Choosing a Foundation - Face - iVillage Beauty Makeup Studio

Oil-based liquids

feel the greasiest, because they contain the most oil. Some of these turn orange because of an unfortunate interaction between the oils and pigment.
Good For: Dry or mature skin

Finish: Matte

Coverage: Medium to heavy. In many cases, a little can go a long way.

Best Products: Chanel Teint Natural Liquid Makeup, Lorac Satin Finish Makeup, Laura Mercier Moisturizing Foundation, Shu Uemura UV Liquid Foundation, Christian Dior Teint Dior Lift SPF 15, L'Oréal Visible Lift Line Minimizing Makeup


Water-based liquids

give light coverage because the base is water, which is lighter than oil. Usually contain some silicone oil for glide.

Good For: All skin types, especially sensitive or combination skin

Finish: Sheer, satin

Coverage: Light; they look natural and blend beautifully

Best Products: Chantecaille Real Skin Foundation, Lancome Eau de Teint Pure Complexion Watercolor, Vincent Longo Water Canvas, Lorac Neutralizer, Origins As Good As It Gets, Stila Liquid Makeup


Oil-free liquids'

pigment is suspended in water instead of oil, although most contain silicone oils for "glide." Some contain talc, which regulates excess oil on the face.

Good For: Oily skin; many actually soak up excess oil throughout the day and keep your face matte.

Finish: Matte or satin

Coverage: Medium

Best Products: Awake Oil-Free Foundation, Bobbi Brown Essentials Oil-Free Foundation, Chanel Teint Pur Mat, Clinique Stay True Makeup Oil-Free, Iman Second To None Oil-Free Makeup, Lorac Oil-Free Makeup, Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation, Prescriptives Exact Color Makeup Oil-Free, Neutrogena Healthy Skin SPF 20.


Tinted moisturizers

provide the sheerest coverage, because they are, quite simply, lotion mixed with a bit of pigment. Use if you want light coverage or if you have wrinkles - they plump up the skin. Often contains sun protection.

Good For: Normal or dry skin, especially good for mature skin because coverage is light; it doesn't seep into lines and wrinkles.

Finish: Sheer

Coverage: Light; especially good in warm weather, when you want the sheerest coverage

Best Products: Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer, Clarins Tinted Moisturizer, Aveda Moisture Plus Tint SPF 10, Shiseido Vital Perfection Performance Tinted Moisturizer SPF 10, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, Max Factor Invisible Make-Up SPF 6, M*A*C Environmental Protection Tinted Moisturizer, Prescriptives Transparent Facecolor, Shu Uemura Anti-UV SPF 17 Makeup Mousse


Cream foundations or cream powders

(dual foundation) usually come in a compact or a stick. Oil-based, they look creamy and greasy in the pan but actually go on matte and powdery. Cream foundation is best applied with a sponge; cream powder can be applied with a brush as a powder or with a wet sponge as a foundation. If you don't use too much, they can make your skin look flawless.

Good For: Normal or combination; not good for older skin

Finish: Matte

Coverage: Medium to heavy: creams can make you look heavily made up, so apply carefully.

Best Products: Elizabeth Arden Sponge-On Cream Makeup, Christian Dior Fond de Teint Compact Foundation (especially great for women of color), Dermablend Compact Cover Crème (for heavy coverage), Yves Saint Laurent Powder Cream Veil, Stila Illuminating Powder Foundation, Shu Uemura Nobara Foundation, Trish McEvoy Powder Foundation Duo.

Excerpted from BEAUTY: THE NEW BASICS © 2001, Rona Berg Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York
All Rights Reserved

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