Make-up foundation can be your best friend and your worst enemy, if not used correctly. We’ve all seen the photos of women, and Mitt Romney, with horrible make-up jobs. Most recently a photo of Tempestt Bledsoe hit the internet, and lets just say, her makeup was quite chalky and white looking. Speculation ranged from Bledsoe dealing with vitiligo, or just make-up gone bad. As a viewer of her new show, Guys With Kids, and having seen her make the press rounds recently, I think it’s just a bad case of makeup and lighting.

I remember when I first started wearing makeup, it was definitely a trial and error. I remember leaving the house with a lighter face and looking a hot mess. Where I always messed up involved me thinking my mother’s lighter shade, could be used on my skin. Not at all. Even till this day, I still have issues finding a foundation that matches my skin tone and undertones exactly. I recently spoke with Meagan Sheá, one of the top makeup professionals in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. Her celebrity clientele includes music and television/film stars such as enigmatic hip hop artist Talib Kweli, Amel Larrieux and Res. “A woman should always match her foundation on her jaw line and double-check it in the direct sunlight. It can be tricky for women of color, as we oftentimes have a few different tones to our complexion. Stripe the shade (or several shades) of foundation on the lower portion of your jaw between your ear and chin. As a rule of thumb – match your makeup to your neck! You don’t want your face to be lighter than the rest of your body, that’s not hot in these streets,” Sheá recommended. This seems to be where a lot of women go wrong, and end up with a shade or two lighter or darker than their complexion.

Is there a foundation that’s better than the other? Among the options include liquid foundation and powder foundation. According to another makeup artist based out of the D.C area, Diti Bhasin, it all depends on your skin type. “If you’re an oilier skin type a powder might be better for you. You’re not adding anymore moisture to the skin, and you can take the powder with you to touch up later in case of shine. That being said, a lot of these mineral powders have jojoba oil in them, be mindful of the ingredients in your powder, and aware of the claims it’s making. If you’re a drier skin type a liquid will probably suit you better. It can give you the added moisture your skin needs, and will be less likely to pick up on any texture your skin might have.”

One of the biggest makeup mistakes according to Sheá is not adding a translucent powder to your makeup, “Not setting your makeup with a translucent powder is a major makeup faux pas. If you’re wearing a liquid or creme foundation — you need to dust a light layer of powder over your makeup. Unless your creme or liquid makeup dries down to a powder on its own, you’ll need to set it with powder to ensure it doesn’t slide off of your face by the end of the day. Your skin produces oils/sebum naturally — once that happens it joins forces with your makeup and tends to cause you to look extremely oily. The pigments in the makeup begin to breakdown and move on your face due to the natural oils in the skin. It may seem like an extra step, but it’s very necessary. What’s the point in applying makeup if you’re just going to let it slide off?”

To avoid foundation disasters, it’s probably best to let the professionals help you. Take the time out to stop by your favorite makeup counter and let one of the artists figure out the best color for you, as well as other products that can be beneficial. No one wants to get caught out there looking 2 shades to light or dark.

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