Monday, October 21, 2013

Full Coverage Foundation Handbook

Natural looking foundation that has full coverage is (in all honesty) a challenge to attain, but integrating these tips and methods into your daily routine might make your job a little bit easier.  

Foundation: Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse applied with Elf Flat Top Kabuki Brush

The way that you apply your foundation really determines the coverage and finish that you will get. There are a few different tools that I love and recommend for full coverage. The Beauty Blender($19.95) -you all know how much I love this little sponge now, the Sephora Classic Mineral Powder brush($24), the Elf Flat Top Kabuki brush($3), or any other dense kabuki style brush. 

Before I fell in love with the Beauty Blender, I got a ton of amazing brushes here and here which I still definitely recommend. The kabuki style foundation brushes are exactly like the Sigma brushes that are constantly being raved about, but at a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost! No matter which of these tools you choose, you want to pat, stipple (bounce onto your skin) and buff (blend on in small circular motions) the foundation onto your skin, as this will method will give you the most natural looking full coverage. It is the best way to cover imperfections in color and texture which is often hard to do. You never want to paint foundation on in up and down strokes like you would paint a house. For this reason, you are going to want to avoid using brushes in the shape of a paddle, they won't give you enough coverage, and whatever coverage that they do apply will go on streaky. Some clients ask if they can use their hands to apply foundation, but in this case, when your goal is full coverage, the answer is no. When foundation is thin, lightweight or watered down, you can absolutely use your hands, and I often like the result better than if I'm using a brush. But when you are using thicker formulations for full coverage, your hands just won't cut it!

You can get full coverage with a liquid, cream or a powder foundation, but I usually like to layer a combination of two to get the best finish and wear time. Liquids & creams are easier to blend into the skin and build upon, letting you apply your coverage in layers exactly where you want or need it. You want their texture to be somewhat thick as opposed to super runny so that you don't have to add excessive layers to get the coverage you desire. Powders are great because they mattify the skin and really set the liquid products so that they don't budge. I like the Maybelline Dream Matte Powder, MUFE Duo-Matte Powder, Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder, and the Cover FX Mineral Powder.

Now the skin type that is usually looking for full coverage is one that tends to get oily or acne prone and might even have textural issues from acne scarring. A common question from this client is if one can still wear liquids with oily skin. The answer is yes! You just need a formula that is made to control oil and won't leave a super dewy finish. And I always stress the importance of setting makeup on oily skin. And I mean really SETTING it. A light dusting of powder will not do it. You need to use a sponge or powder puff and use the press & roll method to firmly adhere the powder to the skin. I'll go into detail about products and methods for this later on in another post about working with oily or dry skin, so keep a look out!

Left: Bare Face  -  Right: Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse
Left: Bare Face  -  Right: Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse 
Both: Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse set with Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder

Just to be clear, I do have on remnants of my mascara in all of the above photos. Other than that, the bare faced photos are completely bare, and the foundation photos do not have any concealer or any editing, that way you can see what the foundation & powder really can cover. 
I decided to break down some of the more popular options of high-end and drugstore. Since I work at Sephora I am a little bit more familiar with high-end brands, but I did wear only drugstore for many years, so can speak with some personal experience on those options as well.

Some great higher-end full coverage foundations are:

*Laura Mercier Silk Creme
This is probably my all time favorite full coverage foundation! I absolutely love how lightweight it feels and I get so many compliments when wearing it! It is so smooth and it glides onto the skin like magic, covering anything and everything so effortlessly with a natural finish. It comes in a squeeze tube, is water resistant as well as oil & fragrance free (helpful for those with sensitive skin). It is long lasting (claims up to 12 hrs) and it is infused with silk proteins and tea extracts that really help to diffuse fine lines and textural issues. No SPF and its light diffusing properties make it a great choice for photography or brides. The only downfall is there are only 10 shades to choose from, and while there are many options in light/ivory tones, this foundation offers very little to chose from for those with tan/deep skin tones.

*Cover FX Total Cover Cream
Super-duper full coverage, anti-oxidant rich and moisturizing, you can build with this foundation like no other. Vegan, gluten free and anti-aging, it contains SPF 30 and is free of mineral oil, talc, parabens, sulfates, sythetic chemicals & dyes. It comes in a compact form and is the perfect foundation for someone who has many ingredient requirements or is very health conscious. The high SPF will not photograph well with flash, but in all other regards it look great, with a natural satin finish. It is broken down into pink, neutral and golden undertones and has a great range of shades, also with matching concealers. Here is a review from Katie's Beauty Blog so that you can see her before and after pictures.

*Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet +
Make Up For Ever is one of my absolute favorite makeup lines, I love pretty much everything that they make! This oil-free, water resistant foundation looks beautiful on the skin, mattifying it without ever looking dull or dry. It comes in a squeeze tube bottle and truly does have a 'velvet' finish. They don't have the most shades in the world, but definitely not as bad as Laura Mercier! If you can find your color it is lovely, it photographs well and it feels lightweight and breathable on the skin.

*Stila Stay All Day
Oil free, creamy and hydrating this foundation is infused with botanicals and anti-aging ingredients. It comes in a vast array of colors so you are sure to find a perfect match. This foundation also comes with a brush and a concealer in the cap which was very thoughtful of Stila. The brush is worthless in my opinion (I would save it to use for Halloween makeup or something that I wouldn't want to use good brushes for) but the concealer works pretty well, and it's nice to have everything in one bottle. It does not have a pump, but instead a little spatula connected to the inside of the cap. This is a bit inconvenient when the foundation starts to run out, but all in all, it is a beautiful, moisture rich formula. 

*Kat Von D Lock it Tattoo 
Kat's waterproof, oil-free foundation is comprised of 21% pure pigment, making it a heavy hitter when it comes to coverage. While it is oil absorbent, it does contain silicones for added smoothness and diffusion, so make sure you are alright with that. It's comes with a pump and it's long-wear & transfer resistant so you should definitely get a serious makeup remover to go with it (is is waterproof after all). The color range is vast though sometimes the colors tend to look too orange or yellow so you should definitely sample this foundation before you purchase it.

*Tarte Amazonian Clay
This foundation is made to balance any skin type, but the addition of amazonian clay makes it really nice for those who tend to get oily. Tarte is a cruelty-free natural brand whose products are gentle for your skin and formulated without parabens, sulfates & other harsh chemicals. Longwear, blendable and smooth, it has an airy mousse-like texture that is unlike many other foundations that I've tried. It has SPF 15 and it adjusts to your skin throughout the day to ensure that you always have the right balance of moisture while remaining shine-free. They just expanded the line with new shades, but again, not too many on the darker spectrum. 


Some great alternative foundations in drugstore brands are:

*Revlon ColorStay
Probably offering the most coverage from a drug store foundation, it's super popular on youtube and on beauty blogs. It sets quickly, so work it on in sections: cheek, cheek, forehead, nose, chin. It comes in formulations for combination/oily skin and normal/dry skin.

*L'oreal True Match 
Very, very lightweight in feel while providing good coverage, this works best for normal/combination/oily skin. It can get patchy on dry or un-exfoliated skin. I love this foundation because it comes in so many different colors. There is a warm, neutral and cool range which is super helpful when finding your shade. Most drugstore foundations run a little pink or orange, but I don't find that the case when I wear this. The 'lumi' formula is great for normal/dry skin.

*Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse 
I love and wear this foundation when I'm in a hurry. It comes in a little twist off compact and it's so easy to apply and blend out. It leaves you with a very good, even coverage and it's a bit moisturizing so doesn't show my dry areas. It's good for combination/normal/dry skin, but super oily folks should most likely avoid it.

*Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 
Marketed as a foundation, concealer and primer all in one, this is made to last very long on the skin. It is too drying for me personally, and it looked unnatural on my skin, but many others I know love it. Good for combination/oily skin, it gets too lifeless and dry on normal/dry skin.


Let me know if you have had a good/bad experience with any of these foundations or if you think others should be added to the list!

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