I will turn 45 at the end of this January. I am truly content with growing older - I feel wiser and more confident in many ways. And much of my confidence comes from how I approach, embrace, and put effort into looking my best.
So a big part of this comes from how I take care of my skin and the beauty products I put on it. Our faces are literally one of the very first things that people notice when they meet us. Not our shoes, not our jewelry - but our smile, eyes, and skin are what people lock into when speaking to one another!
This brings me to todays topic. It happens to the best of us. We reach for our trusty foundation or even a brand new one and apply it as usual. Only to get a glimpse in the rearview mirror of your car (the most natural and unforgiving light!) and feel shocked that our face looks like it’s been spackled on with a spatula of makeup…Yikes!
This can be the reality that is cakey-foundation. And this can be the quickest way to look older - which is typically not the result we want from our makeup. But we can’t always blame the actual foundation formula - there can be many other reasons why we are getting that unflattering result.
In today’s post, I’m going to fill you in on why your foundation could be giving you that plaster-like makeup result and uncover the tricks to make sure that it doesn’t happen again!
Here’s how to get your most beautiful-looking skin from your foundation going into 2023 and the products to get you there. I'm sharing 6 steps to no-cake foundation.
Today, Jennifer is sharing 6 steps to no-cake foundation
All of Jennifer's product recommendations are shoppable via inline links and a text-widget at the end of the post
We've also summarized Jennifer's post and condensed it into a saveable/pinnable card you can grab at the end of the post
This is probably the #1 key in my opinion. If the surface of your skin is dry, bumpy, or flakey, even the most expensive foundation isn’t going to lay right on your face. So there are a couple of ways to approach this.
You can add a chemical exfoliant to your skincare routine which is a very gentle way to slough away dead skin cells. I swear by Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, $34. It is a miracle product and with consistent use with a cotton round right after cleansing, it will resurface your skin like no other product.
Or if you prefer the feel of a physical exfoliant, the Kate Somerville Exfolikate, $88, can also get you on the way to the smoothest skin surface ever while also helping to shrink pore size. Either way, exfoliating at least 2 to 3 times a week (depending on your skin sensitivity) is a must and will absolutely help prevent foundation from caking on the face.
Another nonnegotiable for me when I’m working with my makeup clients - they must be moisturized! Whether you have oily, normal, combo, or dry skin, you must moisturize. Foundation just doesn’t perform as well on bare skin. By applying a nourishing and hydrating cream or lotion, you create a nice plump canvas for applying foundation.
I have extremely dry skin so I love using the classic Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Cream, $60. It makes my skin feel bouncy and cushioned! If you have oily skin, it still needs the appropriate hydration. The key is to hydrate with oil-free ingredients that don’t feel heavy or greasy. One of the all-time best is the LaRoche Posay Effaclar Mat Oil Free, $33, which helps with anti-shine but gives a nice finish to the face.
Don’t forget that your actual underlying skin type can impact how your foundation formula lays on your skin. So they need to coexist!!
Say you have normal to dry mature skin (like me) you’ll want to look for formulas that contain specific hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or try liquid/cream formulas instead of drying powder foundations. I am currently always reaching for my It Cosmetics CC Nude Glow Skin Tint with SPF 40, $44, that gives me the most beautiful coverage with a hint of…you got it, glow!
And on the flip side, if you lean more towards oily skin, you’ll need to work with a formula that produces a more mattified look that calms the sweaty shiny look. I can't recommend the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation enough, $40, that’s been around for years! It’s one of the best for those super oily skin types that want one-and-done coverage and it comes in a million shades so you’re bound to find your perfect fit color-wise.
One of the reasons your foundation could look cakey is because the color is way off! - which makes it more obvious you’re actually wearing makeup. Knowing if your own skin tone leans cool, warm or neutral, will help you to better pick your perfect complexion shade.
Quick rule of thumb for figuring your undertones out : If your veins lean more blue or purple - you’re most likely a cool undertone. If they go more green, you are probably on the warmer side. And if you find your veins are a mix of blue and green, you could be in the neutral zone. Check your wrists which is the easiest place to figure this out.
This varies from person to person on what they prefer, but for me, I am always going to choose a buffing foundation brush over my fingers to get the most airbrushed look from my foundation. My fingers always produce a streaky finish for some reason and I just personally dislike the mess! So one of my favorite buffing foundation brushes is the BK Beauty 101 Contoured Foundation brush, $34. It allows you to get the ultimate streak free and natural looking flawless coverage from your favorite liquid or cream foundations.
But if you prefer a sponge instead, go for the original Beauty Blender, $20, but make SURE you dampen the sponge first, so that you do not waste too much product and it goes on smoother and not patchy. Never use your sponges dry when it comes to liquid foundations.
And by this, I mean a lightweight loose setting powder always keeps my foundation in place. However I use this technique strategically and only place this product in the center of my face where foundation tends to move around - in between my brows, around the sides of my nose, on top of my concealer, and under my chin.
My holy grail has got to be the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting powder, $44, and now comes in a talc-free version. And of course, I can’t get enough of these affordable and perfectly shaped velour triangle sponges from Amazon to apply my setting powder with. Press and roll super sheer amounts of power are the keys - no swiping!! A little goes a long way.
And when in doubt - run out to that light in your car mirror and check your makeup to be sure you’ve nailed the natural look!!