Product Guide – What’s What Of Makeup Products

by Sarah

There are sooo many makeup brands and products that it can be quite overwhelming to keep up with all the latest technology and to know the difference between certain products and what they actually do. If you’ve seen the names BB creams and correctors and setting sprays flying around in the land of makeup and you’re confused as to what they all do, this post will hopefully help put some of the question marks to rest.



BB CREAM stands for Beauty (or Blemish) Balm. They also come in CC (Color Correcting) and DD (Dynamic Do-All or Daily Defense) versions.

There’s been a lot of speculation about whether the BB Creams available to us, have the same benefits as the traditional BB Creams of the Asian markets, or whether they are just a glorified version of the basic tinted moisturizers.

Typically, BB creams include vitamins and nutrients and they claim to combine skin care with a hint of coverage…as to kill many birds with one stone (so to speak).

I do admit the BB creams marketed to us are very much similar to tinted moisturizer consistency. Whether they provide the skincare benefits with regular use is something I cannot comment on, as I haven’t used one long enough to make a call on it; however the Asian version I’ve tried definitely lived up to its claims of covering pores, evening out skin tone and correcting color instantly. I don’t know if I just picked a good brand or all Asian BB creams are the same, but there’s definitely a difference compared to the drugstore BB creams I tried.

TINTED MOISTURIZERS however, are not as complex. They’re a blend of foundation and moisturizer and majority of them provide a hydrating light coverage. They don’t claim to perfect pores, correct skin tone or act as a primer, as the BB creams do.


PowderI get asked the difference between powder and powder foundation all the time, and the answer simply lies in coverage.

POWDERS (whether pressed or loose) are designed to set cream products, such as foundations and concealers. Powders provide a light veil over the cream/liquid products so the makeup doesn’t move or melt away.

POWDER FOUNDATIONS however, are designed to provide coverage – just as  a liquid or cream foundation would. Mineral makeup is a good example of this category as the formula is finely milled and can be built up to the desired coverage.



When MAC brought out their infamous Fix+ Spray, makeup lovers were left confused and somewhat angry that the product wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. Well…it was never designed to set the makeup; and this is where the difference between Fixing Sprays such as MAC Fix+ and Setting Sprays come in to play.

FIXING SPRAYS are designed to bind the products applied to the face. Best way I can describe it is, when you apply your foundation, set it with powder, then use powder bronzer and/or blush over the top, it can look quite heavy and literally “powdery”. You’ll find, as you wear the makeup and the powders start to mix in with the natural oils of your skin, things start to look much better. Fixing sprays take you from that ‘freshly applied powder look’ to the ‘natural glowing skin look’ by binding the powder products to the skin. They don’t help extend the wear of your makeup, nor make it long lasting.

SETTING SPRAYS though, just as the name suggests, set or seal the makeup so it doesn’t budge or move. They still have the binding properties of a fixing spray with the added bonus of locking in any products you apply to your skin. Setting sprays are particularly great for special occasions such as weddings or during summer months when you want your makeup to stay put in the heat.



CONCEALERS – which are God-sent products when our skin may not be playing fair – are full coverage, concentrated versions of foundations. They help conceal any blemishes, marks or scars and also bring light to certain areas of the face such as under the eyes to give the illusion of a brighter and healthier look. Although concealers which are couple of shades lighter than your skin tone can be used under the eye area, typically concealers should match the tone of your skin or the regular foundation you use.

CORRECTORS serve a completely different purpose. They’re designed to counteract and correct color imbalances throughout the skin. Generally, the area that needs the most color correcting is under the eyes. Whether due to lack of sleep or hereditary reasons, dark circles may form under the eyes which tend to carry shades of blues, greens and grays. Applying a traditional concealer over these colors will only make them a lighter shade of green, blue or gray so this is where we use the color theory – of opposite colors counteracting each other. Corrector colors such as light orange, salmon or peach (depending on the shade and tone of your skin) help cancel out the green and blue tones under the eyes which give the skin an even color when the rest of the makeup is applied. It’s the same concept for skin problems such as rosacea where the skin can have a red undertone due to broken capillaries. Green is the perfect shade to counteract red, so we use green tinged correctors to cancel out reds and then apply our regular foundation color. I have a post on the color wheel theory which you can check out here


PrimerBaseEYE PRIMERS have become a necessity in most of our makeup kits over the years. They help prep the eye for eye makeup products regardless of whether you apply cream or powder shadows, and make them long wearing so that the products don’t crease, melt or smudge away. Though there are some primers with a bit of color payoff and coverage, eye primers typically have a thin concealer consistency and usually melt into the skin to a clear finish. They don’t affect the color payoff of the products applied over them, but more so extend wear time.

EYE BASES are designed to help eyeshadows adhere to the skin better and also make the colors stand out more. Eye bases are usually cream formulas in small pots.  They come in matte and shimmer shades and also offer a great variety of colors. You can either wear these bases on their own, or apply eyeshadows over them to create vibrant looks.



Last, but not least are couple of terms which can turn the world of mascaras into shambles. What do they mean when they say water resistant, as opposed to waterproof?

WATERPROOF is completely fool-proof – you can swim and shower and sweat and the makeup you have on, as long as it claims to be “waterproof” will stay put.

WATER RESISTANT however, is in between a standard product and waterproof. It can withstand splashes of water, soldier on through sweat but won’t stay with you for the long haul if you want to swim or shower or immerse yourself in water. Water resistant makeup is great for hot and humid weather conditions or we use it for professional photo shoots to last through the heat of the studio lights and/or if we’re working with water – lightly sprayed or splashed on the skin as an example.

So here we are beauties, there’s so much to cover and I can go on about products for pages but I try to keep the content to the absolute necessities. As always, if you have any questions, or if there are other products you’re not quite sure of, just leave me a message in the comment section below ;) xx

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Allison October 23, 2013 - 2:58 pm

You just helped me win an argument! Me and my friend were talking about powder and powder
Foundation. She said they’re all the same. I was trying to tell her they’re not. I’m emailing this link to her right now, thank you!! lol

Sarah October 24, 2013 - 5:30 am

hahahaa this made laugh, glad to be of help :)


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