1. Consider The Formula
While it can be tempting to splurge on the industry’s latest foundation, do your research before you buy. Beauty lingo can be confusing so instead, think about the formula that works best for your skin. Dryer or more mature skin types should gravitate towards foundations that add luminosity and radiance with moisturising properties, while those with oilier complexions should opt for mattifying or long-wear formulas.
2. Think About Coverage
Love your freckles? Let them show through with a light coverage foundation or a tinted moisturiser. Go with medium coverage if you want more of an airbrushed look, and full coverage if you suffer from redness or acne scarring or if you want a more dramatic look for the evening. Some foundations can be built-up, making them adaptable for both day and night-time use.
3. Find Your Undertone
Shade differences can be remarkably subtle and often the only variation between two colours is one has warm undertones, and the other cool undertones. Knowing which you need makes sifting through the endless array of foundations so much easier. Not sure where to start? Try the vein test – a cool-toned person will have a rosy tint to their skin, with blue-ish veins you can see through the underside of the wrist or neck; whereas a warm-toned person will have yellow or golden tones to their skin and greenish veins. Similarly, a neutral-toned person has a mix between the two. Many foundations are labelled ‘neutral’, ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ so once you’ve worked out your undertone, it’ll be much easier to pick the right colour.
4. Use The Internet
While it’s always preferable to try your foundations in-store, you can successfully buy a foundation online. Once you’ve narrowed down your undertone to a couple of shades, use Google to search for reviews and swatches. To make your swatching assessment more thorough, you can compare it to your existing foundation. MakeupAlley and YouTube can be extremely helpful when it comes to make-up shopping and websites such as Match My Makeup help you figure out your shade in other formulas.
5. If In Doubt, Go Lighter
If you’re stuck between two shades and can’t figure out which is the better match, always go with the lighter one. You can use a bronzer or blusher to deepen the shade on your cheeks and forehead. Even if you do use fake tan regularly, including a more subtle gradual tan, matching your foundation to your real skin tone will have far more of a professional finish.
6. Get Testing
When trying a foundation in a shop, try and make your way into natural light - even if by the window - as yellow, harsh lighting can give an artificial effect and mislead you into buying a darker shade. Always test on your jawline, never on your hand. The right colour should disappear into your skin and when applied all over the face should mimic healthy, radiant skin whilst concealing imperfections. It may sound obvious but your foundation should never obviously look like make-up. If in doubt, try testing multiple colours side-by-side to make it even more obvious which is the best match for you.
7. Go Bespoke
Do you love your foundation colour but wish it had more of a matte finish? Or wish you could transform your beloved moisturiser into a tinted one? Or are you merely struggling to find your perfect hue? Both Cosmetics a la Carte and Lancôme offer bespoke options – while Lancome’s service is only available in-store at Harrods (prices start from £85), Cosmetics a la Carte’s foundation blending experience can be done online; email firstname.lastname@example.org to start the sampling process; prices start from £58.
Follow Emma @LadyDayMakeUp