How to choose the best foundation

By: Lia Parsley

Author: Canadian Living


How to choose the best foundation

By: Lia Parsley
The right foundation can make your skin look flawless and youthful, but it can be a challenge to find the one that's best suited for your skin colour, skin type and desired coverage. The number one thing to remember is that foundation should never look heavy-handed; it should enhance, not mask, your complexion. The good news is that there are more natural-looking options out there than ever before to ensure a beautiful complexion.

We asked Paul Venoit, style guru and resident makeup artist on the TV show "Look-A-Like", to share his knowledge and insider tips on to choosing the right foundation. Read on for expert makeup tips on how to shop for the right shade of foundation, how to apply it, and what brands to look for.

1. Choose the right coverage
Does your skin have slight unevenness and minimal signs of sun damage? If so, a lighter coverage option, like a tinted moisturizer, is your best bet. "Tinted moisturizers are great for balancing out skin tones, but offer sheer coverage," says Venoit. (Try Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital Teinté.)

Women who have more serious skin concerns that they want to conceal, such as broken blood vessels, hyperpigmentation or rosacea, should opt for a more substantial coverage foundation.

Generally speaking, you should choose a medium coverage formula that you can build up to your desired coverage. Ones to consider are Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation or CoverFX SPF 30 Total Coverage Cream Foundation.

2. Find the right shade
Getting the best foundation shade for your skin tone is no easy feat. Venoit suggests testing different shades along the jaw line and allowing them time to set. "What many women don't realize is that your body's acidity level can change the colour of the foundation after you've applied it."

We're taught to choose the shade that "disappears" right into the skin, however, Venoit recommends testing a product and waiting for a minimum of half an hour to ensure a perfect match. "My recommendation is to find the colours that are most appropriate and hold off on making the purchase until you've seen it set," he says. And don't forget to check the match in natural light to get the most accurate impression of the colour.

Page 1 of 3 -- Learn how to choose the right foundation formula, plus how to prep your skin before applying foundation, on page 2
Venoit also encourages a different set of shades for your summer and winter makeup bases: "Your foundation, concealer and powder should be suited to the season -- slightly darker shades for summer and slightly paler shades for winter." If you're still stumped on which foundation works best for you, try the new M.A.C Matchmaster Foundation SPF 15. It contains translucent pigments that transform to seamlessly match your skin tone.

3. Choose the right formula
Your skin type plays a part in the type of foundation you should choose. Those with oilier skin will benefit from a formula that can stand up to shine. Look for mattifying ingredients, like talc, that help to soak up oily spots and keep your skin shine free all day. "Liquid and pressed powder formulas work well for people with oily skin," says Venoit. If you have oily skn, try Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Foundation.

If your skin is dry, you'll want your foundation to boost skin hydration. "Richer cream formulas work best for those with dry or more mature skin," Venoit says. In recent years, many foundations have been marketed with added infusions like hyaluronic acid for anti-aging, and a variety of ingredients for a boost in antioxidants, so look for those. Laura Mercier Moisturizing Foundation is a good option.

If you're acne-prone, there are many foundations that contain blemish-busting ingredients like salicylic acid. Consider trying Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup.

4. Prepping your skin for smooth application
"Regular exfoliation and proper hydration are essential first steps to create a clean and even skin tone," says Venoit. Wash your face every night before bed without fail and, generally, be conscientious about your skin-care routine. These small steps can make a huge difference in your makeup application and overall finished look.

"Using primers as a base can also help the ease of application and extend the wear of the makeup," says Venoit. Primers help to prevent foundation from settling into lines or pores, and they also help the colour stay true for a longer period of time. If you're interested in primers, try a clear formulation like Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Tube.

Page 2 of 3 -- Discover the best makeup tools to use when applying concealer, plus tips on how to blend for a seamless finish, on page 3

5. The right tools to use
As for tools, Venoit suggests a few different options: "Foundation brushes with synthetic hair will distribute the product evenly without soaking up too much of the colour," he says. "Using a damp sponge or just your fingers are also effective ways of applying your foundation."

Test out all of these methods to see what gives you the makeup base you're striving for. Just remember to blend, blend, blend for a seamless finish. "You don't want to see any brush strokes or areas that have been missed along the jaw line. Blending properly is what gives you that professional quality finish," says Venoit.

And for the finishing touch, Venoit recommends setting the foundation. "Lightly dust a translucent powder over your entire face. It will set the foundation and create a clean canvas for you to be able to sculpt and highlight your best features if you wish to do so," says Venoit.

If you're seeking an even, radiant base, the best place to start is with the healthiest skin possible. Drink your eight glasses of water a day, wash your face every night and aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep. These lifestyle commitments will make an amazing improvement in your skin tone and texture. With the right tools and a foundation tailored to your skin's needs you'll be able to create a flawless complexion that will stay with you throughout your day.

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How to choose the best foundation