Hey y’all 🙂
When it comes to wedding makeup in general, foundation is the most important part. It is, after all, the base of your bridal look. While this series will focus mainly on bridal makeup, the advice can be used by the bridal party, the mothers, or anyone else who is interested in summer event makeup. Primarily, summer wedding makeup (including beach and other hot locales) absolutely requires a long-wearing base. Nothing like sweat and humidity to break down face makeup. And on your wedding day, that is the last thing you want to happen (ok maybe not the LAST). Another necessity is a foundation that photographs well and does not flashback. You know, that hideous white cast that happens when the flash bounces off of your face and produces that ghost face in photos! Thirdly, for me at least, is a decent coverage foundation. I do not want the infamous cake face but enough to even out my skin tone and cover *SOME* of the redness caused by my leftover acne marks. I say some because a foundation’s main purpose is not to cover everything but just even out the canvas. Lastly, the foundation that works best for each person depends highly on what kind of skin the bride has, whether it be oily, combination, normal, or dry. I have extremely oily skin so a majority of the foundations I gravitate towards are marketed for having oil-controlling properties.
Over the past few months I have tested many different foundations for my wedding. I have made note of what type of skin the foundation would best suit, the longevity, the coverage, and how well the foundation performs with flash photography (including horribly unflattering pictures of me wearing them!). I do have a disclaimer about the flash performance of these foundations – professional photography almost never relies on direct flash. Direct flash is mainly used when guests take pictures with their cameras. While the professional photos will be taken with indirect flash, I personally do not want pictures of my wedding day floating around social media with a ghostly, white face and a much darker colored body. There is an awesome article that discusses this topic in greater detail with comparison pictures of other foundations as well.
With all the foundations listed and shown below, I tested them without wearing a primer or powder (I’ll have more posts discussing primers and powders and why I did not include them in this post). Not all foundations will have a corresponding picture and if not, I will explain why.
- No foundation – I wanted to include a picture of my face without any makeup. I am doing this so that you can see my chin area is naturally a little bit lighter than my neck and chest area. Just keep this in mind when looking at the other pictures.
- Estee Lauder Double Wear Light – I bought this foundation after Lafemme5278 did her wedding day makeup tutorial. I bought it for everyday use but I decided to test this out for my wedding as well. This is a lighter version of the Double Wear foundation and comes in a much better package. The light counterpart is also very long-wearing but more of a medium coverage foundation. This foundation is for a combination-to-oily skinned gal and has a similar finish to Double Wear (described below). However, Double Wear Light is not great with flash photography. I do not know how it worked out for Lindsay but I would not recommend this foundation for an evening wedding.
- Estee Lauder Double Wear – This is an amazing foundation. It controls my oil for hours longer that any other foundation I have even used or owned. This is the reason it is a cult classic – it really does ‘Stay-in-Place’ all day long. It is definitely medium-to-full coverage, verging on cake-y if not applied with caution. Double Wear has a velvet finish to it I would say. Sadly, it does not perform well at all with flash either. There is a lot of information out there and photos taken with flash of this foundation that I ended up not including a picture. Perhaps if you have a daytime wedding where cameras will not be using flash, you could get away with it. But unfortunately I do not. If not inferred, this foundation is great for oily-to-combination skin. Wonderful foundation but not recommended for an evening wedding.
- Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk – I LOVE this foundation for everyday wear. It really lives up to the hype. It is just a beautiful, weightless foundation that does not look like you are actually wearing foundation. The finish is exactly as it says, luminous. Here’s the catch – after about halfway through my workday, I will start to look really shiny. This is something that should be avoided for flash photography. Any excessive ‘glow’ coming from your skin will appear 10x worse in photographs when flash has been used. With that being said, I think this is a great foundation for brides with dry-to-normal skin. Given that some powder will be used to set it, the skin will still look amazing with this foundation and the longevity on that skin type will be great. I feel like this foundation could be sheered down to a low coverage foundation but it is more of a medium coverage one. Finally, Luminous Silk looked great with the flash photo I took shortly after I applied it – when my oil has not broken down the foundation yet. (I’m sure my co-workers are wondering why the heck flash keeps going off every day at work).
- Hourglass Immaculate – I wanted to try this foundation out since Hourglass’ Veil Mineral primer is my all-time favorite primer. I did not even bother taking a picture because I did not care for this foundation from the second I applied it. It is so matte that it even dried out my skin. My super oily skin looked like I had no idea what a moisturizer was. Oddly enough, halfway through my work day my face was shiny! It is such an odd foundation, in my opinion. It does have a nice, medium coverage. Yet, the longevity obviously was not great for me. I do not know how it performs with flash but I would not recommend this foundation.
- Lancome Teint Idole Ultra – I have loved this foundation for years. It’s one of the few foundation ranges whose lightest shade actually matches me during winter time. It has a wonderful, velvety finish and controls my oil for most of the day. I would say this is best suited for oily-to-combination skin. It also has that velvety-matte finish. The coverage is medium and I usually skip concealer when I wear this foundation (as I do when I wear Estee Lauder DW). Granted for a wedding I would still use a concealer but for everyday use I do not feel that I need it. Lastly, Teint Idole Ultra photographs interestingly with flash. I do not feel as if there is that white cast I am deathly scared of but I feel that my face is a tad-bit lighter than my neck and chest. I love how long-lasting and gorgeous this looks on my skin but I have a hard time recommending it because my skin still has a white tint to it. One of the ingredients is silica and I think that contributes to the color mismatch.
- Makeup Forever HD High Definition – This is the famous and well-loved foundation that is used for movies, television shows, red carpet appearances, and so on. If you go into any Sephora (the only store this line is carried in) and ask a sales associate for a wedding foundation recommendation, nine times out of 10 they will steer you towards this foundation. This is the reason I bought it for my college graduation. I knew I was going to be photographed a lot and I wanted my professional pictures to come out fantastic. Unfortunately, this foundation did not work well with my skin. MUFE HD is oil-free which is what almost all of my foundations are. Even though it looks STUNNING with the flash from the cameras, my face turns into an oil-slick within just a few hours. That’s with me using a primer, powder, and a setting spray. With that being said, I recommend this foundation for girls with dry and normal skin. It has a medium coverage, as do a majority of these foundations as I am now realizing. Below is a picture of a picture (hehe I have no good scanner to use) from my graduation taken with a DSLR camera and direct flash.
- Makeup Forever Mat Velvet+ – Again, another everyday foundation that I use. As the name suggests, this is a very matte foundation. I highly suggest only brides that have oil-control issues use this foundation. It is a medium-to-full buildable coverage foundation. If not applied carefully the cake face will happen, similar to Double Wear. The longevity is good. Not as good as Double Wear but way better than Luminous Silk on my skin. I’m not including a picture on this post. The only shade I have of this foundation right now is my winter shade which is way too light to test right now. I have a picture of myself wearing this foundation and the camera ended up using flash. However, I had MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation on top and that ended up causing the flashback (something that will be discussed in the powder post). I may go to Sephora, get my current shade, and test out the flash sans powder. If I do, I’ll either update this post or make a follow up post. I’m hesitant to recommend this foundation without correctly testing it but I am highly considering using it for my wedding.
So I went out to Sephora and got a sample in my current shade (knowing my Color IQ shade makes the shade selection process 10x easier and quicker!!). I tested it out and below is the picture with flash. I think this is it! My chin and cheek area are still a little bit lighter than my neck. But with all the foundations I have tested, this and the Revlon Colorstay Normal/Dry match the rest of my body the closest. It has much better coverage than Colorstay Normal/Dry which is what I was looking for in a foundation. I definitely recommend Mat Velvet+ and I will most likely be wearing it on my wedding day.
- Revlon Colorstay Normal/Dry – This is another current everyday foundation; I am really enjoying this a lot! I never thought to try this out but Lafemme5278 (can’t you tell that I love watching her?) raved about this foundation. After hearing how great the Revlon Colorstay foundations are for photography I decided to test it out. Even though this base is marketed for normal and dry skin, it controls my oil pretty well. Better than the combination/oily formulation. Who would have thought? It lasts all day long, and that’s without setting it with powder. It’s so skin-like in appearance and not heavy looking unlike its counterpart. It’s so long-lasting that I cannot even get the stain out of my beautyblender when I use oil-free eye makeup remover to clean it (great way to clean the sponge btw). It has a low-to-medium buildable coverage. I honestly think this foundation suits all skin types. The flash from my phone was no match for this foundation! It turned out great and is among the foundations I’m seriously thinking about using. Absolutely recommend this, and it’s budget-friendly!!
- Revlon Colorstay Combination/Oily – Unlike the normal/dry formulation, I did not care for the combination/oily version. Even with using the beautyblender, it’s difficult to not make this heavy looking. For sure this base has a medium coverage to it. As I previously mentioned, this foundation does not control my oil as well as I had hoped. The longevity is odd – my oil comes through midday but I feel like the foundation does not break down as I would expect. Finally, using flash with this foundation really creates that ghost face I am trying to avoid. I would not recommend this for any bride.
- Sephora Perfection Mist Airbrush – I heard great things about the Dior Airflash foundation but I also heard this was a great dupe for it (thank you Makeup Geek). I did not want to spray it all over my face so I ended up applying it with the my Airbrush Complexion Perfection brush. I spray it on the brush and stipple it onto my face. Perhaps if you spray it on the face, the coverage is better. However, to me it appeared to be a very low coverage foundation, which is something I am not looking for. You cannot even build this up to get medium coverage. It does have a great finish to the skin. I did not take a picture because I knew from application that I just would not like this at all. It did not hold up well throughout the day nor control my oil for more than a few hours. This may be a great foundation for normal-to-dry skin that has little to cover. If that sounds like you, I say try it. I would not recommend it for girls with similar skin to me. The only drawback is that given its form you cannot request a sample of it. You have to either go into Sephora and apply it there or buy it and try it at home.
Final Tips & Tricks:
- Unless the foundation you ultimately choose is a water-based or oil-based foundation (great article about how to determine type), I HIGHLY recommend using a beautyblender to apply your base. It gives a beautiful finish to almost any foundation you apply and helps with avoiding cake face. It is especially great for those with dry skin or acne-prone skin that is flaking (sorry to say) due to prescription lotions/gels/creams. You are not rubbing the foundation into the skin with a brush and irritating it. You cannot mess up makeup application with this gem.
- Match the foundation to your neck. I cannot stress this enough. If you match the foundation to your face, it will almost always be incredibly noticeable. For most women their face is a different shade and/or tone than the rest of their body. You want a seamless border between your body and face, especially on your wedding day. Do not forget to blend your foundation below your jawline and down onto your neck. In addition, go into whatever lighting situation your wedding will be in (whether it be indoors in a hotel or outdoors during the day) and make sure the foundation matches. Often times store lighting is nothing like what your venue will have.
- Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, foundation is not meant to conceal every spot or imperfection. That is the job of a concealer. Get a foundation that has just enough coverage to even out your skin tone then use a concealer to camouflage anything the foundation did not. My absolute favorite imperfection-covering concealer is Laura Mercier Secret Camoflague.
- Get a sample if possible beforehand of the foundation you want to try out and test it. Start testing different foundations a few months before the wedding and do not forget to have a trial run a few weeks before the wedding.
- Nic from Pixiwoo also did a great video on summer wedding skin. Check it out!
- Here is an informative article discussing ingredients that cause flashback and what to look out for.
To all the brides getting married, congratulations! I hope the day goes well for you. If you happen to know a bride or member of the bridal party doing their makeup, please feel free to share this information with them. If you have any questions let me know and I hope this helps!