It’s time to put an end to the foundation graveyard. R.I.P. to all of those lovely shades you thought looked good at first, but ended up being too light, too dark, too pink, too yellow, or just plain wrong. It is possible to find your perfect match, if you know what you’re doing.
Scroll through for the three tips that will keep you from ever buying the wrong foundation shade again!
Before you start shopping for foundation, make sure you’ve got a clean canvas. Remove makeup, cleanse, and exfoliate away dead skin cells. To get the most accurate color read, your skin needs to be totally clean and makeup-free. But do put on a little mascara, brow powder, lip color, or whatever non-complexion makeup you usually wear. It’s easier to assess your choices when you look in the mirror and actually look like yourself. And wear white, as other colors can interact with your skin tone.
The skin tone of your face, neck, and décolletage are going to differ slightly. The best area to match is your neck. That way when you’re wearing the foundation, the transition from face to neck is seamless, and you avoid the dreaded foundation line along your jaw. Apply a swipe of the shade you’re considering from your cheek down to your neck. The right shade should disappear into your skin. Once you think you’ve found the one, test a larger area. Apply the shade to one side of your face to confirm.
Department store lighting is notoriously awful (and probably the main factor contributing to your collection of almost right foundations). With your neck test intact and your half-face of foundation, take a mirror and go find some natural light. The shade that disappeared in the light at the makeup counter may not look as flawless when you step outside, but keep testing until you find one that does. Always choose the shade that passes the natural light test.
Scroll through for our favorite foundations!