Illustration: Anna Sudit
On that note, I’d like to direct you to a 2016 tweet by Mindy Kaling, which remains every bit as true today as it was then:
You can pretty much say the same for BB cream and CC cream, too. They might have different histories and origin stories (BB cream, for example, was originally developed to aid skin healing after surgery), but unlike how Champagne is only Champagne if it was made in the right region of France, there's no law that says any given BB or CC cream has to have all of those properties to bear the acronymic name.
A lot of the uncertainty around bases comes from a kind of moralizing, in my experience. It’s like a lot of women draw a line in the sand at foundation. When I worked at a beauty counter, I had countless women say they wouldn’t dream of wearing foundation, only to buy a thick tinted moisturizer, full-coverage concealer, and a powder compact to top it all off. For some reason it’s seen as the peak of cool-girl beauty to eschew foundation, but in reality, other bases are much the same. The biggest difference between them all is that... there really isn't one.
All the different terms are meant to be a rough guide to understanding coverage level, but even the heaviest of foundations can be blended with a dollop of serum or highlighter and made much lighter. Invest in one base that you feel you can apply quickly and get a good level of coverage with, add in a quality concealer, and consider buying a slightly fuller-coverage foundation for nights out when you want more photo-perfect skin.
At the end of the day, Finnegan says that the best way to get great skin is to prep properly, with a good serum, eye cream and lip balm. Take the time to massage in something hydrating first, then get to work. Your skin — and your skin-like makeup — will be all the better for it.