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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Foundation Frustration: The Quest to Find the Perfect Finish

Finding a face foundation is an extremely frustrating task. And often times, overwhelming. The overwhelming part takes place in the initial choosing the foundation process. Liquid or powder? Mineral or gel-based? Matte or dewey finish? Spf or no Spf? Primer or no primer? The list goes on and on. One thing is for sure, a certain amount of research is involved in even finding the right product to try, let alone fall in love with and use over and over again. I have been searching for the right foundation for years. I know now that even finding one that I love does not mean I've crossed the finish line. Loving the foundation has little to do with the foundation loving you! You have to give it at least a week before you declare and finalize your love, to see if the product is going to cause you break-outs or other unwelcome skin imperfections. Over the course of the last 5 years, there have been many who have come and gone. But one thing remains the same. I am still in search of my perfect product. I may have found it today, but like I said, one cannot rush to judgment. I will take you on my foundation roller coaster and explain why certain ones just couldn't make the cut. 

Skin History: On the dry side with combination/oily chin area. Sensitive. Dry patches by the mouth and nose. Prone to break outs around chin area and sometimes the little white bumps on my forehead. Overall, pretty good condition.

Given my individual skin chemistry, these are the results that happened with my own personal skin. If your skin is oily or combination and you are looking for a mattifying product then your outlook will be different on any given foundation. Its all very subjective. One woman's trash is another woman's treasure.

Some of the products I've used, Pros and Cons:

Bare Minerals: 
We've all used this at one time or another. I tried it for the first time around 5 years ago. I quite liked it and the finish that the mineral veil gave. Until I saw myself in photos. Do yourself a favor when you try a foundation, take a picture of yourself out in the sunlight. The results can often be brutal, sometimes favorable, but always honest. My face appeared to be quite dry and lacklustre. Bare Minerals was history. 

Pros: Didn't make me break out, liked the finish the mineral veil gave, good shade selection.

Cons: Drying. Contains bismuth which some have a sensitivity to. If your face is dry and itchy while using BM, this is most likely why.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer:
I really liked this one and I am pretty sure that I still do. I was entertaining the idea of trying this one again but I am looking for a fuller coverage foundation right now. I will hit up Laura M. in the hotter months though when I am searching for something lighter.

Pros: Great dewey/illuminating finish. Was able to find a good shade match. Light coverage which means that it feels light on the skin.

Cons: Not full coverage. Became a bit oily around my chin and caused me to break out.

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation:
Back to mineral powder! I had heard SO so so much about this foundation and how great it was and what a beautiful sheen it gave. Why oh why did I have to be the one person that noticed none of the glowing praise on my own skin? I didn't even notice it was on my skin, let alone giving it a beautiful sheen. I had to apply so much and I just didn't get the coverage I was looking for. 

Pros: Not as drying as Bare Minerals. Laura Mercier is a reputable brand who usually makes great products. Has a very good mechanism in place to keep product not spill out all over the place inside the container. 

Cons: Not enough coverage. Not enough of anything.

Korres Mineral Powder Foundation:
The absolute stand-out product of all mineral powders that I've tried. A beautiful sheen is provided by the mica that the product contains. Very good coverage and not noticeably drying. 

Pros: Better coverage than other mineral powders. Nice sheen. Not drying. Contains SPF 30 which is impressive on its own. Contains lots of good for your skin ingredients as well as claims of anti-aging properties. Seems to fill in fine lines and give a very smooth finish.

Cons: Not enough shade selection. The color I picked is a tad on the golden side because that is all they had in my light/medium category. I need a cooler pinker toned shade. They actually FILL the jar with the product and not just give you a big jar to trick you into thinking its all product (:::cough:::Bare Minerals :::cough:::) Nothing wrong with the actual product for what you can reasonably expect from it. Just not the finish I am looking for all the time. Hard to achieve dewey with any type of powder.

Mac Studio Sculpt:
This is one of my latest trials and eventual error. I wanted this to work so badly but in the back of my mind, I knew that it wouldn't. I've heard so much about Mac foundations being chalked full of pore-cloggers and that it has caused many dissatisfied users to break out almost immediately. Put one more on that list. This is a gel-based foundation which can be a tad tricky to work with. After trying several application methods, I found that applying it with my Sephora foundation brush then blending it with my very dense Sephora bronzing brush was the most even and blendy

Pros: Provides that dewey finish I want. Lots of shade selection for all skin tones and undertones. Affordable, around $29. Gel-based foundation which gives you a nice glowy appearance. SPF 15.

Cons: Pore-clogging. Not meant for skin prone to break-outs. Not meant for oily skin, although I have dry skin but I am just saying. Caused major break-outs. Hard to work with with just any foundation brush. You need a very dense brush to blend it or else it can apply streaky.

Nanoce BB Cream:
This is the stuff that is big talk in the makeup world right now. There are several brands of BB cream, a Japanese all-in-one type of foundation. I chose to order the Nanoce upon the recommendation of someone who claimed this brand was the best. I was very intrigued by the claim that it was a moisturizer, acne medication, foundation, and anti-ager all in one product. If it sounds to good to be true, it kinda sorta but not completely is in this case. 

Pros: Pretty good coverage, blends easily with a good dense brush, good shade match.SPF30. Affordable for all that it claims to do, I paid around $30. 

Cons: Clings a bit to dry areas like middle of my chin and around my nose, not enough shade selection (basically a light and a medium), not moisturizing enough to skip using your own moisturizer. Plastic tube was supposed to contain once ounce of product but it was not at all full. Most of the directions and product description was in Japanese on the back of the tube and the box. Which is cool as long as it accompanies an English translation.
I'm not completely giving up on this one yet, but it hasn't wowed me to the point of being deserving of my loyalty.

Cover FX Mineral Powder Foundation:
This is a pressed powder foundation that comes in your standard pressed powder compact. There is a wide variety of shade selection right down to the exact kind of undertone you may have. Very thorough. 

Pros: Shade selection. Supposed to be good for acne-prone or sensitive skin. It didn't break me out. Oil absorbing qualities. Decent coverage for a mineral powder.

Cons: Too matte. A tad drying because of the matte finish. Texture is someone chalky. Packaging is kind of ugly. Pricey for only getting less than half of an ounce $36
May give this one another go around in the summer if my skin becomes more on the oily side but right now, it doesn't work well with predominately dry skin. May look into their cream powder foundation.

Chanel Lift Lumiere:
Chanel on left, Nanoce BB Cream on right
This is the latest of my foundation endeavors. After thorough research to make an informed decision, I went with this one. I had heard that it was a medium-full coverage foundation that gave a dewey and airbrushed finish. Who isn't completely enticed by use of the word "airbrush"? In my opinion if you throw this word into your item description, you have just sealed the deal for foundation fanatics. Claims to have anti-aging properties, hence the use of the term "lift". Well, I'm 32, I can use all the lift I can get. 

Pros: Airbrush, dewey finish. It's Chanel. Beautiful packaging. Pump dispenser for easy application. Easy to work with. Not at all thick. Gives a sheer, glowy appearance when you test it on the hand but does give good enough coverage when applied to the face. Good shade match. Its Chanel. 

Cons: I've heard that Chanel foundations can also be hell on sensitive skin. I have used one other Chanel face product, the Bronze Universal, and although I loved it more than my own family, I couldn't take the break-outs. Sad to say, it was almost worth the breakouts. Very expensive, $70 with tax. The most expensive foundation I've tried but not the most expensive face product I've tried so I wasn't all that shocked. If its going to go on my face, I am willing to shell out the extra cost. The face is kind of important ya know?
Jury is still out. This is only day 1. I am half-hoping I don't like it because its expensive and then half-hoping I do like it because I don't want to spend any more money on foundation.

Update Chanel Lift Lumiere:
Failure! Although I like the finish, it broke me out like a young man going through puberty! Plus it was too yellow for me. I am pink. I don't know how she couldn't see that and every other person in the history of makeup artistry can. Exchanged for Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua:
This stuff is also supposed to be great. This is a very light-weight and light coverage foundation. Also, oil-free. I thought I wanted something full coverage but since its already been in the 80's I can't stand having anything on my face at all, let alone a foundation mask. 

Pros: Cheaper. Light-weight. Oil-free. Its Chanel. Lots of shade matches for my skin undertone.

Cons: Only one so far. I went to get some out, barely squeezing the tube and enough for 4 days worth of face makeup came out. Not cool.

Possible Future Contenders:
Make Up For Ever (MUFE) Face and Body Foundation: 
I was so tempted after reading the reviews. Went to Sephora to test it out. I was so grossed out because of how the foundation appears to have settled in the glass jar. It's like oil has risen to the top and you can see the foundation is kind of broken up in spots and then you see a watery consistency all around it. I guess you have to shake it up before you use? Any which way you look at it, it was off-putting and kind of shocking to be quite honest. I don't know if they come with a pump dispenser or not. I've seen them pictured both with and without. Get with the times MUFE!

Pros: Supposed to diminish fine lines and large pores. Water-based gel has no emulsifiers and gives a satin finish. Also made to use on the body. I wonder what this means. Wouldn't you need kind of a lot to use on the body? The only place I can think to use foundation would be maybe to cover a tattoo or cover up bruises or leg imperfections but being that this is a light coverage foundation, I don't see this being appropriate. 

Cons: I don't know the cons because I haven't gotten this far. The only con I have is that the tester bottles were so unattractive that they had me running for the Chanel counter. Had they been more pleasing to the eye, I would be talking about how I'm trying MUFE foundation and not the Chanel Lift Lumiere.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation:
The name just sounds very enticing. Silk. Creme.
Pros: Supposed to be long-wearing, and good coverage for pigmentation and those with Rosacea. Oil-free. Radiant glow. Wide variety of shades. LM makes good products. 

Cons: Have heard that it looks cakey and clings to skin's imperfections like pores and dry spots. Despite the claim of being a long-wearing product, I have read reviews that say it melts right off.

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