Full disclosure: I wear foundation every time I step out of the house. Even if it’s to go to the kopitiam and have lunch or dinner or while I am running errands on the weekends. I’ll choose different levels of coverage—sheer, medium, full— depending on the occasion, but unless I am working out, you will rarely find me without foundation.
When I tell people this, I usually get one of the following replies:
“Isn’t that bad for your skin?”
“Doesn’t makeup clog your pores?”
“You don’t need foundation.”
“Doesn’t your skin need to breathe?”
Short answer: no. We’ve been conditioned to think that makeup in general—and foundation, in particular—is bad for your skin. And that may have been true 20 or 30 years ago. But with the arrival of new formulations that cater to different skin types including acne-prone and sensitive skin, you can wear foundation every single day of your life as long as you are cleansing your makeup thoroughly at the end of the day.
Why wear foundation everyday?
I don’t wear foundation because I have something to hide—I have gone a whole week without any makeup before. I love makeup, and I love wearing and playing with makeup. But there is a more serious reason as to why I wear foundation every day: when I layer my foundation over my sunscreen in the morning, I am adding an extra layer of protection between my skin and harmful UV rays of the sun. I’d also like to think that it acts as a layer to keep out pollution and other environmental stressors.
A couple of years ago, when I was using a prescription retinol product that made my skin sensitive to photo damage, my derm told me a full coverage foundation would act as a second layer of protection from the sun.
American celebrity aesthetician and founder of her eponymous skin care collection, Renée Rouleau, shares the same opinion. In a Byrdie interview, she is quoted saying, “I like to educate my clients to think of makeup as a skincare product.” She recommends wearing foundation every day “as an insurance policy” since most people don’t apply the recommended amount of sunscreen and this extra layer of makeup acts as an additional barrier between the skin and the sun’s UV rays that cause signs of premature ageing.
Dr Karen Soh, Medical Director at Privé Clinic, Singapore also agrees that a foundation can act as an additional layer of protection against environmental damage as long as it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients. However, she cautions that while foundations with sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage, they don’t do much to save the skin from harmful effects of pollution.
I still, however, wear a full coverage foundation when visiting a city with high levels of pollution. I’ve been doing this for a few years and found that it actually helps my skin. But this could be because whenever I wear a full-coverage foundation—or any foundation, really—I make sure to thoroughly double cleanse and this ensures that other impurities are removed as well.
Dr Karen agrees, and adds that on top of cleansing, you also have to nourish skin with antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, niacinamide and beeswax.
If you’re still concerned about foundation being bad for your skin, there is a range of new foundations that are infused with skincare ingredients to keep your skin healthy. Now you can get the coverage you need while also nourishing your skin as you wear foundation through the day. Scroll through to find one that’s best for you.