Laying the Foundation!

For my very first post I thought I would jump right in and tackle the product everyone asks about.....Foundation!

We have all pondered the question, "Which foundation is right for me?" Whether we are standing at a department store counter, in the drug store aisles or online searching beauty websites, foundations are a mystery and can be costly if you purchase the product and then discover it was not right for you! I am always asked the question, "Which foundations do I use personally or carry in my professional kit?" So, here are the answers and reviews.

CREME FOUNDATION: Tricia Sawyer Beauty makes the best creme foundation I have used - the formula blends smoothly and won't settle into any fine lines or wrinkles. Invented by celebrity makeup artist, Tricia Sawyer, this foundation consists of two colors (a warm and cool tone) which can be blended together to achieve your exact skin tone match. It also has buildable coverage, which means you can use as much or as little as you need to achieve your desired look. I highly recommend purchasing Tricia Sawyer Beauty's Foundation Brush as well to insure the best application however, if you tend to have very oily skin using a cosmetic sponge to apply this product may work better. I use this product both personally and professionally. This foundation can be purchased in a number of places including:, online at or from QVC.

LIQUID FOUNDATION: Makeup Forever's Face and Body Liquid Makeup is an incredible product. It is light, fresh and leaves a slight sheen of powder on the skin for a very natural effect. Founder Dany Sanz is a total perfectionist and only creates products that work. I keep this product handy for use on all of my clients who prefer a liquid foundation over a creme. You can purchase Makeup Forever at any local Sephora.

I also love L'Oreal's True Match Foundation. If you mainly shop drugstore brands then this is the foundation you should try. It comes in a rainbow of colors with warm, neutral, cool & depth undertones depending on your skin color. Goes on smoothly with a sheer coverage. Doesn't leave your skin feeling dry or oily. Carried at all the major drug stores such as CVS, Longs, Rite Aid and Walgreens and also available at Target, Walmart and some grocery stores.

POWDER FOUNDATION: Nars Cosmetics makes one of the best powder foundations available to consumers. I keep the entire powder foundation line in my kit because I found that it performs well for film and television with incredible coverage and because men prefer this type of foundation over a heavy creme or liquid application. I also use it for contouring and for blush because of it's amazing pigmentation. Sold at Nars online, Sephora and other high-end retailers.

I also love MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation and use it on several of my younger clients. Provides great coverage and comes in a variety of shades. Sold at MAC Stores, MAC online or Nordstrom.

TINTED MOISTURIZERS: I love Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer (Oil Free)! It is a wonderful oil free, lightweight, buildable foundation that works with all skin types, especially those with sensitive, oily or acne prone skin. It controls dryness, prevents excessive oil buildup and provides sun protection with a built-in SPF 20. Great for teens! I use this product personally and professionally. Sold at Sephora and Nordstrom.

MINERAL FOUNDATION: There are several products available to you if you prefer a more natural approach to your foundation. Bare Escentuals is the most popular of all the mineral brands and it does a great job in providing the skin with pure ingredients, free of preservatives, talc, oil, fragrance and other skin irritants. It also has a built-in SPF-15 and is a very fine, loose powder. I have used Bare Escentuals personally and enjoyed the feeling and coverage, but on a professional basis I can not use mineral product because of coverage needs when shooting film, television or print, as well as I have found that mineral makeup tends to have a reflective nature when used with flash photography.

ETHNIC FOUNDATION: If you are a person who has darker skin and have a hard time finding a foundation that matches your skin tone, here are a few cosmetic companies that might have a product to meet your needs:

MAC Cosmetics - has many foundations in creme, powder and liquid form that should have a match for you.

Black Radiance is a drug store brand catering to African American women. This foundation comes in a creme foundation form (in a stick-type formula). It is lightweight and has an SPF 15. You can purchase Black Radiance at CVS, Walgreens and other retailers.

Thevi Cosmetics is an online retailer representing consumers of the Asian, South Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, African and Mediterranean descent. They make an incredible liquid powder foundation with an SPF 15. This product is enriched with Vitamins E and C for anti-oxidant protection and Vitamin A for skin conditioning. You can purchase this product at

I carry the MAC Cosmetic brand in my professional kit and use it on all types of ethnicity's. I have found that in my line of work when I need a heavier type of coverage that this cosmetic line works the best however, I do know several women who swear by MAC for everyday use.

A few more foundation lines that I enjoy and use professionally:

Dior, Cle de peau, Era Cosmetics, Prescriptives, Chanel, Visiora, Bobbi Brown (these are all in my professional kit).

As with all foundation, concealer or powder, please make sure your skin is properly prepped with a good skin care regime and primer prior to applying coverage cosmetics.

TIP OF THE DAY: Creams on top of creams - powder on top of powder! In other words - if you are using a creme or liquid foundation make sure to set it with a translucent powder prior to applying any type of powder blush or shadow! If you are using a creme blush - use right after foundation or concealer and then powder to set!

Please remember that this blog is based on my professional opinion and all product reviews are based on product performance I have witnessed either from using the product personally or on my clients professionally. I hope I was able to provide you with concrete advice and help regarding foundation products and please let me know if you have tried another type of product I have not listed here. I am always on the look out for the next "best" foundation!


  1. Melissa, This is a very helpful commentary on the dizzying array of foundations. I have used Tricia Sawyer product and have to agree with you that her creme foundation is one of the best. Initially I felt that it was a bit heavy for everyday use but have discovered that when I am photographed, it delivers the best uniform skin tone for me.

    I tend to have dry skin, especially during the winter and I have found tinted moisturizers to be a great solution: moisture, coverage and SPF (a must have for my fair skin!) I began using Kiehl's Facial Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15 Sunscreen. It is lightweight and hydrating. The coverage is even when used with a cosmetic sponge and does not leave a greasy feel like sunscreens tend to do. Kiehl's is well known for their skin care line that incorporates natural products such Chamomile and plant extracts.

  2. Hi Average Girl!

    Thank you so much for your insight!! I will have to check out Kiehl's Tinted Moisturizers. I love their skin care line and I didn't realize they also had the tinted moisturizer too! Kiehl's also makes a fragrance that I love and is my go-to scent!

    As far as Tricia Sawyer Beauty's Foundation - remember you can use that foundation as concealer. That is the beauty of the TSB line - each product has several uses!

    Appreciate your comment! Keep tuning in for more reviews!

  3. Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for these recommendations. I have the Nars powder and Make Up For Ever liquid foundations on my (ever so long) to try list!

    What brush do you recommend with the Nars powder foundation? Do you use a kabuki, or a regular powder blush?

  4. Karen,

    Good question about the brush....I feel a future post coming on...for me the brush depends on the coverage I am seeking. I love a kabuki for more coverage and a very fluffy powder brush for a lighter coverage. The Nars Powder Foundation is a great product and I highly recommend it - the pigmentation is incredible and I love to use the darker colors for contouring or blush! MUFE is just an overall incredible product line - how can you go wrong with anything Dany Sanz makes?

  5. Hey Melissa! I love your new blog! Thanks for the great advice. I love how detailed you are- it is really helpful. I only have NARS color products, but am thinking I should look into the powder foundations now!
    Thanks! :)

  6. Hi Cathi!

    Thanks so much - make sure to hit the "subscribe" button on my blog and then send this out to all your friends and family! This was my first post so it is kinda long, but you know me - I have a lot to say and teach! Knowledge is power right? Check out those Nars Powder Foundations - you won't regret it!

  7. Welcome to the blogging community! You will have a lot of faithful followers with this subject.

    I'm currently using Nars firming foundation because it is actually light enough for me in the color Siberia.

  8. Hi Closet Therapist and thanks for the welcome! I am a HUGE fan of almost all things Nars - what an amazing line! Francois Nars is a genius and I love how his product line totally empowers women! Check out their "how to" videos on the Nars website - really great info!

  9. This is a great post, Melissa! I am looking forward to reading all you have to say on the very confusing world of makeup!!

    I have very fair, acne prone always fighting a breakout or covering up old red scars. What do you recommend for a foundation? I like a light, natural "no-make-up" look, but also need decent coverage.

    Thanks so much!!

  10. Hi Mrs. MK!

    Thanks for subscribing and hopefully you will find answers to all your puzzling makeup questions on this blog.

    As far as your foundation question is concerned - all of the foundations I have featured on this post will give you great coverage, but it sounds like your issue is also about breakout. You may want to invest in a great primer and see if that helps. Which foundation product are you currently using?

  11. Right now I am using Lancome Waterproof Concealer for spot correcting and undereye circles, then a mineral powder. Which primer would you recommend? I was just viewing the NARS how-to videos and noticed their use of a primer.

  12. It is funny that you ask about my primer recommendation - and I must beg of you to be patient because that is my next post on this blog - can you wait? I promise to put it up first thing Monday morning! Lancome makes a great concealor, but you may want to bump up your foundation arsenal to include the Tricia Sawyer Beauty Foundation I mentioned - it is a creme, but it is buildable - use a little (like a concealer) or a lot (all over face) - the beauty of it is that it is a foundation, but is so highly pigmented that you can use it for spot treatment too!

  13. Oh, I can wait!! :-)

    Thanks for the advice!! A shopping I will go!!!

  14. I am loving this blog already! I feel completely ignorant about makeup and I think this will be a great help. I'd love to see a post on eyeshadow (for dummies!) and one about dark under-eye circles (especially, how to get coverage without caking it on).

  15. Hi Kara AP!

    Thanks for your comment and you have made a great suggestion about two important topics! So stay tuned - I am sure I will be addressing both eye shadow and concealers for those pesky under-eye circles!

  16. Welcome to the blogging world.. This has has all the makings of an awesome blog!

    Melissa, you've mentioned primers at the end of your post, and in my opinion it is one of the products most lauded, but least discussed. Could you write a post on primers as well.. because as you mention.. they precede foundation!!

    All the best!!

  17. I'm so glad I found your blog! Foundation is the one thing that has always mystified me. It's taken me years to finally stumble into a makeup routine that even mostly works for me, and I've had a lot of really...not pretty results before getting here!

    I'll definitely be subscribing to your blog so I can catch any of your tips in the future. Sadly, a lot of the brands you mention are out of my price range right now, but I can at least keep them in mind when I've got a bit more disposable income.

  18. Hi Mary! Thanks for commenting and maybe you could check out the L'Oreal line - the really great thing about drug store brands is they go on sale!!! Woooo Hoooo! I think the Sally Hansen line is having a 50% off sale at Longs Drugs now!

  19. Love your recommendations. NARS, Make Up For Ever and MAC are some of my top favorites. I've been searching (high and low) for a really good cream foundation, so I'm glad to know you recommend Tricia Sawyer. I'll have to give it a try. I've been using Paula Dorf's for a couple of years, and I LOVE IT, but it's always fun to try something new. And being a former pro make-up artist myself, I trust your picks. :)


  20. Hi GirlPaint! Tricia's foundations are awesome! I love using creme foundations for most of my work and only in HD - I also recommend checking out Eve Pearl's line too. Very similar to the TSB line, but their colors are different. I have both of those lines in my kit along with some Visiora creme foundations too. Being a former pro - you will find all of these foundations to your liking! Enjoy and glad I could help! I will check out your blog!

  21. Thanks for this blog. I finally feel I need a foundation to even out my skin tone, I am in my 40's and am expreiencing acne for the first time in my life. I have been using clinique concealer for 20 plus years and it does a good job of covering circles and zits if I use sparingly and with a brush. This product is now too dry for under my eyes, so I mix in eye creme with it, but it smears my mascara.
    I like the idea of a tinted moisturizer and my friend in her 50s loves the Kiehls tinted moisturizer. Have you tried it yet? How does it compare to the Laura Mercier product? I have tried bare minerals foundation powder, not thrilled, goes into lines and does not last. Any ideas for under eye concealer, foundation (lighter preferred) and acne prone skin? It is time for a change in my routine!! Thank you

  22. Hi Staci! Getting older sucks huh? I am also in my 40's and found that my skin really changed when I hit that milestone. I do love the Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer and the Tinted Kiehl's Moisturizer is the love of the other "pro" who is part of this blog - so it is a win/win which ever product you choose! As far as a concealer - I am loving and singing the praises of Eve Pearl's Salmon Concealer these days because of the ingredients she put into the formulation. You should check out my post called Disappearing Act and then the Center Stage post about Eve - there is a 20% coupon offered to the In My Pro readers from Eve. It is totally worth your money and please review her website and videos - she explains all about her product line and it's ingredients. Hope this helps!

  23. Thanks for the helpful and speedy information!
    I will check it out and let you know. I just snuck out and picked up the LM tinted moisturizer and will try it out. This looks to be my new beauty blog bible.

  24. Amen Sister! Thanks for the support! I think you will love LM - her line is really great!