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1/14/13

How To Buy The Right Foundation

I know foundation shopping is a tough chore. It's become easier these days with beauty blogs that give you a pretty good idea if a particular foundation is what you're looking for. BUT picking the right shade is still a challenge for a lot of people. I've lost count of the number of foundations I've used, but I'm still not a 100% confident when it comes to picking the right shade.
Once, when I was buying Revlon Colorstay Foundation at a Watsons in Kuala Lumpur, I almost went mad! Mr.CZ had left me alone to do my makeup shopping, and when he came back after an hour, I had not moved an inch from the Revlon shelf. My hands & arms were dirty with swatches, I was so exhausted, and I think I wanted to cry a little bit. Really. I wanted to sit on the floor like a child, raise my arms & cry out: "HELP ME! WARM GOLDEN OR THIS BEIGE-SOMETHING??? SOMEBODY! WHY ARE YOU ALL STARING AT ME?!!!" I told you I almost went mad.
It has gotten easier since then. Buying my most recent foundation (Rimmel Wake Me Up) took only a minute or two. I thought it would be kind of helpful if I shared a few tips and things like that. 

What I do: 

  • Set a day for foundation shopping, and I don't wear much makeup on my face that day.
  • Take along a bottle of my favorite foundation shade for comparison*. I swatch it on my hand & swatch the others alongside it to find the closest matching shade. For me, it's Make Up For Ever HD Foundation #120. You'll see why below.
  • *Don't use up all of your favorite foundation or throw away the bottle, so you can use it as a guide to buy your next foundation. Unless you're buying the exact same one.
  • If I didn't carry my "guiding foundation", I'll pick shades like Nude, Beige, Sand.... basically, shades that look more yellow & I'd swatch them all on my arm in an orderly fashion (smallest number first), so I don't forget which is which if they look very similar.
  • Then I'll take the foundations from the swatches on my arm with my fingers & apply them on my jawline or neck side-by-side.
  • I'll pick the shade that blends into my jawline & neck perfectly.
  • I take a pack of Wet Wipes & tissues. They make swatching many shades at the same time so much easier. In India, they may not be as important, because most stores have SA's who are always ready with cotton balls & cleansing milk. But in drugstores, there's no such service, you're on your own. 
  • Having a handbag mirror which has a magnifying mirror on one side can be super helpful when buying foundation.


If You're Buying Foundation For The 1st Time:

  • Determine your skin's undertone. Warm, Cool or Neutral? Warm means you have a yellowish undertone. Cool means you have a pinkish undertone. Neutral means you have a mixture of both yellowish & pinkish undertones. For reference, I have a neutral undertone, but the yellow is more dominant. This is because I have a mix of Asian & only about 1/4th British blood (how it all comes back to math!)
  • One way to determine your undertone is to look at your wrists. Are your veins more green or blue or bluish-green? If green- you are warm. If blue- you are cool. If green/blue- you are neutral. My veins are green/blue. I have 2 veins on my left wrist- one is green & the other is bluish-green.  
  • One more way to determine your undertone: If gold jewelry looks best on you, you are Warm. If silver looks best on you, you are cool. If both gold & silver suit you, you are Neutral.

Important Things to Consider:

  • Your Skin Type: Is your skin Normal, Oily, Dry or Combination? If you have Oily skin, buying a creamy foundation is probably the wrong move. Stick to liquid/oil free/matte or powder foundations. If you have dry skin, go for a creamy or satin finish. 
  • Coverage: You want Light or Heavy coverage? For example: I have a slightly patchy-looking skin with some dark spots here & there, so I find sheer foundations & tinted moisturizers quite pointless. I go for ones that have medium to heavy coverage, like the ones I'm showing here.

  • SPF: If you're concerned about sun spots, ageing & tanning, you might want to select a foundation with SPF. For me personally, SPF is not really a deciding factor if the foundation has my kind of finish & coverage. I'll just use a moisturizer with SPF underneath it if it doesn't have any kind of sun protection.



Don'ts:

  • Don't depend on SA's too much. Some are super helpful, but most of them are really just working on commission. I've had many Delhi SA's (from Shopper's Stop, Lifestyle, Kunchal's, Commonwealth Store, etc) push a pinkish foundation on me- "Ma'am, if you use this, your complexion will look more glowing."
  • This is so cliché, but it needs to be said- Don't trust store lights. Go outside in broad daylight to check which shade is the best. Back when I didn't know my MAC skin tone number, I bought a concealer that's too orange for my skin tone just because it looked perfect under their store lights. This next tip may sound weird, but it could make it a little bit easier for you- I suggest you buy foundation at a market (like GK M-Block Market) rather than a big mall (especially if the store is on the 2nd floor). That way it'll be easier for you to go outside for "foundation checking". I just thought of this shopping technique, so it sounds a bit much.... haha! 


Shown here are all the foundations that I'm currently using, and I'll show you how they all look on my arm & jawline: 
  • Revlon Colorstay Foundation For Oily/Combination Skin in Warm Golden #310
  • Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #120 Soft Sand
  • Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Airbrush Finish Foundation in Light 4
  • Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Airbrush Finish Foundation in Light 3.5
  • Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in 200 Soft Beige


On my jawline (In reverse order) - Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in 200 Soft Beige | Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Airbrush Finish Foundation in Light 3.5 | Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Airbrush Finish Foundation in Light 4 | Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #120 Soft Sand | Revlon Colorstay Foundation For Oily/Combination Skin in Warm Golden #310.
You can see how different the swatches look on my arm & jawline. That's why it's important that you swatch foundations on your jawline to find the perfect match.
My ideal shade is Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #120 Soft Sand, because it has more yellow in it. Because I have brown patches, I feel that the yellow counteracts those and make my skin tone look more even + it blends well with my neck.
Runner-up ideal shade is Rimmel Wake Me up Foundation 200 Soft Beige.
Least ideal shade out of the five is Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Airbrush Finish Foundation in Light 3.5, because it has more pink than yellow undertones. I usually mix it with shade Light 4, and I actually picked it for that purpose.
Revlon Colorstay may look too orange here, but it actually blends in nicely with my skin tone. Review here 
My old favorites are Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in #53 & Lakmé Absolute White Intense Skin Cover SPF 25 in 03 Golden Medium (Review here)
My MAC shade- NC25. 

♥ 

I think that's all for now. Hope you found this post helpful. Good Luck on your next foundation shopping trip!


♥ Cynthia Z *.*

42 comments:

  1. thanks for the tips, it will help alot
    but in the end, idk i'm just need advise for someone (BA, my sis or my bf)

    xoxo

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  2. Great article! Thanks for the tips!

    www.sifascorner.com

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  3. This is quite helpful cynth! Its also amazing how different all those foundation shades are and yet all of them seem to work with your skin tone...
    I look for a lot of yellow in my foundations too, i feel like wihen i use peach colored foundations, darker areas of my face appear ashy almost...Imy biggest problem is that my mouth area is much darker than the rest of my face-a problem wih a lot of indian i think. What do you suggest for that? Same color foundation or different color foundations?

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    Replies
    1. When I used to have darker patches, a yellow cream concealer/foundation from Kryolan Supracolor range really helped even out my skin tone. So I suggest something like that applied with a damp sponge, and then the foundation you use on the rest of your face on top.

      ♥xx♥

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  4. Wow.. Superb post.. Till now, I thought I am a Cool skin tone but after your post, I found that I am actually of a Neutral tone, Yes I also have Green as well as Blue Veins on my left hand & both Gold as well as Silver jewellery flatters my skin tone. :D

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  5. Thank you for the tips. will definately do the watches on my jaw line next time :)

    www.thetimesofmanyphases.blogspot.com

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  6. Great post! Helps me a lot. I'm neutral I think :)


    Gen
    Genzel Kisses

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. great tips.. will def follow them next time :)

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  9. oh godddd!!!! u have NO IDEA what u have just done here....CZ....If i ever had the ability to really grant someone their "wishes" i would have done that right now for 'youuuuu' in exchange of the precious info u just shared in this post....hope you now know HOW IMPORTANT this post is for readers like me! this post is like a saviour!! Cynthia...now i feel like considering you a god-sent-make-up-mentor/angel(u choose the name:P)!!! hahaha:D:P!! the reason m saying all this is not because i was totally aloof about it...but whatever little i knew off, i never came across anyone who cud explain HOW IS IT TO BE DONE!! (I need my fair share of explainations:P:P:D)
    Seriously...I had almost reached a point to stop buying foundation coz it was a daunting task..thanks a ton for doing this Money+time saving post!:)

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    1. Glad it helped you Gauri. Haha... god-sent & angel are too much! :D
      Hope you find yr perfect foundation now :)

      ♥xx♥

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  10. Great post! I'm so bad at find the right foundation & guess what, I dont wear any at all. :/ *sin*

    Sarah
    PrettyGloss - makeup, beauty & a lil gibberish

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  11. A very useful post Cynthia :) thank u so much for d post :)

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  12. this article helped me in many ways so thankYOU :)

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  13. What a guide! My skin is a lot like yours, very pale, mixed tones (I'm mixed race as well) so I struggle to get foundations. I don't really wear foundation anymore because I live in the US so most of the cheaper brands are too "cool" for my skin.

    Ever since discovering BB cream I no longer bother with foundation now, and I wear missha perfect cover BB cream in #21. I think this guide is helpful with other kinds of makeup beside foundation, such as concealer or powders (anywhere you can access testers!). I'm glad you explained so much, it will help still!

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    1. Oww that's too bad! But if you're happy with BB Creams, it's not so bad. I wish I could live on them myself. I've heard great things about Missha BB...might want to try it someday.

      ♥xx♥

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  14. Thank you so much... am always bad at buying foundations... your post ill really help...

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  15. Gold suits everyone but Silver does not as it’s remarked as allergy in comparison to the dear metal/. But it’s the emotional touch that is added to the feelings to show that a metal is a metal taking the dollar$ factor into the account.

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  16. I am hoooked on to my foundations as well! Your post was indeed helpful! I had alays imagined my skin to be strongly yellow until I realized I am really neutral! Now the process of finding the right shade better!

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  17. extremely useful post :) thanks:)
    -poorva

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  18. Great post :) I've been struggling with foundations lately. I find that most stores have very dirty looking testers that I would never want to put on my face, so I rely mostly on swatches from beauty blogs!

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  19. great post!!! the problem comes in when u want to buy foundation online!

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  20. I always feel that the foundation should be half a shade darker and then powdered with a powder that exactly matches the skin tone as this allows the foundation to look natural and not scarily ghostly in the camera. Since you are fair you can pull the exact colors but for my olive skinned friends this is the best thing I can say...
    Lovely post.

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  21. *Bookmarked* I totally agree with all things you have mentioned here. Very well written. Also, I think a foundation may look different before its blended just like you mentioned about the ColorStay Foundation. Great post! xx

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  22. ohhh just today i came back from foundation swatchng and didnt buy anything.... so frustated.... everything looked ghastly on me... thanks..

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    1. Hope you find a good one next time! :)

      ♥xx♥

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  23. Im about to buy my 1st foundation soon and this post was so very helpful :) Thank you so much..
    xoxo <3

    http://littlemisssinner.blogspot.in/

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  24. I wish I could actually use your guide! Ugh! In america we can't swatch foundations before we buy it. We don't have samples out for that unless it's in an high end store :(((

    I don't usually have that much trouble because I am so pale I usually pick the lightest shade it it usually works. But sometimes it's too pale.

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    1. How odd to not have testers! I never knew that's the case over there

      ♥xx♥

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  25. MUFE gels with you soooo nicely!!!!
    jaw swatches are so important yea

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  26. Awesome post - purchasing foundation can be such a hassle!

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  27. great post Cynthia - and thanks for the swatches - my skin tone is much darker than yours but revlon warm golden was something I used for a whole year and absolutely loved - did not repurchase because stupid me likes to keep experimenting so I keep changing my foundation - the tips will surely help me pick out my HG foundation some day!
    I do hope you will spare some time to visit my blog and participate in the contest going on - will really appreciate it :)
    contest link

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  28. I am so lost every time I go for picking up foundation. And SA add to confusion. I was never able to get which and how shade to pickup. whether it should exactly match my skin or should be lighter than my skin stone. very useful post- May be I will able to make some sense next time I go to store. I am also yellow, 2 veins-green and one-purple/bluish.Keeping my fingers cross so that I picked-up a correct one.

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  29. Which SPF face cream do you use under your foundation? Is it SPF 30? I am looking for one which does does not leave a white cast. Any suggestions?

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  30. These were all great tips, especially for determining your undertone. I also liked Neeraj Navare suggestions.
    Loved the blogpost!

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  31. I have so not found the right foundation! I think its the most difficult and the most crucial item in a make-up kit. Also soo confused whether I am cool or warm-been trying to figure that one out since years!
    Thanks for the tips! Great post!!

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  32. i wish i had found this yest before i went a got the WRONG shade of foundation. I got a honey beige from maybellie for my skin and i tried it on in daylight and it just doesn sit right! :'( but thanks for the tip will need to go back and get the right one.. hopefully will go for the rimell long lasting foundation.

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I ♥ finding little notes in my Vanity Case, so do drop one. I read all of them & I try my best to reply to each & every one of them [check back in 2-3 days =D] but most times it's physically impossible! Either way, I love to hear from you & really appreciate you taking the time out to share your thoughts <3

Thank you for reading! :)

♥xx♥