I received a request to do a foundation comparison. This is a bit of a challenge because I don't have much of it to compare, as I haven't experimented that widely across brands. Foundation is, surprisingly, the one beauty product where I am not especially fickle. Lipsticks and eyeshadows may come and go, but my foundation tends to be the one constant for years at a time.
My first foundation was Clinique Pore Minimizer. Does anyone remember that? You had to shake it up and it dried almost the instant you applied it to the skin. I learned later that it contained alcohol, but what did I care, that stuff was amazing on my young, oily skin. And even though my skin is eleventy billion years older now, I wore the Pore Minimizer for at least five years, and it if Clinique brought it back, I'd be first in line.
|If you squint rilly rilly hard, you can see it (source)|
After that, I got color printed at Prescriptives and bought whatever matte liquid foundation they were selling 20 years ago for a Blue/Red, extremely fair person. My color was Real Camellia, and my skin must have been a lot more pale back then, or it lacked the ravages of time, because when I tried Real Camellia again a couple years ago, I could just as easily have smeared calamine lotion all over my face and called it a dupe. But back in time to that first Prescriptives experience, they didn't sell anything in a bottle that was pale enough for me, so I had them custom blend a powder for me, which I applied using a Shiseido puff because I hate hate hate loose powdery mess. I wore that powder for ten years.
In the late 90s, I noticed that when I blushed, the color didn't fade away. When I looked very closely at my skin in the mirror, I could see surface redness that appeared permanent. I went to the doctor who told me I had mild rosacea. I was fortunate that I never had acne, but walking around looking like a boiled lobster was no fun, and my Prescriptives powder wasn't cutting the redness, not beyond the first hour anyway.
On the hunt for something to ameliorate the red, I found myself in Barneys, hovering over Stila Illuminating Powder Foundation. My waffling must have triggered the sales associate's radar because she pounced. She suggested that I try Vincent Longo's Cream-to-Powder Foundation, but when I saw it in the compact, I was underwhelmed. She put Stila 10 Watts on one side of my face and VLWC in Porcelain on the other side. I will never forget that frisson of pleasure when the Water Canvas first touched my face—soothing, cooling, quite divine, really. Both foundations looked good, and I could not decide, so I walked away from a sale and headed to Bloomingdale's to do some power shopping. I got hot (those mall halogen lights could trigger a hot flash in a 12 year old) and probably even worked up a sweat. While I was in the dressing room, I looked up and there was my face. NORMAL looking. At least the Vincent Long side was. The Stila side was red and shiny, but the VL side was calm and porcelain. Needless to say, I raced back to Barneys and bought two. My love affair lasted 5 years until it was shot down by some unknown event that caused the foundation to be unavailable everywhere. And when it miraculously came back, the color I had previously purchased (Porcelain) was not the same. Instead of being a cool pinkish beige, it was now peach.
Just as I was finishing my last backup of Water Canvas, I came across this ad:
|Original photo from janeiredale.com edited by me|
I was so impressed I immediately started researching this Jane Iredale makeup I had never heard of and learned that Jane started her makeup line at a time that coincided with the rapid growth of laser resurfacing (a fairly aggressive procedure that removes sun damage, acne scars, and wrinkles but which also leaves skin bright red for many weeks). Her seminal product, a mineral-based foundation, which also provides concealer and sunblock in one product, was designed to completely conceal the redness of post-surgery patients without further irritating their skin. To demonstrate, she had laser resurfacing and then posed for the above unretouched photograph, which showed the extraordinary ability of her mineral foundation to conceal and heal skin conditions. That's good advertising.
My discovery of Jane Iredale occurred in 2000, when her cosmetics were not yet widely sold, and they absolutely were not yet sold online. I was lucky enough to find a salon not too far from me and went there as soon as I possibly could. Because my skin was oily, I decided against the Amazing Base® and chose the PurePressed Powder, which I still wear today, twelve years later. Back then, I used it to set the Vincent Longo Water Canvas Foundation, and I was completely satisfied with the face I presented to the world every day.
When Jane Iredale products became more widely available, including online, I experimented with her loose powder as, well.
Here are some thoughts after having used both formulas:
- Messy—all that loose powder flying around ... not to mention how much of it I might have inhaled. Yech.
- Finicky—I found that had to lightly and quickly buff the powder in and move on because the more I worked it into my skin, the shinier my face would look. All that buffing also irritated my skin and triggered a rosacea flush.
- Too moisturizing—My combination skin got oily earlier in the day (by 10:00 am) and required blotting several times (I use Shiseido blotting papers), and then I had to reapply the loose powder because much of it came off with the oil.
- Frankenpores—Because my skin got oilier when wearing the AmazingBase, my pores would be visible by noon, with little divots of beige pools sitting in my skin. Ick.
- Inconvenient—Not particularly portable. Sure, I could toss the jar into my bag, but then all the powder would work its way through the sifter and make an unholy mess the next time I opened the lid. Conveniently, Jane Iredale introduced a retractable Handi brush a couple years ago, which meant I could dump some powder into the cap and carry extra powder with me in my makeup bag ... if I stayed with the loose, that is.
- Flawless—Takes as much abuse from the Handi brush as I dish out and still provides natural, even coverage with a smooth finish that isn't sparkly in the slightest. It goes down matte at first but evolves into a semi-matte finish within an hour or so, taking on a subtle glow instead of an oily look.
- Coverage—Perfectly conceals redness without the need for any concealer or foundation underneath. Mind you, my rosacea is quite mild, and I had a two V-beam and five IPL treatments to remove most of the redness, but I still have flaws I like to conceal, like "freckles" that used to pop out in summer as a child, which now no longer fade into my porcelain skin winter (hello age spots; thank you sun damage). What I love best about the pressed formula is it still lets my natural skin show through. I don't want to be poreless, but I don't want my pores emphasized, either.
- Convenient—comes in a compact with full-sized mirror. Nuff said.
I realize that not everyone is as enamored with mineral makeup as I am. It really works for me, and I love it. For now. Who knows what will happen in another five years. Meanwhile here are a few tips I stumbled across over the years:
- If your skin used to be oily and you are not yet ready to move on to AmazingBase (or another loose mineral powder, like those by Alima Pure or elea blake), and you find that initial application of the pressed powder looks too dry, give your face a quick spritz of something moisturizing. Any will do, even distilled water. I use Jane Iredale Pommist or her Balance Antioxidant Hydration Spray. I spray a flocked sponge (don't want to wet my mascara!) and then roll it onto the skin's surface. Instant radiance.
- If, after application, your skin appears ashy or chalky, you are either using too much powder or too light a color. Either choose one shade darker or apply the powder in thinner layers. Lean back from the mirror and examine your face the same way you would when applying brow color; the point is to avoid zooming in—visually take in the entire face when you apply minerals.
- If the finish from any mineral powder is more shimmery than you want, use your fingertips to press the minerals into your skin. The warmth from your fingers will help the mineral particles to lie flat and you'll get more of a glow than a sparkle.
Bottom line: That's it. Not fickle with foundation. What about you?