Years ago, foundation was used specifically to alter the color of the skin, re: ‘rosy glow’. But the trend of the last few years has taken us from what intentionally changed the wearer’s natural coloring to products that match the tones perfectly

Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, they notice you

– Coco Chanel

When you walk into a room people must notice you and not your makeup. If they notice your makeup, your makeup is “shabby”. If however they notice you, your makeup is impeccable.

Makeup should be used to draw attention to your best features and away from your less flattering ones. When doing a painting, the artist first primes the canvas with a base color. This primer must have sufficient coverage to conceal the blemishes in the material and provide a smooth surface on which to work. It has to be a neutral color to bring out the colors the artist intends to use. This neutral primer used is white.

primer
primer

A makeup artist, as the name suggests is an artist. The “primer” used is foundation. When doing a makeover, you cannot of course use white, since it will result in a mask-like appearance. You must find a “primer” that matches your natural skin tone.

This “primer” must have good coverage and be neutral enough to allow your eye, cheek and lip makeup to highlight your natural beauty. The greatest challenge facing any makeup artist or makeup wearer is finding the right foundation!

The problem is, from the inception, foundations were not invented to perfectly match our natural skin tones. They were first developed for the movie industry by early cosmetics pioneers such as Max Factor.

Types-of-makeup-foundation
Types of makeup foundation

These were the days when “white light” was used, causing actors and actresses to look “washed out”. To put color on their faces, cosmetic manufacturers developed foundations with a red base. This era of “pink” foundations dominated the cosmetic market during this period and still forms the basis of many brands today. As the movie industry developed, natural light was introduced and there was no longer the need for “red” foundations. Manufacturers then began reducing the amount of red used in their formulations to better match various skin tones.

Foundations, for many years however, remained far too red. Later, manufacturers began adding more yellow to their foundations to alter the pink look. The “added yellow” however, gave foundations an unattractive orange look.

During this time, cosmetics manufacturers began recognizing that there was an emerging market for African American cosmetics. They took their existing “red” formulas, darkened them, and foundations for women of color were invented. They however failed to take into account that darker women have yellow undertones and needed to wear foundations with a yellow base.

In his book “Making Faces”, renowned makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin,states: “Years ago, foundation was used specifically to alter the color of the skin, re: ‘rosy glow’. But the trend of the last few years has taken us from what intentionally changed the wearer’s natural coloring to products that match the tones perfectly”. He later adds: “Still, if you choose to wear foundation, there are two important things to consider when selecting a product, the ‘look’ you want to achieve and that it matches your skin”.

At fashion online, we believe that a foundation should provide sufficient coverage to suit the individual’s need and yet remain natural-looking. Your foundation should perfectly match your natural skin color so you do not end up with a “ring” around your face.

From our experience, most Caucasian, African and all Asian and Latin women have yellow-based skin. Yet, most foundations have red or orange tones. When women with natural yellow undertones wear foundation with a pink or orange base, they often end up with an unnatural looking hue. Women with darker skin tones often turn ashy. Darker African women often look at least one shade darker than their natural skin color.

Excerpts from the book Make up secrets revealed by Kamla Regrello