What type of makeup is good for your skin?

With so many makeup options out there, how do you pick the one that's right for your skin?
With so many makeup options out there, how do you pick the one that's right for your skin?
Sky View/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Makeup has sure come a long way. Once upon a time, women used urine to lighten freckle, leeches to make their complexions paler and other dangerous materials like arsenic and lead, all in the name of beauty. Nowadays, products are scientifically formulated, environmentally friendly, and government regulated, important factors when product claim all these benefits. In a multibillion-dollar game and the age of information overload, the trick is finding what works for you.

Before you get overwhelmed by Estée Lauder, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Maybelline, Revlon or CoverGirl, you want to understand your skin; after all, before an artist starts a masterpiece, it's best to know the surface.

Women have various skin types, affected by factors like genetics, ethnicity, age and hormones. In general, there are four categories:

  • Dry skin occurs when skin lacks natural oils, making it appear rough and dull. Dry skin is affected by weather, hygiene (frequent washing), dehydration and diet; it can also be hereditary.
  • Oily skin results from glands producing too much oil. This is often hereditary but exacerbated by hormones (hello puberty, PMS and pregnancy), weather and stress. It can give your skin a shiny appearance
  • Combination skin has a mixture of dry parts combined with oily sections, typically in the T-zone or chin, nose and forehead. Weather, hormones and genetics are usually factors.
  • Normal skin, to quote Goldilocks and The Three Bears, is "just right." Not too oily, not too dry, this skin type has the right combination and balance.

The type of skin you have will play a big role in the type of makeup you should use. If you have normal skin, you can use whatever works for you. Use matte for a finished look or luminous for the dewy, night-out-on-the-town look. Consider varying products with the seasons – mineral in the warm months when your skin has more oil, and liquid in the winter for extra hydration. You'll still want to choose products that are oil-free and hydrating, so read your labels.

For a look at the other skin types, let's go to the next page.