Do you need a BB (“beauty balm”) cream or should you use foundation? Or is mineral makeup the best choice? The answer is…yes.
Think of these makeup options like your wardrobe. You can’t wear the same thing for every occasion. Your workout gear won’t be appropriate at a wedding, and you probably don’t wear a cocktail dress to the office.
BB Cream. When you want to go flawless, Jane Iredale Glowtime BB Cream is a best-in-class miracle worker in this rapidly growing category. It’s an elegant makeup that protects with an SPF 25, provides a flawless and distinctively satiny finish, helps brighten and even out skin imperfections with Vitamin C, and can do double duty as a healing concealer. (One reviewer said she used it to cover a large port wine stain birthmark, which would normally require camouflage makeup!) It takes a lentil-sized drop of it to cover your entire face because it’s loaded with super fine pigment that optically adjusts to your skin color. This is not a no-makeup look and it requires the right application tools, including a brush and buffing sponge. It takes more time to apply than regular foundation, but the results are well worth it.
Remember my comment about workout gear? Well, GlowTime will outlast your Bikram session. Very water resistant, but it doesn’t clog pores. For the ultimate finish Jane recommends starting with the Smooth Affair primer. Both products are non-comedeogenic (won’t clog your pores.) The one downside: just six shades. I expect there will be more. Here’s more info, user reviews and a great instructional video from Jane.
Custom Blend Foundation. This is the most natural look of the three and the most versatile. If you have a hard-to-match skin color, nothing is better than having a foundation custom-blended from scratch. Our makeup artists are specially trained in creating a bespoke foundation that is truly custom-blended–not like the popular blend-two-existing-liquid-foundations-together-and-call-it-custom approach of the major brands.
The lab that makes our Custom Blend foundation ($55) only makes one cosmetic–everything else they produce is a skin care product. The base is customized three ways: 1. For color 2. For texture 3. For coverage. I recently blended a base for a client who had never been able to find a foundation match because of her extremely fair skin. (Think Sargent’s famous Madame X!) The foundation had to be customized with so much pale blue tint that it looked, literally, grey in the bottle. When it was applied to her skin and had fully dried and oxidized, it was a gorgeous pale ivory. The problem is that makeup companies can’t sell you a bottle of liquid makeup that looks grey. They have to make makeup appealing in the container. Hence, poor pale women running around with peach-colored faces.
Or Asian women forced to wear life-sapping beige shades because cosmetic companies can’t bring themselves to put truly golden makeup on the shelf (yes, it looks scary when wet too.) The best foundation for Asian skin is shockingly yellow when wet, but dries to the perfect beige. Even olive-skinned women have this challenge. There is literally green in olive skin (hence the name!) But makeup companies won’t make foundation that is green enough. We have no such compunction–we pump green tint in until we get the perfect match. We document it all on a recipe card and then make your base from scratch each time you need a refill.
African American skins are among the hardest to match by conventional makeup. Ashy, ugly taupe makeup is the result of products containing titanium dioxide. An opacifier used in makeup, titanium dioxide is white. Period. No matter how much dark pigment you add, that white deadens black skin tones. The secret is to create a base with as little opacifier as possible.
When you create a custom blend foundation you can make it as sheer or as opaque as you like. If you prefer your base matte, we start with the matte formula. If you like it dewy, we start with the moisturizing formula. We can amp up the moisture content with hydrating serum. We can add sunscreen. We can add a touch of pearl. The secret to a truly natural finish is a faint shimmer, which mimics the way the skin naturally reflects light. (Think of the skin cells on the surface of your face as tiny, misshapen sequins.)
There are literally infinite options when you blend from scratch. Clients who have our Custom Blend foundation simply can’t go back to “off-the-shelf.” It’s like going from wearing couture to wearing a uniform. Many of our clients have a “winter coat” and “summer coat” made. Others like a “casual” and “dress” foundation, with different degrees of coverage.
Mineral Makeup. These powder foundations–the best are by Jane Iredale–are portable, convenient, and (generally) easiest to apply. The PurePress Base Spf 20 pressed mineral powder can be toted around in your makeup bag for quick daytime touchup or–my favorite–instant sun protection. They can be used like a traditional setting powder, over liquid foundation. There are myriad shades–thank you, Miss Jane, for your encyclopedic selection of colors. Mineral makeup gives a satiny finish. It’s best to use a setting spray like Jane’s PomMist Hydration Spray to ensure that it’s not too flat, and to help the minerals cling, if your skin is dry. This is the most hydrating hydration spray I have ever experienced and it’s a good take-along for anyone who has dry skin, to give your skin a “drink” during the day.
Another option in mineral makeup, and one that has been hugely popular in the past ten years, is loose powder makeup like Jane Iredale’s Amazing Base SPF 20. The color array matches their pressed foundations and most of our clients like to have both formulas. A little less convenient (you won’t be toting it in your bag), it gives the a lustrous, silky, satin finish. The quality of this product, compared to the many cheap mineral makeup knockoffs, is stunning. The minerals are milled super-fine, which is essential to a natural look.
Mineral makeup is truly versatile. I like to dash on mineral makeup for a trip to the gym, and I use the pressed foundation to revive my makeup at day’s end if I’m heading out to dinner. It’s like a whole new face. As well, if I suddenly get caught in the sun at an outdoor cafe, I can protect my skin with a few strategic swipes of my sponge. Mineral makeup is forgiving–unliked a mis-applied liquid foundation, you’re never going to look terrible with the right mineral powder shade, no matter how slapdash your technique.
But let’s say you want your mineral makeup to live up to its full, flattering potential. Proper application technique is key to making mineral makeup look pretty, not powdery, so don’t miss this instructional video from Jane if you’re a Mineral Girl. And plan to invest in the right foundation brush. It both applies the pigment and helps burnish and buff the minerals, removing excess and setting them.
I can’t say that mineral makeup has become hugely popular as a standalone makeup for more mature skins. It can make it look dry, and in my experience, it can be a little drying too, unless you use a primer and lots of hydration spray. And once you start getting into that much layering, well, you may want to opt for a liquid makeup anyhow!
To explore your foundation options, experience an educational makeup consultation with one of our trained and licensed artists. Give us a call at 408.741.5525 or send us a request at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to help you put your best face forward with the right makeup!