Basics Series: The Base

Following beauty tips and tutorials can be pretty difficult if you feel completely lost when it comes to this subject in general. For example, what does it mean if a tutorial says to blend eye shadow into the outer V? How are you supposed to pick the perfect foundation for your skin type? Those are the kinds of questions that I plan to cover in this mini-series, Basics, within this column. It will be a helpful guide to understanding the basics of the makeup world. This week, the first basic I am going to cover is the "base." The “base” includes foundation, concealer, and setting powders. Now, it can be pretty tricky to figure out how to obtain the perfect base. It all comes down to skin type, and that is something that ranges dramatically from person to person. There are two key questions that you need to ask before embarking on the endeavor to secure the perfect products. First, what kind of coverage do you want to achieve? Second, is your skin type oily, combination, or dry? Once you answer those two questions, you’re part of the way to figuring out how to make your skin look and feel flawless.

To begin, let’s tackle coverage. Now, everyone has very different views on foundation. Thankfully, there are tons of different kinds of foundations out there that will help you achieve the finish that you’re looking for. Hate the feeling of tons of product sitting on your face? Don’t worry, that’s what BB and CC creams are for! Worried about hiding acne scars? That’s when medium-full coverage foundations come in handy.

BB/CC creams are perfect for those who have generally clear skin and simply desire even coverage. These creams have tons of benefits packed into one product; they can moisturize, fight acne, and even help reduce dark spots! Try this BB cream from Urban Decay or this CC cream from Stila to get the light and even coverage you desire! Because many of us are not comfortable enough with the state of our skin to wear such light-coverage products, foundation is the next best bet. There are tons, and I mean tons, of foundation products out there. The key is understanding that no one product is strong enough to completely erase all imperfections in one layer. Purchase a medium-coverage product that can be easily built up in order to obtain a full-coverage look if that’s what you desire. All of the products mentioned in the “skin type” section are medium coverage, but they can easily be built up to cover problem areas. For those with severe skin problems, I recommend Kat Von D’s Lock-It Tattoo Foundation. This product is by far the most full-coverage on the market, boasting incredible staying power.

Stila CC Cream

The next thing to consider is skin type. It can be pretty tricky to discover what skin type you are—it took me years to finally decide that I have combination-dry skin. There are tons of online quizzes from a variety of legitimate websites, but this one includes a step-by-step cleansing routine for each skin type, which is incredibly useful! While these quizzes often assign in-depth skin types (e.g. Oily-combination-sensitive-consistent breakouts), I’m going to mention only the three basic types: oily, dry, and combination.

For oily skin, your main concern is controlling those crazy oils and constant shininess. Search for foundations that are water-based. Oil-based foundations will only add to the problem. Make sure that you find a mattifying formula—that way, the shininess will stay in control all day long. Check out Rimmel’s Stay Matte Liquid Mousse foundation, which is only $5!

For dry skin, focus your search on foundations that are oil-based. These formulas will help moisturize your skin instead of settling into the dry cracks found on the outermost layer of the skin. Stray away from matte formulas, because these will only emphasize any dryness. Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation was made for those with dry skin because it has a dewy finish that makes your face look healthy and bright.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation

For combination skin, you may find that your skin reacts bizarrely to numerous foundations. Mattifying foundations may tame the oils, but highlight the dry patches. Dewy foundations may make you seem dewy and glowing, but can eventually add to the oily areas in your skin. The struggle is real when it comes to combo skin, trust me. But have no fear—I have found the perfect solution. Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Combo/Oily Skin is the perfect foundation that combats both dryness and oiliness with ease.

The trick to avoiding the dreaded “cake face” that seems to come with foundation is the application. You have three options for applying these products: your fingers, a sponge, or a brush. BB and CC creams can easily be applied with clean fingertips because they don’t provide enough color and coverage to show streaks. Be sure to blend it in thoroughly, and cover your neck as well so you don’t have any harsh lines on the side of your face.

Thicker foundations are much easier to apply flawlessly if you use either a sponge or brush. The Beauty Blender is perhaps the most famous sponge used for applying foundation. Simply use it to dab the product into your skin, and it appears perfectly airbrushed. Make sure to wet the sponge first so it won’t soak up a ton of product, eventually making you run out much quicker. As for brushes, I recommend using a dense face brush. The dense bristles will make it easier to buff product into your skin and blend it outward, ultimately creating a smooth finish. Real Techniques creates tons of face brushes that are perfect for foundation application, such as the Multitask Brush or the Expert Face Brush.

After you’ve applied your foundation, the next step is to apply concealer. This product is perfect because it can easily hide any imperfections that may not have been covered by a light layer of foundation. Simply dab some product on the blemish or dark spot with your ring finger and you’ll find that it disappears! Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is a huge hit amongst many beauty gurus, and for good reason. This product is phenomenally creamy and provides perfect coverage.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

Another type of concealer is one that is pretty much a staple for most college students: an undereye brightener. Choose a concealer that is one shade lighter than your actual skin tone, and use this concealer to cover dark under-eye circles while also highlighting the area under your eye. Apply it in a triangle formation, dabbing the product from the tear duct to the outer corner of the eye, and then bring the product down slightly towards your cheekbone. Instantly, you will look like you got plenty of sleep the night before, even if that's the last thing you managed to do.

Finally, make sure to always finish off all of your hard work with a setting powder. It is incredibly important, especially if you have a long day ahead of you, that you don’t find your foundation and concealer wearing off. Use a big fluffy brush to dab a powder into your skin so it can set all of the product you used. I recommend Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Translucent or e.l.f. Studio High Definition Powder to do the job!

e.l.f. Studio High Definition Powder

All of this information may seem incredibly overwhelming, but the process itself is very simple once you understand what you’re looking for. In order to achieve the perfect base, you’ll need the correct foundation, concealer, and setting powder. These three products work in harmony to ensure that you have a clean slate on which you can create any makeup masterpiece that you desire. Stay tuned for next week’s column, which will discuss all of the intricacies of blush, bronzer and highlighter!