My Hero’s Journey for the perfect foundation
I recently went on a journey to find the perfect foundation. I can tell you turning 35 is no party for your skin and adding a pregnancy on top did not help. Some women glow, I flaked. Add the fact that, Botox, Retinol, hydroquinone, salicylic acid we're all out for nearly a year, and my skin turned into something unrecognizable. It was definitely time to put down the dry, mineral foundation, that used to look so velvety on my skin and go on a epic quest to find the perfect foundation for dry, aging, skin that requires medium to full coverage.
The Call to Action
I know what you are thinking, "Christi, you are a makeup artist, don't you already know which foundation looks the best?" The answer to that question is yeah, I know what looks great on 20 year old models and 16 year old prom dates, but I rarely do makeup on 35+ women. That, my friend, is a horse of another color. It was time to leave my humble village and venture out into parts known and unknown to seek out a mentor or 10 so that I could learn the ways of the noble Sephora color lead and eventually do battle with fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and dry skin.
Refusal of the Call
I tell you, I waited way too long to change my foundation. I knew it was time but I wasn't ready. I loved my loose mineral foundation. It was natural, gentle, contained only five ingredients, and was breathable enough to sleep in. However, when a co-worker brushes a flake off your forehead, it's time to take a hard look in the mirror (pun intended) and reevaluate.
Meeting the Mentor
The first thing I needed, was to attain the weapons of the pros. I finally got on board with the beauty blender craze. Now, mind you, I've been using a Beauty blender on my many of my brides, prom, and photo shoot work. I had not, however, been using one on myself. I was still kabuki brushing my way to a flawless finish, but my new skin texture made that impossible. It was high time I purchased my own beauty blender for personal use. If you are unfamiliar with the Beauty blender it's time to get acquainted. What's the difference between a beauty blender and an old fashioned sponge? First, It's ultra soft. You simply squeeze the blender under running water until it fills with water and becomes large and soft! It's patented texture absorbs minimal foundation and its rounded design allows you to apply your makeup with flawless perfection. In other words. You need this.
Crossing the Boundary
Now, with my beauty blender in my arsenal it was time to head out into parts unknown, or rather, really well known because let's be real, Sephora is basically my church. But metaphorically, the world of liquid foundation was relatively new for me. I was really only familiar with M.A.C Pro longwear and Smashbox Studio Skin. I like both of these foundations for studio work, but for every day wear I wanted something with the same great coverage, that felt a little more breathable. Remember, I was used to minerals, and the blazing sun of Phoenix will melt the toughest foundations in a flash.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
So, I journeyed across the desert to each and every Sephora in the Phoenix metro area and spoke to the color lead at each location. Always asking them what foundation do you like for dry, aging skin, that won't settle in my lines but still gives me good coverage. Becca Aqua luminous was the first recommendation I received. I will say that when I first saw the swatch on my wrist I was a fan. It has a really pretty look. I took a sample and tried it for the next few days, but unfortunately the coverage is really light and in some lighting I felt like the shimmer in the product made me look greasy and reflected my fine lines. I want a Matt foundation, I will add a Highlight were I want it. I do not want my whole face to shimmer.
The Inner Most Cave
I tried everything. Dior Airflash, looks pretty, but they don't make my shade. I had high hopes for Fenty, but while it looks great in the first two hours, it would dry and separate on my skin later in the day. Josie Maran Vibrancy never fully dried and would transfer on my phone and clothes, hourglass illusion settled in my lines and made them look dramatically worse. I felt like maybe I had unrealistic expectations. Maybe I should just scamper home with my head down and kabuki brush between my legs.
I decided to face my foundation head on (so many puns intended), and attack my lines and dryness with the proper primer. I have found several I like and would recommend. First aid Beauty coconut skin smoothie priming moisturizer and the old stand by Smashbox original primer or Primerizer.
Having solved part of my problem I arose stronger. However, I still had not found the perfect foundation. I found some that were better, like the new Bobby brown longwear weightless. It has a really soft feel going on ok but a little heavy and my fine lines were still too noticeable.
Then, a rumor began to spread across the valley. NARS was coming out with a new foundation, but it would not be out until next month. It was rumored to be like their beloved concealer, but formulated as a foundation. We heard that praises were being sung about a foundation that felt light but covered even the darkest of blemishes. But we had to wait two more weeks for it's arrival.
Finally, it arrived. I raced to Sephora and asked for a sample. I tried the NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation. I was amazed to discover that it came in my color. (There is even one more lighter) It felt light and looks like skin, It doesn't settle in my lines but rather blurs them. I can still see them but, that is not something foundation can fix. It covers my hyperpigmentation perfectly. I don't even need a concealer. i do I just use a tiny bit of the NARS concealer under my eyes. Cue "I'm Amazed" by My Morning Jacket.
Return with the Elixir
So the moral of this story is. There is a foundation out there for you. Don't give up. Use all the tools at your disposal. Speak to your Sephora and Blue Mercury Color Leads and also, probably, you should try the new NARS Natural Luminous Longwear Foundation $49 because it's awesome!
Christi Lanz is a lisenced cosmetologist working at Leidan Mitchell Salon In Phoenix, AZ.