Acing that base is literally the foundation of great makeup. And it might not be a feat of engineering, your beauty routine deserves the very best of foundations. Below we share our favourite iconic makeup products in our Iconic Beauty Series, but first…
What is foundation and how does it work?
Foundation in powder, liquid and cream formulations are often the first layer applied onto skin in a makeup routine. It is generally used to unify skin tone and even out or hide discolouration. Some people prefer to apply a fuller foundation layer to conceal freckles, skin pigmentation, redness, blotchiness, age spots or fine veins. While others add serums to turn liquid and cream foundations into lighter, BB creams.
Foundations today come in as many skin tones as there are people, from light to dark, and cool to warm skin tones, with some including moisturiser and sunscreen within their composition - ideal for our Kiwi four-seasons-in-one-day!
Liquid or cream foundation can be applied with a dense sponge, a brush, or fingertips and blended for that flawless finish. Powders are applied using a soft, rounded powder brush.
A little bit of herstory...
Foundation application dates back to 200 BC when women lightened their skin using chalk or white lead. Roll on many centuries and the first commercially available foundation was Max Factor’s Pan-Cake, sold in cake form applied with a water-activated sponge.
Pan-Cake was created for film actresses to combat issues of Technicolor film, with many refusing to appear on screen prior to its invention. Due to popular demand (a.k.a. stolen from film sets!!) Max Factor’s cosmetic was created for sale to the public in February 1938 following the success of 1937 Technicolor film Vogues of 1938. By the 1940s, Max Factor’s patented water-repellent Pan-Cake was mainstream in every US women’s home.
Having created bespoke foundation for actresses Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball and Judy Garland, Max Factor’s cosmetics already had celebrity endorsement. Move over Instagram influencers!
By the mid-1930s, Elizabeth Arden was emerging as the next big thing in cosmetics. While Arden’s release of Pat-A-Kake sparked legal action by Max Factor that forced a name change to Pat-A-Crème, it never stopped the vivacious young woman from becoming a cosmetics brand leader. Which brings us to 2019...
8 Iconic Insta-worthy foundations
- Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup SPF10 is your worry-free, long-wearing foundation that will stay fresh and natural in heat and humidity! This medium coverage formula feels lightweight and comfortable and won’t change colour, smudge, or come off on your clothes. With its incredible 15-hour staying power, it’s no surprise it took out Best Foundation in the NZ Best in Beauty Awards 2019.
- Revlon ColorStay Full Cover Foundation is an iconic liquid foundation that provides a full coverage, light matte finish designed to last all day and all night. The lightweight tube makes it easy to take everywhere, although with 24-hour coverage, we’re not sure you’ll need to!
- Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Cushion Compact uses remarkable touch technology to simply tap the foundation cushion with fingertips and apply directly to skin, blending for even application. The results are an instant hydration boost, luminous skin and flawless finish. Now that’s tap and go!
- Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF15 Foundation liquid foundation comes in a huge array of skin tones - we stock 40 - and with SP15 is designed for all-year wear coverage. This clever foundation lessens age spot visibility while evening skin tone.
- Lancôme Miracle Cushion Compact Foundation is another cushion Fresh Touch Puff compact with liquid foundation in a variety of colours. The cushion application ensures no wastage, and the small compact makes it an ideal handbag companion.
- Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE Anti-Aging Foundation SPF 30 is a liquid foundation that comes with a pump applicator to ensure quality and integrity of the product. It comes in a variety of shades to suit many skin tones, and with SPF30, it’s ideal for all-year wear in New Zealand. The formulation includes Elizabeth Arden’s breakthrough PREVAGE anti-aging technology that uses Idebenone1, the world’s most powerful antioxidant excellent in slowing visible signs of ageing. This magical foundation smoothes and firms the skin so you exude your natural radiance at every age.
- Thin Lizzy Flawless Complexion Liquid Foundation - Diva liquid foundation in another carry-everywhere tube provides a cream-to-powder finish with microspheres that blur our skin secrets while minimising pore size for a luxurious velvety finish.
Primer is actually where you start
OK, so let’s take a step back. To create your most radiant, longest-lasting, smoothest foundation finish, ideally start with primer before foundation. This word, exported from the painting industry, just as it does with paint, primer primes and protects your skin to create better wear of your foundation, concealer and powder, while being nourishing and preventing moisture loss. Primers are now must-have staples to any makeup bag.
Primer is a hybrid product that sits between moisturiser and foundation that also evens out skin tone more than foundation can alone. Primer can also enhance the foundation qualities bringing even more brightness and luminosity to the skin as well as having the healing properties of antioxidants and peptides to keep skin youthful and fresh. If you want that flawless finish, start with primer!
Our 4 Primers for a flawless finish
- Lancôme Base Pro Perfecting Make Up Primer is a favourite of makeup artists worldwide thanks to it creating an ultra-soft, translucent base to smooth skin and boost the staying power of makeup. It’s your secret to perfect complexion!
- Clarins SOS Primer is the ideal primer to create a radiant glow thanks to 00 universal light using Clarin’s exclusive High Lumintech Complex. This has superpowers that blur skin irregularities to create an impeccable makeup finish. This potent, lightweight primer hydrates skin for 24-hours and protects against environmental stressors like pollution and air conditioning.
- Benefit The POREfessional Pore Primers perfect for minimising the appearance of pores as well as fine lines resulting in smooth, even skin. Packed with the healing powers of vitamin E, this primer has the added boost of protecting against free radical damage.
- Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer provides maximum hydration in a silky lightweight primer to suit all skin types. Forget Facetune, this primer makes skin look retouched thanks to its triple-blurring complex with light-diffusing technology. Time-release skin balance technology maintains moisture while preventing shine.
Concealer: your magic wand for imperfections.
Concealer does exactly what its name promises: conceals and colour corrects dark circles, age spots, birthmarks, enlarged pores and skin blemishes. Each brand is different, but concealer can be applied before or after foundation depending on thickness and desired outcome. Some makeup artists swear by the “before” method, others “after”.
Concealers come in a variety of colours that specifically address each skin concern thanks to heavy duty pigments not found in foundations.
4 Heavy duty concealers for skin perfection
- Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer with its high concentrated formula instantly erases dark circles, hides puffy eyes and fine lines to turn back the clock to reveal your radiant skin.
- Thin Lizzy Concealer is a long-lasting water and smudge-resistant formula packed with the powerful benefits of ginger extract which makes it ideal for acne prone or sensitive skin. Perfect under foundation or as a last minute fix-up after application. It’s compact size makes it the ideal carry-everywhere concealer!
- Clinique Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer Camouflage + 24-Hour Wear instantly and easily blends into skin to flawlessly conceal imperfections. Its transfer-resistant formula stays put for 24 life-proof hours, so even through sweat or humidity you’re covered.
- Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Flawless Wear Concealer comes in every true colour skin tone create a flawless finish. It’s never-drying formula last for 15-hours after application and never flakes or creases. This concealer is designed for buildable coverage and creates a natural matte finish able to resist humidity.
- Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer is all you could ask for in a concealer, covering up a night out’s under-eye dark circles, blemishes, age spots and skin discolouration. This clever matte finish cream concealer can be used for full coverage.
Powder is used as a setting and finishing product to set makeup for a shine-free matte finish and long lasting makeup application while evening out skin tone. It’s a must-have product for people prone to oily or shiny skin, and of course to create the best selfie!
Powder comes as both pressed powder and loose powder products applied with the product’s included soft, cushioned-cloth applicator, or wide, rounded brush. People with dry skin should try powder first as it can exacerbate the appearance of dry or flaky skin. Some people prefer to skip foundation altogether and instead apply pressed powder.
3 iconic powder finishes
- Revlon Colorstay Pressed Powder minimises shine to create a fresh, flawless finish that wears for up to 16 hours over makeup. Never looking dry or cakey, this versatile powder can be smoothed over makeup, concealer or bare skin.
- Estee Lauder Perfecting Pressed Powder is a silky, feather-light powder that sets and perfects. Instantly diffuse the look of fine lines, imperfections and reduce shine for a matte-not-flat, photo friendly finish. This is another multi-tasking powder that works alone or over your foundation.
- Dior Dioskin Forever & Ever Control Loose Powder is a flawless fixing powder creating a matte finish with long-lasting results that comes in multiple universal shades. Skin is instantly smoothes thanks to Activ-Mat mattifying powders that absorb excess sebum and neutralise shine.
- Benefit Hoola Powder Bronzer is the award-winning bronzing powder that will give you a healthy, natural looking ‘tan’ year-round. Dust over your chin, cheeks and forehead and marvel at it’s pure matte colour - no sparkle or shine to be seen here!
- Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Bronzing Powder is your packed-full-powder. It utilises skin-softening silica to blur lines and imperfections, light-reflective mica to add luminosity, aloe vera and chamomile to moisturise, calm and soothe, and pearl pigments to add a subtle shimmer.
- Nude By Nature Natural Mineral Cover Foundation SP15 is ideal for people who want to skip the foundation step but want a full coverage, satin radiant finish with the benefit of sun protection. This natural powder includes jojoba esters to nourish and soften skin, and kaolin clay to absorb excess oil and extend makeup wear.