I Gave Up Foundation

By Charity 

  • I gave up foundation initially because it was impossible to find my shade then realized I didn't really need it
  • Question what makeup products aren’t essential to your skincare routine
  • Let go and help your skin breathe better and look and feel healthier

Makeup serves two fantastic purposes: to transform and to discover.  The transformation of a face with makeup is purely art.  Yet so is the discovery of beauty enhanced with makeup.  My daily makeup routine serves the purpose of discovering the natural glow, awakening the beauty lying dormant.  So I gave up on foundation.  Why, might you ask?  I came to this decision through many factors, but it started with one question . . .Where’s my shade?

My skin tone is a warm brown hue.  I'm not ebony black, and I'm not caramel golden.  Straight down the fairway is where my African-American shade resides.  Though one would think that my shade would be easy to source, it has always been difficult to find my tone.  I've had to resort to either one shade lighter looking anemic, or one shade too dark, looking like I had plaster on my face.  Over the years, this search became wasteful and too expensive for me.  Some makeup junkies suggested I combine a lighter and darker shade to find the right match.  This beauty hack worked occasionally.  However, this hack failed to address the fundamental issue with foundation: why should dark-skinned beauties have to pay twice as much and work twice as hard to find their shade?

It seems as though just in the last seven to ten years the makeup industry has confronted their exclusion of darker skin tones.  More brands than ever are changing their core message to be inclusive and representative of the full color spectrum.  This I now celebrate for those with beautiful black skin who love to use foundation . . . but it came a moment too late for me.  I'm okay with this.  Giving up on foundation early on led me to the simple appreciation of the natural glow found at the surface of my skin.

I once met another African-American woman who had the most clear and shiny ebony skin I had ever seen.  I was enamored by her glow and curious to find out what product(s) she used.  She smiled and said, "Water, water, water!"  While this is no science-backed claim for radiant skin, her baseline message was that our skin (whose main functions are to protect and relieve the body of toxins) will embody what we consume.  This truth was enough for her to be hyper conscious of her water intake, nutrition and physical activities.  I took her answer to heart.  Feeding my face with coconut oil, bathing it with witch hazel and replenishing it with healthy foods and supplements on a daily basis is my natural jam.

When I used foundation, I would think of my pores not being able to breathe.  Maybe this was an irrational thought, but it never left me and over time I became uncomfortable with the idea that I was covering up my pores just to fabricate this glow I was searching for.  It didn't help that washing my face at night was always hit or miss depending on my energy levels.  There were several nights (aka most nights when I was out of rhythm) in which the pillow would win over the washcloth because I was so exhausted.  

To better care for my pores, I wanted to simplify my nightly routine. The process of simplification was by way of eliminating foundation.  Without the need to scrub off layers of foundation each night, I adopted a simple facial cleansing method using witch hazel and rose water.  Foundation, though a product designed for a necessary purpose of transformation and discovery, is just not for me.  My pores are happier free to breathe.

What makeup products are essential to your skincare routine? Which ones are not and why? Giving these questions some thought could help your skin breathe better and look and feel healthier.