Health & Beauty Weekly: Foundation-based looks

Foundation is the essential base for any look. It can hide stubborn blemishes and red spots, cover wrinkles and give your face a flawless look. It can become your best friend or worst enemy if not applied correctly.

Finding your perfect match can take some time. There are also many different forms, such as liquid, powder and mousse just to name a few, and they all promise the same coverage.

"Foundation has one purpose to make the skin look flawless," says Susan Ijames, a cosmetology professor at Santa Monica College. "Most cosmetic companies use the same formulations as they buy from one or two manufacturing companies."

The key, she says, is to find a formula compatible with your specific skin tones and the ingredients you want.

With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to tell which one works best for you. Stores like Macy's, Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom all have representatives who help find what works for you. They can even give samples so you can go home to try samples for a few days before you purchase the foundation.

"When I picked out my color by myself, I looked like a fool, but I didn't know any better; I swore I looked good," says SMC student Tanya Cole.

Cole has tan skin and did not notice how she really looked until seeing a picture, referring to herself as an "orange mess."

"I went to the Clinique counter in Nordstrom, and the rest is history," she says. "I love their makeup. It's amazing. I use their Even Better makeup now, but before I used their powders and liquid foundation."

If you do not want department store makeup and want to go more natural, you can find natural products at retailers like Ulta, Whole Foods or other online retailers.

Mineral-based makeup is a beauty product that has been seen in online ads and even television commercials. Bare Escentuals makeup seems to have been leading this trend in advertising, but there are also brands like Mineral Fusion, ZuZu and Gabriel Cosmetics that also use minerals.

Bare Escentuals' specific makeup branding, called Bare Minerals, has been the pioneer in mineral make up since 1976. Claiming to use the highest grade of minerals, their foundations contain five ingredients, available in loose powder or compact.

According to Bare Escentuals' website, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, bismuth oxychloride, mica and iron oxides are all five ingredients in the original Bare Minerals foundations.

Bare Minerals claims you can wear the makeup to bed without harming your skin. The company believes when adding chemicals and preservatives that other brands add, the product loses its integrity. Bare Minerals has boutiques all over Los Angeles with staff ready to help customers find colors and answer questions about the company.

"You have the mineral makeup which some would like to think is "new," but I'm reasonably sure Cleopatra used mineral makeup, as there was no Max Factor or FDA to deal with," says Ijames. "Once again, that is a preference. However, the mineral zinc is a complete sunblock, and the body uses zinc for healing, so this should be in all foundations. It could be added to moisturizer as well for added protection."

Ijames says that depending upon the skin type, foundations use two basic emulsion formulas, water encased in an oil
a water-in-oil emulsion for dry skin and oil encased in water an oil-in-water emulsion for oily skin. The quality of both the water and the oil, she says, matters as some oils will clog the pores.

Some foundation can get flaky or highlight flaws. A sponge or a beauty blender can make it easier to apply makeup, helping it go on smoothly.

"Use a dry sponge to apply makeup on dry skin so both the oil and pigment is used and for oily skin the sponge will be damp so only the pigment is picked up as oil and water don't mix," Ijames says. "Now a professional will probably use an airbrush so that make up will usually be water-based."

One key point, Ijames says, is that fingers should never be used to remove foundation from its container because the pH of the skin and the body oils will contaminate the product and alter the color and leave bacteria behind.

Lauren NarvaezComment