We all know that finding the perfect complexion-flattering shade is the crux of every makeup shopping experience. I’m part redhead, which means my skin (depending on the season) fluctuates from freckly tan, to medium-fair, to ghostly white. You see my struggle here.
But even gals with enviable, even-toned skin share this dilemma. According to a recent London-based study, most women spend more than $100 a year on the wrong shades of makeup. That amount breaks down to about 6.2 products per woman and includes anything from foundation to concealer and bronzer to blush.
To make matters worse, when women do finally realize the flaw in their beauty purchase, most choose not to return the product. Although it’s true most stores won’t take back a used item (FYI, Birchbox does!), one easy way to prevent a makeup buying blunder is to consult Find Your Shade, our new tool that uses real Birchbox staffers and members to help you select the ideal products for your complexion. Once you discover your skin twin, check out her go-to products and then be sure to update your beauty profile (if you’re a subscriber).
Check out the Birchbox shop to find products in your perfect shade!
Foundation is a skin-perfecting staple that possesses a long, storied past. From the whitening paste that women used in Ancient Greece to the invention of Max Factor’s groundbreaking “pancake” makeup from the early 1900s, we traced the roots of this hardworking formula through the ages with the help of history-obsessed beauty pros.
Not all of us are born with perfect skin. If you’re like me, your face doesn’t exactly glow like a goddess when you wake up in the morning. Some women can walk out the door with just a swipe of mascara and a dash of gloss, but for me, I need at least a bit of concealer (okay, maybe A LOT of concealer) to feel presentable. I’ve accepted my imperfections but I’ve also learned a few tricks for faking flawless skin to use when I need a little extra help. Here are my favorite 5 tips:
1. The Benefit Primer That Outlasts Birchbox Co-Founder Katia’s 15-Hour Day
The very first step in having long-lasting, flawless makeup is using a great primer. After working hard to perfectly blend your foundation, there’s nothing worse than having it break up or smear throughout the day. That’s why I’ve added this Stay Flawless Primer from Benefit to my makeup arsenal. It holds up for 15-hours, which means you won’t have to worry about your makeup sliding or wearing off.
2. Top Beauty Blunders: Foundation Blending
Now that we’ve got our face primed, next is foundation and concealer. While it may seem easy enough to blend out your base makeup, a lot of women fall victim to disastrous foundation situations. From mismatched shades to concealer abuse, these top beauty blunders expose the most common foundation blending mistakes and how to fix them.
Blending your foundation is an essential skill that every makeup-wearing gal should know. A great base not only sets the stage for your entire makeup look, but it also ensures that people are looking at you and not your poor makeup job. We’ve all seen unfortunate cases of mismatched foundation, too-bright concealer, awkwardly covered brows, and more.
Here, Birchbox staffer Deepica shows us how to avoid these top beauty blunders. (We can admit it: We’ve all fallen victim to at least one of these issues at some point.)
What are some of your biggest beauty blunders?
Got your foundation blending down pat? Check out these 4 Essential Eye Looks to add to your beauty résumé.
Unlike lipstick, which is meant to be seen, base makeup is supposed to be your invisible ally, masking imperfections, evening out skin tone, and creating a perfect canvas for the rest of your makeup—without anyone knowing it’s actually there. Since that’s easier said than done, we’ve created a coverage guide to help you choose which formula is right for you.
Base Option: Tinted Primer
Coverage Level: Barely There
Applied after moisturizer, a tinted primer glosses over fine lines, dry patches, and rough areas. For a fresh-faced look, try Laura Geller’s Beauty Spackle® Tinted Under Make-up Primer in Bronze. The sheer bronze tint adds a subtle hint of color, while the antioxidant-infused formula hydrates thirsty skin. (Follow with actual foundation if you need extra coverage.)
Base Option: Tinted Moisturizer
Coverage Level: Au Naturel
Along the spectrum between bare skin and full-on foundation, tinted moisturizer hews closer to the former. To score this natural look, smooth on a thin layer over your face and down onto your neck, then continue with your regular makeup routine. Our entire team (minus the manfolk) is obsessed with Jouer’s Luminizing Moisture Tint. The oil-free formula feels positively weightless on, but provides smooth, even coverage and a radiant glow.
Base Option: BB Cream
Coverage Level: Sheerly Beloved
Originally designed to help post-peel patients mask redness, BB creams (which stand for beauty or blemish balms) combine the functions of a primer, antiaging serum, moisturizer, and light foundation in one product. Our current fave? Canadian import Marcelle, which infuses your complexion with just the right amount of color while antioxidants, aloe, and chamomile soothe, moisturize, minimize the appearance of pores and blemishes, and protect against aging.
Base Option: CC Cream
Coverage Level: Department of Corrections
CC Creams (aka color or complexion correction cream) are the latest alphabet-based beauty wunderkind. If you have acne, dark spots, or dull skin, a CC cream may be more up your alley. Unlike semisheer BB formulations, CC creams offer more coverage but still feel light on skin. If your skin is particularly picky, try Pür MineralsCC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40. Made with clarifying meadowsweet and brightening wheat germ extract, the silicone-free formula erases dark spots and evens out overall skin tone, plus protect your complexion from harmful (and aging) UV rays..
Base Option: Foundation
Coverage Level: Photoshop Finish
In our next life, we’d like to request a luminous complexion that needs nary a spot corrector. Till then, there’s nothing like liquid foundation to give you the look of perfect skin. Unlike the cakey foundations of yesteryear, Benefit’s Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow! expertly masks imperfections without feeling too heavy. A beauty editor favorite, it delivers oil-free moisture and a smooth, flawless finish that stays true to its name.
Let’s face it: We all need career advice at some point. That’s why Megan Broussard, a contributor to The Daily Muse and Glass Heel, created ProfessionGal, a blog geared toward working women. This week, we’re lucky to have Megan sharing her best tips for success in the workplace.
1. Mismatched Foundation
One thing you should always keep in mind: Your face and neck should be the same color. To ensure that your foundation matches your natural skin color, try smoothing it out on your jawline first, not your hand. Also, examine the accuracy of color in various lighting inside your house and out. This can make a huge difference and you could be surprised by how your go-to foundation looks in natural light.
2. Full-On Smoky Eye
Wearing layers of charcoal from lashline to brow can be a dangerous office look, particularly because dark colors surrounding your eyes can make you appear tired. If you want to look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Monday morning, try a one-shade lid, like the basic colors included in Urban Decay’s Naked Palette.
Like most women who’ve struggled with problematic skin, I’ve bounced around between many different foundations over the years. At some point I was convinced by a salesperson that mineral makeup was the solution to all my problems. Needless to say, using a loose mineral foundation didn’t make my skin clear up and didn’t cover my blemishes or acne scars.
Fast forward about seven years and I’m thinking of mineral makeup in a whole new light thanks to Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics founder Pauline Youngblood. Click through to learn why I’m seriously considering a switch from my beloved liquid foundation.
I’ve always struggled to find a foundation that matches my skin tone. I’m Indian and I have yellow undertones, and I’ve tested virtually every brand on the market. While many brands come close, I always feel like shades show up a little grey on my skin or a little too dark. Plus, when you’re not really a foundation girl, it’s hard to find a product you feel comfortable using day-to-day, especially when it doesn’t match well.
But recently, I stumbled upon what just might be my foundation Prince Charming. Vasanti’s two-in-one foundation/concealer, Liquid Cover up, landed on my desk last week and I’ve been using it ever since. What I love about this product is that it doesn’t feel heavy because it’s formulated with silicone in water emulsion—translation: I don’t even feel like I’m wearing a foundation! The applicator is unique (I feel like you either love or hate it)—It’s a small wand that allows you to place the foundation on whatever part of your face you need it. It allows me to decide exactly how much coverage I want and is perfect for small blemishes. I usually put the Liquid Cover up on before applying my powder. Not only do I feel as though my skin tone is more even, I also notice a difference in pictures! It gives my skin a glow that I didn’t have when I just used my powder, and who can complain about a little glow?
Just to make sure Vasanti worked for other skin tones, I gave it to two of my colleagues. Click through to see how it looks on pale and dark skin!