Oh just pass me the spackle already!
August 6, 2012 4:42 PM   Subscribe

What are the best foundations for my skin? In particular, ones that don't make my skin look even worse! Basically, I have oily skin, black heads on the nose and chin, and frequent breakouts in the t-zone. I also have a ton of broken blood vessels around my nose and mouth and larger veins around my eyes and temples. More info on my regimen after the break...

I have warm skin with pink undertones (no yellow). Mostly oily with blemishes.

My routine at night:

-Take off eye makeup with cotton ball and heaping dollop of CeraVe lotion (not the PM lotion).
-wash with Sodium Sulfacetamide 10% and Sulfur 5% Wash, prescribed by my doctor
-use eye cream (one I got in a Birch box... can't remember the name right now)
-moisturize with the same (non-PM) CeraVe lotion
-spot treat with clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide


-Wash with either the Sodium Sulfacetamide 10% and Sulfur 5% Wash OR Purity Made Simple wash by Philosphy
-moisturize with CeraVe AM (has sunscreen!)


-a Glycolic acid/lactic acid peel (25%/15% I believe) for ten minutes. Should I switch to a salicylic acid peel or another combo peel? TCA?

During the week, I don't normally wear foundation, but some days I feel I need to. I will usually also wear blush, eye makeup, concealer and some powder. The powder is a mineral one which contains starch and silica (?). Blush is just a Covergirl one, and eye makeup is usually Stila. Foundation is also Stila, I believe an illuminating kind. Concealer is either Covergirl or Physician's Formula.

What foundations are best for me? I find when I put it on, the texture of my skin, particularly the pores on and around my nose, is exacerbated, and even though my skin is typically oily, my skin looks rough and very... blah. Do I need a primer?

I *do* need foundation for going out, especially when I'm going to have my picture taken, like at a black tie event in a week and a half. My budget is pretty flexible as long as it isn't more than $50/bottle and lasts a while. I'm open to other suggestions as well, especially to get rid of these blackheads, except for the oil cleansing method. My god, what a mess that made my face! Thanks in advance!
posted by two lights above the sea to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Specific to the black tie event - would you consider having a makeup artist do your foundation? It's not a solution for daily life, but it might be worthwhile if the photos are especially important to you.

Have you seen improvement with the Sodium Sulfacetamide/Sulfur wash? If you've been using it for awhile without improvement, then perhaps another product would be better. There's a wide range of products that a dermatologist can recommend. If that one isn't cutting it, then a switch may be in order. I'm a huge fan of MD Forte III, but if it stopped working I'd switch it and try something new.
posted by 26.2 at 5:06 PM on August 6, 2012

If you're concerned about pore size, look for a silicon based foundation primer to wear under your foundation. Tarte makes one (in a purple bottle) that's pretty good, and they also sell a small set of trial size primers if you want to see how they work on your skin before committing.
posted by asphericalcow at 5:17 PM on August 6, 2012

Response by poster: asphericalcow: Is this Tarte ClearSlate poreless primer the one you are referring to (one of the three in the trio)? If so, I'll definitely try it! Thanks!
posted by two lights above the sea at 5:34 PM on August 6, 2012

I have skin a lot like yours, and I came by to recommend one of three foundations: Laura Mercier SPF 25 cream (the most expensive at about $25 per tube), Ulta cream foundation, or Neutrogena foundation, which contains salicyclic acid to prevent breakouts. After seeing all the products that you use, though, I don't know that I would recommend another dose of salicyclic acid on top of everything else. You might be overmedicating, but I can't say for sure because I don't have your skin in particular. All I know is that sometimes I get better results by cutting out the use of anti-acne products in favor of the mildest thing available.

The Bare Escentuals "mineral veil" does amazing things for the sheen and texture of the face -- practically Photoshop -- but to be honest, I've never worked it by myself. The ladies at Sephora can do it, not me.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:45 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll cosign on the Bare Escentuals recommendation ... although if you're oily, you probably want the matte version and not the original. The original also has bismuth oxychloride which is not at all good for acne prone skin. Also, I notice that the mineral powder you're currently wearing has starch in it. Is this corn starch? If so, another no-no for your skin type.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 6:25 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you want more coverage than BareMinerals provides (it is also my every day foundation), then try one of the new HD foundations. I use Make Up Forever HD Foundation for special events or nights out. If you don't want to spend that much money, I've read that Revlon Photoready is almost the exact same thing. Pretty much every foundation ever makes me break out except the Make Up Forever. Like even the Neutragena Healthy Skin that is supposed to prevent breakouts also makes me break out! So definitely give MUFE a try. It also photographs well. I first bought it for my wedding where i used Sephora primer, MUFE foundation, and the MUFE translucent powder and it lasted from 1:00pm - midnight, no touchups necessary, and it never felt icky.
posted by echo0720 at 6:43 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh to clarify - I highly recommend Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals (same thing) Matte foundation + Mineral Veil for regular, everyday wear. And then I recommend MUFE for when you need long lasting or better coverage.
posted by echo0720 at 6:45 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

For photos, you need to be very careful with mineral foundations and all foundations with SPF. Titanium Dioxide (SPF), Mica and Bismuth can all reflect the flash and make you look ghostly in photos. Translucent powder often photographs as ashy. What looks great in natural light doesn't always photograph well.

If the photos are a big deal, then take some test photos with whatever you plan use.
posted by 26.2 at 7:22 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

i don't wear makeup regularly but when i do: make up forever hd primer + hd foundation + hd powder have never broken me out. they're pretty fantastic, people don't usually even realize i have makeup on. worth a trip to sephora to get your color matched! and while you're there:

re: skin problems, the best thing i've ever done for my skin by far was buying a clarisonic mia. i use it twice a day with neutrogena acne stress cream cleanser (2% salicylic acid) and my skin is basically pretty awesome now—a small zit or two every month, but no more whiteheads or blackheads ever. pick one up at sephora and give it a try for a few weeks; you can always return it if you don't like it (but i bet you will!).
posted by lia at 7:28 PM on August 6, 2012

Response by poster: Also, I notice that the mineral powder you're currently wearing has starch in it. Is this corn starch? If so, another no-no for your skin type.

For photos, you need to be very careful with mineral foundations and all foundations with SPF. Titanium Dioxide (SPF), Mica and Bismuth can all reflect the flash and make you look ghostly in photos. Translucent powder often photographs as ashy. What looks great in natural light doesn't always photograph well.

Yikes, this all makes a lot of sense, actually. Any good suggestions for replacement? Maybe from the drugstore?

re: skin problems, the best thing i've ever done for my skin by far was buying a clarisonic mia. i use it twice a day with neutrogena acne stress cream cleanser (2% salicylic acid) and my skin is basically pretty awesome now—a small zit or two every month, but no more whiteheads or blackheads ever. pick one up at sephora and give it a try for a few weeks; you can always return it if you don't like it (but i bet you will!).

I've heard great things about this! I think you've just convinced me.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:21 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have horrible problems with breakouts or eczema from many cosmetics, including basically every tinted moisturizer and the vast majority of mineral foundations, as well. My skin isn't super breakout prone normally, but I do have kind of splotchy, freckly skin. Ugh.

I wound up having astounding success and gorgeous-looking skin with the Korres Wild Rose Mineral Powder. It builds up to heavier coverage very well, is SPF, I love it and wear it all the time and my skin has no issues at all.

The one problem: It can settle into fine lines, so if you'll be in harsh light, it's a good idea to put a primer under, if your skin can tolerate that. I like the Smashbox primer.
posted by Andrhia at 8:37 PM on August 6, 2012

Just here to second lia's comment exactly - I have the same kind of skin as you, I use the same brand makeup lia recommends and it's great, and the clarisonic mia has been pretty great. (And now I'm gonna go get the cleanser she uses to see how that does, and if it'll turn pretty great into super amazing!)
posted by violetish at 9:36 PM on August 6, 2012

Hi, my skin is a lot like yours in terms of the pores, etc. I looooove my mineral makeup. It feels like I'm not wearing any makeup at all--it just makes your skin look glowy and flawless. I kid you not: people rave. I am a cheapskate, so I prefer to buy mine from Everyday Minerals rather than the pricier Bare Minerals. It is great-quality makeup, lasts ages, and is very affordable. I tried it a few years ago and have never looked back.

The catch is that it's mail-order, so it may not fit your pre-event time frame.
posted by anonnymoose at 11:38 PM on August 6, 2012

Also, just to add--it is the only makeup that has NOT made my skin look/feel more oily. Such good coverage for such a light base!
posted by anonnymoose at 11:39 PM on August 6, 2012

Yes, I was talking about the Tarte ClearSlate poreless primer that you found and linked. I've heard good things about the Smashbox primer that Andrhia mentions as well.
posted by asphericalcow at 12:45 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

For the blacktie event - get your make up done professionally - you want it to last all night and photograph well all night and it'll be money well spent when you look at the photos.

As to your general approach, not knowing you, your habits and preferences and what your skin looks like and noting that you are under the care of a doctor I still couldn't help but feel sorry for your skin when I read your routine thinking that there was a lot of stuff with high percentages of active ingredients. If it's been helpful and you're seeing improvements after a suitable period of use that's great. If you're not convinced and are interested in the story of a random internet stranger on a counterintuitive regime read on.

For as long as I can remember I've always had blackheads and localised breakouts. These had become quite severe and at times cystic over the last couple of years. Make up didn't particularly make these worse but was hit and miss and foundation seemed to emphasise pores and seemed to slide of my oily skin after a short time, especially in summer. So that's not really the look I was aiming for. And as I am in my thirties I figured I should get a handle on both my skin in general and my make-up in particular. So I started to read up on skin care ingredients and on different philosophies with respect to skin care. And based on that and based on my habits and preferences for easy routine I made a couple of considered changes about 3-4 months ago.

1/ Every morning I slather my skin with a lowish percentage salicylic acid gel. That is followed by whatever moisturiser feels right that day, depending on how oily my skin is when I wake up, whether I'll be outside that day etc. 2/ A couple of times a week I use a facewash with AHAs and occasionally a facemask with AHAs. The AHA products are technically aimed at an older demographic but I figured that they would help gently remove any dead skin and unclog my pores and reduce blackheads etc without rubbing or irritating too much. In my experience scrubbing or harsh acne treatments actually just made my skin look worse and I figured I had nothing to lose. Other than that I just use a mild and very cheap facewash for the non AHA days and make up remover. Nothing else.

As for make up I've been wearing a long lasting but light coverage non greasy foundation. That level of coverage is arguably too light as my skin tone is uneven in places and as I have localised breakouts. But it seems to do enough to even out my skin tone significantly but is light enough not to accentuate my larger pores or look like a thick layer of make-up. It doesn't give me a perfect complexion but with localised use of concealer to cover up any marks and blemishes the overall result is very pleasing and because it is quite light it looks quite natural. I set it with a light dusting of powder on my T Zone and a powder blusher, I wear eye make-up etc. But there doesn't seem to be a thick layer of foundation that sits on top of my skin and slides off my face after a few hrs...

So far so good, the new regime didn't make me break out more but there was no noticeable short-term improvement either. And my 'normal' breakouts always got worse in the days running up to my period and that continued to be the case. So I was like whatever, I'll continue with this until I run out of the stuff and then I'll revisit. Fast forward 3-4 months to this week. And I noticed that I got my period without getting the tell tale breakout and that's a first. That made me stop and inspect my skin more carefully. Not only was there no breakout but my skin is quite soft, smooth and there are noticeably less blackheads and generally less blemishes throughout my last cycle and no nasty deep cystic blemish for quite a while now. That's a first. Especially given that it's summer and my skin is extra oily. There was no change in lifestyle factors so I guess I'll have to buy more gel and mature skin facewash and mask :).

What I am saying is that conventional wisdom would not have indicated that regime or that choice of make-up. But conventional wisdom was wrong. Make of that what you will.
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:16 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Save money on all the Tarte and Smashbox primers. Get Monostat Anti-Chafing Gel. It is the same thing. Seriously. And at 7 bucks a tube, far cheaper. Makeup Alley has a 75% would-buy-again rate with about 700 reviews. That is huge. I use it.

MUFA is going to be the best in terms of staying power, airbrush quality, and luminescence for a black tie-event. Use a DAMP brush or sponge, and one pump for your face is enough. Really. Spread the pigment from the center of your face/problem areas out, so as to avoid the mask-of-foundation effect and to encourage a natural, glowing coverage. Lisa Eldridge, my frequent suggestion, has videos on her site on foundation application. Her philosophy is that the less you wear is better, and the less you can recognize as makeup is even better, but she has approaches for problem skin. Explore here.

For everyday wear, you can use minerals, and they are good. I would tend to think a BB cream might be a good option for you for everyday errand-running, etc. as well, since they are very good for problem skin.

Consider Derma Doctor face wash for 2-3 times a week use to maintain the chemical exfoliation you have going on there with the glycolic peel. I use the Neutrogena Deep Wrinkle with Retinol/Hydraulonic acid in it every day and that keeps the breakouts/blackheads at bay as well. It takes a bit to get going, but the peel, the 2-3 times wash, and the every day retinol/acid really calms things down and sets the stage for using my preferred BB--Dr. Jart-- MUFA when I need the big guns, and minerals when I am feeling like medium coverage is in order.
posted by oflinkey at 2:41 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Oflinkey: could you elaborate on some of the initialisms? Is MUFA Makeup Forever... something? BB? Your advice is great though!

Heh, I almost thought damp was another due to the caps, but I clearly had spiderwebs in my brain.
posted by two lights above the sea at 5:05 PM on August 7, 2012

two lights above the sea: I am sorry! #1 I misspelled on the old iPhone-- MUFA= MUFE-- Make Up Forever. I use the HD powder with this.

#2-- BB Cream is called just that, BB cream. It is Blemish Balm, but no one knows it as such. I have used Garnier, Dr. Jart, and Smashbox. I have not used any Asian brands, so I cannot speak to those. I like Dr. Jart the best of the three. Smashbox and Dr. Jart are available at Sephora.

Seriously, just plant yourself in front of Lisa Eldridge's videos. She is really the pro at a flawless face. Example: Acne/blemish covering.
posted by oflinkey at 8:50 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks oflinkey! I actually happened to find her two days ago and ended up watching maybe five or so of them, and I love that she always starts with a bare face. It's truly amazing to see the transition.

Thanks again for the advice!
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:55 PM on August 7, 2012

Response by poster: Another update! I wandered through CVS's makeup aisle today checking out some of the newer products. The idea of the Monostat Anti-chafing Gel seemed intriguing, but I ended up finding Revlon's Photoready perfecting primer which was on sale for buy one, get one 50% off. It had great reviews (similar to the Monistat product), and since Lisa Eldridge recommended cream blushes for skin like mine (I think?) I grabbed the Revlon Photoready cream blush as well and got both for about $19.50. I will still probably invest in the MUFE foundation and powder.

Thanks folks, and of course, more advice is always welcome!
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:26 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older The Helpless Help   |   dog at keyboard.jpg - Help me figure out how to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.