Whether you’re a mascara wand-waving magician, or a novice just getting used to their brushes and palettes, you know the base to any great makeup look is your go-to foundation. However, finding the right foundation shade can be a #struggle. As anyone who’s spent hours standing in the foundation aisle of your local drugstore knows, there are countless shades of foundation out there, but only one that’s right for you. How can you be sure which one it is? A foundation might look right in the bottle, but then ends up making your head look two shades different from your neck. And while we love a colorblock moment when it comes to clothing, the same does not go for our skin.
Luckily there are some easy ways to ensure that you pick the foundation shade that best matches your skin tone. But first, a quick breakdown on this makeup bag staple.
What is Foundation?
Foundation is a form of makeup used to smooth out the appearance of the skin. It’s applied to the face, and acts as a base layer for the rest of your makeup look. Foundation can be layered, meaning that you can decide how much coverage you want: light for a more natural look, or medium to heavy for more smoothing. Once foundation has been applied, you can begin to add other makeup, like concealer, brush, bronzer and eyeshadow, ensuring that the surface they’re applied to is uniform.
What Types of Foundation are There?
There are a variety of different types of foundation to choose from, the most common are:
- Liquid - Perhaps the most popular form of foundation today, liquid foundation typically comes in a tube with either a wand applicator or a pump to disperse it onto a makeup brush or sponge. This makes for quick and easy application, as you’re able to spread it and blend it into your face.
- Powder - Powder foundation typically comes in a compact. It’s a good option for people with oily or combination skin, who may be more prone to breakouts. Powder foundation tends to provide a lighter form of coverage.
- Cream - Cream foundation also often comes in a compact and is best applied using a brush or sponge. Cream foundation can run on the heavier side formula-wise, making it good for full coverage; but if you want something lighter, you might want to try another form of foundation.
How to Match Your Foundation to Your Skin Tone
Once you’ve decided which type of foundation you want to use, it’s time to find the shade that best matches your skin tone. As mentioned above, that’s no easy task. Luckily, there are some tricks to follow to find the perfect shade for you:
Know Your Undertone
While you want your foundation to match the color of your skin, it’s also important to consider your skin’s undertone. While skin tone is the color of the skin on its surface, undertones are the colors underneath. The most commonly recognized undertones are:
- Cool - typically characterized by pink and blue hues
- Warm - typically characterized by gold and peach hues
- Neutral - typically characterized by tones that match the skin tone
For instance, someone with pale skin might also have a rosy tint to their cheeks – this would mean that they have cool undertones. Once you know your undertones, you can look for a foundation that suits you, whether it be a cool, warm, or neutral shade.
Use Natural Lighting
There’s nothing worse than picking a shade of foundation that looks perfect in the bright lights of an indoor setting, then putting it on and going outside to find your face looking like someone attached your head to a different neck. To avoid this, try your foundation on in natural lighting, to make sure it suits your natural complexion.
Don’t Be Afraid to Mix and Match
Sometimes, you might be in-between two foundation shades made by your favorite brand. But don’t worry! Just like you’d buy a half-size in shoes if you were between sizes, you can split the difference by mixing both foundation shades together. This way, you’ll have control over the perfect blend of pigment to match your skin tone. Sometimes, you’ve gotta take your make up into your own hands. Yes, this can be a bit of an investment since you’re paying for two foundations, but you’ve got a right to treat yourself to the look you want!
While finding the right shade of foundation for your skin tone can be daunting, it doesn't have to be! By considering your skin’s undertones, what lighting you plan to wear your makeup look in, and mixing foundations together if needed, you’re sure to find the exact shade to make your makeup dreams come true. What’s your favorite hack for finding your perfect foundation match?