Makeup Tips: The Benefits And Ingredients Of A Cream Foundation

Learn about the benefits of using cream foundation as well as the ingredients, the benefits, the types available and how to apply it to create a natural look.

If the mere thought of cream foundation dredges up images of painted ladies of the Wild West, think again. The cream foundation available today shares little more than a name with the original cream foundation. Modern makeup emerged in the early 20th century when L'Oreal came on the scene in 1909, followed by Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, and Helena Rubenstein in the 1910s. Latecomers Revlon and Estee Lauder hit the market just before and after World War II, respectively. Massive marketing campaigns convinced women everywhere that makeup was no longer the exclusive hallmark of the painted ladies, but that it was equally suited for the more genteel members of the female gender.

Makeup base, also known as foundation, is available in a dizzying array of formulations: liquid, stick, cream, mousse, mineral-based powder, concealer foundation and aerosol spray""the consumer version of air-spray makeup.

Types of Cream Foundation

Cream foundation comes in several forms: the original cream, a lighter mousse version, a heavier stick version, and a "pancake" version, a powder that turns creamy after spraying it with water. There's also a relatively new hybrid called cream to powder foundation (also called dual-finish foundation), which looks like a powder and applies like a cream if you wet it, and then dries to a powder finish.

Typical Ingredients in Cream Foundations

Ingredients in cream foundation and the quality of the ingredients vary widely. All cream foundations, at a bare minimum, contain:

* Emollient base, containing oil and little or no water

* Pigment""natural or synthetic

* Preservatives""natural or synthetic

Advanced formulations may contain any of the following additional ingredients:

* Light diffusing particles

* Sunscreen

* Fragrance""essential oils or perfume

* Vitamins and minerals

* Collagen, elastin or other ingredients with similar restorative properties

Who Should Use a Cream Foundation?

Cream foundations are ideally suited for dry to extra dry skin, since most are oil-based formulations. When you notice the first flakes of age-related or seasonal dryness, consider switching to a mousse-type cream foundation in addition to a heavier moisturizer. If your skin is extra dry, consider a heavier cream foundation. Stick foundation is the ideal foundation for touch-ups during the day and travels well in a purse overflowing with everyday necessities. Extra dry skin may not require a dusting of powder, but skin that is less dry may require a more frequent dusting of powder to minimize shine.

Concealer foundation camouflages major imperfections such as rosacea, age spots and sun spots. Pancake foundation, except the new cream-to-powder foundation, is usually reserved for theatrical use.

Cream Foundation Benefits at a Glance

Using a cream foundation provides many benefits for dry skin, among them:

* Adds an extra barrier between the skin and the elements

* Locks moisture into the skin

* Minimizes pores

* Fills in fine lines

* Adds a dewy glow to the skin

* Provides a greater level of coverage than liquid foundation

* Provides long-lasting coverage, usually eight or more hours

Applying Cream Foundation

The goal of any makeup, including foundation, is to enhance or play up the assets, while disguising or camouflaging the weaknesses""all in an effort to recreate the allure of youth. Foundation, correctly selected and applied, can hide imperfections, fill tiny lines, and add a youthful dew to the face and neck. Incorrectly applied, it can cake, emphasize and exaggerate fine lines, and draw attention to imperfections.

Makeup artists agree that after preparing the face by proper cleansing and moisturizing, foundation application is the most important step in creating your look. They liken foundation application to preparing a canvas to accept paint. The most important considerations are selecting a formulation suitable for your skin type and a foundation color that matches your skin.

To match the cream foundation to your skin color, visit the beauty counter at a local department store and try several colors. Apply the foundation to your face, not to your hand. The colors on your face and hands may vary by at least several shades. Try several brands and be sure to assess the look and feel along with the color match. You might want to purchase two different colors and blend them at home when you apply them for a more natural look.

To apply cream foundation properly, cleanse and moisturize your face and neck, and apply foundation soon after applying moisturizer. A little cream foundation goes a long way. It's heavier and more opaque than liquid foundation, so you'll want to apply it with a light touch, adding more as necessary. Applying cream foundation with a damp makeup sponge allows you the most control. Dot the foundation onto your face, and blend with the sponge. Blend well at the jaw line to avoid a line of demarcation. If you want a dewy finish, skip the powder. Add a light dusting of powder for a matte finish.

Cream blush works best with cream foundation. If you apply cream foundation to your eyelids, you'll want to stick to cream eye shadow. Powder applied over cream foundation tends to flake and collect in the fine lines and creases.

Since foundation plays such an important role in your overall look, it is the last place where you'll want to economize. Get the best foundation that you can buy for your money. It's called foundation for a reason""it's the base upon which you build your entire look.

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