All About Stick Foundations

By Inthelab  

The holidays are upon us and many of us will be in full partying mode. That usually means dressier clothes and more makeup than we wear to work. So now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s a good time to go over your makeup needs before hitting the party circuit. Since makeup will look best on a great canvas, consider a new foundation. A good, well-matched foundation can add a hint of color, conceal some skin flaws, add moisture or block oil (depending upon formulation), and serve as a canvas for blush. I usually wear powder foundation for everyday, but when glamour is called for, I prefer stick foundations.

Stick foundations take a little practice to apply, but in my opinion are worth the time. The tools you’ll need are a foundation brush and latex sponges. Foundation brushes usually have synthetic fibers, as this one by Sonia Kashuk does:

For latex sponges, buy a bag of inexpensive ones at the drug or beauty supply store. You can wash and reuse them, but there’s a limit to how may times you’ll reuse them before they fall apart. Now that you have the tools, you can practice applying the foundation to your newly washed face. I usually put a stroke down my nose, one across my forehead, and a stroke on each cheek. Blend with either the brush or the sponge (keep it dry). You’ll likely like one way, brush or sponge, better than the other way. I find with me it’s a mood thing, so I have an inexpensive brush and a bag of sponges from CVS. You’ll have placed enough foundation to cover your chin; if not, dab a dot on there too. If you need more coverage (I generally go for sheer), apply  a bit more where you need it. If you applied a bit heavily in spots, use the sponge to make it more sheer. When you are satisfied, you can apply a light dusting of powder before continuing with blush. I personally find that the light powdering sets the foundation and helps the blush (I use powder) to last longer.

Now sheer as stick foundations can be, they still have to match your complexion properly. Really, the only way to match foundation is to try it on. Go to your favorite store (mine for this is the Nordstrom near me) on a sunny day, wearing no makeup on your clean face. Go to the makeup counters and tell the sales assistant you want a perfect match for foundation color in stick foundation. He or she should apply2 or 3 colors that a likely matches along your jaw line. This is key: you cannot try on foundation color on your inner wrist; you will not get a good match that way. Trying it along the jawline allows you to see which one disappears- that’s your matching color. Ask if you can take the mirror (or bring your own) and walk out into the sun. Make sure the color is true, and the foundation isn’t too pink or too yellow in natural light. If none match you, thank the rep, cleanse your face, and go to the next counter. You may have to try several brands until you hit the correct color match. At a Nordstrom or a Sephora, and surely other stores, a single rep may be able to help you with several lines. Last spring when I needed a new stick foundation, I went to Nordstrom, and one rep helped me find my perfect match, though we plowed through several makeup lines to find it.

Suggestions for makeup lines to try:
Bobbi Brown— a lot of colors to choose from; tends to be a little on the yellow side.
MAC— comes in warm and cool tones for better matching.
Shiseido— my personal pick (pictured above); the lightest ivory matches me prefectly, but of course you have to match it to you.
Laura Mercier— much as I love this line, all the foundations were too dark for me.
Becca— this line has 30 shades ranging from palest ivory to deep ebony; expensive but has SPF30 as a bonus.
Bloom— available at ULTA, this medium coverage stick comes in fewer shades than the rest and contains oils, so beware if oils make you break out.
Iman— good for those needing deeper colors. Fourteen rich shades in all.
She Uemara Nobara— Expensive, but a cult favorite.

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