Choosing a foundation has always been a big hassle for me. First I have to make sure it matches my skin tone. Next, I have an even bigger task, of making sure it won’t react badly with my sensitive acne, prone skin. Over the years I realised that the advice out there regarding foundations for acne prone skin, was not really practical. If you have acne, I am sure you understand what I mean.
There is a lot of mixed advice about using makeup or more important foundation when you have acne. Some say it is okay. Others forbid you saying that makeup will make acne worse. To know which one is actually true is not that hard. Obviously, when you have severe cystic acne you should avoid foundation completely, no matter how great the temptation to slather your face with it. It’s not just the foundation itself that will make it worse. It is the act of applying and taking it off. Think about it. If you have a cut on your arm, do you think rubbing it and applying body lotion on it will help? Absolutely not. The same applies to your face.
My thoughts on using foundation when you have acne – If it makes you feel confident go for it. However, don’t do it at the expense of your skin. This means no using foundation –
- if you have severe cystic acne
- that is outdated
- of an unknown brand
- if your face is irritated
Decide What You Need
Before you actually go shopping for a foundation decide what you need.
Do you want something for daily wear or a special occasion?
Daily wear calls for a light foundation while special occasions might need a heavier coverage one. Depending on that you can decide what coverage you want. Daily wear could be made simpler with a tinted moisturiser. Tinted moisturiser saves time as you do not need to use 2 products. Add in SPF and you can have a 3 in 1 product. Save time with one.
Is the special occasion a one-off thing or do you have an active social life?
Buying an expensive foundation for a one-off occasion does not make sense unless you use it often. Most foundations can be layered to provide more coverage. Think about whether it makes sense to spend money on a product you’ll wear only once. If you think it does, by all means, buy it.
Is your skin oily or dry?
Some foundations give you a matte finish which is great if your skin is normally oily and shiny. If you have dry skin, you’re going to need something that gives your skin a dewy finish. Also if your skin is oily, the foundation does tend to darken as time goes by
Points To Consider
- There are a lot of foundations meant especially for acne prone or oily skins. These contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. They work by drying out your skin, which proves counter-intuitive. Your skin compensates by producing even more oil. So avoid foundations that are meant for acne prone skin. You’ll be doing your skin a big favour.
- Look for non-comedogenic makeup.
- Avoid makeup high in alcohol content like isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol. Alcohol also dries out your skin and guess what your skin does? Yes, makes more oil to compensate.
- Liquid foundation gives better coverage and is best for covering up acne scars. Besides liquid goes on your skin much easier than either cream or powder.
- If you have oily skin skip the foundation with shimmer, luminisers or light reflecting properties. These work well for dry skin. Also, avoid products that promise a dewy finish. Instead, look for a matte finish.
- If you have dry skin do the reverse of the last point. Look for a dewy finish and avoid a matte finish.
- Oily skins benefit from products that promise longer wear time. So look for words like long-lasting or 6-12 hour coverage.
- Some foundations may react with the sebum on your face and change colour.
Picking the Right Shade is Key
Ever seen someone with a weird makeup look. You know what I mean. This is not a heavily made up person but someone whose makeup makes them look strange. Guess what crucial mistake this person has made? They’ve not spent the time choosing the right colour foundation. If you choose the wrong shade, it will always look strange on your skin tone. Don’t for one second be fooled into thinking that your skin will look fine, just in a different tone.
Always shop for a foundation at a place where you can try them out. A big departmental store where they have a tester for every shade is ideal.
Choose 5 foundations that are a close match to your skin colour. If there is a shade range, pick the shade you think matches your skin tone the best. Then pick 2 shades above and 2 shades below.
No trying the shades on your wrist or hand. They all need to be tried directly on your face. In sequence apply a dot and blend it in. Keep them separate so you know which one blends in well with your skin. Look at the picture below for reference.
You can clearly see that foundation HDF02 matches the skin tone of the person the best. Wait for an hour after application to see which shade wears well. I normally go home and come back the next day to get the one I want.
Please do not try to buy a lighter or darker shade in order to look fairer or tanned. You won’t get the look you want and rather you’ll end up looking just plain weird. We don’t want that now do we?
How to Apply Foundation
A lot of people suggest applying foundation with a brush or sponge. I think clean fingers are better than either of the 2.
Wash your face as normal. You do not need to use soap. Just splash water to refresh your face. Pat dry. Now run an ice cube all over your face. Apply aloe vera gel or rose water. Wait for a minute to let it sink in and apply a moisturiser.
Pour a small amount of foundation in the centre of your palm. Always start with less. With clean fingers starting with your forehead, apply little dots all over your face. Using your fingers only blend in. If there are any areas with acne, do not rub them.
Next, take a little foundation on your ring finger and cover up any areas with acne very gently. You’ll want a dabbing action.
Depending on whether you want more coverage you can either apply another light coat of foundation or proceed to do up the rest of your face. Remember less is always better.
Taking Off the Makeup
As I said before, it’s not just the makeup that causes irritation. More than that it is the act of applying and taking off the makeup that irritates your acne and your skin. So remember to be really gentle. Use oil or cream based cleanser. Do not make the mistake of using cotton wool to apply the oil or cream.
First splash warm water on your face. Now use your fingers to gently apply the oil or cream all over your face. Using your fingers work the oil or cream into your skin so that it dislodges the makeup. You can now use a soft face cloth or cotton wool to remove the oil. Repeat the process till every last bit of makeup has been removed and the cotton comes away clean.
You can finish by using a small amount of gentle face wash to make sure that your face is clean. Immediately apply aloe vera gel and your normal moisturiser.
In my products page, I have listed some foundations which are great for acne prone skin. Right now there are only 3 products for foundation listed but rest assured, I will be updating this page as I find more products that are good. So please do bear with me.