By Erin Williams


You know you talk about her. Even if she’s your friend, you still talk about her. The woman with “the line”. When it comes to foundation, we all know what “the line” means and honestly, we’ve probably all had it at one point in our life. Between matching colors and picking the proper formula for your skin, foundation can be downright intimidating. Celebrity makeup artist Paula Dorf is known for creating flawless skin. She started her own line so that perfection would be accessible to the masses. We spoke to her about how to get started on finding the right look.

The first step for skin is a primer which does the job of giving you an even playing field. As we age and our skin slows down cell turnover, the epidermis has hills and valleys where product can sink and look uneven. Primer goes in and fills all of those in giving a “level surface” for foundation and allows it to last all day. Paula’s line offers one for dry skin and one for oily skin to cover all the bases – no pun intended!

The next step is to pick a foundation that’s right for you. The liquid Foundation Oil-Free with aloe vera and kaolin was the first in Paula’s line and is offered in 13 shades. She created it to “provide a natural matte finish with flexible coverage for normal to oily skin. There was a need to meet the skin types and this led to the development of three types of foundation.” Perfect Glo was created for normal to dry skin. It comes in 12 shades and contains silicone to fill in fine lines. It is their best selling foundation and Paula’s personal choice for herself. Face Tint, available in 4 shades and 2 shimmers, is for all skin types, has an SPF 15, and is made up of a lightweight water based gel similar in feel to a tinted moisturizer.

Paula recommends using her Foundation Brush for an easier application. All you need is a dime sized amount and the synthetic fiber of Taklon won’t absorb your product and eat it up the way a sponge does. Mild soap, face wash, or shampoo is perfect for cleaning the brush, though Paula does sell a Brush Bath.

If you’ve gotten this far at a counter, the next step is to GO OUTSIDE. Take a pocket mirror with you so you can check your jawline in realistic lighting. If it doesn’t look right that doesn’t mean that your color isn’t in the line. Be truthful with your makeup artist and anyone worth his/her salt will be willing to be humble enough to admit a color is off. Going with a friend is also a really good idea because they will be totally honest with you.

Once you find one you like they generally have a shelf life of 2 years so throw all of those funky foundations out pronto! Most people need a different color for winter vs. summer an even a different formula due to added dryness/humidity. Take your time and tell your makeup artist exactly what you’re looking for – or – if you don’t know, you can tell her what you know you don’t like. Do all this and you too can avoid initiation into the “Line Club”.

Paula Dorf products are available for purchase at

Originally published November 2004



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