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Beauty Tips

Four New Foundations and Top Tips

image by Gianmaria

I feel so naked without foundation. I love the way it gives the illusion of a perfectly even complexion as it gets rid of redness and hides imperfections. It also provides a lovely canvas that makes the rest of my makeup look so much better. Today I have some application tips to help foundation last and look great, and some brilliant, new foundations to share from Benefit, Bobbi Brown, Elizabeth Arden, and Tarte. Each works exceptionally well.

Top Tips

The Right Shade

  • When choosing a shade, make sure to look at it under natural light to see if it really matches. If I’m at a cosmetics counter with no natural light, I go to the front door or outside. Always test shades on your jawline - not on your wrist or hands, which are not the same skin tone.
  • As weather gets warmer and you’re getting more sun, you will probably need to pick a shade that’s a little darker than what you used in fall and winter.

Proper Prep

  • Apply a primer to help foundation go on more smoothly and last longer (as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Global Goddess Upgrade Complexion Primer, because it’s incredibly silky and contains natural, light diffusers to make skin look more luminous).

The Right Tools

  • I prefer to apply liquid foundation with a foundation brush (Bobbi Brown has an excellent one) to get smooth, even coverage that looks natural. If I’m in a rush, I just use my fingers.
  • For more sheer coverage, apply liquid foundation with a slightly damp sponge.
  • With powder foundation, I’ve found that a kabuki brush works very well (I really like Eco Tools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki, because it’s eco-friendly, very soft, and travels well).


  • Apply foundation to the center of the face and blend outward. There’s usually no need to apply foundation directly on the outer edges of the face. That can reveal tell-tale lines and look fake. To make foundation look natural, blending well is key.

A Beautiful Finish

  • To reduce shine and make foundation last longer, apply a loose powder with a large, fluffy powder brush (I’ve been using a Trish McEvoy powder brush for more than a decade and love it as much as the first day I got it. It’s wonderfully fluffy, soft, and applies powder beautifully).
  • Tap off excess powder before applying. Apply with a light touch for the most natural look. Too much powder makes foundation look cakey and feel heavy.

Giving It the Boot

  • The general rule of thumb is to throw out foundation a year after opening, or if the smell, consistency, or color change. At that point, it could be a lovely brew of bacteria that makes you break out. To limit bacteria spreading into foundation, keep your fingertips out of it. Instead pour liquid foundation onto the back of your hand and then apply. With cream or powder foundation, use a clean brush or sponge to pick up the product.

New and Delightful

I’ve tried all of these foundations and found that they really live up to their claims. They all even out the complexion well, really look natural, provide sun protection, and have “buildable coverage” so you simply apply more to get more coverage without them feeling heavy or looking cakey.

Benefit “Hello Flawless!”

Benefit “Hello Flawless” is a powder foundation with SPF 15. It comes with a brush and sponge and is housed in a compact that easily fits in my purse. Use the brush for a sheer finish. To get more opaque coverage, apply more layers with the sponge. I found that this works well as a finishing powder on top of liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer to get even more coverage. It also works well as a spot concealer on blemishes - just dot it on with the sponge. Comes in six shades. $34.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation is a very lightweight, liquid foundation with SPF 15 that’s perfect for warmer weather and good for all skin types. It’s super easy to blend so it looks very natural. To get more coverage, just apply another layer. It smoothes on easily, lasts a long time, and gives a light boost of moisture. The light diffusers make a big difference and really help conceal imperfections. This makes my complexion very even with a subtle glow. I also like that it comes in a pump so it stays free of bacteria. Comes in 17 shades. $45.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Powder Foundation

I wrote about Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Powder Foundation recently, because it comes in such innovative packaging. It’s a really comfortable, mineral powder foundation without the mess. The compact travels well and has an easy-to-use grinder that delivers just the right amount of powder. It has SPF 20, light diffusers to brighten and soften imperfections, is non-drying, doesn’t cake or settle in fine lines, and gives a soft, natural finish. It contains lots of nice ingredients like squalene and aloe to soothe and moisturize, vitamins A, C, and E to condition and protect from the environmental ravages of the sun and pollution, sea water minerals to support skin equilibrium and strengthen skin, and titanium dioxide to provide natural sun protection. It’s fragrance- and talc-free. To see how to it works, check it out this page. Comes in nine shades. $37.50.

Tarte ReCreate Anti-Aging Foundation with Wrinkle Rewind (TM) Technology

Tarte ReCreate Anti-Aging Foundation with Wrinkle Rewind (TM) Technology is an eco-friendly, liquid foundation with SPF 15. It provides medium-to-full coverage, is good for all skin types, and basically doubles as a skin care product with excellent, natural ingredients, like goji berry and peat extracts. It uses what they call Wrinkle Rewind (TM) technology. Clinical results have shown that it begins to increase skin elasticity, firmness, and resiliency after two weeks, reduces fine lines and wrinkles after six weeks, and adds moisture within 15 minutes of application. It contains mineral pigments and reflects light to brighten and minimize the look of imperfections. It’s free of parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, oil, fragrance, synthetic dye, and talc. It provides natural, mineral, organic sun protection with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This one also comes in a pump to keep out bacteria. Comes in 12 shades. $37.

Do Tell

Are you a foundation fanatic? Do you always wear foundation, even to the gym and grocery store? Do you prefer light or lots of coverage? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals from companies like Benefit, beauty.com, and spalook.com.

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11 comments for “Four New Foundations and Top Tips”

  1. Great post Sonja! I have been meaning to get a sample of the new Bobbi Brown foundation, sounds nice.

    I am a big fan of MUFE which I use personally and in my work kit. Their HD and Face&Body formulars are fantastic, definitely give them a try :)

    Posted by WhatTheProsDo | March 25, 2009, 3:06 pm
  2. My go-to brand for foundation is Chanel. Every formula I’ve tried by them is just fantastic. Their color range is definitely lacking though.

    Posted by najeema | March 25, 2009, 3:09 pm
  3. Omg I couldn’t go without foundation! My skin is not exactly flawless these days ! I have been using Japanese foundation and it is better than anything I have found in Canada and I even bought the really cheap stuff. It gives great coverage and then I apply a powder on top. Thanks for this feature though at least I know I’m not the only one. Check out my coverage of Japan Fashion Week!

    Posted by anthea | March 25, 2009, 5:26 pm
  4. ❤ WhatTheProsDo, thank you! I’ve never heard of MUFE. Will definitely check it out. Thanks for yet another great tip!
    ❤ najeema, Chanel definitely is consistently good with their foundations. Didn’t realize that about the color range though. But I’m a pretty average skin tone. Have you tried Global Goddess? The makeup artist who started the line is Indian and specializes in shades for women who have more exotic skin tones.
    ❤ anthea, ah, a foundation sister! I honestly don’t know of anyone who doesn’t look better without a good foundation. What’s the name of the foundation you’ve been using? Thanks for letting me know about your Japan Fashion Week coverage. Looks like a fantastic time! I just love the Hideaki Sakaguchi collection – gorgeous!

    Posted by Sonja | March 25, 2009, 5:49 pm
  5. For a long time I used Avene Couvrance compact (like spackle but really good coverage that wasn’t obvious in any way). They recently came out with a tinted moisturizer version and I find it even better - much easier to apply evenly (even though I got good at using water to apply the compact foundation), perfect pale colour for my very pale skintone, cuts down on redness (esp. when you use the green stick on the red bits underneath) and I think it might even have SPF. It’s a terrific product, you can get it at the drug store and it costs about 25.00. Oh, and doesn’t lead to breakouts at all.

    Have you seen or tried it?

    Posted by K-Line | March 25, 2009, 7:02 pm
  6. Sonja, I am pretty sure they have MUFE in Sephora. In the UK I get it in PAM. (BTW its Makeup Forever!)

    Posted by What The Pros Do | March 26, 2009, 1:41 am
  7. ❤ K-Line, I’ve never used Avene makeup, just the skin care, which is quite nice. I got one of their moisturizers in a goodie bag at a Girls Night Out event. But I’ve never purchased their products so I didn’t know you could find them at drug stores. I’m not big on anything that seems like spackle so I rarely use cream foundations. I’m definitely loving tinted moisturizers these days. Just like you said, very easy to apply and looks wonderful.
    ❤ What The Pros Do, I’ve never heard Makeup Forever referred to as MUFE. That’s so funny. I have used their products but not for awhile. I used them when I lived in NYC years ago and was more dramatic with my makeup.

    Posted by Sonja | March 26, 2009, 12:21 pm
  8. I use concealer where I need it but most days I skip foundation (I skipped it last night when I went to the Vancouver Fashion Week opening gala, in fact!). I use Physicians Formula pressed mineral powder-very sheer.

    Posted by lisa | March 26, 2009, 4:08 pm
  9. [...] I recently wrote about new foundations and how I adore foundation. But there are many other kinds of makeup I use to improve my complexion’s appearance. From primer to tinted moisturizer to concealer to powder, I’ve tried and tested some fantastic additions to the world of perfecting makeup. Today I have a review of new goodies from Smashbox, Global Goddess, Trish McEvoy, Neutrogena, Bobbi Brown, and Jane Iredale. These all excel at making my skin look much better without making me look like I’m cheating with makeup. [...]

    Posted by The Latest, Greatest Face Perfecting Makeup | THE COVETED | March 27, 2009, 2:44 am
  10. This post (and the followup about other tools to make the skin look flawless) is timed so well for my current needs! I was just thinking about switching up my routine and trying out a new foundation. I am eager to use some of these suggestions and try out one of the products for myself!

    Posted by jesspgh | March 27, 2009, 6:24 pm
  11. ❤ Lisa, that’s amazing that you can skip foundation altogether. Your skin is gorgeous though so I’m not surprised!
    ❤ jesspgh, so glad you found the posts helpful! Let me know how it goes!

    Posted by Sonja | April 6, 2009, 9:11 pm

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