Foundation Versus Your Skin

As a make-up artist and skincare specialist something I am constantly asked (apart from, “Can you make me look ten years younger?”) is regarding foundations and their contribution to our poor, decaying skin.

foundation makeupEverywhere we turn there’s a magazine cover promoting a new wonder product promising a complexion worthy of Gwyneth Paltrow, or a billboard encouraging us to “get our glow back”.

Gone are the days when in times of need you reached for your trusty Maxfactor ‘Pan Stick’ (after washing your face with humble soap and water, of course). Now every time we have to shop for a new foundation we are faced with endless rows of possibilities; from tinted moisturisers to high coverage cream compacts, from BB creams to CC creams to XYZ creams; the choice is infinite not to mention confusing! And I say this as a woman whose bathroom resembles aisles 2,4 and 7 of Boots.

We are a nation on a mission to achieve perfect skin, whatever your interpretation of that may be. It’s the largest organ in the body, and one we spend a lot of time and money preening, scrubbing, waxing, buffing and moisturising in order to achieve a healthy and natural look, (oh the irony!). Arguably our face is under the most scrutiny, thanks to our three times magnified bathroom mirrors, and therefore is put through its paces with all our beautifying efforts. So surely it’s time to give our long-suffering skin a break?

I could, and probably should, tell you to ditch the foundation, let your skin breathe (the beautiful, smog-infected city air) but before you choke in disgust on your coffee, I won’t advise something so hypocritical. Because as I sit here typing this, I myself am covered in a significant amount of high coverage foundation, as well as primer, concealer, and powder. Yes, every morning after spending a good half an hour on my beloved skincare routine I then decide to drown my pores and seemingly undo all my hard work in a few strokes of a foundation brush. And yes, tomorrow I will wake up, look in the mirror and curse a deity I don’t believe in for condemning me with such unfortunate skin when really I only have myself (and that sweet talking saleswoman) to blame. I’m sure I’m not the only one caught in this endless cycle and I definitely won’t be the last.

Many people will argue that generations ago people didn’t have the time and access to all the products and treatments that we do now, and survived just fine without them. However times have changed, and with all the pollution and radiation our skin is now exposed to, the circumstances are incomparable. There are skin conditions we suffer from now that just didn’t exist in our grandmothers’ generation. So who can blame us for reaching for the foundation bottle instead of the water bottle?

It doesn’t take a dermatologist to work out that our complexions would be far healthier if we ditched the foundation and introduced our skin to something called ‘fresh air’, but realistically can we change our attitudes so easily? And are we really prepared to? To me, my foundation is more than just a tool to cover blemishes; it’s my glamorous armour that makes me feel ready and confident to face the day. And to whose women who are reading this as equally covered in foundation as I am, but with naturally flawless skin? Keep your distance, or I might not be responsible for my actions…

Primers: Is Your Face in It’s Prime?

Firstly – welcome to my first beauty post!

I will be posting weekly tips, tutorials and advice on things to do with beauty – topics that fall into that are make-up, hair and miscellaneous beauty products! Reader input is always welcome, be it questions, opinions etc, anyway, I digress and shall get on with this week’s post!

So, here we are, almost summer and the weather is hotting up, and you know what that means… sweat! Rather than having to touch up your make-up countless times in the day that it becomes the OCD of the season, you can try using primers – I know, these are one of the Marmite products in the make-up world, and I’m going to type-talk you through face primers today.

For those unaware what a primer is, it’s a make-up product designed to keep foundation on for longer by being a base for the foundation, smoothing the appearance of the skin and filling in fine lines.

There are many questions about whether these products are actually beneficial to keep foundation on for longer. If you’re one of the people that are worried it will cause break-outs, clog pores or sit heavy on the face – the real answer to this would be to assess the factors that affect your skin – everyone is different, common factors to think about are your skin type (are you oily or dry?) and your location – the skin is different if you live in the country as opposed to a very busy city.

There are a variety of primers out there for different skin types. When introducing a new product to your routine it can throw your skin off balance because for the first 2 weeks the skin trys to get accustomed to the new product – we’re talking about very small changes. However,  if you go bright red, itchy and sore on the first application, I don’t think you need telling twice to put the product down, step away and get yourself a cold compress!

Smashbox Primers

Primers cost between £7 to in excess of £30 and finding the right one for you can be expensive if not done properly, so here are a few tips for the various skin types. Mature skin suits gel primers more than liquid, it’s smoother and applies better to this type of skin. Dry skin (with exfoliating and moisturising depending on how dry you are) would also benefit with gel primers because dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane) is a silicon based polymer found in gel primers that does wonders for smoothing the skin and makes gel primers a little more gentle on the skin as opposed to liquid ones. For areas that have a rougher skin texture, gel primers could help a smoother application of foundation with less irritation. Smashbox do a wide range of primers aimed at covering most skin types.

GOSH Gel Primer

Dimethicone can also be found in other non-primer products such as anti-chaffing gels. The Monistat anti-chaffing gel was creating waves on the primer scene a couple of years ago and, when compared to gel primers like the ones from Smashbox, was a third of the cost! Whether Monistat was a surprising multi-purpose cosmetic or a placebo due to price I shall leave up to you to decide.

Monistat Anti-Chaffing Gel

Oily and acne prone skin would better suit liquid and oil free based primers. Oil free primers in liquid form settle better on oily skin rather than gel primers which can sometimes add to the shine and make-up feels like it’s sliding off. I would advise those with acne prone and sensitive skins to also go for natural, perfume-free and oil-free primers so you don’t irritate the skin. NYX HD liquid primer is a US brand similar to GOSH and MAC and available to purchase online in the UK.

NYX HD Liquid Primer

As for myself, I fall into the combination dry/oily skin type. I do use a primer when I am going out to special occasions and/or gigs but sometimes I do not use a primer on days when I’m short of time and obviously I wouldn’t use a primer on days when I do not wear make-up. If the weather is really hot or wet, I will always wear a primer as it works wonderfully to make my foundation last longer and it helps make my skin look flawless.

On the whole primers are a great investment if you love to have that flawless look everyday or even just on special occasions. Primers – like all other make-up - are not gender specific. Both men and women can use them.

What are your opinions on primers? Do you wear them daily? Do you think they are a go-to beauty product? I’d love to hear about your experiences – good or bad!

Lanc̫me РTeint Idole Ultra 24H

The new Lancôme foundation with an exceptional longwear formula featuring a unique heart-shaped flexible polymer for comfort.

18 shades to suit all skin tones from very pale to very dark

When it comes to foundation, women are constantly on the look out for the perfect formula. Lancôme is considered one of the world leading experts in foundation thanks to strong expertise in skin care and its constant innovation in colour technology. Since the launch of Teint Idole Hydra Compact in 1999, Lancôme Research has continued to draw from the very best of its scientific advances to push the frontiers of long-wear and comfort ever further and has now launched Teint Idole Ultra 24H.

Flawless yet comfortable from dawn till dusk, matte without looking powdery, high-coverage yet natural, Teint Idole Ultra 24H takes on every daily challenge.

After over 8 years of research, Lancôme introduce their new EternalSoft technology, for 24 hours of impeccable long-wear and 24 hours of tangible comfort. This patented technology gives rise to the one and only luxury foundation to offer 24-hour long-wear and comfort.

To date, the traditional polymers widely used in cosmetics have served to improve foundation long-wear, yet many have a negative impact on comfort. To ensure make-up stays true yet also light, Lancôme is incorporating a new type of polymer. At the heart of the new Teint Idole Ultra 24H formula is EternalSoft which is made up of a two-fold silicone and hydrocarbon structure. Composed of high-tech polymers, this specific structure offers enduring long-wear, and a make-up finish that leaves the skin feeling comfortable.

Lancôme has selected the most cutting-edge and high-efficacy active ingredients to support the effects of EternalSoft:

  • From 350 traditional ingredients, Lancôme picked Silica and Perlite for their absorbent properties and which are the basis of a velvety-matte complexion.
  • The formula’s colour is enriched with pigments whose coating demonstrates close affinity with skin, promoting perfect colour hold.
  • For the first time, the new polymer introduces non-volatile oils to the Teint Idole Ultra range, for even more comfort.


Tested by over 400 women in France and the United States, Teint Idole Ultra 24H has enjoyed unprecedented results. Never before has a long-wear foundation received such accolade.

98% feel the texture was comfortable all day long
95% find their complexion stayed perfect all day long
94% see a perfect matte finish
93% did not need to touch-up
Test carried out in France on 120 women.

Proven results, even after 24 hours:
Skin feels comfortable: 100% satisfaction
Complexion is perfect: 89% satisfaction
Stays flawless: 89% satisfaction
Tests carried out in USA on 109 women.

Teint Idole Ultra 24H, for a  flawless star complexion. Skin looks perfectly natural and feels fabulously comfortable for up to 24 hours.