Devi Beauty: Foundation for Greatness

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There's a reason it's called "foundation" ladies. The right foundation--in the right color, consistency, and overall appearance--truly provides the basic building block for your entire makeup routine. Wealthy Egyptians supposedly began using the prehistoric version of foundation--a yellow liquid colored by clay pigments--back in 5000 B.C. and in 1562, Queen Elizabeth is said to have made her own foundation out of white lead and vinegar, in order to cover up her smallpox scars. The stuff has been around. Many Devis I know have visceral reactions to the word "foundation" or--even worse--"base." One friend in particular still shudders in horror as she thinks about the Revlon "base" she had to wear for her Indian dance performances that was, she now realizes, at least 8 shades too light and 19 inches too thick. Luckily, foundation has come a long way and we all can benefit from finding the right formula for our needs.

Foundation isn't supposed to "mask" your face. It's simply supposed to give you a more consistent, even, and glowing complexion. It also provides the canvas upon which your other products--eye shadows and blushes in particular--will stick. It is absolutely essential when you are trying out foundations to see how they look in natural light (versus the din of a department store)--you will be able to notice maskiness (when, for instance, your face with foundation on doesn't match your neck--scary!) right away in the glaring light of day.

There is so much dialogue and jargon about foundation. "Yellow undertone" this; "luminated blue tones" that. The word that comes to mind is: Blah. You don't need to philosophize about foundation, you just need to wear it! So, without further ado, my top foundation picks for us Devis. Some of these are high-tech, with the newest ingredients on the block, and others are tried and true--what they all have in common is that I have personally tried and loved all of them, as have many fellow Brown Girls:

For light coverage: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation or Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer.

I would apply to be the poster child for Giorgio Armani foundation. I wish they gave me referral fees I really do. For me, it is the perfect consistency, with just enough light-deflecting mica to illuminate and brighten. It somehow manages to provide radiance without slickness and this has been my tried-and-true foundation for five years now. It has its cons, most of all: The price. It ain't cheap, which is why I often go moonlighting. But I always come back. Also not especially cool is how it makes me feel like a snob--Armani makeup? Come on! But..wait a second...okay I'm over it! You gotta suffer for beauty right?? Ha. One more caveat: Some girls who have tried this foundation have found it to be too oily for their skin so you might want to skip this recommendation if you have particularly oily skin.

In general, I think that tinted moisturizers are a ruse--you can make your own by blending a few drops of your regular foundation with some of your moisturizer to make a foundation with less coverage. The exception to this is Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer. It covers more than any other "tinted moisturizer" out there and truly does moisturize as well. Also, unlike many tinted moisturizers out there, it doesn't settle into your pores after a few hours on the job. Good stuff.

For medium coverage: Estee Lauder Double-Wear Stay in Place Makeup

They aren't kidding about the stay-in-place part—summer humidity, sweat, and even rain are no match for this long-lasting makeup with at least 5 different shades that flatter Indian skintones. And while it provides opaque coverage, it doesn't resemble a clay mask.

Word to the wise: Most Estee Lauder counters at department stores will give you a free sample of this that lasts almost a month--so try before you buy.

For medium-to-heavy coverage, and especially for Kodak moments: Dior AirFlash

This one is not for beginners but if you are ready to invest a little time in proper application of this aresol foundation, you will reap enormous benefits. You know the "airbrushed" and perfect look that models have on magazines? It can be yours and it resides in this can, making this particular foundation especially good for occasions when you're going to be photographed.

The reason this particular foundation is a little tricky, in my opinion, is that it is best applied with a sponge. Aka another item you need. (For all the other foundations here, you can apply with your fingers and get a beautiful finish.) Also, you just have to get used to the fact that the product is a spray/mist. But, after you get over these (not so difficult) hurdles, AirFlash will likely provide you with the most flawless face you have ever seen--and everybody will just think you have beautiful skin, that's how natural it is.

For seriously oily or acne-prone skin: Oil-free Make Up Forever HD Invisible Coverage

This stuff feels amazing--thin as air. And yet, it offers surprisingly thorough coverage and, yes, is completely oil-free. The range of 25 shades gives us many options--more than any other foundation listed here. Its "soft effect" finish is designed for people in the spotlight--and what Devi doesn't love the spotlight?!?

A note on application: The variety of tools out there to apply foundation is mind-boggling. I am here to tell you that if you apply your foundation with your fingers, you will be just fine (with the exception of the Dior AirFlash). There are many, many ways to apply foundation properly. Check this out for some great application tips, and see photos of a self-proclaimed Indian Make-up Diva applying foundation here.

A note: As with everything else this week, this just scratches the surface of this topic. We didn't even get started on cream and powder foundations! And, with almost any foundation, you will need "set" the makeup with powder. So make sure to check back in for updates on these foundations, the best loose powders for Devis, the best drugstore-brand foundations, and some options for foundations brushes, amongst other things!

Have any foundation tips to share, ladies? The best recommendation /tip/story wins a coveted Dior AirFlash, courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Next Up: Tomorrow is our last day of Devi Beauty Week! Check in to read about some of my secret "extras" that add a little bit of magic to your beauty regime, and find out about the launch of our new sister-site, "Brown Girl Guide," which will delivery beauty tips (and the "Brown Girls" comic) right to your inbox.

Also, we will be announcing the winners of the fabulous Cargo lip gloss duo, the DiorShow mascara, and the Dior AirFlash foundation--there's still time to post your comment/recommendation/tip/suggestion. Who can't use free makeup?

Anonymous said...

i'm a non-makeup kinda girl. I do own an eyeliner pencil and some moisturiser, which does something, i'm sure. I've never owned or used foundation and blush though.

All the reading this week has made me wonder how much money (and time?) you NATURALLY gorgeous devis spend on elaborate daily make-up routines. (Anyone care to divulge?)

Anyway, while not all of this has been for me, it HAS been facinating to get an insight to what people value spending their time and money on -- so thanks (sincerely), DwB.

I just hope we girls don't end up being our own worst enemies, with all this attention to looking good (for whom?). I just read with sadness Germaine Greer's latest outburst on Michelle Obama's dress-style.

Anu said...

Anonymous, lucky you, not having to wear foundation or blush! Not everyone is so lucky. And even if we are naturally gorgeous, makeup is fun!

My fave foundation is L'Oreal True Match. Lots of shades to choose from, great coverage, and it won't break the budget.
Even this lady thinks it's great:'Oreal+Paris

Nali said...

MAC studio fix foundation works pretty well. The coverage is great.

I love make-up, but I usually get stuck in the application. I would love for there to be more tutorials on how to apply make-up especially eyeshadow and eyeliner. I know Stila has pictorials on how to apply eyeshadow on their packaging.

The product maybe great, but if you don't apply it well then it basically defeats the purpose, right?

Uma said...

Totally agree Nali--I think that I would like to "splurge" on certain cosmetics but only if I am properly armed with the right application techniques. DwB--any chance you are thinking of posting tutorial videos??

First poster: Not sure if you are trying to make us feel bad for spending time on superficial pursuits but giving you the benefit of the doubt, I will let you know that I spend about 35=40 minutes every morning getting ready (from into the shower to out the door). Not really sure how this compares to others? But I agree with "Anu," much of my makeup application (like, for nights out) is for fun. It IS fun to try new looks (and it's cheaper than buying new looks in clothes!)

I've been using MAC studio fix for years but I recently heard that it has an ingredient that makes you more susceptible to break outs? Any truth to this Devis? Also am wondering if a liquid would be more flattering than the powder.

Tani said...

Oh please "anonymous"! Learning about makeup and beauty is just like learning any other skill. Your proclaimed sincerity aside, it is obvious you are choosing to spend YOUR valuable time judging people you don't even know who happen to suffer the intolerable sin of wearing more makeup than you!

Okay, done!

I have loved Devi Week of Beauty and hope you make it a regular feature. As a mom of two, I don't have the sort of time I used to have to peruse department stores for new products or read all the fashion magazines, but I still get that thrill of excitement over the promise of new makeup. And I agree with the other posters, in-depth tips on application would be really helpful.

My favorite foundation is Chanel. So I can commiserate with that feeling of "ouch, I am a snob". But it is literally my only beauty indulgence and I think it's texture is perfect (plus it has SPF!). My tip, though, is to find a less expensive foundation for everyday and make it into a "tinted moisturizer" like the Devis suggested, by mixing it with your moisturizer. I use Revlon Colorstay.

Anonymous said...

WHOA why is "Brown Girls" moving?!? Hope we'll still be able to get it here (and not have to pay for it?!?!)

Gina said...

I'm about a 40 minute kind of girl too--but blowdrying my hair probably takes up the bulk of that. Gotta say, I'm not really a make-up-y person either, but I have loved reading all this. I never really read about makeup/beauty in regular publications because I know the products will likely not be right for me so its great to read about stuff actually tried on Indians! I won't be buying lots of foundation anytime soon...but I DO think I am going to splurge on that ysl touche eclat, after reading this review and then reading more online. Seems perfect for low-maintenance, high-impact!

Does this mean there is no comic today? Bummer!! Not even a comic of the Brown Girls in makeup?? Haha.

Shalini said...

i LOVE laura mercier's tinted moisturizer. i have never worn foundaiton but this stuff definitely gives "coverage"--i highly recommend it!

Hema said...

Okay I REALLY need some help now on the right order of things. Concealer before or after foundation? I actually went and tried the Clay de Peau concealer your recommended and I kind of hate you because it IS the most perfect concealer I have ever, ever found, so now I am hooked. But I don't know when to apply?

jaime said...

I heart my Dior airflash! It truly is amazing ladies. I apply it with a brush and I swear once you get used to it, it doesn't take long AT ALL to apply. I loved the tips from this week and think you should start a devi beauty blog...

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