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Stopping the Slippity Slide

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,
I consider myself a well educated consumer of “the product.” You know, anything that can be purchased on the ground floor of a department store, at Sephora or in aisle 3 of your local Walgreen’s. I am currently a devotee of Laura Mercier and have had great success with the “regimen” (a regimen which, I suspect, is simply the poor man’s proactiv)
Anyway. I just had my first baby last year (a boy! And he’s awesome! Like Noah!). The pregnancy was not easy. During my first trimester I was diagnosed with facial shingles (caused by the little booger), and placed into isolation, in a hospital, for 5 days. 5 days later, it turns out that I DIDN’T have shingles, but actually did have rosacea fulminans (1 of 8 recorded cases brought on by pregnancy. EVER. It’s true. You can google it). This condition left me with very blotchy and red skin which means I have to wear foundation… all the time.
The problem? It has finally started to get warm here. And I am finding that my foundation is melting off my face as the day goes on. I’ve tried primers with no luck. The Laura Mercier foundation is the best that I’ve found because it offers full coverage with out looking “cakey” and is oil free – yay! But. I don’t want to look like a gloppy mess…
What can I use so that I still have full coverage for my blotchy skin but won’t slide off during the day? For what it’s worth, I’ve tried Bare Escentuals and the other mineral makeup’s and have been less than impressed with their coverage…
Greasy in NYC

You KNOW I feel you on this one, babycakes. The humidity here in DC is back with a VENGEANCE and honestly, my main goal in life is to make it through the day without looking like I rubbed a stick of butter on my face. (Okay, it’s my main goal after raising a healthy and well-adjusted child. But some days it’s a toss-up.)
smashbox spf.jpgI’ve tried nearly every damn oil-free and mattifying foundation out there (Sue Devitt is my favorite), but sadly, there’s no one-stop miracle in a bottle for us. I’m curious as to which foundation primers you tried — that’s the most essential step for me. I use the Smashbox Photo Finish, and a reader recently emailed to say she found the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch to be even better. (For the record, I found Philosophy’s The Present to be completely useless — I think it’s better suited for extremely dry skin.) I’ve never tried Laura Mercier’s, so I don’t know how it compares to the Smashbox. That stuff, I swear, is practically space-agey. My make-up does not budge, and if you and your red blotches haven’t tried the green color-correcting version, I’d really encourage you to take another stab at primers.
foundation.jpgAnother essential tool is the foundation brush. It’s been awhile since I did much tub-thumping for foundation brushes, but yeah. One-trick pony here. Applying foundation with your fingers is bad. That’s a No and an Uh-uh and a Do Not Do. (Moisturizers and primers are okay to apply with clean fingers, since they naturally protect your skin from outside crud. Foundation pretty much IS crud, and conducts the crud on your hands, and I know I’m veering into Bizarro Made-Up Cosmetic Sciencey Land, Population Amy, the Helioplex and Fruit Micro-Waxology, but you get the idea.)
And then! You are still not done. I know. But you need a good, oil-free pressed powder for touch-ups throughout the day. Pat those shiny patches (forehead, nose, cheeks) as often as you need to. In the winter I like using a translucent loose powder to “set” my makeup for the day, but find that it’s powerless against the summer shine. Neutrogena makes a good one, as do Benefit and Clinique. (Just promise me you’ll also buy a bag of replacement spongey things and REPLACE THE SPONGEY THING occasionally.)
If you still find that your makeup is gone by lunchtime, you could possibly try a foundation powder (like this one by Laura Mercier) for more coverage. But at that point I might start thinking about changing your foundation all together, because seriously. A $40 high-end foundation shouldn’t be THAT hard to keep on all day.
One other non-product-y tip: Do whatever it takes to keep your face cool during the day. Use one of those handheld fan things, or stick your face in the freezer for 30 seconds. Maybe spritz some mineral water spray whenever you feel a little sweaty. (Okay, so that is a product-y tip. Never mind.)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Stephanie

    May 2, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Smashbox primer rocks the house! I have been using it for the last 6 months and my makeup stays! I also have rosecea and I use bare escentuals, but as soon as I would get warm, off it came. Now my makeup stays so much better.
    On a side note: if you are trying to cover your rosecea with bare escentuals, you can’t just use the foundation. You need the multi-tasking minerals and the full coverage brush (not the Kabuki). I use the multi-tasking to cover my dark circles under my eyes, the redness on my cheeks and any blemishes (yep…still getting zits at 36). Then I put on the foundation with the Kabuki. It makes a huge difference.

  • Krisbell

    May 2, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Makeup Forever has been my saving grace. I have tried every.single oil-free foundation out there (even did Sue Devitt for a while), and nothing works like this. Makeup Forever Mat Velvet is truly the best coverage without clogging up my pores. I use it (although, Amy, I promise to switch to a brush) along with their loose powder everyday. During the day, a few pats of pressed and I pretty much look the same at the end of the day as at the beginning. My only complaint? They recently revamped their terrible packaging and STOPPED MAKING MY COLOR. I found a little boutique in downtown Boston that still had 2 bottles, but after that, I’m lost.

  • jodifur

    May 2, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    I 2nd the bare minerals, but also, I use the smashbox photo primer under it, and then use the bare minerals. And in the dead of summer, I use the primer, bare minerals mineral veil, and then the foundation. It really keeps it on.

  • linda

    May 2, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    If you, like me, cannot get the hang of using a foundation brush, I highly recommend this: It is beyond perfect for the inept amongst us (that would be me). Do not mistake it for your typical makeup sponge, because it is not. The closest analogy I can come up with is that it’s like using your fingers but much, much, much more gentle. I find I can even smooth concealer without having it pull on my skin (another feat of wonder for me).
    I read about the beautyblender sponge on a beauty news group and was sucked into buying one. It was not a mistake and now I wish I had gotten two. Available many places, including
    I have rosacea and also don’t do well with mineral makeups. I find using this sponge gives me more even coverage, as I’m sure a foundation brush would, *if* I could get the hang of using one! Blotting papers are a staple for me in the summer, followed with a light dusting of pressed powder.
    (disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with this product, but I do tend to be a bit preachy about it. It is *that* wonderful!)
    p.s. Congratulations on your son!

  • margot

    May 2, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve had success with this issue using the new Cosmedicine Matte Finish Moisturizer, SPF 20. I have oily skin and this is the only moisturizer that keeps the shine at bay. COMPLETELY. I also use Smashbox’s primer and find they work well together. (I’ve used the Smashbox primer with other moisturizers that have caused the lotion to peel off my skin in gummy flakes. Bleah.) It’s a bit of a different texture though, it’s basically a paste that you pat on your skin. There’s no smoothing or rubbing in, so that took some getting used to. But once I got past that, I’ve been in love ever since!

  • Cindy

    May 2, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    I’m a Bare Minerals user, too, and I do love it. No goopy, gloppyness on my face. I have some pretty heavy freckles (and am starting to get what I believe is an age spot — gasp!) and it covers them pretty nicely. I have always thought about using a primer, so I might have to give the Smashbox a try since Jodifur has had a good experience with it.

  • TheHolls

    May 2, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Since I live in the record-high, so-hot-your-lungs-feel-like-damp-towels-from-the-gym South, it would seem that I am plenty well-suited to answer this question. Except that, alas, I still have not teased out the secret to this eternal makeup struggle despite three years living here. I’m currently on a regimen that involves a face made very dry by copious quantities of Retin-A and BenzaClin, so the greasies are not as bad as usual. But, in my last go-around with the oily cheek and forehead monster, I turned to a little something I got at my derm’s office called OC8. The box proffers some jabber about how it “locks the oil into your pores” or somesuch, and while that does not SOUND especially healthy, I grabbed it and ran, having heard many a positive thing about it. And while it was oddly gelatinous and smelled downright medicinal, I worshiped at its altar for a good six weeks, whence it seemed to indeed be a miracle potion. But then my face broke out in such a spectacular fashion that it required a lashing with antibiotics. And I gave the rest of the tube to my best friend and suggested she try it for her wedding (does this make me Evil Bad Friend?). It may just be that I have hyper-sensitive skin and that’s what made me break out from it, but I can definitely vouch for it helping foundation to have serious staying power. Beyond that, if you haven’t already scrounged up the Laura Mercier foundation primer (which, per my gal at Sak’s, is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL), I recommended that, too. It feels kind of nice and soothy when you put it on.
    Good luck!!


    May 2, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you! I picked up the teeniest, tiniest bottle of The Present at Sephora (may have been travel size?) and it did nothing to control the oil and cause me to break out… oh the joy of super-duper oily skin. Guess I’ll be trying the Smashbox… thankfully my company is paying for half of my MBA… maybe they will pay for half of my new car too? Need larger makeup budget!

  • NewfieldBella

    May 3, 2007 at 8:20 am

    I live in Louisiana, which is french for horrific amounts of humidity daily. Bare Escentuals works better with the Smashbox primer. I’m still a bit meh about it. I use more product that suggested to get the coverage I want. You must cover with the mineral veil for it to stay.
    Another suggestion is to try NARS oil free foundation. Its a bit pricey, but has excellent coverage and looks very natural. Most importantly, this foundation has amazing staying power — even during the most humid day.

  • Wood

    May 3, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    I’m new to foundation (so I have nothing to compare this to), but I love Sue Devitt’s whipped something or other foundation. This:
    It is light and creamy and dreamy and doesn’t go anywhere.


    May 3, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Oh and another thing, or two (because I know you can’t get enough of my comments – must stop drinking and commenting!). I use the regimen along with the Philosophy acne kit (because, again, OILY skin) and they compliment each other nicely. I use Kern’s face wash in the morning as gentle cleanser and the 2.5% bp day and night. At night it’s full on Philosophy blitz except for the salicylic acid which I can only use maybe once a week? Too much does bad things to my skin. I also recently switched to their mineral foundation and lemme tell you, all of this has changed my skin. I mean CHANGED. But I do still get shiny midday, because, you know, I could never be a complete, polished, clear skinned goddess because nature’s not fair that way. Oh, and I’m 35. And until I started this I had bad clogged pores and breakouts but that has all changed thanks, in part, to Amalah!

  • eadesq

    May 6, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve wondered about your position on fingers vs. makeup brushes. I use Bare Minerals so I’m kinda committed to using brushes whether I like it or not. But I often wonder, isn’t it easier to wash fingers in antibacterial soap than it is to wash and de-funk my brushes completely?
    By the way, for my blotchey sisters out there who need a wee bit more coverage with the bare minerals type make ups, dampen the concealer brush a little before you apply the powder minerals and it’ll provide a better foundation. Blend it in and then follow with the big fat brush and it’ll look great.