Elements of Base

1:58 PM

"What your favorite foundation/brand?"

I get asked this question a lot and the basis of my response to this relies solely on what the product is and what I need the product to do. I figured, this is the perfect opportunity to explain my train of thought when looking at products.

Make-up is pigments in the presence of a vehicle. But what exactly does that mean?...It means that almost all make-up is basically the same. Differences lie on the type of vehicle (base), vehicle to pigment ratio and the elements added onto the vehicle to provide things like SPF, wrinkle smoother,  pore refiner, mattifier...and the list goes on!

We must first understand that there is a vehicle in every make-up product. The job of the vehicle is to provide a base that gives it its slip. Basically, the vehicle is what the pigment rides on. Granted we're always looking for products with the best pigmentation, but without a vehicle there would just be a dense amount of pigment on your face with nothing to make it blend into the skin smoothly (and for foundation this is not a good thing). I also need to emphasize that pigment to vehicle ratio is important. I'll be going over that a little later.

Let's start with  few examples of vehicles.

+ Oil and emollient-based make-up are usually made up of some type of mineral oil base, petrolatum, beeswax or lanolin. These are very thick in texture, stays relatively moist due to their emollient nature, and are extremely opaque in application. I mostly go for oil-based make-up in my Special Effects applications, with products such as RMG (rubber mask greasepaint) because it is long lasting, doesn't run with sweat like water-based products do and colors can just as easily be put on top of one another.

+ Powder-based make-up uses powder as the main ingredient. Some powder-based makeup contain no emollients, skin adhesion agents or binding agents. A good example of this is M.A.C. StudioFix, which can only be used dry. Another powder-based make-up, such as Lancome Dual Finish, contains a small amount of oil before it is pressed. This type of make-up can be used dry or wet. Lastly, some powder-based formulas, such as Max Factors' Pan Cake, contain wax, which can only be applied with a wet sponge or brush.

+ Mineral-based make-up refers to foundation using...minerals...as their base. Some argue that all foundations in loose powder format are mineral based, however, most mineral make-up sold makes a point in mentioning they are talc-free. But isn't talc a mineral? Yes, yes it. However, unlike other mineral bases such as mica, bismuth, oxychloride, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, talc has been known to cause clogging, breakouts, and in more severe cases...cancer. Nonetheless, mineral make-up may be all mineral, part mineral or contain less than 1% mineral as part of the finished formula...in which case...it's basically just a loose powder. Recently, the most popular loose powder application is with invisible or translucent powders such as Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder.

+ Water-based make-up comes in several forms. For starters, water-based make-up is a made up of an emulsion of water and oil the provides a creamy liquid with a far more natural feel than oil, powder or emollient based make-up. This type of make-up, however, oxidizes, meaning that it will change/darken in color over time. Watch out for that. An example of such make-up is CoverGirl Clean MakeupStila Illuminating Liquid Foundation, Revlon ColorStay and many many more!

+ Silicone-based make-up uses silicone, or a blend of water and silicone, as the main ingredient. Silicone-based makeups, such as Laura Geller Phenomenal Foundation, are less likely to oxidize or change color during wear. The silicone in its base also helps smooth out the texture of rough complexions, giving it the appearance of smooth skin.

These bases (or vehicles) mean nothing without the pigment that rides on it. The percentages are as follows:
+ Sheer coverage is the most transparent, consisting of 8-13% pigments in its finished formula.
+ Light make-up, provides a little more coverage and can slightly even out the skintone with 13-18% pigment.
+ Medium coverage contains a little more with 18-23% pigment.
+ Full coverage is very opaque, containing up to 35% pigments in most consumer brands and up to 50% is some professional brands (ie. Kryolan DC Camouflage Cream)

It's also important to know the type of skin you have before reaching for the new rave product. Your skin type will determine if the product is right for you...or if you should just leave it alone. Bear in mind the bases. I didn't go over it for no reason. Normal skin can hold up to all types of make-up, as oppose to dry skin, which should avoid all powder bases, and oily skin with should avoid oil-based formulas. This also goes for problematic skin. Besides using clean tools and clean hands when applying make-up, you also have to understand that make-up can clog pores and irritate the skin, so if you don't understand what's inside the container, read up on it. This can relieve a lot of headache in figuring out the source of your breakouts and how to avoid it. 

Also bear in mind the environment. For me, I go for a tinted moisturizer like Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in the winter time when my skin becomes super dry and in the summer when my t-zone becomes super oily, I tend to go for products like Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals or M.A.C. Mineralize Skin Finish Natural.

So when you're considering any foundation/brand, consider these things: What is the condition of your skin at the moment? What is the finished texture are you looking for? How do you want it to lay? What's the coverage are you looking for?...another factor for me is, how does it photograph?

I hope this helped. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. I would love the help out!

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