoyl peroxide face cream before they identified the cause of my acne.

I prefer to avoid all acne medicated moisturizers because they iritate my skin, which makes me break out instead of preventing or healing break outs.

There are too many anti-aging products on the market to count. The real key to anti-aging is taking care of your skin so that it stays youthful instead of trying to undue damage. Most anti-aging products just moisturize the skin more or contain silicon to fill in wrinkles, giving the appearance of improvement. Some products contain retinol, a vitamin A derivative. These will be the most effective anti-aging products. Other products claim that antioxidants are anti-aging. While antioxidants are great for you and may prevent future damage to your skin, they won't remove your sun damage and wrinkles.

Product Suggestions

Olay CompleteOverall Best Moisturizer: Olay Complete All Day Moisture for Sensitive Skin
  • Lightweight
  • Oil free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • PABA Free
  • Broad Spectrum SPF 15 UVA/UVB protection
  • Vitamin E and Aloe
  • Recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation
  • I use this product every day and I have never broken out from it
Olay Total EffectsBest Dry Skin Moisturizer: Olay Total Effects Moisturizing Vitamin Complex, Fragrance Free
  • Thick and creamy
  • Oil free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Color and fragrance free
  • Vitamins B3, E and pro-vitamin B5
  • Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves surface dullness
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores
  • I used this product before I found the Complete All Day, it was a little too heavy for me
Olay RegeneristBest Fine Wrinkle Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion
  • Lightweight
  • Doubles skin surface cell regeneration vs untreated skin
  • Amino-peptide complex combined with vitamin C
  • Broad spectrum SPF 15 UVA/UVB protection
  • Suitable for everyday use for normal, dry, and combination skin
  • I am a fan of the Regenerist line, I use the Daily Thermal Mini Peel
Roc Daily MoisturizerBest Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Moisturizer: ROC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer SPF 15
  • Oil free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Contains retinol, proven to reduce deep wrinkles
  • ROC is one of the top companies in proven anti-aging products
  • I would suggest using this with the Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, Serum and Eye Cream
Best Moisturizer for Photography: Neutrogena Oil-Free Moustire Combination Skin
  • Oil free
  • Noncomedogenic
  • Fragrance and alcohol free
  • Lightweight
  • Moisturizes dry areas while controlling shine in oily areas
  • I included this because it's the only easily available SPF-free moisturizer that I have found and it is for sensitive, combination skin
As you can see, I am a big fan of Olay. I have continuously had good results from their products. I am also a huge fan of ROC, but their products are more expensive. I will be using ROC products in the future.

Applying Moisturizer
After washing your face, apply a small amount onto your fingertips. Dab a little bit on your forehead, each cheek and chin. Rub the moisturizer evenly into your skin. Then apply it to your neck and declote (top of your chest, optional). Then proceed with your makeup application. If you don't want to use your fingertips you can use a foundation makeup brush or a cosmetic sponge. Using a sponge may cause loss of some product because it will be absorbed by the sponge. Apply moisturizer after every time you wash your face.