beauty, Makeup

WHY You May be Wearing the WRONG Foundation!

If you find yourself getting frustrated out of the foundation you are wearing this post might be the one for you. I believe firmly that some of the issues I am addressing here has lead to some of us purchasing and buying and wearing the WRONG foundations for not only our complexion, but our skin types and skin issues.

I really hope this helps a lot of you out there, please keep in mind my opinion is definitely not the end be all, I am addressing that now. But based on some of the things I’ve encountered and what clients have complained about with makeup, they are sometimes due to things that can be so simple, using a “common sense” approach to finding the right foundation for you. Some of the common mistakes and assumptions we make about buying foundations have GOT to stop! Here let me share with you what I believe a lot of them are:


1. “My friend wears this foundation and we are the same complexion, so I’m going to buy what she uses”
I know that sounds logical in theory, but when you say you say you both are the same complexion did you take into account your undertones? Undertones are the underlying colors that make your complexion. Example: if you wear to completely strip the brown from your skin, what color would be there? Common undertones are either pink, golden, yellow, or neutral. I won’t get in too much detail about undertones because they can be a bit complex, but in a nutshell sure you are your friend can be the same shade of brown, but YOUR undertones can be comprised of pink while hers may be golden. If your undertones are pink and you’re using a foundation that is yellow based, it will make your complexion look gray. Also, did you take into account your skin type and her skin type? Do you have oily skin, combination skin, dry skin? If you have dry skin using a foundation that has a matte finish is a no-go, it will literally just sit on top of the skin and appear, yup I’m gonna say it, cakey. So what it all boils down to is be sure to investigate skin concerns not just the way it appears on the outside.

This brings me to another concern…


2. “Jackie you and I are the same complexion and I want to use what you use, can you tell me which foundation you wear in MAC?”
I can completely understand wanting to know something like this for the purpose of color comparison. Let’s say you are ordering something online and you have no idea how dark or light NC35 is so you ask someone who may wear that shade so you get a rough idea. But that’s exactly all it is: a rough idea. What you see me wearing on camera and film should in no way be a guideline for what you decide to purchase for yourself! You may think you and I are the same complexion, but what you’re not considering is what I look like in person. What lighting I film with, MY undertones, flash photography, what I look like when I’m already wearing makeup. You can’t assume that you and I are the same complexion when you’re looking at a photo of my skin WITH makeup on. That’s not showing the true color of my skin!! Again, considering what I look like on camera (a bit lighter) versus what I actually look like in person should in no way be a personal guideline for what foundation shade you should wear.


3. You shade matched on your wrist and not your face
Swatching foundation or any cosmetic product on the wrist is great when you just want to actually see what the product looks like. But it wouldn’t be very accurate to assume that your wrists and your face are the same color. Different parts of the body can get different sun exposure, thus making the face darker than the body or vice versa.


4. A reader or YouTube viewer writes me this comment in response to one of my makeup videos: “I use all the same products as you, I use the same brushes and I am blending properly but my makeup doesn’t look like that when I do it, I can’t be doing something wrong!”
In theory, if you are using the correct tools to accomplish something it SHOULD work for you. If not, perhaps you should consider the following: did you chose a foundation that’s right for ME or ones that’s right for YOU? And,  it could actually be that perhaps you aren’t actually properly applying the foundation. Nobody is going to get it right on the first time, that’s definitely a given. You cannot expect a perfect result on the first try! You’ve got to come to realization that YES you might be doing something wrong, and it simply may just be investigating those products a little further, or your technique, and making sure they are right for you and whether or not you just simply need a bit more practice. Clearly something must be wrong if you aren’t satisfied with the end result! If you were doing everything correctly as you say than it wouldn’t turn out to be unsatisfactory, now would it?


5. “I want a foundation that’s dewey, yet matte. I want a foundation that’s going to make me look flawless, but I want it to be natural. I want to look like Kim Kardashian, but I don’t want my makeup to look heavy. You know what I mean?”
Think about this one for a minute and really evaluating what you are asking for in a product, you are asking for things that are completely opposite. “Natural, yet flawless?”, you want to look like Kim K, yet you want your makeup to be natural? Not going to happen girl! This is a huge problem for makeup artists because I really feel like it discredits a lot of us as artists. If you fail to properly communicate as a consumer what you’re really looking for in a foundation it can lead to frustration, and money down the drain. Understand that there is no miracle foundation that’s going to give you a miracle in a bottle. Sure I like fuller coverage foundations, but I understand that full coverage usually means a heavier formula so it’s something I am willing to sacrifice that. Investigate exactly it is you want your foundation to do for you or at least what means more to you, and be willing to compromise a bit. Example: You want a full coverage foundation, yet you also want it to have a lightweight feel. The artist may recommend you something that is lightweight on the skin, but instead of a full coverage it will be medium coverage so that at least it meets one of the requirements you are asking for. In a nutshell, being realistic is crucial.


6. You’re not wearing a foundation that’s specific to your skincare needs
Wearing a dewey foundation, when you have oily skin. Wearing a matte foundation when you have dry skin. The list goes on and on. Investigate a little further. Asking questions like “is this product ideal for oily/combination skin?” will help tremendously when wanting to find out what a product can do for you. And as always recommended: Try before you buy. When in doubt, take a sample home! I NEVER purchase a foundation on the firs try, what if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients? What if the foundation oxidizes? What if an hour later you turn into a shiny disco ball because the dewey finish was a no-go for your oily skin? These are all things to consider.



Here are some helpful tips to get you to better applying foundation

Using a foundation primer will give you a nice smooth surface to apply your makeup, which will help make it easier to apply, thus, making it appear less “cakey”.
Using makeup brushes and sponges I know a lot of people are okay with applying foundation with your hands, I am not one of those people. Use your hands for moisturizers, not your makeup. Otherwise it will look streaky and it definitely won’t look blended. Unless of course you’re using something with a very very light formula or a tinted moisturizer and you don’t really care about the finish anyhow.
Investigate your skincare needs Ask appropriate questions, be very clear and concise and be sure you know exactly what it is you want to eliminate confusion between you and the artist that’s helping you choose your foundation. When you are asking questions don’t ask anything that could be open for interpretation. Bring a photo of the makeup look you are trying to achieve helps tremendously also!


Now asmuch as some of the things I have addressed make me giggle, on a serious note a lot of our issues with foundations are not really OUR fault. I still believe strongly that the majority of the cosmetic industry REFUSES to acknowledge women of color. You know like when you buy a product and they only offer shades for Fair to Medium? Yea, what exactly does that say to us? To me it says, you don’t count, you don’t exist. Well you know what, I’m hear to say otherwise. How can we find foundation shades for us if the brand refuses to even offer them?! That’s the biggest problem right there. We’ve come a long way in this industry but we still have much more work to do!

That’s it for today’s post guys, have fun foundation shopping!!!

Jackie O

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  • http://Website Shellz

    jackie O keeping it real! thats why we love you. dont apologise for sharing your expertise with us. I appreciate it girl!

  • http://www.sutedabeauty.com Imoteda

    Love this Jackie! Especially the bit about having realistic expectations. Had a client last week with sever chicken pox scarring on her face who wanted to look flawless but got upset when she decided that it would be obvious to everyone that she was wearing foundation once I covered up all her spots. *I was so confused*

    I had a hard time when I first started out in makeup coz I would see two girls who looked like the had the exact same skin color but one would look good in her foundation while the other would look cakey. Took me a minute to figure out skin tones. lol

    And yea there is definitely a lack of consideration for women of darker skin… one product that I found in 2008 and absolutely loved was Nacara. They had such a wide range of colors for all sorts of dark skin and i really liked their formulas. Unfortunately I don’t think they did well coz I haven’t been able to find it to buy lately. :(

  • http://www.sutedabeauty.com Imoteda

    so it occurred to me to google them and I found them!! yay!!


    Also I am in noway affiliated with the company. Just realized it looked like I was doing advertising for them. I’m not. I just really like their products. lols

  • http://Website Coco Classic

    Ahhhhh yet another great video and posting. I hang my head in shame for being one of those who went with the color you wear because you and I are the same complexion BUT I’m thankful it actually matched when I tried it @ the MAC store lol.

    Keep up the awesome work! You’ve been a roll lately with all these videos and blog posts and your loyal readers such as myself are definitely enjoying them all!

  • http://Website The Divabuttercup

    Thank you for this informative post (they all are). I was at work reading this an just shook my head bcuz I’m guilty. I normally wear MAC NW50 and want to try other products but its extremely diffcult to find something that matches my complexion and is NOT oily! I have tride Smashbox too. I’ll take your pointers when searching for new/better foundations.

    Keep em coming….gurl!!

  • annoyed

    hi, i agree with what your saying. i have been to the mac, sephora, macy and other places that sell foundation as well as concealer and i STILL can’t find the correct one for my complexion, and it not due to lack of asking. when i do purchase foundation, after the make up girls insist its my shade, when i get home n try them 1. they are way darker then me 2. the look ashy and 3. it look really red. do you have any advise to give to a beginner on continuing to find the correct foundation for me?