Well, every series has to start somewhere… and where better to start than with a base product? After all, in a recession, the sales of foundation (not lipstick, this time!) go up about thirty percent. This post won’t go over different types or anything like that – I’m working on the assumption that you’ll be wearing liquid, creme, gel, or mineral foundation, simply because you can’t mix or get samples of pressed powders!
When foundation isn’t worth the splurge
If you don’t wear foundation every day, or you can find your match in the drugstore aisles, there is no reason you should be spending a small fortune on foundation!
However – if you have an extreme skin condition, a higher-end foundation may be a better choice. I’m not talking “oh my skin gets oily…sometimes”, but if you have dry skin that flakes like mad despite your skincare regime, oily skin that can’t be stopped with blotting tissue and setting powder, or chronic acne, you need to be more selective about what you’re putting on it. (And if you do have bad acne, consider either not wearing foundation, or choosing something for acne-prone skin – I hear there are some great ones with salicylic acid!)
When foundation is worth the splurge
There are some of us who wear foundation every day – I’m not one of them. But that’s the first requirement for justifying a foundation that’ll ring up over $30! If you’re not going to wear it every day, don’t break the bank for it. After all, it’ll be expired within a few years anyways.
If you’re still in this section, it means you fit the aformentioned requirement. But what else? Well, some of us lucky souls (again… I’m not one of them) can find a perfect match in the drugstore. So go out, and get swatching! I prefer doing this in wealthier communities – I don’t intend to sound prejudiced or rude, but they tend to have more testers, be cleaner, and be less busy. If you can find your perfect shade, buy it!
But if not, well, you fit the requirement for spending a bit more on your foundation. It up a makeup store or the department store counters, where the sales associate should be able to help match you to your correct shade – and make sure you wear it around for the day (and into the sunlight) before buying! If you find your skintone is super-hard to match, makeup lines like Prescriptives and Three Custom Color can blend a shade for you.
The pros and cons of expensive foundation…other than the price
Stores like MAC, Sephora, and most makeup counters have more lenient exchange policies than drugstores. So, if after using it for a week or two, you realize the foundation is all wrong for you, you can bring it back and try something else. On top of this, you get to try the shade on before you buy it, and in most cases, get a sample to try it out for a few days before picking it up. If you do wait a few days, though, remember to go back to the same sales associate that helped you before, if at all possible! As long as s/he was helpful – it’ll help out their sales goals, or they’ll get commision for it!
However, keep in mind that expensive does not mean “good”. Even if the foundation was $60, that doesn’t guarentee that it won’t break you out.
Other things to consider
If you just need foundation for a special event, go get a sample! But try not to take up too much of the sales associate’s time if you know you’re not going to buy anything. It’s only polite! At the same time, though, don’t be shy if you need help – that is what they’re there for.
It’s easiest for me to get samples at Sephora, followed by MAC and Estee Lauder (the last because they often send out vouchers for a free 10-day sample to their mailing lists). It can’t hurt to try, though! The only thing I can guarentee you won’t get a sample of? Custom blended foundation!
If your skin varies less than one tone during the year, and your regular foundation is a high-end one, try mixing some drugstore foundation in there during the summer. Why does this make sense? Well, you’ll probably be mixing in a 1:2 ratio of drugstore:normal, if not less. This means that a) you don’t have to be as picky with the formula and shade, and b) you probably won’t use it up before it goes bad.
Lastly – there’s always the option of swapping for foundation or buying it online! Find out what you’re looking for in-store and see if you can’t get a gently used (or even new) one in an online community like mac_cosmetics, MUA, or macsaleswap. As you may have gathered from the names, it’ll be a lot easier to track down your foundation if it’s MAC, but there are a ton of other foundations out there, too!
Foundations to splurge on
Well, I can’t give you any names, simply because I don’t wear foundation! Even if I did – skin is such an individual thing, I couldn’t guarantee they’d work for you. But worry not! I’ll definitely have products to recommend splurging on next time :P