Repost Series #4: Primer and Foundation, Together: Find Your Perfect Combo

Makeup doesn’t always get along. You learned the hard way to keep the concealer far away from the highlighter, like fighter fish in your makeup bag. But what about foundation and primer? If your combo of choice left you with a gravelly texture or a shade of beige you didn’t even know existed, you might just need a few tips from Cristina Bartolucci, chief creative director of NYX and co-founder of DuWop.

According to Bartolucci, there are two basic methods for using these two products together: one is primer first with foundation layered on top, and the other is actually mixing your primer and foundation together. “It all depends on the results you’re looking for. Primer works on the principle of layers, so if you want that full effect, you need to do it in steps,” says Bartolucci. But that doesn’t mean she never mixes. “That method is great if you want lighter coverage. Modern primers have all sorts of great skincare ingredients and wonderful textures. Mix them with makeup and you get a super-charged, tinted moisturizer that can work beautifully.”

Here are the basic steps for getting both methods right.

Method 1: Primer, Then Foundation | full coverage

1: Apply primer in a thin layer all over the face, then smooth and fill.
2: Let it set for just a minute.
3: Lightly dot and blend foundation only where you need it (on the cheeks, forehead, chin); you don’t need to coat the whole face.

Method 2: Primer + Foundation, Mixed | lighter coverage

1: In the palm of your hand, mix your primer and foundation with your other index finger. A fifty-fifty combo will give you the effect of a light, tinted moisturizer. Bartolucci likes 2/3 foundation to 1/3 primer for a medium coverage effect.
2: When it’s well-blended, dot the mixture onto your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, then blend well. Avoid rubbing large amounts all over your face—it might turn mask-like.
3: If your primer made the finish more dewy than you wanted, dust translucent powder to set. If your primer contains a mattifier, you can skip this step.




Repost Series #3 : Anatomy of a Beauty Product: Liquid Foundations

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and the same goes for liquid foundations. BB and CC creams, “HD” liquid foundations, foundations with matte or illuminating finishes—they all help create smooth, even-looking skin. But sometimes choosing the right complexion product can feel daunting. Have no fear! “Even with all of the options, it’s easy to find a liquid foundation for your skin type, as long as you know what ingredients to look for,” says Jenny Frankel, a beauty engineering consultant, former cosmetics formulator, and president at Frankly Beauty, Inc.

One thing to keep in mind is that most foundations are made up of the same basic ingredients. What changes are the additives. Compounds like peptides, vitamins, sunscreen, and botanical extracts can alter the skin benefits, finish, and durability of the products. The pigment concentration varies, too. For example, tinted moisturizers and BB creams may contain as little as 2% pigmentation for a sheer finish, while moderate- to full-coverage foundations might have 15% or more.

To help you make the most educated choice, we asked Frankel to help us break down the science behind foundations.

Key Science: Water-in-Silicone Emulsions

Most often, liquid foundations glide on smoothly and disperse pigments evenly across skin thanks to water-in-silicone emulsions. The term refers to silicone derivatives that are mixed (but not dissolved) in water. Silicone derivatives are silky, soft, and slick, which helps create smooth, streak-free coverage that looks and feels like a second skin. These compounds are also used to create longer-wearing and waterproof formulas that don’t feel greasy. Pigments—minerals such as titanium dioxides or iron oxides—are typically coated with silicone derivatives, too, so they disperse evenly in the water and silicone base.

Check out the list of ingredients on the back of your liquid foundation. The first ingredient is almost always water, followed by one or more of the following silicone derivatives: cyclopentasiloxane, phenyl trimethicone, or dimethicone.

Note: While the majority of liquid foundations are made up of water-in-silicone emulsions, it’s not always the case. A few traditional formulations may also be oil-in-water emulsions, which is similar to how moisturizers are made.

Other Ingredients: The Breakdown


examples: dimethicone crosspolymer, polysilicone-11
what they do: Silicone and water don’t mix well, so emulsifiers help keep the components from separating; they also help foundations feel soft and smooth on the skin and provide even pigment coverage.


examples: titanium dioxides, iron oxides
what they do: These are minerals that add color to the liquid foundation; pigmentation can range from 2% to more than 15%, depending on how much coverage you want.

Volatile Ingredients

examples: cyclomethicone, isohexadecane, and isododecane
what they do: These stay fluid just long enough for you to build and blend your foundation and then vaporize (change from a solid or liquid to a vapor)—setting the foundation and creating a longer-wearing, non-greasy finish.

Mineral Clays

examples: quaternium-90 bentonite, silica, kaolin, Amazonian clay
what they do: Absorb oil to create a finish that feels drier to the touch; matte and oil-absorbing foundations have them in higher concentrations.

Emollients and Humectants

examples: glycerin, squalane, capric or caprylic triglyceride
what they do: Keep skin hydrated by absorbing water molecules from the air (humectants) or locking in skin’s natural moisture (emollients).

Illuminating Powders

examples: mica, bismuth oxychloride
what they do: Reflect light to add radiance and soften imperfections in HD formulas; they help to create a flawless appearance for HD cameras.


examples: phenoxyethanol, parabens, food-grade potassium sorbate
what they do: Protect the foundation from microbial contamination.

Note, more natural formulations in air-tight containers may offer preservative-free formulations.

The Last Word

“Buy foundation in a tube or pump, rather than a bottle with an open mouth, to help avoid microbial contamination,” suggests Frankel.



Repost Series #1: Glossary: Defining The Ingredients In Your Favorite Skincare Products

Big words and fancy scientific language may make your favorite product sound effective, but how many of us really know what all these terms really mean? We browsed the skincare aisle and selected some of most mystifying terminology to create our glossary below (and don’t worry, we left out the science speak so there’s no translation needed).



Allantoin naturally occurs with the oxidation of uric acid in the body, and while allantoin is naturally found in many mammals, a synthetic version is used in cosmetics. According to numerous tests, the lab-made version is just as effective at not only moisturizing, but even helping to shed the top layer of skin cells, giving skin a fresh appearance. It’s a major player in our Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body moisturizer which keeps our arms and legs smooth and toned in ways we weren’t aware of before.

Colloidal Gold


It’s the main player in our Gold Omorovicza line, but what exactly is colloidal gold? When one substance is broken down and blended with another in order to enhance its distributive effects, it becomes a colloid. This one is actual gold, broken down into microscopic particles which are then blended into these products. The mineral helps soothe skin and restore elasticity and firmness, and the key to its effectiveness is its colloidal properties.



Humectants, in a nutshell, keep things hydrated. Not only does this substance retain moisture, it attracts it, drawing moisture from the air. In the case of our Korres Showergel, it distributes moisture onto your wet skin. Humectants are a key ingredient at making the most of your daily moisturizers effective. They’re even used in some medications to improve system absorption. Humectants are the friend your skin never knew it had.



An ointment is a type of formula that is different from a cream or a lotion. Don’t expect this formula to be light and creamy—instead, it tends to be thick, greasy, and likely clear in color. While a balm is waxy, an ointment is heavier and more wet feeling. Because of its super thick consistency and high concentration of water, ointments are excellent at hydrating the skin. The ointment formula is the reason our Lucas’ Papaw Remedy Ointment is so effective at hydrating dry patches, soothing chapped lips, healing surface wounds, and more.



The plainest of fabrics available, this basic, unbleached cotton cloth is what dressmakers use to create pattern mock-ups. So what does it have to do with beauty? Our Eve Lom Muslin Cleansing Cloths say it all. The basic bleach and dye-free quality of good muslin makes it an excellent wash cloth and provides a light exfoliation effect. Using a wash cloth regularly can help remove makeup and debris at the end of a long day, as well as loosen clogged pores, preventing blackheads and limiting the need for extractions.



Squalane is a hydrogenated oil derivative of squalene, an organic compound which, in the case of ourIndie Lee Facial Oil, is derived from olives. Our skin cells produce it naturally, as just one of the many ways our body keeps itself lubricated and moisturized from the inside out. Once hydrogenated, squalane is highly resistant to oxidation, making it useful in preventing discoloration and age spots—our own body’s way of oxidizing. Harvesting it from the livers of sharks used to be the most popular way to obtain it, but it took 3000 sharks to produce just one ton of the precious oil. Now it is most often derived from plant sources like olives. Thank goodness for cruelty-free alternatives.