Find Your Perfect Coverage
By Melissa Gulden
A Good Foundation
By Melissa Gulden
As we all settle into a new year, one thing that should never settle is your foundation. Never fear—I have pored over the latest pore perfecters, from BB creams and tinted moisturizers to soothing serums that moonlight as foundation—to find the ultimate formulas and finishes for every complexion.
Two innovative applicators are making foundation a little easier (and a lot more fun) to apply. L’Oréal Paris’s petite paint roller is designed to deliver seamless coverage. The roller goes straight from your chin to your neck, so you don’t end up with a telltale line. It also covers quickly—perfect when you’re in a hurry. Maybelline’s built-in blender sponge uses microfibers to slide into fine lines and hard-to-reach areas (like around eyes and nostrils) to create a smoother, even appearance.
1. Liquid Foundation
Coverage: Sheer to full.
Like powders, these supply various levels of coverage. You can thin out a liquid by applying it with a damp sponge or lay it on thick for full opacity. Most are moisturizing and leave your skin looking dewy.
New fave: Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet Smooth-Effect Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF Sunscreen. $45.
Unlike some full-coverage formulas that require a rigorous face massage to eliminate visible foundation lines, this one doesn’t make you work for flawless.
2. Cream Foundation
Creams are the heavy hitters of foundations: dark spots, fine lines, stubborn zits—they can cover them all. They have a higher amount of pigments and a dense texture that offers extra coverage.
New fave: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick. $44.
Though it’s heavy duty enough to conceal blemishes, the buttery stick blends well and settles into a pretty natural-looking finish. It also contains silica, which absorbs oils and diffuses light.
3. BB Cream
Coverage: Sheer to medium.
Consider these beauty balms as hyperactive tinted moisturizers. They deliver hydration and an SPF that generally spans 15 to 30, and enough pigment to even out minor discolorations. If your usual AM routine is sunscreen and concealer, you might consider BBs your new BFF.
New fave: Neutrogena Visibly Even BB Cream SPF 30. $16.
4. Serum Foundation
Coverage: Sheer to moderate.
Light liquids with a barely-there feel, this new crop of cover-ups is ideal for those who think wearing foundation is akin to sporting a ski mask. The formulas usually bring anti-aging and brightening ingredients to the table.
New fave: Bare Minerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF. $29.
5. How to Apply:
Use your fingers on sheer bases, such as tinted moisturizers and BB creams, which don’t require precise application.
Sponges are better with medium- to full-coverage formulas. Moisten before dabbing into your base to make the finish a bit sheerer; plus, sponges allow you to press against skin where you’ve applied too much and then pull it up to lift away excess.
A foundation brush is best for gradually layering on your base. Use dense synthetic brushes for heavy creams and liquids, and a fluffy natural head for powders.
And for the ultimate lit-from-within look, mix a bit of shimmer into your liquid foundation, or try an illuminating tinted moisturizer with light-reflecting pigments, such as Laura Mercier ($42). Or, dot a shimmer stick on tops of cheekbones (Nars the Multiple in Copacabana, $39).
So as you rack up the compliments on your flawless looking face, just tell ‘em, “I woke up like this.” They’ll never know.