What makeup product am I looking for?
November 14, 2018 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Acne-prone makeup-wearing people of Metafilter: What product can I buy that 1) won't break me out, 2) is extremely sheer and will help even out dry middle-aged skin without making it look even more haggard and unevenly textured like basically everything I've ever tried, and 3) is available at Ulta, Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, or Walgreens?
posted by HotToddy to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I use a tinted moisturizer for this! I like Tarte's, which is available at Ulta. But there are lots of options.

I can't speak to your specific skin situation but it doesn't make me break out, it's very sheer (can be less sheer if necessary, buildable coverage), and the fact that it's moisturizer and includes SPF helps keep my dry areas in check.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:22 AM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hey! If you’re dry, I’d go with It Cosmetics CC cream. If you’re oily or combo, try Bare Minerals Original Broad Spectrum foundation.
posted by worldwidewoman at 9:22 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

CC cream? I use IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC cream and it evens out my skintone, is pretty moisturizing (full of that sweet moisturizing snail mucus that's all the rage, so if you have any shellfish or shellfish adjacent allergies, it's not for you), and doesn't clump or show off any unevenly textured parts of my skin. Ulta carries it. There's an "illuminating" version that has a bit of glitter or shiny stuff in it, I'd recommend skipping that one and sticking with the regular version.
posted by yasaman at 9:23 AM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm older than you, but gave up using any foundation on my face because of breakouts. Instead, I use Missha Essence to even out and brighten my skin tone and put nothing but a bit of cover cream (as needed) and blusher on my face. It's a bit difficult to explain what it actually does, but when I don't put it on in the morning, my husband inevitably asks me at some point during the day if I'm feeling well. For a face moisturizer, I use CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion which I'm happy to report has not caused any breakouts.
posted by DrGail at 9:27 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

BB cream was extremely good to my combination-skin face when I was breaking out a lot. Provides moisture and SPF, and actually helped my pores become way less noticeable, while being really sheer. I like Garnier's a lot, cheap and you can get it at the drugstore.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2018

Ulta brand BB or CC cream! It has SPF.
posted by assenav at 9:50 AM on November 14, 2018

You don’t mention your skin tone, so I’m not sure if it’ll be accommodated by the line, but I like L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Glow foundation (mixed with a dab of L’Oréal Pro-Matte foundation, because that has a bit more coverage, which I like, and adds a mattifying touch, which I prefer. For sheer coverage, the Pro-Glow is fine on its own with maybe a little powder on the T zone). Great tones, feel, and look, and no breakouts for me (I have combination skin, sometimes get hormonal acne, with occasional surface issues if I’m careless).

Prep on the skincare side would help with texture, though - try retin A or Differin gel, and/ or glycolic acid (on alternating days, with a slow ramp up). With an SPF.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:21 AM on November 14, 2018

The normal it cosmetics caused stinging for me, the matte doesn’t. Even though you are acne prone make sure you moisturise, it will help everything else go on more smoothly. Depending on your spf, that might also work as moistureizer. There are some sheer products that will miraculously make your skin look better without any kind of noticeable coverage. My favourite is Chanel’s Aqua lumiere. But you’d definitely want a concealer to get rid of any dark circles, blemishes etc. because it is sheer, but does make quite a difference even by the end of the day. The it cosmetics stuff is very different and I am too lazy to do much concealing if I wear that.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:27 AM on November 14, 2018

It sounds like you're looking for a foundation of sorts, but I think that you actually may need a primer.

Primers will create a base so that anything applied on top will be more even, won't show skin texture, won't crease, and will last longer. If you moisturize prior to applying the primer, it can also lock in that moisture so that your skin will be more hydrated throughout the day.

It may take a little effort finding a good primer that works for you, but once you do it will allow you to have a lot more options when you look for makeup. Even products that you've already tried and may still have in your cupboard will look different.

They have a lot of good options at Ulta. The Smashbox original or pore minimizing primer has rave reviews. I've heard that the NYX primers are also good and are cheaper. And people also really like the Laura Geller primer that is literally called "spackle".
posted by Elbe at 10:35 AM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

My main makeup goals are to make my skin look like I've been sleeping well and drink tons of water. (I.e. not super heavy coverage, just trying even out texture and cover redness) I use a light base of. e.l.f. mineral infused face primer (drugstore), smashbox camera ready bb water (i can find it at some ultas, although i tried this week at a smaller one, and no luck), and then a makeup forever hd loose powder (ulta). I use sponges for the primer and bb, and a big brush for the hd powder. A small amount of all of these go a long way, and a lighter touch works really well.
posted by August Fury at 10:40 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you don't find an off-the-shelf product that works for you, you can always mix a bit of foundation into a moisturizer that your skin likes for a sheer, moisturizing tint.
posted by burntflowers at 10:50 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got good mileage out of trying stuff on at Ulta (there were testers in the "cheap" section). I'm warm-toned, so cool-toned / pinkish stuff will make me look haggard. Testing on the back of my hand was good enough for color and really revealing as to what would highlight uneven texture.

I wound up with NYX BB cream. Sheer, a little greasy to handle the dryness but doesn't make my personal sensitive skin break out. I typically wear it over a Japanese sunscreen that contains silicones that smooth everything out a bit, so +1 to some kind of primer if your skin can handle it.
posted by momus_window at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2018

I ALSO use IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC cream. I actually sheer it out even more with a moisturizing balm, but any plain face lotion would do. For special events or if I'm getting my picture taken, I use it as is (not with the balm).

It's available at Ulta and it's a blessing for my problem skin (dryness, redness, occasional breakouts).
posted by ancient star at 1:31 PM on November 14, 2018

Adding my vote for the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream. It DOES have silicone and snail mucin in case you’re sensitive to those. I find that a little goes a long way and that if I accidentally use more than half a pump, it could easily look cakey or streaky. A beauty blender helps to get a more even coverage.

I also find that silicone-based creams, primers and foundations, while great at initially covering up texture problems (like, you know, PORES) tend to “slip” on skin after some time, making aforementioned texture problems seem more noticeable. Blotting papers at the end of the day seem to do the trick.

I also recommended this on another thread, but Josie Maran’s Tinted Argan Oil SPF 47 Daily Moisturizer is a godsend in the winter when my otherwise oily skin decides to be contrary and goes on a mission to be the driest and flakiest skin in the world. It gives me sheer coverage, is an effective moisturizer, and acts as some form of physical sun protection (“Chemical” sunscreens make me break out. Although, to be honest, I don’t know how effective this is as a sunscreen ).
posted by theappleonatree at 6:51 PM on November 14, 2018

I agree with other posters that a small amount of primer will help foundation sit better on your skin. For foundations, I’m loving Covergirl + Olay simply ageless foundation. Easily found at drugstores, and it applies well with both a sponge and your fingers. Im in my 30s but somehow most foundations make me look like a high-schooler in “haggard old lady in a play” makeup no matter how little I put on. I have acne, discoloration, scarring, you name it. This foundation looks like skin! (I wish it had better coverage, so I think for your requirements it will be perfect.) It has a real moisturizing side to it, so I find it definitely wears better if you set it with a tiny bit of transluscent powder.
posted by missmary6 at 8:49 PM on November 14, 2018

I am a big fan of Physicians Formula Organic Wear tinted moisturizer. Sheer and light and does not anger my easily-angered skin.
posted by snowmentality at 5:43 AM on November 15, 2018

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