Foundation 101: How to Apply Each Type of Foundation for Flawless Results

Airdate: 3/7/14

Join Paula and Bryan as they discuss the various ways you can apply foundation for flawless results. Learn which method Paula prefers (and why) and hear tips and tricks for making sure you find your perfect shade—and why most people need not one, but TWO shades of concealer!!

Paula Begoun: Hello, I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, here with my Co-writer and Research Director for Paula’s Choice, Bryan Barron. We are the best-selling authors of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. We’re here to keep you beautifully informed so you can make the best decisions about everything from skincare to makeup, hair care, Botox, cosmetic surgery. You name it, we’ll discuss it. Well, almost everything. Actually, pretty much everything.
Bryan Barron: There is not a lot that we won’t discuss.
Paula Begoun: It’s shameful but it’s true.
00:00:31 We are unabashed. And we’ll tell you the truth. We’ll take your questions on Facebook, so come be our friends on Facebook. And today we’re talking about how to put on the perfect foundation application: how to choose the right one, how to get the right one, how to apply it, because it is - to say the least - the basic aspect of makeup because it’s the canvas.
Bryan Barron: It is.
Paula Begoun: I mean, there’s a lot of analogies you can use, but definitely the painter’s canvas. You put the wrong canvas down, you got chips on it, you’ve got flakes on it. You’re not going to get a Monet.
00:01:09 Well, actually maybe you will get a Monet if he’s using thick paint. But you’re not going to get the one you want to get. It’s not going to look good.
Bryan Barron: And it’s essential to get the color right because if the color isn’t right then anything else you put over it isn’t going to look as good as it could.
Paula Begoun: Right. But, you know, always just before we jump into our topic, you know, there’s always something out there in the world of skincare and makeup that it’s hard for us to ignore. We have to say something. Lord knows we’ve been saying things for decades about the cosmetics industry. Good and bad.
00:01:47 Unfortunately more times bad because - and that’s not our fault, that’s their fault. They’ve got to stop doing bad things. But the recent one that, because we update all of our work all the time, our articles on Paula’s Choice and Cosmetics Cop and our reviews on Beautypedia in particular. We just recently - well you recently updated and I edited the reviews for Simple.
00:02:13 Simple is a skincare line out of Europe that’s also sold in the United States. And Simple makes huge claims about, well one, being Simple. I don’t know that they’re all that Simple. But -
Bryan Barron: Simple says…
Paula Begoun: Simple says that they’re great for sensitive skin. They are the sensitive skincare experts, which makes me so nervous and frustrated because I would no sooner turn to them having seen and knowing what’s in their products for sensitive skin than I would turn to a roller skate dealer to buy a car.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: It’s sad. And so basically they use some strikingly shockingly irritating ingredients of which one in particular that shows up quite frequently.
00:03:05 And you just actually don’t see it that often in skincare products anymore which is a formaldehyde releasing preservative. Now, it’s a very good preservative.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: And if we didn’t know how irritating it is I would say it’s great because it’s going to keep that product stable. And so while it’s great for the product, if you have sensitive skin there are just better preservatives for sensitive skin than formaldehyde releasing preservatives.
Bryan Barron: Ironically we started seeing more use of this particular preservative after companies got away from using parabens.
Paula Begoun: Right.
00:03:41 Because parabens got such a bad rap for the misinformation about it being -
Bryan Barron: Huge information that’s still going on out there. And we’ve debunked that on our site and we continue to cite new research that confirms what we, the conclusions... - Actually we didn’t come to the conclusions. We, as always, we looked to the published research. We looked to what the regulatory boards across the world were saying after really, really scrutinizing parabens and how they’re used in products.
00:04:11 Are they absorbed into the body? When trace amounts do get in the body what happens? How does the body handle that?
Paula Begoun: Right. Well, actually particularly when it comes to parabens the body actually, it’s not - they’re not even parabens once they get passed the barrier. They actually turn into something completely different and inert. They don’t even look like parabens anymore. They don’t even act like preservatives anymore.
00:04:32 But, what they are, unfortunately, and got taken out because of consumer sentiment are some of the most gentle and broad spectrum preservatives. They’re food grade preservatives, which is probably how they end up in the system because they can’t end up in the system through absorption because they don’t stay as parabens once they’re in a product and put on the skin. Having said that, you’re right, and this goes back to Simple is then what happened is cosmetic companies were looking for alternatives to parabens because they know -
00:05:03 Although, you know something? Simple uses parabens, too. Actually, not that parabens are bad, but they use this formaldehyde releasing preservative and they use parabens. I’m glad, parabens are fine. They’re gentle. They’re a good preservative, but then what do you need the formaldehyde releasing preservative for, especially considering you’re a line for sensitive skin. They also have fragrant plant extracts.
00:05:29 They have lots of fragrant plant extracts. They also, I don’t know, don’t believe in sunscreen all that much. And when they do use sunscreen ingredients they use mostly synthetic ones. And it’s not that synthetic sunscreens are bad, they’re just not good for sensitive skin because they have a higher incidence of irritant reactions, sensitizing reactions. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide don’t - those are the sunscreens you should be using when you have - the sunscreen agents you should be using when you have sensitive skin.
00:06:02 Argh! Simple - you’ve got to simply get your act together. You’re driving us nuts. The one good thing about it is it’s cheap, but cheap that doesn’t take good care of your skin…
Bryan Barron: It’s not a bargain.
Paula Begoun: …is not a bargain. All right, let’s talk about - I pretty much said that all - yeah, I could say more, but I’ll stop. I’ll stop. Okay, foundation. So, let me tell you the number one thing I can’t, oh actually, let me -
00:06:29 You know, I have so many things to say I don’t even know where to start.
Bryan Barron: Okay, step back, take a deep breath.
Paula Begoun: All right. Step back. Deep breath. Because I was looking at - I was jumping in terms of different kinds of foundations.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: We had been talking just the other day about this Luminess mist or air, you can apply it -
Bryan Barron: The Luminess Airbrush Makeup System.
Paula Begoun: Airbrush Makeup. They’re air premium system.
00:06:57 So, for $179 you buy foundation and you basically buy a paint sprayer, a nice little one, with a little pinpoint thing. And that’s how you’re supposed to apply your makeup. Don’t do that. Don’t do that! I don’t have any words to explain. Whatever you’re seeing on television you are not going to see at home. It is the rare person who can get a mister to take their foundation, take the time - it is far more time consuming to avoid your eyes, to avoid breathing it in.
00:07:36 You absolutely have to hold your breath - or getting it, or swallowing it and getting it in your mouth.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: Getting it in your hair line. Getting it on your bathroom, on your walls. If you accidentally spray it somewhere else, because sometimes it gets clogged, so you’ve got to spray it to unclog it.
Bryan Barron: Yes, oh, they absolutely can clog. Yes.
Paula Begoun: And it is an expensive mess.
00:08:00 And then when I was looking online to mention something about it today. Boy, there’s a lot of angry people out there on Amazon. I was surprised. It gets very bad ratings.
Bryan Barron: Does it? You know, I have to figure there is a reason that some makeup trends never make it into the mass market brands. And it doesn’t always have to do with cost. I am sure that if P&G, for example, who owns Olay and CoverGirl, if they wanted to produce an inexpensive airbrush makeup system much like they kind of aped the Clarisonic with their Pro-X Cleansing brush.
Paula Begoun: Right.
00:08:38 Right. Right.
Bryan Barron: And that’s what, $30 versus $200 for the Clarisonic.
Paula Begoun: Right. They would figure out to come out with an inexpensive mister. Right.
Bryan Barron: And maybe - it would definitely be more than a regular foundation because you’ve got tools and equipment and all that, but why aren’t they doing it?
Paula Begoun: Yeah. I think Luminess obviously must have some kind of cult following because they’re still on the Home Shopping channel.
00:09:00 But, boy, it’s a problem. I so would suggest staying away from it. And according to some of these reviews on Amazon, their customer service department needs to come to Paula’s Choice and learn how to be good to their customers. We love our positive comments. We get wonderful comments. You know, the way we - and I haven’t talked about foundation at all. I’m rattling. It’s been a long time. I haven’t done the radio show in a while.
Bryan Barron: You haven’t.
Paula Begoun: You know, one of the things about Paula’s Choice customer service and the way we do our customer service is the basic premise is you never treat anybody how you wouldn’t want to be treated.
00:09:44 If it would make you angry, you are not allowed at Paula’s Choice to do it to someone else.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: If you don’t want to hear, “Wait, let me ask my manager…” We are never going to turn to our manager. We are going to take care of you right then and there on the phone. We’re not - if you’re upset with a product we are not going to make you return it to prove to us that you really did have it.
00:10:06 If we don’t have our records together we’re not going to make you jump through loops to take care of you. I’m often shocked what other customer service departments put their customers through. It’s almost like you get on the phone and you’re waiting for a fight.
Bryan Barron: Yes. Yes.
Paula Begoun: I just recently, where was I? Oh, I was on Wayfair.
00:10:30 Do you know that new site Wayfair?
Bryan Barron: I do, yes.
Paula Begoun: And something happened that was confusing and I couldn’t tell - and I got online with the - I got on the phone to talk to the customer service person and he actually started arguing with me. And I actually said, “Look, stop arguing with me and just listen to my complaint. If you choose not to do anything about it, that’s up to you. But at least let me tell you what I experienced.
00:10:59 Maybe the people who are listening and taping this conversation might learn something.”
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Give me another 30 seconds. It was like we were fighting. I’m thinking, “Why are we fighting?” I’m telling you I couldn’t do something on your website. I would think you would care. We care! Paula’s Choice cares. You tell us, we are in there almost immediately trying to figure out what we could do better for you. We always say, you know, Zappos, Nordstrom, we all know they do good customer service. We say they learned from us.
00:11:33 Although in truth we learned from Nordstrom because I’m from Seattle from the days when they used to deliver shoes to your house personally.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. And all of us at one point or another have had jobs, service-related jobs. And to a large extent many of us still do. I mean, Paula’s Choice wouldn’t be what it is without our customers. Without them being strong brand advocates. Although it’s wonderful that many of them tell us how much our products change their skin and for the better, and they’re so happy, so for them it’s all about the products.
00:12:10 They finally found products that work. And for us it’s like, no, thank you for - without you buying these products we couldn’t do the work that we do.
Paula Begoun: We couldn’t do the work we do. Our customers come first. And for all of the reviews we see and what we follow, thank you, thank you, too. Yeah, we love you.
00:12:30 We love you. And all those other customer service departments need to do the same for their customers. Let’s go - I’m sorry. So, okay, let’s talk about foundation. We’re going to get off of Luminess. Let’s start with the basics. The basic, basic, basic. You need a magnifying mirror. You can’t obsess about it. You can’t notice your pores that look like manholes, you know, sewer holes in the ground.
00:13:02 You can’t, don’t look at your nose hairs. Don’t look at your - don’t look at - well, actually you could tweeze your eyebrows better, but other than that what you’re using a magnifying mirror is to notice what you’ve missed and what you haven’t got - where you haven’t gotten your makeup on. Where you’ve gotten too much foundation on, particularly around the corners of the nose. Particularly around your hair line.
00:13:27 Even with the best matching foundation, because there will be a texture difference between where your foundation stops and where it starts on your face, particularly around your hair and jaw line. And if you leave a line you will look like you have a mask on. A magnifying mirror isn’t for you to obsess about your skin. It’s for you to check your blending and then that’s the second thing. Blend, blend, blend, and blend again.
00:13:57 It doesn’t mean to wipe off the makeup you’ve just put on, but what you really want to make sure -
Bryan Barron: Right. You don’t want to be - I’ve seen women in stores when they’re testing foundations, like at a department store counter, they look like they’re just pressing so hard and they’re almost like beating it into their face. That’s not what we mean when we say blend, blend, blend.
Paula Begoun: Right. Because then you’re wiping, wiping, wiping off, off, off your makeup.
Bryan Barron: You’re getting it all on your hand and not your face.
Paula Begoun: Right. Or your sponge or your brush, and we’ll talk about -
Bryan Barron: Whatever tool you’ using.
Paula Begoun: Right. We’ll talk about application techniques in just a second. There is a level between putting on too much and putting on too little. And especially when you’re - the different between blending, I think, the other side of it is wiping off and then you’re actually creating a choppy application.
00:14:40 Once you have a choppy application everything else will go on choppy. Your blush will go on choppy. Your contour. If you’re putting foundation on your eyes, which I strongly recommend that foundation or concealer go on your eyes, that you blend it on evenly there, too, or your eye shadows won’t go on evenly. So, magnifying mirror. Blend, don’t wipe away.
Bryan Barron: By the way, when you brought up magnifying mirrors in the past people wonder how much magnification they should be looking for.
Paula Begoun: Well, it depends on your vision.
00:15:11 For me, and also because I am obsessive, I am at ten times, and I actually think I might be going to 12. Once you go much over ten, though, it’s actually kind of blurry vision. It’s like you can’t -
Bryan Barron: Is it like craters on the moon?
Paula Begoun: No, well, you actually - you can’t stand back, so it’s a little bit like looking at a diamond loop thing. But about ten is as high as I would suggest people go up to.
00:15:36 But if your vision is good then you -
Bryan Barron: Yeah, like let’s say you’re in your early 20s. You’ve got 20/20 vision.
Paula Begoun: Maybe two to four. Five tops. And then as your vision - it really depends on what allows you to see the details on your face as opposed to it being a hard number. I’ve used ten even before I started needing reading glasses.
00:16:00 So, it’s really what helps you put on your makeup the best. And by the way I did install in my bathroom, you know, the makeup mirrors that are in the hotel rooms that attach to the wall?
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: I have one of those and I actually put up one on my boyfriend’s side of the bathroom, too. So, I don’t have to have one in my hand to look up - I mean, absolutely handheld is fine.
Bryan Barron: Those are, yeah.
Paula Begoun: It doesn’t hurt if you’ve got a place in your bathroom to affix one of those makeup mirrors with a light around it and a good magnification. That’s a great way to do it. The one I have up, and I know people are going to ask me the brand, and I’m never going to remember the brand because I put it up awhile ago, it was like, I don’t know, $50, $40, $50 on sale on Amazon.
Bryan Barron: That’s the thing. They’re not too expensive.
Paula Begoun: It’s wonderful.
Bryan Barron: It costs more than a handheld mirror, but…
Paula Begoun: It definitely costs -
00:16:54 Well, yeah, does it cost more than my handheld? Yes, it does. I got one of those handhelds that…never mind. So, yes, it can be very inexpensive. You need a good handy person who knows how to put it up. But once you get it up… - So, a magnifying mirror, check out the details on your face. Foundation has to match your skin color. I don’t know how to stress that enough and people wonder about that, because when you put on foundation there’s always some level of difference. Of course there is, because you’re putting something on that isn’t your skin.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: But you want it to look as much like your skin color as possible. And what if you have model skin, some areas are red, some areas have brown spots, some areas have just uneven discoloration because, of course, you’re not using Paula’s Choice which means your skin wouldn’t be as even as it could be.
00:17:44 Sorry, shameless plug. But as a rule what you’re looking at then is your jaw line. Generally speaking you’re looking at the hair line or the jaw line and that’s the area that usually has the clearest amount of color for you to see what your real skin color is like.
Bryan Barron: One of the challenges we’ve gotten from our readers over the years is that when we review a foundation and comment about the pink rose to peachy tones that should be avoided because they just don’t look like natural skin color. And the women tend to get a bit offended, at least that’s how it comes across because they say, “Well, I’m using this color that you say not to use and it matches my skin perfectly. I have a pink skin tone, why shouldn’t I wear a pink foundation?”
00:18:32 And then they say that when they try our recommendation of a yellow toned or neutral foundation that it just doesn’t look right on them, so they go right back to the pink.
Paula Begoun: Yeah. That’s a hard one. So, of course, without ever seeing the person it’s very hard to know what they’re looking at in the mirror…
Bryan Barron: It’s tricky.
Paula Begoun: …versus what we’re commenting on and what we see overall in the industry.
Bryan Barron: Really quickly, when we do look at foundation shades, when we’re reviewing them, we look at the entire range and how those colors look next to each other.
00:19:06 So, that is often a really good way - we will stripe them and it’s often a very good way to easily pick out the neutral to slightly yellow tone shades from those shades that are veering a bit in the wrong direction. And then from there it’s a judgment call.
Paula Begoun: It’s always a judgment call. And, yes, maybe I - although there really aren’t any pink people. Generally that’s just capillaries showing through…
Bryan Barron: Or Rosacea.
Paula Begoun: …the surface of the skin, or irritation. Skin isn’t pink. We really don’t make pink, [melanite]or the other cells that color skin don’t come out pink or red. Babies don’t come out pink or red.
00:19:45 But nonetheless, unless they’re crying and swelling up and looking inflamed from capillaries, from screaming, but the point is that when I first made the determination I don’t know how many years ago - I think it must have been the second or third edition of my book Blue Eye Shadow Should Be Illegal, when I commented on foundations should not be pink, peach, ash, green is when Clinique and the other lines, Revlon, or whoever had all of their foundation shades, particularly later in the ‘90s with lines like M.A.C.
00:20:24 When you went to the counter and you looked at the testers they had out, the colors that were - there were a ton still there - and aging and getting crusty and old were the pink shades.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: And the beige toned neutral ones were the ones that were empty. Those were the ones the makeup artists were using, not those other ones that just sat there fallow, dormant on the shelf because nobody used them. So, one, it’s our recommendation strongly. Two, it is what makeup artists lean at.
00:21:00 But, yeah, there are those women who feel that they need to add a bit of color to their face. We recommend against it. Check your makeup out in the daylight. Check it against your neckline, your neck color. If it looks radically different, don’t do it. If we’re wrong and you really do look natural, and better, and healthier with it, then of course use the color that you have checked out looks the best on you.
00:21:27 There you go. Speaking of getting the best color, it doesn’t hurt to test foundation, get an application at the department store. If you’re going to splurge on anything, splurge on a foundation. It’s not that there aren’t brilliant foundations at the drugstore. Of course, I think Paula’s Choice has some great foundations, but in terms of quality you’re not going to see a difference between the department store and the drugstore, but what you get to do quite nicely at the department store is have someone put it on you. Of course, that means you go without makeup on or be willing to take it off at the department store.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Or have a professional makeup artist do your makeup so, one, you can see how makeup foundation is applied.
00:22:15 But, two, you can test the colors, have someone help you test the colors so you see what an exact match on your skin. Hopefully you get a good artist who knows how to do that.
Bryan Barron: A lot of lines at the department store as well as pretty much every brand sold at Sephora where there are testers available, they will make samples for you. If you try on a couple of shades or if they swipe them along your jaw line and you’re not quite sure, or you don’t want to make that decision in the store’s lighting, which I strongly suggest not doing because that lighting can be very deceiving.
00:22:48 Take the samples home, test them on your own time, in your home, natural light, and then -
Paula Begoun: Does Ulta do that? Does Ulta also have the same service, or is it really Sephora in the department stores?
Bryan Barron: If Ulta has that service it’s never been offered to us.
Paula Begoun: Oh…
Bryan Barron: They probably wouldn’t come up to me and offer that. But like I take with Heather and Mercedes who are Paula’s Choice Research Team members. They don’t come back. They have to ask. Whereas like if I -
00:23:16 I’ve been reviewing foundations at like Estee Lauder or Clinique and they will say, “Would you like me to make you a sample to take home and try?”
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: Or even when I tell them that I’m a makeup artist and I’m shopping for other people, they’ll say, “Great. If there’s samples of any shades I can make for you, let me know.”
Paula Begoun: That’s wonderful. And you absolutely out there listening should take advantage of that. The other thing you want to double check is what kind - not double check - but to consider is what kind of texture of foundation you want. Unfortunately there is no easy way to sum that up. We can absolutely and strongly suggest you look at our reviews on Beautypedia or in our book, Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, to take a look at how we will have comment and have reviewed different foundations.
00:24:06 Because you simply can’t tell by the name whether or not the foundation is going to perform for you the way it says it does on the label. That’s often just an application issue. Sometimes it’s preference. And sometimes it’s just that whatever it says on the label is wrong. It says it’s matte, it’s not matte. It says it’s emollient. It’s not emollient. It says it stays. It doesn’t stay.
00:24:29 It says it goes on smoothly and it absolutely steaks and takes a long time to set. So, you have to consider the type of product you’re looking for, if you have normal to oily skin you want something more matte and less emollient. Normal to dry, you do want something more hydrating and less matte. You may or may not want a little bit of luminescence in your product, particularly oily skin, any shine can make you look oilier.
00:24:58 So, those little nuances, that’s what we’ll tell you about when you read our reviews, particularly if you have enlarged pores or blackheads. There are foundations that just for one reason or another do settle into pores and others that don’t. We’ll warn you about that. But, again, if you test a foundation at the department store or have a makeup artist do it, or get samples say from Sephora and try it on yourself, what you want to double check in that makeup magnifying mirror is whether or not a foundation is going on smooth and even.
00:25:27 If it’s not settling in pores, if it’s not slippage. By the way, one of the things that has to work together with foundation is foundation and concealer. So, one of the things I often get asked is where does your concealer stop and where does your foundation start. And the truth of it is the way it works in the real world is they can overlap.
Bryan Barron: Oh, absolutely.
Paula Begoun: With the one you put on last, usually being concealer. So, you can put your foundation all over. I often do, especially because my foundation contains sunscreen and my concealer doesn’t always.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Although it’s great when a concealer does contain sunscreen.
00:26:11 So, I put my foundation all over, the lid, the under eye, and then I put the concealer over it because the last thing you put on around your under eye is you want it to be lighter, to take care of dark circles, and the natural depth that is under the eye.
Bryan Barron: Natural hallow. Uh-huh.
Paula Begoun: To bring it out. But what you want to be careful is not to go too light, so you look like you have raccoon eyes.
00:26:34 So, they can absolutely overlap and the last thing you put on generally is the concealer so that lower eye area is - and your concealer should be at least one to two shades lighter. Not much more than one to two shades lighter than your foundation, so you can get that -
Bryan Barron: Right. Concealer doesn’t have to match your skin tone exactly.
Paula Begoun: Right. It’s just the opposite, because you are -
00:26:58 What you really want to do for the under eye area is make it look lighter. You don’t want to make it look the same. If you have dark circles you don’t want to add to the dark circles. Once you get that foundation on and you’re checking your makeup in the magnifying mirror is you want to double check if you’ve built up foundation in your eyebrows. You always want to go through your eyebrows and double check that you don’t have hidden amounts of foundation that are going to seep out at some point or mess up your brows or mess up your eyebrow application.
00:27:32 Because foundation, especially liquid or creamy foundation, well actually, all foundations. Actually all foundations will build up in the brow.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. Even a powder foundation. And absolutely those loose mineral makeups, those are notorious for getting caught in the hairs.
Paula Begoun: So what you want to do is go over it with your makeup sponge or your makeup brush to make sure you get it out and then use your Spoolie brush, either clean off an old mascara wand and use that, which is what I do.
00:28:01 Or there are Spoolie brushes you can buy at Sephora or wherever. And then you just comb through your brow. Double check it with your sponge, or makeup brush, or fingers to make sure you don’t have any built up makeup in your brows.
Bryan Barron: Another thing you could do, too, it’s kind of a make your own Spoolie brush, so to speak. Because a Spoolie brush is another name for a mascara brush. They look very much like a mascara brush.
00:28:25 So, rather than when you go to replace your mascara, just pull out the wand, throw out the main component and clean off the brush. You got yourself a Spoolie.
Paula Begoun: That’s what I do. I’ve been doing that one for years, because eventually it does get kind of built up with hair and no matter how much -
Bryan Barron: And the bristles don’t last forever.
Paula Begoun: And then you just do it again. One of the things, so I mean, it goes without saying that when you’re applying foundation, trying to get it on perfectly, it’s nice to have as best as you can perfect skin underneath. That’s always a challenge, separate from - obviously we’ve talked at many shows about how to deal with skincare.
00:29:05 But even in the best of situations you can get flaky skin like I have right now between my brows, or you get a blemish, or whatever causes you to have less than perfect skin, you can spot treat before you put on your foundation. So, for example, between my brows where I for some reason am I little flaky. I get the feeling I’m getting a little bit of psoriasis in my old age.
00:29:30 And so I’ll spot treat with a little extra moisturizer there that I typically wouldn’t put on the rest of my face because I tend to have normal to oily skin. So, don’t be afraid to spot treat. You don’t have to put moisturizer all over, depending on your skin type, to get an even application of foundation.
Bryan Barron: And if you have what we refer to as more extreme combination skin, where the forehead, nose, and chin are notably oily, so you wouldn’t want to put a moisturizer there, maybe a liquid or a gel.
00:30:00 But then your cheeks are uncomfortably dry and tight, so you’ve got two very different skin types on the same face. In the cheek area you absolutely need to apply a moisturizer or a moisturizing sunscreen, or that foundation - especially if you’re using a foundation that has a matte finish, which is great for the oily areas, is not going to look right over those dry areas. You will be struggling.
Paula Begoun: So, Bryan, you and I often talk about application techniques because we differ.
Bryan Barron: We do.
Paula Begoun: So, there’s using a sponge. There is using a makeup brush.
00:30:35 And there is just using your fingers. And I err on the side, well, actually err - I only in the years I’ve been applying makeup I have always applied it with a sponge. And you use either your fingers or a makeup brush?
Bryan Barron: I primarily use clean fingers and then I - because I have found over the years that just my own fingers make it easier to maneuver into the nooks and crannies of a face, whether it’s my face or somebody else’s.
00:31:07 And then I do use a sponge afterwards to go over the whole thing. I just find that for me using a sponge to apply foundation from the get go, especially a liquid foundation, is very much the same experience that you commented on before we started recording when I asked you about foundation brushes.
00:31:27 For me using a sponge just takes too much time. I can do it faster with my fingers. And then going over it with a sponge.
Paula Begoun: And I take forever to do it with my fingers because I feel I get it on so choppy that I have to go over it. And then I have to pick up a sponge anyway to make it smooth.
Bryan Barron: Right. So why not use a sponge from the get go?
Paula Begoun: So why not use a sponge. Now, you don’t use a foundation brush? That’s as a touch up, that’s not as the main way you get it on?
Bryan Barron: Right.
00:31:57 We have some people at Paula’s Choice, some of whom are makeup artists, like Monica in our customer service team. Gorgeous Monica. You’ve probably seen her videos if you follow us on social media. And she loves foundation brushes. Wouldn’t apply one - I mean, she used to work for M.A.C. and she was basically trained on using foundation brushes. I think that - my experience with them has been very similar to yours. For me, they take even more time than a sponge. And if you want to be a bit more artistic I get that they allow you when they’re shaped well to really get into those crevices on the face and they can have a nice smoothing effect.
00:32:39 But, eh, I just don’t see it.
Paula Begoun: It’s exhausting.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. I mean, but on the other hand I know that a lot of women really love the way foundation looks when they apply it with a brush.
Paula Begoun: Right. Right.
Bryan Barron: And whatever tool works best for you, do it.
Paula Begoun: Exactly.
00:32:58 That’s the issue is that it isn’t that one is better than the other, or one is the answer, but the technique is really a personal one. Some people do best with a brush, a foundation brush, some do best with a sponge. Some hate it. Some do best with their fingers. I know there’s been very famous makeup artists over the years who said if they can touch the face of the woman they’re doing the makeup on then they can’t really know what they’re doing and how to, well, I don’t know. That’s very dramatic.
00:33:30 But nonetheless, whatever technique gets you the best look in the mirror, double checking it in the magnifying mirror, that’s how you’re going to get your foundation on the best.
Bryan Barron: As far as sponges go, have you experimented with that Beauty Blender sponge?
Paula Begoun: Beauty Blender? Now, why don’t - what is that? Should I look that up?
Bryan Barron: Yeah. Take a look at it. Just do a quick search for Beauty Blender. It’s a pink sponge that kind of looks like two dollops of whipped cream on top of each other.
Paula Begoun: Oh geez.
00:34:00 And it’s twenty bucks?!
Bryan Barron: Yeah, a lot of people really like it though.
Paula Begoun: What the hell do you do with that?
Bryan Barron: It’s kind of an ergonomic design.
Paula Begoun: Have you used this? Wouldn’t that absorb a lot of the - ?
Bryan Barron: It kind of did absorb a lot of the makeup which is why I stopped using it. But, one of our former team members just would, I mean, once she tried it she was like, “This is it. It’s my Holy Grail. I am never applying foundation without this again.”
Paula Begoun: So, Sephora sells this.
00:34:33 Is that the site I’m on? Yeah, I’m on Sephora. Do you find this at Sephora? Like would they let you experiment with it and try it?
Bryan Barron: Yeah, as far as I know. I mean, you may in that case be using one that everyone else has used.
Paula Begoun: Okay, that’s nauseating.
Bryan Barron: But Sephora has a great return policy, so if you want to try the Beauty Blender and it’s not to your liking.
Paula Begoun: Well, I haven’t used it. I think that what you’re saying is what would make me concerned is that it would absorb a good deal of your foundation so you would be wasting product. I don’t know.
00:35:10 Again, it’s one of those things where it’s an option and if it gets your foundation on the easiest - by the way, I think that fingers and a makeup brush, even though I can’t use a makeup brush, are probably the most economical way to get foundation on because you would waste the least. Sponges always, even the thin sponges Paula’s Choice sells, which are the sponges I’ve used for years, have some amount of absorption.
00:35:41 But something like this would have - this Beauty Blender sponge on Sephora - would have a great deal of absorption because of how thick it is. So, we talked about spot treating dryness. Let’s talk real quick before we take questions from Facebook about blemishes. The trick of covering up blemishes.
00:36:04 So, when you apply your foundation all over, covering up a blemish and wanting to do it with a concealer absolutely is an option. But the issue is that you can’t, because foundation that looks sheer and natural on skin isn’t going to be enough, and that’s often what most women want is a sheer natural kind of coverage.
00:36:30 And when you have a blemish it’s going to take more than sheer natural coverage to hide it. So, you can do - and if you’re going to use a concealer which has a thicker, heavier, more covering consistency, if it’s lighter as it should be if you’re using it around the eye area and you put it on a blemish you’re going to look like a blemish with a white dot on it. Not white, but lighter than your foundation. So, if you want to consider a blemish covering or uneven skin tone covering concealer that is heavier than the natural sheer foundation you want all over your face, then you’re going to have to get a concealer that matches the color of your foundation.
00:37:18 Don’t use the concealer you’re using to make your eye area lighter on blemishes. So, the concealer around your eye that should be a shade or two lighter than your foundation -
Bryan Barron: Yes. This is very good information, people.
00:37:33 Take notes.
Paula Begoun: And then when you put it on your blemish it’s just going to make it look like a white dot over that blemish. It doesn’t hide it. If anything it brings more attention to it because you haven’t blended it into the skin. So, either, you could do a technique, a stippling technique where you’re layering up your foundation. In other words, once you get your foundation on you can apply a dollop more of foundation over the blemish or the uneven skin color.
00:37:59 Let it set and then power it. And that’s one way to do it. Or, get a concealer that matches your foundation. That will get you the results you want, not the concealer that you use under your eye. Let’s take a couple of questions. I think we have enough makeup on now to last a lifetime.
Bryan Barron: We do.
Paula Begoun: By the way, let me just remind everybody that I’m - just remind myself because I’m tired, it’s Paula Begoun, author of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, and creator of Paula’s Choice, my namesake product line.
00:38:35 And Bryan Barron, my co-author, my research director for Paula’s Choice and co-author of so many of my books. Actually, I think we just kind of don’t even know where the one starts and the other one stops. We’ve been writing together so long, particularly for Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me and our work on
Bryan Barron: So, one of our Paula’s Choice Facebook fans named Katie says, “Hi Paula. First, I love your products.
00:39:03 They’ve changed my skin dramatically for the better.” Yay!
Paula Begoun: Yay Katie!
Bryan Barron: “Question for you. I use the Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA, but lately and just in the winter it seems this treatment is too harsh and makes my skin irritated rather than glowy. Do you have something stronger than BHA 2%, but more mild than the Weekly Resurfacing Treatment to use as a once-a-week boost to my routine?”
Paula Begoun: Oh, that’s an interesting question.
00:39:32 So, I wish we could talk to Katie. Absolutely during the winter, and this has been a particularly cold winter here in Seattle, and it’s not even January!
Bryan Barron: I was going to say.
Paula Begoun: Oh my god!
Bryan Barron: Technically it’s still fall.
Paula Begoun: Oh that’s right. It’s not December 21st yet!
Bryan Barron: Yeah, we’re about ten days away.
Paula Begoun: We usually don’t get this cold until - we’ve been in the teens - we don’t usually get this cold until, well even if ever do get this cold.
00:40:01 So, without question when the weather changes your skin can change. And not for everybody. In fact, you know, for the first time, I’ve never had dry skin on my body. Never. I’ve never really ever had to use a body moisturizer. This year, for the first time I have itchy, dry legs. I’m noticing itchy dry patches on my cheeks. I have never had itchy dry patches on my cheeks.
Bryan Barron: My husband, Ben, just showed me his arms the other night while we were brushing our teeth and he said, “Can you believe what’s going on with my arms?”
00:40:35 And he has eczema all up and down his arms. And he’s never dealt with that.
Paula Begoun: Well, he probably has seasonal eczema.
Bryan Barron: Probably.
Paula Begoun: Which can happen. Or if you’ve changed detergents recently?
Bryan Barron: No, haven’t done that.
Paula Begoun: Has he been wearing a new wool top that the doesn’t know he’s allergic to wool?
Bryan Barron: Yeah, maybe.
Paula Begoun: Because there are different ways. Well, and actually we’re talking about eczema in another show, so you’ve got to keep coming back and seeing what shows we’ve posted about.
00:41:04 What we’ve talked about on our Radio Show. But during seasonal dryness times, or environment like if you are visiting a dry area like Arizona or Southern California where it’s particularly dry, then what you’re going to want to do is absolutely change up your skincare routine.
00:41:29 And that means not using the 10% either as often or even not at all. And I wouldn’t necessary say that you need anything stronger than a 2% versus a 10%, but if you wanted to try - and again, this is all about experimenting. We have new products coming out in our Resist line with a bit of a stronger strength BHA that you can come visit us. Am I like getting that out of the bag too soon? When is that - is that next month? When is the foam coming out?
Bryan Barron: In January.
Paula Begoun: Oh, okay.
00:42:01 So, by the time this is posted?
Bryan Barron: Yes. So, if you’re listening to this, yes, you’ll be listening to this in January at some point and we are launching Resist Weekly Retexturizing Treatment 4% BHA. Right up your alley.
Paula Begoun: Because the 9% might be too strong during this time of year as well, because we have our BHA 9.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, just maybe as a spot treatment.
Paula Begoun: Maybe as a spot treatment. Definitely for blemishes.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: But for that overall glow that you’re talking about, if you wanted a change up from the AHA then you can absolutely consider this new foam, 4% BHA foam we’re launching.
00:42:39 What you can also do with the AHA, the 10% weekly treatment, is use less of it and mix it in with your moisturizer before you apply it to your face. So, if you you’re using one of the Resist moisturizers or Skin Recovery moisturizer you can mix a little bit of the 10% AHA into that moisturizer and then apply it and see if that doesn’t cut some of the strength so you’re buffering it against your skin a little bit but still getting that same benefit that you like.
Bryan Barron: So, I can hear the customer question right now.
Paula Begoun: Yes.
Bryan Barron: On that tip.
00:43:12 And they’re going to want to know if mixing it is going to throw off the pH of the exfoliant, so then it won’t work. They get very concerned about these things.
Paula Begoun: I know. And I want it to work. Believe me, I want it to work. So, technically the second you put something on your skin, your skin is a pH of about 5.
Bryan Barron: 5, 5.5.
Paula Begoun: 5.5.
00:43:35 So, the second you put something on your skin, it technically would affect the pH of something, it’s just that pH does not alter or jump that fast. It takes a longer blending, holding, mixing process for that to actually happen. So, yes, if you took your 10% AHA and mixed it into your moisturizer with a pH of 6, in a matter of time the AHA, the alpha hydroxy acid, would change its pH.
00:44:06 It doesn’t happen that fast.
Bryan Barron: Instantaneously.
Paula Begoun: Oh, it is so instantaneously.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: You actually, when we test pH to watch it over time, because we know it will shift depending on the formula we’re looking at, it takes days. It sometimes takes weeks. So, you don’t have to be worried about, well, first of all I would never make a suggestion to do something that would inactivate unnecessary ingredient.
00:44:31 But in this situation the process of putting a couple of drops in and then applying it to the face, again, keep in mind that the skin is a pH of 5, it would take much longer for that pH to jump.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: And by the time it absorbed in it would absolutely be doing its job. It’s buffering. It isn’t changing the AHA.
Bryan Barron: So, let’s do a couple more questions before we wrap up.
Paula Begoun: Okay.
Bryan Barron: Sonia says, “We’ve all heard of BB and CC creams, but now I’m hearing about DD creams. Anything to get excited about, or is it just the same as the others?”
Paula Begoun: It’s bra shopping.
00:45:06 It isn’t skincare shopping. It’s ridiculous! It’s ridiculous. I hate it. I hate the cosmetics industry. I hate the cosmetic -
Bryan Barron: Someone who was doing a story in a fashion magazine, it may have been Allure or Vogue, referred to all of this as the Alphabet Soup of makeup. Because when is it going to stop?
Paula Begoun: Well, didn’t Benefit come out with A to Z?
Bryan Barron: Philosophy did.
Paula Begoun: Philosophy.
00:45:30 So, we’re out of letters. We’re officially out of letters.
Bryan Barron: Philosophy has just said this is it, the end all/be all, use our A to Z cream. Sonia, DD creams, it’s marketing. We’ve looked at a couple of them. I’m not aware of any from a major brand. We just reviewed one from the Marcelle brand, which is a Canadian line, and it was not very impressive. I would say that from the DD creams we’ve seen so far they’re closer to CC creams, and that they really come across more as a foundation, often with sunscreen.
00:46:02 That’s about it.
Paula Begoun: So, generally what we found, and we have - what do we have, about 35 BB/CC/DD creams reviewed on Beautypedia by now?
Bryan Barron: Oh, probably 45 by now.
Paula Begoun: Oh my god. So, as a general rule, in the United States, it’s different overseas in East Asian Countries, but the way US and European brands do BB, and CC, and DD creams, BB creams generally are thinner tinted moisturizers, sometimes with sunscreen, sometimes not.
00:46:31 Sometimes with bioactive ingredients. Sometimes not. CC creams tend to have more of a foundation-like texture. Sometimes with sunscreens, sometimes not in the case of Olay. They simply repackaged one of their previous products in their Olay line and stuck a new label on it and called it something different, even though it was the exact same product. Bryan, do you remember the name of the product they repackaged? What was the name of the product? Was it one of their seven signs one?
00:47:00 I forget. It’s on our website. If you look up Olay, their CC cream.
Bryan Barron: Oh, yeah, yeah. Olay took their Total Effects Tinted Moisturizer product with a touch of foundation.
Paula Begoun: Right. And turned it into their CC cream.
Bryan Barron: It’s a CC cream. It’s the exact same thing.
Paula Begoun: Exactly. Exactly.
Bryan Barron: And then CoverGirl did the same thing with their tinted moisturizer. That’s now their BB cream. Ta-da!
Paula Begoun: So, they just change that! And they didn’t have to bother with formulary.
00:47:26 It was just, you know, getting a new bottle.
Bryan Barron: Well because most of these have a sunscreen. And in the US, in Canada as well, it’s expensive to do a new sunscreen.
Paula Begoun: It’s actually expensive all over the world. The testing - it is a drug. The testing requirement. I mean, over-the-counter drugs -
Bryan Barron: Even in Europe where it’s not - ?
Paula Begoun: All the testing, you have to have extensive proof that that SPF -
00:47:48 If the government comes, if the FDA or the regulatory board in your country comes knocking on your door, “Hello cosmetic company, we’re the European Board of Cosmetic Regulations.”
Bryan Barron: “We know where you live.”
Paula Begoun: “We need to see your proof that your SPF or actually your claim substantiation.” They come knocking. You’ve got to have it.
00:48:12 So, yeah, it’s pretty expensive to make sunscreen products. And I think you’re right. I think that was a quick way to get a new trend to the market without having to do the time-consuming sunscreen testing. But in terms of BB/CC/DD, you know, they’re not necessarily good or bad. They’re not necessarily - some are - it’s just like anything else. There are good and bad products. Generally they’re somewhere between tinted moisturizers and foundations.
00:48:39 Sometimes with beneficial ingredients, sometimes just ordinary foundations. Sometimes with sunscreen, sometimes with not.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: There’s nothing consistent about these groups of products in the United States, or Europe, or Canada.
Bryan Barron: And I know a lot of our readers are wondering if they should switch. So, my response has been although there are some very good BB and CC creams out there, you can find those reviews on our site, if you’re using a foundation or a tinted moisturizer that you like, really no complaints about it. It’s not too expensive.
00:49:11 The color is great. It took you a long time to find this shade and it’s perfect. You don’t need to switch.
Paula Begoun: You don’t need to switch.
Bryan Barron: You are not missing out on anything that if you’re using a good skincare routine you’re already giving your skin.
Paula Begoun: That is one of the things that happens for women, isn’t it, that they feel they might be missing out on something special and new and important.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: And that somebody else is doing it and getting the benefit and they aren’t.
00:49:36 Which is why they need us. We’ll tell you which trends you should jump on, which trends you should avoid. As a rule, and the trends come and go. We’ve seen it so often. Jumping on a trend almost always wastes your money because the trend isn’t really doing anything for your skin or your makeup. It is just marketing.
00:50:01 Sometimes it’s not, which is why you’ll come to Beautypedia and we’ll tell you what’s going on, but in this case BB/CC/DD, A to Z, LMNOP, you’re not getting anything to write home about as a general category. Although, in the category there are some products to consider. So, I think we’re done. I think that’s it for today. I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, with Bryan B -
00:50:30 I was going to say Bryan Begoun! Oh my god, we’ve merged!
Bryan Barron: Ha!
Paula Begoun: We merged! Okay, scary. I am not his wife. He is married already. His husband is going to be so pissed I just did that. So, I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, here with my co-writer and research director for Paula’s Choice, and my books, Bryan Barron. Come listen to us and hear what we have to say on these radio shows. Also, tons of information on
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