Alphabet Soup: Things people call Foundation

Why hello there! Welcome back! I have been a bad, bad otter as I realize it’s been almost a month. Time flies when I get home from work exhausted. Upside is my current assignment has a good bit of downtime SO… here we are 😉

One of the first things that you learn you need to add to your makeup toolbox is foundation. I know once upon a time not so terribly long ago the only thing you really needed to know about foundation was what shade you were. Not so much anymore. Now there are not only shades, but every kind of brightening, firming, pore reducing, age defying, sheer, full, tinted, gravity bending… you get the idea.

The most obvious player in this game is reliable ol’ foundation. You can dress it up, dress it down, powder it and make it sparkle, but in one form or another it’s been around since makeup became the thing to do. It can be found in powder, liquid, cream, and mousse. The only huge differences here are matters of preference, really. Some skin types (dry, oily, etc) take to certain types better than others (ie powder foundation doesn’t always work real well with dry skin, etc). Now for our purposes I will differentiate foundation into two categories: regular and full coverage. Regular foundation is the tried and true workhorse, meant to give you an even complexion as a foundation for the rest of your makeup. Pretty straightforward. Full coverage foundation is more opaque and meant to obscure more serious skin and coloration issues. For a gal like me with cystic adult acne and the scars to prove it, I tend towards full coverage foundation. Honestly I’d tend towards grease paint if it was just less… greasy. Anywho…

In the last year or so (or so says my brain with a really faulty calendar) some new players have come onto the market. Namely BB creams started popping up in the US. BB cream, short for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm, originated in Germany in the 60’s as a treatment after facial peels and surgery and was introduced in South Korea and Japan in the 80’s where women valued a youthful, porcelain complexion. BB creams are normally offered in a limited number of shades (if not just one) and rely on oxidation to match each skin tone. We’ll talk more on what oxidation is in a later post called How Not To Look Like An Oompa Loompa.

Following the success of BB creams came CC creams because marketing people are nothing if not creative and original. The selling point of CC creams is Color Control or Color Correction. What this means in practical layman’s terms is that it’s geared to cancel out redness or yellowness in the skin. Very exicting.

Not to be outdone, they are now shopping the idea of a DD cream because why the hell not, really. I’ve heard these touted as Daily Defense creams. I’m waiting now for the EE creams (Extra Exfoliating?) or even SS creams (Spectacular Spackle?).

Moving right along we also have a less common but equally baffling product called tinted moisturizer. It is exactly what it sounds like. Someone took moisturizer and added color to it. Because clearly, more similar products with differing names and descriptions makes this all so much easier on people. Yep.

So what you are probably asking at this point is what is all this mess and what’s the difference? That’s a great question. The real short, to the point, least complicated answer I can give you is “opacity”. Every different type of all of the above is going to claim to be (insert all of the good yummy skin properties here) so really sticking them to those criteria is moot. After all’s said and done it’s about coverage. And the best way to exlain that is with pictures!

The tricky part was finding a volunteer who wasn’t me who would let me slather makeup all over their face. Having searched high and low I found such a willing subject. Some of you may have met them before. Everyone say hello to Ollie the Otter 🙂

Ollie really had no say in the matter...

Ollie really had no say in the matter…

Now Ollie is a perfect candidate for this test for a few reasons. One, he doesn’t complain. Second, all those dark browns and crisp black lines are a great way to really show off the opacity of a foundation that you really aren’t going to see when watching YouTube videos of pretty young women with great skin.

Now one thing that is important in every makeup lesson is tools. What do we use to apply the products? Good brushes and tools will be where much of your makeup budget should go. They are pricey up front but if taken care of will last you many years.

In the case of liquid and cream foundation the fun new tool that everyone, including the best of the world’s makeup artists, is swearing by is the beautyblender. One of these will run you $20 and it is worth it.

Yep, I'm an egg.

Yep, I’m an egg.

Now this little critter looks awefully small at first glance but that’s because it’s dry. The first step in the directions is to get it wet and squeeze. What then happens is this:

Size does matter.

Size does matter.

Now the brilliant minds who came up with this critter will tell you to “bounce” the foundation onto your skin. I just envision women standing in front of mirrors lobbing gobs of foundation at their faces expecting it to bounce. To be more clear, you use the sponge to tap and pat the foundation on. Don’t rub. Rubbing actually causes skin problems like blemishs and redness. So don’t do it.

On to the products!

First we start with BB Cream. For this I am using Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++ which will run you $34.

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++

Not so opaque.

Not so opaque.

The moral of this short story is that if you have great skin and aren’t looking to really cover-up anything (acne, blemishes, discoloration, etc) you can totally get away with BB Cream.

Next in line is the Tinted Moisturizer. For this I am using CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 which will run you $27.

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15

Little more opaque.

Little more opaque.

This one packs a little more oomph. If you are looking for some subtle color evening qualities this could be an option. One downside to TMs, BBs, and CCs is that each brand, even differing products within the same brand, will have differing levels of opacity. Much like I will expound upon in my Oompa Loompa post, it is always best to try these out ON YOUR SKIN to make sure they are what you want before you drop $25-60 for a whole vat of the stuff.

On to the foundations!

Now I am a brat and I asked the lovely gal at Sephora to recommend for me the best foundation they had. Her response was Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation SPF 19 which will run you $57.

Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation SPF 19

Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation SPF 19

Yep. Looks like foundation.

Yep. Looks like foundation.

So in the grand scheme of foundations this is about the opacy I would expect. Would I spend $57 for it? Heh… yeah see, that’s what free samples are for.

Last but not least is the heavy hitter for today: the full coverage foundation. When I asked for a waterproof, streakproof, zombieapocalypseproof, hide all these red spots and acne scars worthy full coverage foundation, without hesitation I was handed Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation. This little bottle of awesome will run you $34. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar, KvD has tattoos ON HER FACE. She’s kinda known for it. That and being a tattoo artist. Which is presumably why she has tattoos on her face. Sometimes she wanted to cover up some of the tattoos along her temple and the full coverage foundations on the market just didn’t cut it. Much to my joy she created her own. Behold the awesomeness…

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation

WHERE IS MA FACE?

WHERE IS MA FACE?

Just a reminder of how dark black and brown are :p

Half an Ollie! Ollieclops?

That is probably the best extreme example I can come up with unless I can find a volunteer with rich dark chocolate colored skin who is willing to make themselves look really silly on camera!

As I conclude today’s visual tour I can’t stress again how important it is, not only for your skin but for your sanity, to find a favorite cosmetics store and get comfortable with trying things out and asking for free samples. Any makeup artist worth their salt wants you to be satisfied and realizes that if they help you pick out some options and let you try them in the comfort of your own home you will likely return to them. Mental note to selves, you can ask for 3 samples from each of the “worlds” at Sephora, the worlds being skin, fragrance, and color. Foundation falls under color. Many of the TMs and BBs fall under skin. And if the “cast member” really likes you he or she may “forget” how to count to three. Just sayin’.

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