Don’t worry, I still have a bunch of my drugstore (and other things I’ve hauled) stuff to review, I was just getting tired of it and decided to do a PSA instead.
I’ve recently become obsessed with foundation adjusters, which no one (but me) is surprised at right? The question to ask though is why didn’t this happen sooner? I mean as a lot of girls especially most brown girls can attest to buying foundations, particularly online usually nets you the wrong shade or the wrong colour, and if you’re really lucky, both. So it seems as if mixers are something that most of us should get behind or get cracking at right?
But which ones should you get? From which brand? And what the hell do they do again?
I’ve tried so many adjusters, most to hilariously bad results. There was the Face Atelier ones that I tried that completely changed the texture and finish of my foundations, and of course the CoverFx one. I’m honestly just surprised that I didn’t give up totally. Picking the right adjuster is a pain in the ass and hard to boot, so let me just break it down for you. Or better yet, I’m just gonna tell you what I do and the ones that I use, so this is probably gonna be more brown girl centric.
Lately I’ve been stanning the Clinique BIY drops, I’m not gonna get into it here, I did a review already, but suffice it to say it’s a makeup dream come true for me in terms of undertones. I don’t use it for much else, fortunately that’s what I usually need adjusted so it works out well. You can check out that review here.
Who hasn’t bought a foundation that’s too light? Well that’s where these things come in. But the selection process needs to be careful because you don’t want to change either the texture, finish or longevity and got forbid not the undertone of your foundation. When that happens you end up with a bit of a chemistry set don’t you? Mixing a dash of this with a tad of this, pretty soon you’re frustrated and wanting to break things. I’ve tried a few darkeners and hated most of them. The Nyx one while it didn’t change the texture or finish of the foundation that I added it to, it completely ruined the undertone because it has a slight olive lean to it.
I don’t use darkeners all that often, mostly in the summer if there is a foundation that I love so much I find the need to alter it to wear in summer. The two darkeners that I’ve found work well for me thus far and change almost nothing about my foundation other than colour are from The Body Shop and Illamasqua.
From Illamasqua we have the Skin Base Mixers and The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops. Both have the same texture and while the BS is a steady neutral dark brown, Chestnut from Illamasqua leans a bit warm. Not a bit red or peach or orange but a warm brown, you may be able to see in the pictures below. Or maybe not, I personally don’t think the warmth shows up all that well in pictures.
Because of that slight warm lean, I prefer the Illamasqua. Although both perform mostly the same and both are quite thick, they both possess a different sort of thickness. The BS is sort of sticky and takes longer and more effort to mix into a foundation, where the Illamasqua breaks down and mixes in almost immediately. Score for Illamasqua. If price is a Factor for you, then you may want to stick to the BS $24 and Chestnut comes in at $32.
So I know that I’m not the only one that’s stumbled onto this problem. You find a foundation in the right shade, but the undertones are off. You’re warm, but the undertones are cool or olive and will make you look like a ghost when you apply it. This is where warmers are great. If you have warm undertones, they won’t work well for you if you have cool undertones.
I have two of these that I really like it. The first one that I’d gotten was the one from Nyx in Warmth and I was perfectly happy using it. Well almost. It is very orange and I think I may have mentioned before that I’m not quite dark enough for either an orange corrector or as it turns out an orange adjuster. Plus, this thing can quite easily overtake your foundation and swing it in the wrong direction. I only use this in the summer when I need a lot more warmth in my skin.
The Illamasqua Terracotta mixer is more my speed because it’s not precisely orange, but a warm peach tone more so than orange and so it mixes more easily with foundation and manages not to overtake it. Terracotta can also be used as a colour corrector in addition to it’s primary function and I’ve used it with a lot of success. In fact I sort of like it more in that way than mu creams correctors because it’s a liquid so there’s little chance that it will settle into lines or acne scares. I haven’t tried the one from Nyx in the same way simply because well, too orange.
This is the important stuff here. Would it surprise you to know that I have way more foundations in need of lightening than darkening? Why is that? Well I’m usually between shades for starters, then I generally have to go darker if I want to find the right undertone which kills me, like I can’t find my undertone in a lighter shade? Ok. But I also tend to correct downwards, if I shop online, I will generally convince myself that the perfect shade is the darker one.
Anywhoo, I’ve tried a bunch of lighteners and almost to a one they suck for foundation that starts out brown. Because they’re white. I mean, yeah. Also most of them tend to have to pink undertone to them, basically destroying the undertones for me while lightening the foundation, then I have t go back in with something like warmth and add some colour to it, but then it winds up being too much and the colour that I’ve finally created is unbearable. They also then to add something of a white cast to the foundation and make it drying, not sure what ingredient in it causes that. I’ve tried lighteners from Face Atelier, Australis and the one that I still currently have in my arsenal is the one from The Body Shop. This one doesn’t totally suck, having only a very slight pink undertone, but it still leaves behind that white cast and it does change the texture of foundation giving it a dry, mask like feel.
I know I sound like an ad for Illamasqua, but really I prefer the Amber Skin Base Mixer for brown skin. I mean apart from the “why the hell would you use a white mixer in brown foundation” thing, it just mixes better and doesn’t leave you looking like you’re wearing a mask. It lightens gradually whilst keeping the undertones intact if your foundation is yellow based. Unfortunately unless you have yellow, gold or peach in your skin tone, it’s not going to work very well for you. Below is a demonstration with a foundations that’s about, no lie, five shades too damn dark for me and red based. You’ll see how well it lightens it up, and it changes the undertones slightly to something more warm.
It adjusted the foundation enough for me to wear it, I had really liked the finish of this foundation when I first tried it but clearly I couldn’t wear that shade. It changed just the shade and undertone, but kept the feel and finish of the foundation intact. I could have gone a bit lighter with that, but decided not to, you get the gist anyway just from looking at the difference. I don’t recommend white lighteners for brown girl foundations, they’re just not built with us in mind. If you really need it, save and splurge on this one from Illamasqua.
Hope this was helpful, I mean I hate buying and either having to return or throw out a foundation or just having it sitting there taunting me. Having these in my arsenal is a huge help. Clearly I prefer the Illamasqua ones, and they are more expensive at $32 a pop. However I’ve been doing a lot of weddings lately, I like having something in my kit that is full proof, I know I would be pissed AF, as a bride if all my wedding photos came back and I looked like I was wearing a mask or red like a baboon’s bottom, so yeah I’ll stick with something I can count on.