June 26, 2009
Q My pores are huge so my foundation always settles into them and these beige specks are very obvious. I don't know if I'm using the wrong type or shade of foundation, or if the problem lies somewhere else. How can I achieve invisible pores and a flawless finish?
A Brace yourself. Freelance make-up artist Larry Yeo says: 'Frankly, big pores cannot be transformed into poreless, baby-like skin.'
But take heart. There are tricks that can help big pores look smaller.
Yeo says pooling of foundation occurs when there is excess moisturiser or too much product build-up on the skin, causing the excess product to mix with the oil secreted by your skin and gather at the pores.
The rule of thumb in this case is simply never to apply too much product.
To help you do this, use your fingers to massage an alcohol-free toner onto your face after cleansing and before applying a lightweight moisturiser.
This way, your face will be hydrated prior to applying the moisturiser and you will not be tempted to slather on too much of it. Apply moisturiser only to the drier parts of your face, such as the cheeks.
Next, consider a base to further create the appearance of a smooth complexion. Try Estee Lauder's Idealist Pore Minimising Skin Refinisher ($125, Photo 1).
A lightweight liquid foundation such as Shu Uemura Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation ($70) is also more effective than pressed powder foundation at covering up big pores, simply because it can be blended into the skin more easily.
Finish with a dusting of loose powder (Clinique's Derma White Brightening Loose Powder, $63, sets make-up without dulling your complexion) and you should be all set.
Q I break out into a rash whenever I use a sunblock or any product that has sun protection factor (SPF). What can I apply to protect my skin from the sun's harmful rays?
A According to Dr Fredric Brandt, an American celebrity dermatologist with his own skincare line, SPF is not an ingredient but a laboratory measure of how effective a sunscreen is.
'The higher the SPF, the more protection a particular sunscreen gives users against ultraviolet rays from the sun,' he tells Urban in an e-mail interview.
The main ingredients in sunscreens, he says, are usually 'aromatic molecules in a specific structure that allow the molecules to absorb ultraviolet rays and prevent them from damaging the skin'.
Products with SPF typically contain a wide mix of ingredients, possibly comprising both naturally derived and chemically based ultra-violet blockers.
So there is a wide range of possible factors as to what you are allergic to. Without knowing exactly what you are sensitive to, recommending a product that you can use safely and without an allergic reaction is extremely difficult, says Dr Brandt.
The best course of action would be for you to do an allergy or patch test with a dermatologist so as to determine the extent of your allergy and which sunscreen ingredients your skin is sensitive to.
A dermatologist will also be able to recommend what sun protection products you should use. In the meantime, I recommend using a nice, big umbrella when you go outside.