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'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 *.*