Hey, I'm getting hits via the author Scott Westerfeld's blog! I had a quick look and couldn't find a link - can anyone explain this mystery? I'm very happy about it, anyway. ^^
This post is a reader request from Jacqueline, who said, "I've been looking for someone to do a post on foundation/makeup for lighter skintones. Being very pale, I have a huge problem matching up my color with drugstore foundations and not looking bright orange. Of course, I could google "pale skin foundation" but their "goes on like a dream! Highest quality!" could translate to "somewhere between melted marshmallows and chalk" when I buy it."
I figured I'd better expand and talk also about foundation in general, however, as I don't want another telling-off from Emily Lynn. ;-) Also, Jacqueline, I ONLY JUST REALISED that you are the blogmistress of the very awesome Doomicorn Rainbow. D'oh.
Tinted moisturiser is often useless for Goths as it tends to contain bronzer rather than actual foundation. Whilst not all Goths are ghostly-pale, we don't (usually) want a sun-kissed glow... If you want the light coverage of a tinted moisturiser, make sure that the product contains a small amount of foundation, not bronzer.
It is important to try out a few products in the store before you buy; not only to make sure you're choosing the right shade but to make sure that the product is right for you. Try rubbing it into the back of your hand, then press a hanky or tissue against it to see how much of it rubs off. All foundations will slip a bit during the day, but you don't want to leave orange marks all over your clothes if you can help it.
Testing the product also allows you to determine if the coverage is what you want. If you have blemishes and/or an uneven skin tone, medium coverage will go some way towards providing a flawless base. I you have good skin that just needs a little evening-up, lighter coverage will be fine. Those with mature skin should bear in mind that a heavy coverage of foundation will sink into fine lines and creases and actually make them appear worse.
Foundations with yellow tones are the most natural-looking on all skin tones; if you are very fair, however, you may need a cooler, pink-toned shade. There are product lines available specifically for those with dark skin - these foundations do not contain titanium dioxide, which has a tendency to make dark skins look unhealthy and grey-ish.
If you are extremely fair and find it difficult to find a colour that matches your skin tone, you could buy a white foundation from a brand such as Stargazer, Manic Panic or Bloody Mary (widely available online or possibly in your local alt shop) and blend it with a pale drugstore foundation. That way you don't need to worry about finding an exact match in-store as you can create one at home. Blend the two shades together on the back of your hand (or you could be more hygienic and use a make-up palette...) with a foundation sponge until you are satisfied with the colour match.
Remember, Gothlings, even if you crave the pale look, buying a foundation more than two shades lighter than your natural skin tone is likely to look slightly ridiculous. Very pale darklings may be tempted to buy Halloween whiteface products - this is an unwise move. Most of these are bad quality and may cause breakouts, as they are heavy and will clog the pores. Even good quality Halloween foundations from brands such as Snazaroo are more akin to face-paint than 'proper' make-up. This means they will feel heavy and uncomfortable on your skin.
Again, if you covet the pallid look, buy a proper white foundation (honestly, I swear by Stargazer) and mix with your normal foundation; or buy a foundation one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. And blend like your life depends on it.
To tell if the products you're testing are the right shade to match your skin, apply a small amount of each on your jawbone or cheek and pop out of the shop into natural light (obviously, you need a compact mirror). The sample that matches your skin will be practically invisible - the right foundation should disappear into your skin.
When most people apply their make-up, they put on their foundation first and then their eye make-up. However, if you often wear heavy eye make-up, it might be worth your while to get your eyes perfect first and then apply foundation, as this saves you the bother of eye shadow speckles all over your finished foundation. Also, you should always apply your concealer before your foundation otherwise you might just wipe it off with your foundation sponge. Foundation also helps conceal a little bit, which means you need slightly less concealing product.
The colour of your concealer should match your foundation. If it's not a perfect match, blend a little concealer and foundation together. Using a clean ring finger or small brush, dab concealer lightly onto the centre of any blemishes and blend outwards. After applying foundation, you can add a little more concealer onto any blemishes that are not quite covered.
You may also wish to have a look around for neutralisers, aka colour correctors - these products usually come in a stick or a cream and are applied beneath foundation. They are odd colours - lilac, green and peach, and are used respectively for neutralising blue tones (e.g. dark undereye circles), red tones (e.g. blemishes, rosy cheeks - helpful for the very pallid look) and yellow tones (e.g. sallow skin).
To apply your foundation, the best tool you can use is a wedge-shaped sponge (you can grab a whole pack of these in Poundland). Dunk it in cold water, then squeeze out most of the water. This helps the sponge 'flow' over the skin and stops it soaking up too much product. You can also use a large, flat make-up brush.
Start application at the forehead and work quickly downwards and outwards (including over the eyes and lips). Make sure to blend the edges around the jaw line thoroughly to avoid tell-tale 'tide marks'. Use a cotton bud to blend the products over the very edges of the face where fine hair grows, and over the eyebrows.
You can also use contouring techniques to help disguise your least favourite features and flatter the shape of your face. Use a small amount of blush or *gasp* bronzer on a large round brush. Apply to the sides of your chin to narrow a wide or square jawline; to your temples to contour a large forehead; to the sides of your nose to make it appear narrower; or below your cheekbones to add definition. If you like, add a small amount of highlighter to your cheekbones and brow bones for a radiant appearance and extra definition.
To finish the look and help 'set' your foundation, use powder. Translucent powder will not change the colour of the foundation you have carefully chosen and so is always a safe bet. For a paler look, use white powder. Use a large powder brush; tap off any excess onto the back of your hand and brush lightly over the face, again starting at the top and working outwards and downwards.
Goth gossip: Goth rock band No Redemption have written songs and directed the soundtrack for horror movie The Stone, coming out later this year.
P.S. I've had no offers yet for an April guest post. Anyone got any ideas?