The wrong foundation color can look unnatural, and the wrong type can cause your skin to break out. You also don’t want to walk out of the house and have someone politely stop you to tell you that your face is a different shade than your neck- something that has unfortunately happened to me. So how do you find the perfect foundation?
When it comes to foundation, there are two big factors that come to play – skin type and skin tone. Skin type refers to the condition of your skin, and there are four types- oily/combination, sensitive, dry, and normal. Skin tone is the color and shade of your skin, like ivory, fair, dark, and so on.
Identifying Skin Type
When searching for foundation, always start with identifying your skin type. Remove your makeup and wash your face with a gentle cleanser, making sure to pat dry. Wait 30 minutes and avoid touching your face. Then look in the mirror and evaluate:
Does your face feel greasy when your touch it, even after washing? Is it shiny in a bad way? Look for an oil-free and lightweight liquid foundation such as the Too Faced ‘Born This Way’ Absolute Perfection Foundation ($39) and the Neutrogena Shine Control Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($12.99) to avoid clogging your pores and reducing unwanted shine.
Sensitive: Does your skin suffer from stinging, burning, or itching? Is there visible redness and bumps? Mineral makeup, which is powder foundation that’s more soothing than liquid foundation, should be something to look into. The bareMinerals Blemish Remedy Foundation ($28) is weightless, formulated with non-irritating and natural ingredients, and covers redness and blemishes.
Dry: Is your skin flaky and patchy? Does it feel taut and super tight? BB Creams like the KLAIRS Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream ($29.90) and the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($14) that contain glycerin do wonders in boosting hydration and moisture, as well as providing adequate sun protection.
Normal: Congrats! You have neither oily nor dry skin. You’ve been blessed with smooth, unblemished skin. This means that any foundation will work for you. You may not even need the heavy coverage that foundation brings. Opt for a tinted moisturizer like the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($22).
Combination: Having a combination of these skin types is super common. You may have oily and patchy skin, or sensitive and dry skin. Ouch! Look up foundations for combination skin types- there are some great ones out there like the bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation ($28.50).
Selecting Foundation Shade
Now that you’ve identified your skin type and hopefully picked out some great foundations, it’s time to select the shade. The easiest way to do that is to visit your nearby Sephora and ask for the free Color IQ service. A makeup artist will use a handy dandy Color IQ device and take a snapshot of your skin, in which will be processed to find your exact foundation match. And what’s super cool is that all the foundations found in the Sephora data servers that match your shade can be stored in your Beauty Insider account to use for future reference. Technology these days!
You can also run a few simple tests by yourself. Pick a few different shades of foundation, and swatch on your JAWBONE. Look for the swatch that sinks in and vanishes into your skin color. Now take a mirror and step outside in natural lighting. If the color that disappeared indoors is still invisible, then that’s the color that most matches your skin shade. This is a great trick to use if you’re torn between two or three different shades.
Last but not least, you can take a quiz! Many makeup sites provide quizzes to help you select your perfect foundation, right in the comfort of your home. A handy one I like to use is Findation.
And there you go, a quick rundown of finding your perfect foundation shade! Of course there are a bunch more factors that play into this and it may take a couple of tries to find that perfect match, but I hope these few tips helped you the next time you’re deciding on which foundation to buy. Remember that the quality of skincare and makeup is important, because what you buy is going onto your face. Do some research, and don’t be scared to experiment!