Personal primer is primo

Here in vanity's world headquarters, custom-blended foundation is key

The strangest thing about custom-blended foundation is why more women don’t have it.

Custom shoes cost hundreds; suits, thousands. But a formula that matches your skin tone down to the pore isn’t much more than the 12 shades of beige peddled in department stores.

“Once people buy custom-blend, they don’t go back,” says Tova Cohen at Prescriptives, the only mass-market cosmetics brand that produces customized foundation. As to why her company has a monopoly in the department stores, Cohen says, “It involves a lot of training that might make it cost-prohibitive.”

However, in a city known as vanity’s world headquarters, it’s not the only option.

“Department stores are mostly salespeople, not professionally trained makeup artists,” says Thierry Pourtoy, who began custom-blending foundation when he began his career 20 years ago. He now sells his line through Cristophe Salon in Beverly Hills.

And Sue Slight-Macartney, who claims 30 years of blending experience, produces custom foundations, powders and mineral makeup at Sherman Oaks’ Gaulthier Salon.

In determining the perfect match, each one has her or his theories. However, all of them can calibrate their concoctions to be freckle-sheer or mannequin-opaque. And if you want it to inhibit oil, block sun or battle wrinkles, all you need to do is ask.

So what does it take to look natural? V Life Weekend tested each method to bring you the goods.

Best in show

Thierry Pourtoy at Christophe Salon
342 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
Cost: $40 for 1 oz.
Theory: Instinct reigns supreme.
Practice: Pourtoy blends based on what he sees and what the customer wants: heavy vs. light, moisturizer or sunscreen (or both), matte or sheer. Mixing pure pigment with other elements, Pourtoy does a swipe test against your skin before perfecting the formula.
Time: 20 minutes
Verdict: A little goes a long way toward making skin appear airbrushed. Noncomedogenic formula works well for oily or combination skin.

Easy to find

Macy’s in Sherman Oaks and Beverly Center
Cost: $62 for 1 oz.
Theory: Everyone’s skin falls into one of four different color tones – blue, yellow, red or green – and product is blended accordingly.
Practice: A Prescriptives consultant swipes color sticks and blends based on which color disappeared, mixing in various colored powders, oil inhibitors and pearly dust for a healthy glow.
Time: 30-45 minutes
Verdict: Sheer coverage that banished redness and blemishes.

Powder that stays put

Gaultier Spa
14449 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
Cost: $45 for 7 gm. Of mineral makeup
Theory: Were you a spring or fall? You’re going to have your colors done again.
Practice: Same as it ever was. Sitting in front of a true-light mirror, Slight-Macartney drapes colors around the client’s shoulders to identify a “season.” She also asks for color and coverage preferences before she starts mixing powders. A few corrections after a test run and it’s done.
Time: 1 hour
Verdict: A powder foundation that doesn’t show the wrinkles. Effective coverage that can be as light or as heavy as you like.

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