Choosing a foundation can be a daunting task for anyone, but here are a few tips and tricks to help you choose your perfect fit. The best foundation or tinted moisturiser should look as though you aren’t wearing any at all. It should cover any redness or unevenness of the skin and not settle into fine lines or wrinkles or highlight large pores.
If you are buying “drugstore foundation”, i.e. the brands you might find at your local Boots or Superdrug, then ensure you try it as you can’t tell the true colour of the foundation by its bottle. If you are buying from a department store then ask the makeup artists to assist you in finding your perfect shade. If you can take a small test size tub home then even better as you can then try a full application at home and find out about its staying power too! NEVER buy a full bottle of foundation online the first time (unless it is some kind of steal!) – try in store and then order online if it works out cheaper for you that way.
To find your true match, it’s best to turn up fresh faced, without any foundation on. Feel free to moisturise and prepare your face however you would normally before applying your foundation. So, if you use a primer before applying foundation normally, then don’t skip that step! The best place to test your foundation is your face (ensure you get a look in natural daylight). Whilst your hand is the perfect palette for eyeshadows, liners and glitters, your jawline is one of the best places to test foundation, if you run the foundation from face down the jawline and onto the neck you can ensure it blends well on all of your skin (no tidemarks here!) If you’re out and about and already have your makeup on, you may find that your chest works to get a good match – it gets about the same amount of exposure to the sun as your face (unless it’s winter and you’ve been hibernating!)
Once you have chosen your foundation then the next step is to check it out in natural lighting. Standing by the door way or where there is natural light coming in and looking in a hand mirror to see if it’s the perfect fit for you is best.
If you are purchasing from a drugstore, and there are no tester pots available, then simply take a few of your chosen shades and hold them up in natural lighting to your neck and then see if one matches. You should judge the colour of a foundation by the swatches on the displays.
When choosing a foundation you need to know your skin type, ie oily or dry. If your skin is on the oily side then it’s best to go for an oil free or a mattifying finish. However, if you’re more on the dry side, then look for a moisturising or a hydrating foundation, these are stated on the foundation bottles.
For combination skin, which is oily on your T zone but dry everywhere else, then cream to powder bases work great or a mineral foundation works for all skin types (even sensitive skin). More sophisticated and aging skin can benefit from these types of foundations too.
The best coverage for you can sometimes be seasonal. You may wish to have a lighter coverage in the summer and a heavier coverage in the winter. For good skin, but wish to hide any flushed areas then a lighter coverage is best, a tinted moisturiser works wonders.
If your skin tone is more uneven or to hide blemishes then consider a medium coverage foundation, these foundations can be applied by layering to make a heavier coverage if desired. Many foundations come with an SPF (usually of about 15), which is enough to protect your skin.
There are many different types and formulations of foundation, here are a list of a few. Liquid foundation is a basic term for foundation that comes in liquid form. Tinted moisturiser gives lighter coverage and will cover up some redness of the skin.
Sheer foundation glides on smoothly and gives a light coverage and an appearance of not wearing makeup at all. Mousse or Whipped Foundation is a liquid foundation with air whipped in. These foundations tend to have a matte weightless finish. Stick Foundations are portable and give a much heavier coverage, perfect for covering scars and blemishes.
Powder Foundations are in a compact or loose form and is a powder and foundation in one, which makes it easier for on the go. Foundation Primer fills in the lines and pores in the skin, creating a barrier between your skin and foundation. This allows the foundation to be applied smoothly and evenly.
Feature image credit: Natasia Causse via Flickr.