Monday, April 30, 2012

Let's Talk About Foundation.

For pale beauties, finding the right foundation is often complicated.  Drugstore foundations never get the color right, mineral foundations oxidize into bizarre colors, and almost everything breaks me out.  Seriously, I can't even wear Bare Minerals Matte, which is supposed to be the "good" one if your skin is sensitive.  If I put it on, I have a guaranteed pimple on my chin by the end of the night.  Speaking of pimples, I've struggled with Acne and terrible redness in my cheeks and nose for ten years.

Finally, at twenty-two, I'm taking charge of my skin.  And what I've found out is oh so simple:  I've likely been allergic to everything I've been putting on my face for the last ten years.  Once I started looking at ingredients of products I had been using, I found that known skin irritants were in all of them, especially the anti-acne ingredient salicylic acid.  Could I have been GIVING myself acne and redness with the products I was putting on my face to ward them off?

Yes.  Yes I was.  And maybe you are, too.  But the madness can end here, today, by switching to natural skincare products.  It's really not that difficult or expensive, which is what had kept me using Neutrogena for those ten years.  Most Target stores now have a "natural" section in their beauty department, and that's how I found Burt's Bees.  I've been using their Sensitive skincare line (cleanser/daily moisturizer) for over a month now, and my face isn't RED anymore.  It's still quite oily, and there's a shadow of a pimple on my chin, so perhaps it's not my Holy Grail of skincare.  But it's a step in the right direction.  Update:  I'm going to make a part deux to this most, as I'm NOT using Burt's Bees anymore.  It was MUCH better than Neutrogena, but it still gave my skin problems and I've stopped using it.

How To Figure Out If You're Pissing Off Your Skin:

  1. Get a natural, sensitive-skin friendly cleanser and moisturizer.  I recommend Burt's Bees because it's readily available at Target, but there are WAY more options out there.  I can't stress enough that it needs to be natural, fragrance-free, and allergy-free.  I used some Philosophy cleanser (supposedly the gentlest stuff for skin) and I had such a bad allergic reaction to it that my face was pretty much on fire.  I must not have been the only one, as it is mysteriously not on sale anymore. 
  2. Cleanse and moisturize your skin morning (or afternoon, if you're nocturnal like me) and night, and, on days that you wear makeup, use a toner after cleansing.  I like rosewater/glycerin toners (of course BB has one).  They're pretty good at sucking up oil, too.  You can try using it every night, but I haven't yet done the skin piss-off test with it.  I imagine it doesn't irritate.  
  3. Don't think that because your face is oily you don't need moisturizer.  Because you do. Morning and night.  Everyone does.  Except people that don't have issues with their skin, but we hate them.
  4. If you have REALLY bad acne, get some Zapzyt benzoyl peroxide gel (found at most Wal Marts and drugstores).  It doesn't have any irritating fillers.  It's pretty drying, but if you use your moisturizer day and night you shouldn't get any dryness.
  5. Try not to wear any foundation for a week.  This may be impossible if you go out in public a lot, but try your best!  Even just putting on powder may break you out!  It did for me.  I don't ever leave my house, so this step was simple to accomplish.
  6. Once your face is looking pretty damn good, introduce your favorite foundation.  If it pisses your skin off, you'll likely notice by the end of the night.  My reactions always happen on my chin.  Also, if you have bangs, forehead acne is just inevitable.
  7. If that foundation pissed your skin off, wait for the reaction to clear up and try a new one.      
And that's how it's done!  I've been trying a new mineral foundation from Faerie Organic, and the lightest shade (Porcelain) is a beautifully perfect match!  They sell samples for about five or six dollars, which  made me happy.  Also, I don't think it's breaking me out.  I've only tried twice, though, and I still have some lingering kindof pimples (red dots that are under my skin) from a blowout after trying a translucent powder from Physicians Formula.  The irritant in question must be Lauroyl Lysine, because it's also in Bare Minerals.  So, avoid that.   

As for liquid foundation, I use Clinique Acne Solutions (in shade "Fresh Alabaster" of course, and it's pretty yellow until blended in with a brush) on days where I'll be out for a long time, and I worry that the salicylic acid in it might be pissing my skin off.  But my skin doesn't blow out nearly as bad as when using Bareminerals/Physicians Formula powders, so I'll keep using it.  I also just purchased the much-raved about Tarte Smooth Operator tinted moisturizer in shade 00, and I'll be sure to update this with my results.

UPDATE:  Tarte's tinted moisturizer seems to pass the skin piss-off test.  It blends in nicely but doesn't have great coverage, so I top it off with a bit of powder.  So far so good.  The Tarte stuff has a super gross clay/sunscreen smell to it for the first 30 minutes or so you wear it, though :(  Especially if you go outside!

I hope this helps, as my quest for clear skin has been quite successful.  Share your quests with me, recommend some foundations, talk about what hasn't worked for you, give me some tips!  :D



  1. I have definitely been on the journey to clear skin as well. I found that Salicylic Acid freaks my skin out too. I've been getting facials done every two weeks & a tool my estitician uses gets all the pimples out & my skin loves that. In addition I use an organic cleanser by Image & also the Image scrub that contains Benzoyl. My skin is starting to improve. But I have yet to find a foundation that doesn't clog my pores. I'm going to take your advice on the Faerie Organic foundation & see what it does for me :)

  2. My skin doesn't seem to mind Faerie Organic :) I put some more on today (I ran out of the Porcelain sample, and of course the next one up is too yellow) and there are no new pimples on my face :D I looked at some ingredients of foundations at Sephora and that Lauroyl Lysine is in just about EVERYTHING. Explains a lot >_>