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The Base Makeup Coverage Spectrum


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 Minerals CC 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. 


For more top-notch coverage options, check out beauty Grace Atwood’s curated shop.  

Madonna Goes Makeup Free, Men Try Tinted Moisturizer, And More
We love seeing celebs embrace the natural look like Madonna did over the weekend while out and about in NYC. [The Cut]
Jezebel asked a handful of men to try tinted moisturizer and then took pics of the before and after—check out the even complexion and skin tone results. [Jezebel]
Alterna has created a 10-in-1 leave-in caviar CC cream for hair to reduce damage, hydrate, and much more. [WWD]
Kate Middleton’s favorite dress designer, Issa London, will be collaborating with retailer Banana Republic on a 40-piece collection to hit stores this August. [Refinery29]
See how Mad Men inspired our very own Ally Corliss to change up her hair color.
(Photo: INF/Elder Ordonez)

Madonna Goes Makeup Free, Men Try Tinted Moisturizer, And More


See how Mad Men inspired our very own Ally Corliss to change up her hair color.

(Photo: INF/Elder Ordonez)

How to Use a Sample That’s Too Light or Too Dark: Special Ops

We’re always talking about the staffers in the Birchbox office, but the ones who you interact with everyday are the ladies of our hard-working Ops team. These fabulous femmes handle all of your customer service woes. We wanted to give you a chance to get to know them even better—so here’s a peek at who’s on the other side of the phone.


Every month we try our absolute hardest to fill your Birchboxes with samples we think you will love. (Did you know that we use a special algorithm to maximize your happiness?) But we also understand that sometimes a sample can feel like a match that’s not quite made in heaven. On the off chance that this occurs, we wanted to help you figure out how to turn that so-so sample into a so-awesome sample.

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A Multitasker After My Heart (with SPF 45 to Boot!)


Something to know about me: if we go out to eat together, I’ll assume we are sharing everything and that your dinner is communal. And in the same way that I’m notorious for swiping forkfuls of baked rigatoni or apple crisp, I’m also known for pattering over to Birchbox editors’ desks and idly playing with whatever new products might be laying around. Luckily, my team knows how to share.

Recently, I picked Shiseido’s new Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector off of Candice’s desk. (I asked first!) I was intrigued because the formula seemed too good to be true: oil-free, sheer coverage, antiaging ingredients that undo existing damage, and water-resistant SPF 43. Not to mention the fact that I love all manner of tinted moisturizers and BB Creams. Motto: the fewer makeup steps in the morning, the better!

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If You Got It, Flaunt It: Guest Blogger

Dermatologist-in-training and all around cool girl blogger Aegean Chan is the savvy mind behind super-skincare blog Aegmora. Chan educates her readers with particularly informative posts that tie together her science background and her extensive experience with beauty products. We love that she demystifies everything from familiar active ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide to the newest trends like coconut oil. This week, Chan teaches us how to fight acne better, keep our skin hydrated, and protect it from the sun.

Since we’ve gone great lengths to perfect your natural, God-given skin this week, what now?  Put down the MAC compact foundation or Covergirl foundation bottle and back away slowly. Don’t hide your gorgeous, stunning flawless skin, flaunt it! 

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Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer Crème Compact: Today’s Obsession

As a lady who’s constantly on-the-go, I often have very little time for my morning beauty routine. Some days I run from home to the gym to work, and more than once I’ve forgotten a staple product in my regimen: a tube of tinted moisturizer. But now I’ve found a convenient way to tote around my favorite item— Laura Mercier’s new purse-friendly compact.

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Gift-a-Day 17: Hipstamatic Fantastic

For Hipstamatic Fantastic: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

As much as your downtown fashionista likes to pretend that she rolled out of bed with dewy skin and perfectly smudged eyeliner, you know that she has to work at it a little bit. Jouer’s featherlight luminizing moisture tint is the perfect product for her: it gives even coverage without looking makeup-y and adds just the barest amount of shimmer. It’ll give her that model-on-her-day-off look in minutes - plus she’ll love that Jouer is a hard-to-pronounce indie brand.