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Choosing the Correct Foundation
Davida Simon

With the myriad foundations lining the counters of department stores, drugstores and markets, no wonder we get confused on what to buy for our skin type and color. So, let me try and de-mystify all this for you and assist you in finding the correct foundation.

Skin types are divided into groups. Oily, combination, normal and dry. Most women fall in the combination or normal to dry category. The face should be cleansed, toned (for oily and combination skins) and moisturized. For a better application and lasting finish, use a primer like Shiseido "pre makeup cream" ($25), a favorite of mine for years working on films and magazines. It###s a makeup base that is applied over moisturizer and under foundation. Your foundation will look velvety and stay on longer, plus it helps lock in your moisturizer, and your pores won###t absorb the foundation. Other primers I like are Nars, MAC and Laura Mercier. M.A.C. has a light gel called "Matte" ($16.50) that imparts a matte, powder perfect surface without residue or buildup. Used before or after makeup. You can also deter creasing by applying it to eyelids before eyeshadow. The quality of foundation today is so much better then our mothers used years ago. Most are oil free, and allergy tested. Foundations come in several formulations. In the liquid category, lightweight coverage, sometimes called tinted moisturizers, are very sheer and look natural. For oily and combination skin, dual finish powders are wonderful and a favorite of many news anchors and people on the go because of their ease of use. They have the coverage of a liquid foundation and the finish of a powder. MAC, Lancome, Chanel, Max Factor, Olay, and Trucco are some of my favorites. Dual finish powders can be applied 2 ways Dampen the provided sponge, and apply evenly, it will dry almost immediately. Apply dry with a puff or large powder brush for a sheer less matte finish. Oily skin types can use Shine control makeup like Oil of Olay, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown and MAC. They have a matte finish and have long wearability in between powdering. For normal to dry skin types Oil of Olay has a new concept in a stick foundation called"Moisture stick foundation" ($11.25). It is 50% water, and goes on feeling cool and wet. It has good coverage that can build from light to medium. Laura Mercier has come up with "The Flawless Face", a four step program, with a foundation primer ($27) that goes on over your moisturizer, a pump bottle of "Moisturizing foundation "($38) for dry skin or "Oil-Free Foundation" for normal to oily ($38) applied with a damp sponge. Use either secret concealer ($18) for under eyes or secret camouflage ($26) a dual toned highly pigmented concealer for blemishes, darker circles and discoloration. Lastly apply her marvelously sheer loose powder ($30) with a puff or large brush. In the lightweight/medium catagory, Vincent Longo offers up "Water Canvas," a cream to powder foundation that is 75% microwater giving a light, natural finish with the feel of liquid makeup. Prime the face before foundation and after moisturizer with "Water Canvas Base"($40), a gel cream that makes any foundation go on effortlessly. MAC offers a Micro pearlescent foundation called "HyperReal" ($24.00), a light, sheer silicon based foundation that gives the skin a healthy glow. CoverGirl has a lightweight foundation called "Smoothers all day Hydrating Make-up" ($6.95) It hydrates for 11 hours, helping to give the skin a soft natural appearance. Oil of Olay "Complete Radiance Liquid Foundation" provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB for SPF 15 protection and continually moisturizes for 11 hours ($13.95). For dryer skin types there are richer foundations you can look for carried by most makeup lines including Max Factor ###s "Lasting Performance Make-up" ($9.20) that is long wearing and touch proof and great coverage, I might add. Among the many foundations in the full coverage range are Estee Lauder Impeccable ($27.50), reminiscent of the foundations I used on films, and Futurist Foundation ($32.50), MAC Studio cream foundation full coverage ($23.00) applied with a damp sponge is a winner among many news anchors for television use. There are a few new foundations coming from MAC, check the reviews section of my web site for them. For heavier coverage and special needs like covering tattoos, veins, and skin discolorations, CoverBlend and CoverMark are good choices. Also Joe Blasco and Cinema Secrets foundations are available online and at some theatrical beauty supply stores. When choosing a foundation shade, bring a small hand mirror with you to the store. Dab a few shades on the cheek or along the jawline near the chin, then wait a few seconds to see if it changes color and walk outside to the natural daylight to see it###s true color. The best shade will blend into your skin and disappear. Concealers can be used to correct, camouflage and lighten imperfections, blemishes, and undereye circles. Using too light of a concealer will give you owl eyes. Concealers such as Bobbi Brown have a yellow tone to correct redness. One in particular I like is Cover Girl "Illuminator" and "Neutralizer" stick concealers ($4.95). The illuminator refracts or lights up the area giving a lighter appearance. Don###t forget to check out Laura Mercier###s "secret concealer", and Trucco concealer in neutral. Prescriptives has a new line of product called "magic" that optically transforms the skin. It manipulates light and shadow and obscures imperfections to create the illusion of flawless skin. This is a definite gotta see, with several formulations including a loose powder that is mostly water and goes on feeling wet. They can###t keep Magic in the stores, so you may have to look for it. "Spotlight" by Estee Lauder, ($30) is another product that is also a treatment and evens out the skin tone. Check out MAC Select Coverage in a tube with lots of shade selection and sheer coverage that can be built up. ALWAYS set your foundation and concealer with powder. Otherwise the foundation will not last through the day, blush will be blotchy, and eye shadows will crease. Shiseido has a wonderful fine powder that will not accentuate fine lines that I love called "Rich Matte Film" in loose with a luxurious puff ($29). Keep a translucent (no color) pressed powder with you during the day for touch ups (I like Blot by MAC). Now you are all ready for blush and shadow. Makeup Artist Davida Simon has worked in film, television, and photography for almost 20 years on such faces as Demi Moore, René Russo, and Susan Lucci. Davida currently resides in Denver and is consultant to Channel 4 news team. Visit her web site at for makeup and skin care product reviews, how-to articles, advice and tips.