How To: Finding Your Perfect Foundation Match


Finding your perfect foundation match can be a trial and error process. Every brand is different, every formulation is different and every line has a different color spectrum. Plus, finding the perfect foundation is more than just finding the right color match. What works for one person may not work for another, because we all have different skin. At times finding your “holy grail” foundation can seem overwhelming, but with these simple tips hopefully the process will be a little less painful. . .

1. Consider your skin type.

What kind of skin you have will greatly impact the foundation you choose. I like to break skin types in to four categories:

  • Dry
  • Normal to Dry
  • Normal to Oily
  • Oily

Some foundations are designed to work best for certain skin types, while others claim to work well for any skin type. I’ve yet to find a foundation that works for everyone, so be skeptical if it claims to be universally flattering. While some liquid foundations (like a tinted moisturizer), are designed to moisturize to the skin, others are designed to absorb oil. When purchasing a foundation, read the packaging. What is it designed to do? A person with dry skin will have far different needs than that of oily skin.

If there is a lack of information on the packaging? Feel the consistency of the product. Smooth, creamy or gel based foundations will work best for normal to dry skin, while powder, matte or mousse foundations work best for normal to oily skin. Still in doubt? Ask a sales associate, friend or beauty blogger like myself for advice. It always good to consider the experience of others.

2. Analyze the color spectrum.

How many shades are offered in the foundation line? Do they start very fair, fair or medium? Some lines begin incredibly fair and end very dark, while others are somewhere in the middle. Don’t assume just because you are the lightest shade in one foundation that you are the lightest shade in every foundation. I suggest analyzing the total number of colors in the collection. The fewer number of colors, the less varied the color spectrum is, and the more likely the colors will differ significantly. If there are many shades of the same darkness/lightness level chances are they just have a different undertone. Try visiting a brand’s website before visiting the store and see what kind of colors are available. That way, when you get in to the store you’ll know what to expect.

3. Determine your skin’s undertone.

In general, there are three categories of skin tones.

  • Cool
  • Neutral
  • Warm

In order to determine your skin’s undertone wash all the makeup off your face, and let your skin relax for about 15 min (this will allow time for redness to subside). In a well lit area, look at your bare skin. What kind of color do you see? If your skin has a slightly pink tone you have a cool undertone. If it has a slightly yellow, or golden tone you have a warm undertone, and if your skin is neither pink or golden but maybe slightly peachy or beige you have a neutral undertone.

Another way you can determine your skins tone is by analyzing the color of your veins, and what colors look best on you. If you look best in bright oranges, greens and golds and have green or yellowish colored veins you most likely have a warm undertone. If you look best in pastels (pinks, blues, purples) and have blueish or purple colored veins you most likely have a cool undertone. If you look good in all colors, wear both gold and silver jewelry and don’t have noticeably colored veins you most likely have a neutral undertone.

4. The internet is your friend, use it!

We are so lucky to have an abundance of resources online. Sites like youtube, makeupalley and other beauty blogs can provide you with ample information on a particular foundations color spectrum, formulation and wear-ability. Some blogs like KarlaSugar, even provide swatches of every foundation color in the product line! Use these resources to your advantage, so you don’t end up purchasing something that won’t work for you. If all else fails, be sure to patronize businesses with a good return and exchange policy so you won’t be stuck with something forever if it doesn’t work out.

Do you have a tip that I forgot to mention? Or a story you’d like to share about finding your perfect foundation? Leave your comments below!

2 Comments

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2 responses to “How To: Finding Your Perfect Foundation Match

  1. Great post!
    I totally agree with your comment about checking out the companie’s website before you go to the store. Saves you time.

    One tip that has come in handy for me over the years: make sure to change your foundation color in winter/summer, if you tend to tan.
    I always like a little color in the summer but when it came time to wear my foundation, it never matched.
    Also, since switching to Bare Escentuals a few years ago, I’ll never use foundation again. Thank God!

    Sher @FA
    http://twitter.com/FashionAutopsy

    • Oh yes, changing your foundation color in the summer is key! Similarly, the foundation itself may need to be changed. I wear lighter more sheer foundations in the summer because of the heat! Also I tend to opt for foundations formulated for oily skin in the summer, and combination skin in all the other seasons! I love Bare Escentuals, although I’d still consider it a foundation, its just mineral based.

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