How to get a perfect foundation match every time


Fair Skin

Sometimes it’s hard picking out the right foundation shade for your skin. What appeared to look great in store can sometimes look a little too dark or even orange outside in the natural lighting. It’s really important to remember a few simple tips and tricks when shopping for foundation to make sure that you nail your perfect match the first time, every time.

1. Know your undertone

Everybody has an undertone to their skin which can either be cool (pink, red or bluish), warm (yellow, peachy or golden) or neutral (a mix of warm and cool undertones). The undertone can help you to work out which foundation colour will best complement your skin. A good way to help you find out your undertone is to take a look at the veins on your wrist, if they have a blue tinge, it’s likely you are a cool undertone, a green cast means a warm undertone. For something in-between the two, you may have a neutral undertone.

Another good way to help you work out your undertone is your hair and eye colour. Usually, cool people have blue, grey or green eyes with brown or black hair. Warm people usually have brown or hazel eyes with red, brown or blonde hair. Also, think about what happens to your skin in the sun – cool people (pink, red or blue undertones) will usually burn whereas warm people (yellow, peachy or golden undertones) will tan.

2. Understand the labelling

Some companies, such as MAC, label their foundations to help you to choose the perfect match. From NC (Neutral Cool) to NW (Neutral Warm). However, their Cool and Warm differ to how we know cool and warm. For example:

NC (Neutral Cool) yellow, peachy or golden undertones

NW (Neutral Warm) pink, red or blue undertones

If you are buying from a counter, the makeup artists will be able to advise you on your undertone and the best colour to suit your complexion. Each company will be different so say for example, if you are ‘Ivory’ at one company, you might need a completely different shade at another.

3. Test foundation on your lower neck or chest

Most people make the mistake of trying out a new foundation on the back of their hand which is a completely different colour and texture to the skin on our faces and necks. By testing the foundation on your lower neck or chest, you’ll get a much better reading of the colour and will immediately see if the colour will blend in nicely to ensure a flawless application. As you’ll see if you look through a mirror, our faces naturally shield the top of our necks which means the colour differs slightly from the rest of our neck and chest as it isn’t exposed to the sun as much.

4. Step outside into the natural light

Each store has different lighting that might throw a different cast over the colour of the foundation on your face. By stepping outside into the natural light, you’ll get a true vision of how the foundation looks on your skin. Natural lighting is always the best option for checking colour.

Foundation should blend seamlessly from the face to the jawline and complement the skin tone

Foundation should blend seamlessly from the face to the jawline and complement the skin tone. My bridal client Catherine wears MAC Studio Sculpt in NC15 and NC20

5. Ask for a small sample pot

If you can’t get to a store until the evening and have been colour matched at a counter, ask if you could have a small sample to take away with you so that you can try the foundation out the next day and check it against the natural lighting. Most counters will be happy to do this for you and usually have small tester pots available. If you’re buying from a drugstore, ask the staff if they’d mind if you pumped a small sample from the tester tube into your own sample pot.

6. Choose the right foundation for your skin type

As well as getting a great colour match, you also want to make sure to get a foundation that will work beautifully with your skin type. If you have oily skin, you’ll want to look for a more matte foundation with extra staying power. For dry skin, look at richer, creamier formulas that will nourish your skin as you wear it throughout the day and keep any dry patches at bay.

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.

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