Oh, the trials and tribulation…

For the past few weeks I’ve been ordering samples and foundations from as many different places in as many different light shades as I could.

I was never one to use mineral foundation.  My skin was always too dry, it looked settled… it just wasn’t working for me.  I thought it just wasn’t for me.  Then I totally changed my skincare routine and on top of getting amazing soft and bright skin, suddenly mineral foundations worked!  I’ve been trying for a while to get away from big name/counter foundations, hoping to move to an indie and vegan alternative.

I know that I’m going to be the lightest shade of whatever the company makes.  I also know I’d prefer buildable coverage, my skin over all is very clear and even.  But everyone and their brother makes foundations.

My cousins all like Aromaleigh’s Glissade, which I have in Porcelain.  I use it occasionally over my liquid foundation when I want more coverage, but stand alone it’s a bit too ‘pink’.

After going through sample after sample I discovered that I preferred Meow’s foundations the best.  They have three formula’s and I liked all three of them, however the lightest, Purrfect Puss seemed to work best.  Although I have reservations about the company because of previous experience and the fact they recently named an eyeshadow ‘MILF’, I’m determined to find my perfect shade.

After my first batch of samples I thought for sure I was an Inquisitive Mau.  I went so far as to purchase three of the Munchkins, one in each formula.  I wore them for a while, but today I wore my hair UP, like I am more likely to do during the summer and realized that it does NOT match my neck.  Overall I prefer my face to match my neck, which actually means it matches my body, rather then my foundation to match my face.  The Mau looks great, but outside in full light with my hair pulled back, my face looks too bland and pink.

I’m back to the drawing board, this time I ordered Korat, which is a golden beige, which I’m hoping will work better for me.

So tell me how YOU match your foundation.

  1. Do you match your face or your neck/body.
  2. What do you prefer, liquid or mineral.
  3. What sort of coverage do you like?
  4. Do you use a primer, if so, what kind?
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32 Responses to “Oh, the trials and tribulation…”

  1. I always try to match my neck. I have golden yellow undertones, but there’s quite a bit of redness on my cheeks and nose. I’d never use a pink toned foundation since it would look horrible compared to the rest of my body, so I use a foundation shade that matches my neck and I also wear a greenish color corrector under my mineral foundation to tone down the redness.

    When my skin is dry, I prefer liquid. When it’s not, I prefer mineral. I don’t really have a rule here, sometimes I feel like wearing liquid foundation and sometimes mineral for no particular reason.

    I prefer buildable coverage. My skin is not perfect so sheer coverage is not my thing, but full coverage foundations tend to give me that cakey look and that’s not pretty. I use Meow Equilibrium Balancing Powder as primer, I would like to mix my own using TKB’s ingredients, but the minimum order there is too much for me.

    Btw, my Meow match is Frisky Abyssinian 🙂 First I thought it would be Frisky Korat, but it was a tiny bit grey on me.

  2. I tend to match my neck, which means that my foundation seems too light until I put it on my face, when it blends perfectly with my skin color.Usually, however, it’s pretty easy for me to find a match, though, since my skin tone is almost a perfect light neutral for most brands.

    I used to prefer liquid, and said I could never imagine using powder, but once I discovered Meow’s foundations, it was all over, and I’m a mineral convert. I don’t have the best skincare routine, so I still have minor blemishes, as well as quite visible pores (which I inherited, unfortunately, and don’t go away) so I tend to prefer medium to heavy coverage. With Meow’s foundations, I prefer the heaviest coverage level (flawless feline), in which I’m a Frisky Siamese.

    For primer, I use Fyrinnae’s Velvet Gel Silica primer, which I absolutely love. I use the regular one, since my skin tends to lean on the oily side, but I know they have one for dry skin as well. Over that, I use a bit of some Avon stick concealer on any noticeable blemishes, then foundation over that.

  3. I try to match it to my body. My face and neck are darker than the rest of me because no other part of me ever sees the sun (and my neck&face hardly see it anyway, but it’s enough to darken them a shade or two), so I try to match them to my natural skintone.

    I prefer pressed powders. Liquid is too heavy for my sensitive, combination skin, and mineral/loose powders clog my pores too much, for some reason.

    As for coverage, I tend to prefer medium-light coverage. My skin isn’t bad and could do with light/sheer coverage, but I prefer the extra camouf-lage.

    And right now I’m using Sephora brand primer, which is working out okay, but I want to try different kinds. I might try Fyrinnae’s primer next. Have you tried it?

    • I’ve tried a very small sample of it, but I’ll be honest, and I didn’t think it did what I wanted it to do. It just felt like a lotion on my skin, I’m not sure, though, if I was using it with powder or liquid at the time or if that would make a difference.

  4. I try to match it to my neck. Well, concealer that is. I almost never wear foundation, unless I’m going to a function where people are going to be taking photos… and mineral foundations are the worst on me for those. Camera flashes make mineral foundation show up super pale on me (I guess it picks up the shimmer, or the traces of glitter?), so I look like I just walked out of the house not giving a fuuuuuuuuck, high school style. I have medium olive skin that tends to look grayish in the winter, but then gets super tan after 3 minutes outside, so I have 2 different MUFE concealers that I switch between for touchups. Sometimes I’ll take a little and mix it with a light moisturizer if I want “foundation”. My skin is just too sensitive to wear foundation on a regular basis. Especially if I’m going to be washing my face, putting on moisturizer, putting on sunscreen, putting on primer, putting on concealer, beating my face… yeah.

    I had a Bare Minerals foundation that makes me look super dark, and is something I only used during the summer. I chucked the stuff after I noticed that I would almost always break out the day after. You’ve mentioned that you have sensitive skin too, so maybe Meow would have a good option for me. I like a slightly dewy finish, as matte foundations makes me look caky and ashy. No bueno.

    • If the wind blows in the wrong direction my skin gets mad and rebels. It never breaks out, it just gets ANGRY. So maybe you could try Meow too? It’s a nice natural finish, and I wore it to this ‘thing’ the other day (even though the shade was off, uggggg) and had my picture taken a dozen times and it looked really nice, not shiny/funny/pale/shimmery so that’s a good thing.

      Also it’s what Phyrra wears, so if you look at her LOTDs and stuff her face always looks great. She doesn’t seem to have photographing problems either, which honestly, was a major reason I wanted to try it.

  5. I usually match foundation to my neck…and just to be sure that nothing appears too mask-like, I always blend my foundation past my jawline and into my neck a bit.

    Lately I’ve been wearing Aromaleigh’s voile foundation in 1L, which I’d describe as a cool neutral. It’s the closest match I could find. I have a sample of porcelain, but I don’t find that it’s any lighter than 1L, and yeah, it’s a little too much on the pink side for me.

    My skin’s been really dry lately, so instead of wearing my usual UD pore-perfecting primer, I’ve been using my test-sized “That Gal” primer from Benefit, and that keeps my skin from feeling tight. I also bought Tarte’s”smooth operator” tinted moisturizer in Agent 00, which matches my skin perfectly, but the finish is just too dewy for my taste, and I usually end up setting it with my aromaleigh foundation.

    I’ve been hearing lots of good things about Meow’s foundation though..I’ll have to give it a try!!

  6. I’m still trying to figure out what foundation is right for me. I have yet to find the right color- I can’t even tell if I’m supposed to be a warm or a cool. I’m using a Lorac liquid foundation for yellow tones right now- it’s too yellow for me, but the coverage is good enough that it doesn’t jarringly stand out as being the wrong color. I have some rosacea, so it’s doubly difficult as I also need to find something that doesn’t set it off, AND I have dry flaky skin so it’s hard to wear liquid foundation, especially on my nose where it’s most needed.

    I usually forget to use primer.

    I haven’t tried mineral powder foundations, as I have lines around my eyes and mouth and it’s very hard to find one that doesn’t just roll right into them.

    • I have rosacea too & I have the Flake problem as well and besides using a gentle foam cleanser & oil free moisturizer I found that using Make-up for ever HD primer in neutral made my Flakes tame and make my redness not get worse when I use a sponge to put foundation over it. In my case being a little more diligent with my skin-care routine + using a good primer made all the difference. I used to get really upset when I’d put on my makeup because it looked so horrible on my face, but now I love the way my skin looks.
      I know different things work for everyone but since my problem sounds exactly like yours maybe something similar would work for you?

  7. My skin is a light olive with bluish undertones. Nearly every foundation I have tried that looks to be a match for me has been far too orange or yellowish. The only thing I’ve found that’s perfect color-wise is a really cheap store brand called Australis – I have their Fresh & Flawless liquid foundation and pressed powder. Honestly I hardly ever use it nowadays even though it’s oil-free and SPF15, I’ve mixed myself a little concoction out of Fyrinnae’s Fluff, combined with foundation samples from Aromaleigh.

    I have really oily skin, so loose powder really helps control that. I do get some blemishes and I have large-ish pores on/around my nose, but I prefer sheer to light coverage. I recently tried Finishing Silk in Medium by Joppa Minerals and I really, really liked it. I plan on getting a full-sized one soon. It’s ridiculously soft and seemed to just melt into my skin without any cakey- or ashy-ness.

    I tried Fyrinnae’s primer once, but wasn’t really into it. I have found a really great moisturiser with SPF that keeps my skin at just the right moisture level, and as I said I barely ever use foundation, so I don’t actually NEED a face primer anyway.

  8. So far right now, MAC has the closest match for me. I think I have a very hard skin color to match. My face matches my body w/o makeup, so I try to match my neck/upper chest. I never seem to find a foundation in my shade that is yellow/golden enough. Before I got matched to MAC, I used to just put on the closest shade of liquid foundation I could find, and then put on a similar shade matte bronzer. Weird, huh? My skin is just dark enough to be outside the “tan” range, but much too light for their “dark” shades. Anything past “tan” looks like mud on me, but “tan” is a little too….pinkish I think. It makes me look slightly pale/pasty. Just enough to make people think I’m sick 😦 Right now I’m wearing Mac Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NW40 and Mac Studio Fix Powder Foundation in NC43

  9. I try to match my face to my neck/body, and blend. I’m lucky that they’re usually pretty close. The way I can tell if a foundation is off is that my face will end up looking darker than my neck. Jen (of Camellia Rose Skincare) is on the Meow forums and she helped me to find shades that match to me.

    I prefer mineral makeup these days because my skin stays clear. When I used to wear liquid (and even my MAC MoistureFix stuff), my face would break out on occasion from clogged pores.

    I like to basically use a coverage level that will even out my skintone, so light-medium coverage.

    I use primer on occasion. The two primers I have that I love are:
    1. Camellia Rose V2.0 Skin Smoothing Primer
    2. Fyrinnae Velvet-Gel Silica Primer

    Another primer that I’ve tried that I liked was Benefit’s That Gal’s Brightening primer.

    I switch between Inquisitive Sphynx (beige-pink-pink) and Inquisitive Siamese (neutral) with Meow. I think they both look good, but Sphynx gives me more color, and Siamese makes me look… smoother and more even.

    While I used to love the Purrfect Puss formula (and I still have some of the large containers in that formula) if I’m going to be sweating at all, I can’t really wear it. If I wear that and sweat, it burns by the side of my nose. That’s why I switched to the Pampered Puss formula, which is just easier on my sensitive skin. It never causes a weird reaction.

    Before I found my match in mineral makeup, I never had a foundation that matched my skintone ;( I always wore MAC NW15 or NC15 (depending on which MA helped me at the time), but they were too dark for me. I would use the Studio Fix (foundation+ powder) formula, or the MoistureFix formula. I’m so happy to have found mineral makeup, if only for the fact that I have foundation I can wear that matches 🙂

  10. If it doesn’t PERFECTLY match my neck I don’t sweat it, but I don’t want it to look obviously different either – obvious isn’t good. One way to get around this is by not applying foundation all the way to jawline. But anyway, I generally aim for a nice seamless transition to the neck. If I happen to be checking myself out that closely.

    I’ve always thought a good liquid foundation looks smoother and better than any mineral powder, any day. Main reason I use powder is for non-comedogenicity. But I totally agree that having a “good skin day” makes a night & day difference with mineral powder. Exfoliation, moisturization and skin prep are a must, or else the stuff absolutely ages me. No primer can compensate for thirsty peely skin.

    Medium to full coverage around the nose & chin & undereye. Light coverage everyplace else.

    I’ve yet to find a primer I’m impressed with. Still looking. For now I just moisturize and let it soak in before applying my minerals.

  11. I’ve never really figured out the warm/cool thing, myself. Foundations are a pain in the butt. Or were, since I’ve now got my Meow figured out and all is well.

    For me, I match my face first, then check to make sure it works well enough with my neck not to look artificial. I used to use liquid – MAC of some sort or other, don’t remember anymore – but then I got interested in mineral makeup, got some samples of Meow, and have not looked back. I get their Flawless Feline formula, as I prefer medium-to-full coverage. I’ve got ok but not great skin, and I’m a bit sloppy with my skincare routine, so I need the better facade.

    I *have* Fyrinnae’s velvet-gel silica primer (the regular one) but I honestly don’t see that it does a whole lot. So I don’t really use primer anymore. Though I wish I could afford some of the mattifying powder primers I’ve seen, cause my skin is oily like whoa and I’ve never managed to get it fully under control, so I harbor the faint fantasy that a powder primer would control my oil enough to keep me from getting shiny before noon.

  12. I was taught by a make up artist to match my shoulders. My neck is quite a bit lighter than my face, so if I match that I look like a vampire. I put a light coat of MMU on my neck and blend down to my collar bone. That way everything matches. My Meow match is Naughty Mau, which is fine in winter but a tad too pale in the summer. Then it’s either Raesin Images or Melange, depending on how pissed off my skin is that day. I have crappy skin so I prefer medium buildable or heavy coverage.
    Mineral makeup has greatly improved my skin, so I don’t bother with liquid.
    Primer is hit and miss for me, I haven’t found the holy grail primer yet. I use Greenridge Organics Synergy day serum for moisturizer, and I’ve been happy with that for awhile, so primer is usually an afterthought.
    Good luck on your venture, I hate foundation matching.

  13. 1. In ideal world body, neck and face should be of the same color, right? But as the world is not perfect (especially now, when I am a shade or even two darker than my usual complexion, because I enjoyed the sunny weather in January while being on vacation 🙂 And you can now only imagine, how different the shades of my neck and face are) I match my foundation to my face. Besides, you can always wear a scarf on your neck to cover a drastic difference (if there is any), but you can’t hide your face. 🙂
    2. I prefer mineral, because it’s easier to manage (liquid tends to dry up on me in a matter of seconds, and I just can’t manage to distribute and blend it perfectly). And, it’s much healthier!
    3. I go for a medium (if I’m indoors that day) to a full coverage (for special occasions, or when I know I’ll spend much time outdoors, who wants to freak people out? lol), as my skin is not in its best condition these days.
    4. I use Fyrinnae powder primer. Not only it slightly covers imperfections but it also makes my foundation appear smoother and last longer.

  14. 1) I do match my face to neck/body. Aromaleigh’s Voile is my holy grail foundation. None of Meow formulas worked for me, and yes, I tried them all every which way from Sunday. Oddly, they all just disappeared from my face a few hours into the day! I’ve also tried several other mmu formulas and they were all a huge fail too, but AL’s Voile is always perfect. Sometimes in an extremely harsh winter I’ll use AL’s Glissade. The only other foundation formula that I’ve ever found that I love is Laura Geller’s Balance n’ Brighten, but even her lightest shade makes me look like I have a bad sunburn – if it were offered in a lighter/whiter shade I would be all over it due to the great coverage and finish, and the fast/easy to use baked Italian compact.

    2) Ugh, if I had to wear liquid foundation I think I would just go bare faced – so strongly detest the feel of it. Plus, it always caused breakouts. I get zero breakouts w/Voile – it actually keeps my skin clear.

    3) I don’t like extremely sheer coverage but I also don’t want to look like I’ve got visible foundation on either, if that makes any sense – so coverage yes, but w/me still showing through, and that’s exactly what I get from Voile.

    4) I always use AL’s silk powder as my primer, it’s pure luxury – really luuuv it. Some days, I skip foundation and just dust on the silk as my foundation.

    I always enjoy your blogs. And good luck on you foundation search!

  15. I was planning on going on a foundation journey but banned myself from buying anything until I pay stuff down lol.

    Right now I wear a liquid matte rimmel foundation that doesn’t completely match me but I’m hard to match up anyways.

    I had a cart full of samples from meow (I’m pretty sure I’ll find a match there with so many options) but walked away. I think I would prefer mineral just because my skin is so bad, I think it would be more gentle on it.

    I’d like to match a colour to my neck to avoid the mask and I’d need super full coverage, my skin is blotchy, dark circles and see-thru skin so you can see the veins around my mouth and eyelids (blech)

    The primer I use is the Fyrinnae silica gel. I just like how matte it makes my face look even before putting the foundation on.

  16. Seems like a lot of people can’t really find an exact match to their skin tones XD
    I have the same problem but it’s because I’m so SO pale that I’m practically see through and many of the palest colors are too dark or they are for blue toned people where I am pink toned. Hmm. Personally I’ve been using Almay’s Pure Blends in their lightest color. Not a lot of coverage but it blends like a dream and it leaves a dewy finish. Suits me for now at least.

    Life is hard when it comes to foundation I suppose!

  17. I still haven’t found my ‘perfect foundation’ yet, but all this time I’ve been matching to my face when I probably should have been matching to my neck/body. (Thankfully my neck isn’t very different from my face, so I think I’m alright..)

    I normally prefer liquid foundation. I do own three different shades of MAC’s studio finish, but I don’t really like the way powder looks on my skin. I also purchased Bare Escentuals a few months back, and I honestly hate it.
    I like full coverage, though, so that’s possibly why me & BE didn’t get along. I would like to eventually try out some of Aromaleigh’s foundation shades, once I’m not so distracted by the Rocks! colors.. 🙂

    For primer, I’ve been rotating between BE’s Prime Time and Smashbox’s Photofinish Primer. (Both samples 🙂 To be honest, I rarely wear it unless I really, really need everything to stay put for awhile.

  18. I love Meow’s foundations. Meow was the first company I found a shade that was actually light enough for me. Before that I always looked either yellowish or dark pink because the lightest light shades in beauty counters were WAY too dark.

    My skin is pretty much the same colour on the face, neck and chest so can’t help you there. If I matched my foundation to my shoulders, my face would be darker than the rest of me. My skin is darkest at the shoulders. I think it’s a matter of preference. Some people like to match their foundation to their neck, others to their collarbones or whatnot.

    I like medium coverage but I still want to see my skin. Something that evens out the worst bumps is my friend. From Meow, I use Pampered Puss formula and Purely Cosmetics’s Skin Smoothing foundation makes my skin look dewy. Skin Smoothing offers a bit more coverage but I don’t like wearing it in the summer because it’s a bit heavier than Pampered Puss.

    I use mineral foundation but I rarely use a primer. Usually I just use the foundation. If your skin is blotchy or oily, then primer is a safe bet.

  19. What is your new skincare routine, if you don’t mind my asking? I would love to get into mineral foundation, but I know my skin needs a bit of work first.

  20. Runaround Sous March 30, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Mineral foundations are awesome! I now use AL Glissade in 2PL… before that I couldn’t find one that matched my pink tones. Other liquid or mineral foundations were too brown or too yellow for me.

    What I like to do is mix some of my foundation and a bit of AL Nocturne into my moisturizing sunscreen. In effect, I made my own tinted moisturizer. Initially, I whipped this up for travel. (I didn’t want to bother with powder or a kabuki brush on the go.) Later I found it is great as a foundation primer, too.

    I have dry skin, too. But with this tinted moisturizer and a splash of Vitamin C toner as a mineral setting spray, my skin stays much more even and behaved.

  21. I had the same question as Kambria. My skin always felt the way you mentioned yours did in the post, and so most of the time, i don’t bother with foundation at all because I feel like I can’t wear it. So I would love to know what you’ve done differently that’s helped! thanks so much.

  22. I was not able to use foundation ’till I found mineral ones…. I mean, I make lots and lots of facial expressions everyday and liquid foundation made my face feel…. stuck! I don’t know! I don’t know the right word or how to explain it….
    I use Aromaleigh Glissade in 1w. I match my neck ’cause I’m a bit more neutral on my face, but the rest of my body is really warm. It matches me well, ’cause sometimes I think it wore off but it did not – it just matches my skin too well.

    I always hear the best things on Meow’s foundation. I might order samples someday – but I won’t buy any full-sizes until I’ve finished my AL.

    Overall I’m loving my foundation. It does not last all day in our hot and humid summer, but I don’t mind (actually, as I said above, I can only tell if I still have it on or not sometimes)…. I never thought I could wear foundation, so I’m a very happy child.

    I also use mineral concealer… AL pure cover… it never wears off. Really. Never wears off…. never. ever. – And that’ss what matters the most to me. I have dark circles under my eyes that always makes me look like I haven’t slept for days (which is usually true….)!

    My skin is normal-to-oily, so I never feel dry or ichy! ^^

    It’s been a while since I commented! I always read but… I guess I’m feeling lazy this days! (’cause I haven’t slept well. again. ugh.)

    • Oh! I use AL porcelaine primer, but it’s almost gone now and I’m thinking about changing to another one. I’ll buy samples and figure it out, I guess.

      And I like light-to-medium coverage, or else I’d feel… stuck. Ok, I’ll never be able to explain it….

  23. My face is a tad darker then the rest of my skin and if I use a foundation that matches my neck I look too pasty, whereas if I use a shade that matches my face more it looks too dark against my neck. I try to find a good balance between the both that makes me happy. When I first tried Aromaleigh’s foundation it made my face itchy so I stayed away from it for a year or two and only recently bough another full size. Unfortunately I ordered 2c instead of 1c in Glissade so now I mix it with some silk powder, silica and C-SMAX from TKB to lighten the colour. When I need less coverage I use straight silk powder

    I’ve never been much into liquid foundation because I always found it too heavy and too dark, plus I have sensitive skin and several drug store brand liquids make my skin break out and in some cases they leave a rash. I used to use AL’s Porcelain primer but it dried my skin out, then I switched to silk powder, and now I just make sure to exfoliate and moisturise before using foundation.

  24. Will you share your new found skincare regimen? 😉 My skin has been rebelling due to the weather (pollen ahoooooy) and season change.

  25. Could we get a post on your skincare? Things you tried and hated and things you tried and loved? Please please??

  26. I’m very happy that you posted this entry, as I have been having issues finding the perfect foundation. I’ve only tried Almay’s liquid foundation, and am curious about indie company foundations, such as Aromaleigh and Meow. So, thank you for posting this! 😀 It’s very helpful!

    (P.S. The title of the blog entry reminds me of The Princess and the Frog… ;D)

  27. I’m similar to Mjolnir in that I try to find a compromise between my darker face and lighter neck. Because I usually wear crew-neck tops (the opposite of you, Grey!) that hit above my collarbones, matching only my face looks fine but I prefer the cohesive look of matching my neck, especially when I expose my pale chest.

    I prefer mineral foundation because I have oily acneic skin. Liquid foundation feels like a mask and I’m afraid of its comedogenicity. I feel like mineral foundation is easier to apply and more forgiving in its shades whereas I need to meticulously blend liquid foundation onto my face.

    The coverage I prefer varies with the amount of active inflammation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that I need to hide. I haven’t found my perfect concealer yet (in shade, texture, or performance) so I go with heavier all-over coverage for blemish-ridden days rather than spot concealing and lighter full-face coverage.

    I have no primer loyalties although I need to test out the Fyrinane Velvet-Gel Silica Primer that I just got. I’ve been working my way through a stash of oil-absorbing powders from various mineral makeup companies. Although I haven’t found my Holy Grail, Aromaleigh’s Nocturne has come close.

  28. Jules Noctambule March 31, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Another vote for ‘matching my colour is hard’! My mom calls me Casper (the friendly ghost — ha ha, mom), but I have just enough yellow and pink undertones to avoid that freshly-exhumed look yet not enough for most pale foundations to match my skin. I either look jaundiced or sunburned! Add to that my lovely, genetic smacked-in-the-eye undereye circles and the tiny creases that are showing up at 32, and things get complicated.

    I started trying mineral foundations not long ago since getting a liquid I like in a brand I’ll use has proved almost impossible. I’ve tried Aromaleigh and am now trying Meow (just placed another sample order tonight). Primers I’m still working on, though lately I’ve been using a tinted moisturizer I mixed up from some Clinique moisturizer, sunscreen and the remainder of my old favourite liquid foundation and it’s been working really well.