How to choose the right shade of foundation

words Alexa Wang

right shade of foundation

Foundation is supposed to cover blemishes and even out your complexion so that you can have a smooth surface where you will apply the rest makeup products. With the many shades, finishes, and coverage levels available, the foundation is customizable. This makes it one of the most challenging make-up products to purchase.

The main aim is to get a foundation that appears like your skin and will make it look better. This can be difficult to achieve since most makeup aisles do not have ideal lighting for swatching, and the mirrors are smaller than a majority of compact mirrors. In this article, we will give you tips on how to pick the right shade of foundation based on your complexion, skin tone, and skin type.

Understand and determine your undertone  

Before buying a foundation, you need to learn several things about skin like your undertone.  Your skin’s surface can change color due to many things like acne, exposure to the elements, but your undertone does not change. Therefore, when you determine your undertone, you can choose the right color of foundation. Generally, people fall into one of the three undertones below:

  • Cool – This means that your skin is more red, blue, or pink.
  • Warm – This means that your skin is more yellow, golden, or peach.
  • Neutral – This means that your skin has a combination of warm and cool colors.

You can perform a few tests to find out if your undertone is neutral, warm, or cool. The tests entail assessing your eye and hair color, which colors you look excellent in, how your skin reacts to the sun and your vein’s color.

When choosing a foundation, do not fight against the natural undertones of your skin. If your complexion is warm, choose a shade with yellow undertones. If your complexion is cool, select a foundation with pink undertones.

Find a foundation that matches your shade

There is adequate space for swatching foundation of your forearm. However, the skin on your forearm is much darker than that on your face. You can apply potential shades to your chest to determine if they are right. The shade does not have to be the exact match but can be slightly lighter because the color may shift throughout the day. Also, remember that some foundations can oxidize with wear and get darker naturally with the mixture of oils and elements on your face. Such a foundation can make you have a darker appearance, which you do not want. It is, therefore, essential to choose a foundation that does not oxidize to maintain the desired color throughout the day. You can take time to research about the high-quality foundations that do not oxidize and choose one that meets your needs.

right foundation

Consider your skin type

Before you choose a foundation, it is essential to know if you have oily or dry skin. With that, you can select a foundation that fits your skin. Your skin can be normal or sensitive, dry, oily, or a combination of both.  If you have oily skin, choose a powder or liquid foundation that is oil-free. If you have dry skin, get a hydrating or moisturizing cream. If you have sensitive skin, you can choose scent-free and hypoallergenic foundations. If you have combination skin, select a powder foundation.

Assess foundations in daylight

Most cosmetic shops have artificial lighting. However, when buying a foundation, you must use the sunlight to assess if it is the right match for your skin. Use a hand mirror to check each foundation and see if it blends with your skin.

Most people go for shades that can make them look tanned. However, it is better to get an exact match foundation so that when you apply bronzer, it will bring out the desired effect. Ensure the foundation blends in well with your neck since neck skin is lighter. Your foundation can show if it is darker than your neck.

Test it properly

Once you get the color you like, ask for a sample, if possible. Try the foundation on your skin for a few hours to ensure the product does not oxidize and change color. You will also know if the product has a firm staying power or slides off within a specific period. 

Foundations can bring out your natural skin better. However, if you do not choose the right product, it can ruin your skin color significantly. It is, therefore, essential to start by understanding your skin tone, skin type, and undertone to identify the right foundation. Once you get the right foundation, assess it in daylight to ensure that it blends with your skin.


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