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Cream com­pacts have more emol­lients and con­di­tion­ing agents, which trans­lates to build­able cov­er­age that can take you from sheer to full cov­er­age, depend­ing on how heavy-handed your ap­pli­ca­tion is. “The emol­lients and skin con­di­tion­ers are more com­fort­able to wear and pro­vide acute im­prove­ments in your skin’s ap­pear­ance,” says Beth Twohy, a re­search fel­low in cos­met­ics re­search and de­vel­op­ment for Proc­ter & Gam­ble. “Sticks tend to have a higher con­cen­tra­tion of pig­ments and can be used on all skin types, but they’re gen­er­ally most use­ful for those who want more con­cen­trated cov­er­age for any im­per­fec­tions, such as sun or acne spots.” All of these harder-tex­tured foun­da­tions con­tain var­i­ous types of waxes to help so­lid­ify the for­mu­las, so they won’t melt away by mid­day, which can some­times hap­pen with sheer, liq­uid for­mu­las. “Many cream com­pacts also con­tain elas­tomers, which make them very easy to blend and can help pig­ment stay sus­pended over fine lines and wrin­kles,” says Twohy.

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