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We Have to Ask, What Is Foundation Made Of?

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Lolita Says So

When we think of the world's oldest types of makeup, visions of kohl eyeliner and rouge lipstick come to mind. While foundation may seem like a new product, it's actually been in play for centuries. In fact, foundation variations have been a beauty standard since ancient Greek and Roman times. Of course, the formulation has changed somewhat (e.g., we no longer use fatal doses of lead), but it's still absolutely worth asking what your foundation is made of. Whether you opt for luminous or matte, here's a quick guide that will make your favorite product's composition a little less opaque.

Types of Foundations

Powder-based foundation relies heavily on powder for its consistency, typically in the form of talc. Other ingredients include pigment (tailored to the hue of the product), emollients, and binding agents that help the foundation adhere to the skin. Some powder-based foundations also include wax, which may be either natural or synthetic.

Water-based foundation utilizes either a combination of oil and water or a blend of water and emollients or fatty alcohols to achieve a lightweight, easy-to-apply consistency.

If you're looking to avoid high-shine, try a water-based foundation. The clay (a common ingredient in the formula) lends a matte finish.

Silicone-based foundation, true to its name, these formulas involves a blend of water and silicone as the primary base. While specific formulations tend to vary among products, a few of the most common types of silicone used are dimethicone, polysiloxane, and phenyl trimethicone. Other ingredients that make up this type of foundation include mineral oil, alcohol, and minerals like titanium oxide and zinc oxide.

For those looking to discover the very best in ingredient-conscious and environmentally friendly makeup products, here are eight awesome vegan foundations.

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