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I already have a certain degree of doubt when mixing products because I'm paranoid that certain ingredients can interfere with those in other products. That's a big reason why I do try to keep things as simple as possible and use the least amount of products. That, and I'm lazy, haha.
Anyway, without getting to my paranoid hypotheses, there is still an important principle we all must follow. Whether it's skincare or make up, use like products. So if you are using an oil based moisturizer, then your primer and foundation should be oil based also. Same with water or silicone based skincare products and make up. Just picture mixing oil with water. You can't, right? If you mix products that are water and oil based on your skin, they aren't going to blend nicely together and they'll start melting off your skin. Simple, yes. But have you ever read the ingredients list? I spent hours trying to decode them, and looking at the back of my current moisturizers, primers, and foundations.
Silicone based products are easy to tell for the most part because of their texture. I'm sure many of you have tried the Smashbox photo finish primer. It has this real slippery texture which is great for smoothing out uneven textures, but with my oily T-zone, it was a big no-no. In any case, look at the first 5 or so ingredients to check for silicones. They will end in something like -silicone, -cone, -silicate, -siloxane. Oil based makeup have oils and emollients, etc. The water based ones may indicate somewhere that it's oil free, a gel formula, or the something like that.
This site gave info on what foundations/primers are water or silicone based
Of course, you have to make sure that you are using the right type for your skin. I have combination skin, and especially in the summer, I have dreadful oily skin. So with oily skin, we don't want oil based products, it's just gonna make everything slosh around on your face (unless you add another step to control oil). Something water based is more suitable for oily skin, and so for my T-Zone as well. What about my dry cheeks, you ask? Well I have some dry patches, large pores, and acne scars that need to be covered up. Silicone based products are better to cover up pores, and I seriously need to exfoliate now that it's dry and cold.
After you figure out what your skin type is and what exactly it needs, you may have to do a lot to change around your skincare routine. Keep in mind that your skin needs about two weeks to adjust to new routines, and if you get you routine right, it's going to cut down on your oil production or whatever your skin problems are so that when you proceed with your makeup application, you have a nice, blank, smooth canvas to work on.
I will do a separate skin care post another time, so let's get back to the makeup. So now that your skin is all prepped hypothetically speaking, you can use a primer if you'd like to help your make up last longer. Using a good moisturizer for your skin type may be enough , however. If you have normal skin, you are lucky my friend, just use what you prefer. With oily skin, a water based primer and/or foundation would be your best bet. Dry skin? Look for something moisturizing: oil based, cream, mousse... If you have combination, it's a bit tricky because it really depends on how "combo" you are, lol. You may be able to get away with oil based products, you may not, you may want to try mineral, but then again, it may not work. Just make sure your skincare is on point, and if you still have oil, use an oil control gel on those trouble areas, along with oil free/mattifying products that are water based.
So here are some good primers I like. Of course a popular one is Embryolisse, which can be used as a moisturizer, a primer, and even a makeup remover. They have different types, even a mattifying one for oily skin. I like the MUF HD Primers, especially since you can get it in color correcting shades. They are silicone based, and another great silicone based one is Benefit's Porefessional primer. For everyday use, I like my MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect Visage with SPF 50. It's great because I can wear it alone, it has great SPF coverage, it's not too thick like typical sunscreens, and it's water based which is great for my skin type!
Now for your foundations. For a water based foundation, why not try Cover FX Natural Finish Oil Free Foundation, or another great one, MAC Face and Body. For a silicone based foundation, Make Up Forever HD is a great one, especially together with its primer. I really like Graftobian's foundations for cream foundations, and MAC's Studio Sculpt for mousse foundations.
When applying your foundation, make sure it isn't caked on, and use a powder to set it. The primer or oils in your moisturizer will help your foundation cling on to your skin, and the foundation will smooth your skin and let the power cling on to it. What a lovely relationship <3 Also, if you have oily skin or an oily T-zone, translucent power on those trouble areas would be best because it won't turn orange.
Alright, now that you got the basics down, have fun with your makeup application! I hope you got something useful out of this post!
Remember, makeup cannot make you as beautiful as confidence can. =)