The wrong foundation is a bit like the wrong lingerie – if your base doesn’t look and feel perfect, nothing else is going to sit quite right on top of it.
Finding your perfect foundation is, unfortunately, easier said than done, so I’m ready to talk you through everything you need to know about acing your base. First off – undertones.
What are undertones?
This is one of the first questions I’m asked by women looking for a new foundation is the meaning of undertones, especially now that many brands (think MAC and Estee Lauder) code the undertones of their foundations in their shade names.
There are three possible undertones – cool, warm and neutral (although cool will occasionally be labelled pink where warm is labelled yellow). Once you’ve established the undertone of your own skin, the foundation selection process will become a whole lot easier.
What is your undertone?
There are a few tricks to determining the undertone of your complexion. The method I find to be the most accurate is to have a look at the inside of your wrist. Do your veins appear more green? Your skin is probably warm. More purple or blue? Cool. A mix of both is usually indicative of a neutral skin tone.
Another simple trick is to think about what kind of jewellery looks best against your skin (not necessarily which metals you like to wear!) Cool skin pops against silver, while warm skin looks beautiful with gold.
These tips and tricks will definitely help you narrow down the search, however there’s no greater colour match than trying on a foundation in the flesh.
How to colour match your foundation
Unless you’re repurchasing an old faithful formula, it’s important to colour match in store – even if you’re buying from a brand you’ve used in the past, formulas and colours can change from product to product.
Many brands don’t label their foundation undertones on the product, so speak to an assistant who can give you a few options. If they only suggest one, tell them you’d like to see a few in the same colour family – it can be easy to run with the first suggestion if you’re overwhelmed, but take your time to ensure the colour is perfect.
A swatch on the back of the hand is never, ever sufficient. The best place to swatch a new foundation? Your chest! If you’ve been diligent with the SPF (and if you haven’t been, this is a reminder) your face will naturally be a touch paler than your neck and chest, so match your foundation below your jawline to avoid any blending mishaps.
Natural light isn’t exactly abundant in department stores, so swipe a few colours that you think could be in your skin tone ballpark onto your chest then head outside with a compact mirror. The right foundation will be the one that just blends right in.
Your perfect foundation will make everything else look that much better, just like the perfect lingerie. Now that you know how to colour match your foundation like a pro, it’s time to choose a formula – but we’ll save that for another time!