Makeup Tips: Pick the Best Foundation

1/7 Jeff Harris
Find Your Perfect Match
Aim high: Foundation may be the one makeup product you should spend a little more money on. Department-store brands often contain high-tech anti-aging ingredients. Their formulas are perfectly blended (no lumps or frosting-like consistencies), which allows for a smoother, more even finish, and "they contain specially coated pigments that help the foundation adhere better to the skin, creating a weightless feeling," says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson, vice president of Cosmetech Laboratories.

The foundations you'll find in the aisles of your local drugstore might not offer the same level of anti aging ingredients, but that's not to say they aren't good. CoverGirl Clean Liquid Makeup, $6, and L'Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup, $11, both at drugstores, will give you a flawless finish at an affordable price, says Ashunta Sheriff, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City.

Watch your tone: To find a hue that matches your complexion,use your skin tone as a guide: "If you have cooler undertones(meaning your skin has hints of red, blue, or pink), look for shades with the word cool in the name," advises Sheriff. If your skin has warmer undertones (hints of yellow or orange), look for the word warm on the product label.

Put it to the test: A shade that appears to be custom blended when it's on the back of your hand may look clownish when it's onyour face. Instead of testing it on your hand—which tends to be slightly darker than your face— swipe a bit onto your collarbone,which is a closer color match.
2/7 Jeff Harris
Choose the Correct Formula
Oily skin: Women whose skin tends to get a little greasy should avoid oil-based foundations and stick to wet/dry mattifying powders that are on the thick side. These adhere to skin better than liquids, which can bond to oil and slide down your face (eww). Try Bobbi Brown Illuminating Finish Powder Compact Foundation SPF 12, $40,
3/7 Jeff Harris
Dry Skin
Dry skin: If your skin is parched, use an oil-based liquid foundation with emollients such as glycerin, lanolin, or ceramides. These moisturizing ingredients will keep your skin looking soft and supple. Try Lancome Teint Miracle Lit- From-Within Makeup, $37,
4/7 Jeff Harris
Combination Skin
Combination skin: "Combination skin is tricky because your face is dry around the perimeter and oily in the T-zone," says Barnes. The trick: Apply a moisturizing cream foundation along the outer part of your face, then blend it in toward your nose. Finish with a dusting of a translucent powder such as Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in Translucent, $34,, over your nose and forehead. It will set the cream and prevent it from migrating into any creases.
5/7 Jeff Harris
Normal Skin
Normal skin: If you want to cover blotchiness, use a cream foundation. Try Laura Geller Real Deal Foundation Stick SPF 15, $28,
6/7 Jeff Harris
Normal Skin
"Otherwise, smooth on a tinted moisturizer, which will even out your tone and give you a natural look," says Sheriff. Try Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20, $48, "Then use a dab of concealer to hide any minor discolorations."
7/7 Jeff Harris
Apply Right
Prime time: Before you smooth on your foundation, prep your face with a primer, which will create a base for the makeup and help hold it in place all day. Look for a primer that's silicone based (which seals skin imperfections, creating a smoother surface) and oil-free, suggests Sheriff. Try Cover FX Brite Prep FX, $45,

Brush up: "A foundation brush helps the product go on smoothly and covers imperfections without creating a cakey appearance,"says Sheriff. "Using your fingers can cause skin irritations, because bacteria beneath your nails can be transferred to your face." If you're using a cream or liquid foundation, choose a brush made from a synthetic fiber such as nylon. Try Dermablend Foundation Brush, $22.50, For powder foundations and finishing powders, opt for a natural goat-hair brush, such as M.A.C 134 Large Powder Brush, $52,

Blend In: Pour a quarter-size amount of foundation onto the back of your hand or into a small, clean bowl. Then dip the brush into the product (just enough to cover the bristles—you don't want to drown them), and smooth it onto your skin with even strokes. "Begin on one side of your face underneath (repeat: underneath) your jawline, and work your way up to your cheekbones. Then continue to just below your brows and across your forehead. Repeat on the other side, and be sure to blend, blend, blend," says Barnes. Take a look in the mirror after applying the first layer to see if you're fully covered. You can always add more.
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