Jul 12, 2012|
As a beauty columnist, one of the things I am most frequently asked is whether I can recommend a good foundation. It’s funny. No matter how practiced we become at applying modish 1960s eyeliner, putting on lipstick without a mirror or plucking perfect brow arches on the bus (or is that last one just me?), picking a good base still seems to elude many. This is especially true in Hong Kong, where high humidity levels cause makeup to slide off within minutes of stepping outside. Also, our bright summer sunlight is horrifically unforgiving of heavy-handed application, tide marks (where you can easily see where makeup ends and face begins) and color that’s even slightly mismatched to your natural tone.
I actually keep several different types of foundation on hand. Each one has its strengths and is suitable for a specific occasion. So next time you’re running out of your usual brand and are thinking about a change, use this handy guide to find one to best suit your needs.
Hungover? Jet-lagged? Grab a tube of Laura Mercier “Radiance” foundation primer for a healthy daytime glow. OK, it’s not exactly a foundation, but the sheer liquid is lightly tinted and leaves your skin looking like you’ve had a full eight hours’ sleep. Combine with loose powder for a relaxed glow that’s suitable for day and evening events.
The bad bit: You have to have pretty decent skin to start with, else you won’t find it to be enough coverage.
$320 from various outlets, including Joyce Beauty, G/F, New World Tower, 18 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2869-5816.
Ever wonder why you sometimes find a party picture of yourself and your face looks like some kind of ghastly mask? It’s because a lot of foundations use light-reflecting particles to impart a radiant glow, but when these combine with a harsh camera flash, the result is a big, grinning pale white visage. Avoid this problem with Guerlian’s Lingerie de Peau, which for me personally is a little too much for daytime, but from happy hour onwards it really comes into its own. The formula blends fully into the skin rather than sitting on it, thanks to silk and linen fibers which help the foundation cling to your skin without sliding or caking. I forced myself to go out for drinks once while suffering from a horrific cold and put this on to make myself look less corpse-like—My drinking buddies actually complimented me on how healthy I looked. Go figure.
The bad bit: It smells “Guerlainny” (sweet and powdery). I don’t mind, but some people might find it off-putting.
$420 from Institut Guerlain, 7/F, 1 Duddell St., Central, 2869-1552.
I prefer a more translucent look, but many people want more oomph. For them, I would suggest Revlon’s Photoready Airbrush mousse foundations, which are weightless but efficiently erase a catalog of sins from one’s features. It comes in a dinky compressed air canister, and all you need is a tiny puff to cover your entire face. Despite the serious coverage, the whipped, air-filled formulation feels extremely light. It’s oil- and fragrance-free too, making it ideal for problem skin.
The bad bit: It only comes in three shades. Points lost for lack of diversity.
$169 from select Watsons outlets citywide.
This is the one I go back to time and time again. Chantecaille’s Future Skin foundation is made with a high percentage of pure water, making the liquidy gel formulation go on easily. Your skin looks refreshed and glowing and like you haven’t got any foundation on at all. Love, love, love.
The bad bit: The price. A small pot will set you back (gasp) $650. Best start saving your pennies.
$650 from various outlets, including Lane Crawford, 3/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Central, 2118-3388.
I’ve written about these before, but Elta MD UV Physical ($360 from Skin Central) is a great tinted daily sunblock, and BareMinerals powder foundation (around $200 from Harvey Nichols) gives an amazing glow and is perfect if you suffer with the humidity. I use both regularly and wholeheartedly recommend them.
Anyone else got a good foundation they swear by? Email (or tweet) me below and share your tips.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter @sarahefung