Foundation Basics & Reviews, Uncategorized

How to choose the Foundation that’s right for you

There’s a lot to say about foundation, and I will be posting a whole series on this topic including some reviews on my favourites over the next few weeks but for now I’ll start with how to choose the right foundation specifically for you.  If you follow my advice, you’ll never again have to waste your money on an expensive foundation that’s completely unsuitable for you. Yay!

There are so many foundations out there with different formulas and finishes so it can be hard to choose the right one.  Buying foundation is not something you should do on impulse as you have to be sure it matches your skin perfectly.  A lot of women make the mistake of buying the “latest” foundation out which claims all sorts but doesn’t always deliver for everyone!  What looks great on your friend or workmate, might not be suitable for you as people have different skin types and so the foundation that suits their skin, might not suit yours.  And if you fork out for the same foundation, you’ll be making a very expensive mistake if it doesn’t suit your skin type or is the wrong colour.

Testing, Testing…

When you want to buy a new foundation you need to test it first to make sure that it’s suitable for your skin.  It’s also a good idea to try a few different brands to see which is best. First get yourself some small containers with a screw on lid to collect samples (you can get them in Boots or in any chemist or beauty supply store) and then go to a large department store where there’s a few different makeup counters.  Narrow it down to the brands you want to try and ask the sales assistants at the counter to recommend a foundation and colour that’s suitable to your skin.  Some counters have little samples already that they can give you once they’ve matched your colour.  Some other counters are particularly stingy when it comes to giving samples and usually the sales assistants will try to get you to sit down and let them apply the foundation on you.  It’s fine if they are colour testing a small area but generally I never let them do this – you don’t want them to do your whole face as it’s really best to take the sample away and try as part of your makeup routine, using your own brushes/concealer/powder  etc. as this will give you the best chance of knowing whether it’s suitable or not once you’ve seen how it sits and lasts on your skin for the day.  Also they’ll try to sell you other things that you most likely don’t need so just be firm and say that you would only buy the foundation if you can get a sample and try it out for yourself.  If they’re still having none of it, move on to the next counter!  You’ve got to be ruthless here OK?!

When choosing they type of foundation, the key things to consider are:

Your skin type – whether you’re oily, dry, sensitive or combination, first and foremost, you need to choose the right foundation formula for your type of skin and some are better than others so make sure to let the sales assistant know what type you are although they will usually ask you this.  You would always choose a moisturiser or other skincare products to suit your skin type and choosing foundation is no different to that.

Your Skin Colour – Obviously you’ve got to have a perfect match for your skin colour – this is the easiest to get wrong.  It can be difficult to choose this yourself so if you need to, ask for help when trying.  As a general guide:

  • A yellow toned foundation will suit a lot of skin tones and hide any redness but be careful it’s not too orange looking on you.
  • If you are very pale skinned, go for a foundation with a pink undertone to it.
  • If you want foundation for going out or for a special occasion, and you will be wearing fake tan, wear your tan when you are testing the colour and don’t try to guess on pale skin as it’s just impossible to do!
  • You should test on your jawline and blend the colour down towards your neck.  The foundation should disappear into your skin with no obvious dark edge and it shouldn’t look too light against your own skin colour either.
  • Check the colour in natural daylight to see how it looks as it will always look different outside the artificial light of the store.

Coverage – Foundation comes in different coverages, ranging from:

Full coverage – usually in a compact or cream formula.

Medium or buildable coverage – liquid foundation or mineral powder.

Light coverage/tint – tinted moisturiser or BB cream.

The coverage you require will depend on how much skin you want to show through your foundation and whether you have any imperfections you want to cover up.  Your age is also a factor in choosing coverage as heavy makeup can sometimes accentuate lines and wrinkles.


And just to confuse matters even more it also comes in different finishes!  For example a matte finish will give a powdery velvet finish with little or no shine, whereas a satin or luminous finish will give you a youthful sheen to the skin and look radiant, a la JLo!

Top Tip: If you find a foundation that you really love, consider buying two shades, a paler one for winter or times when you’re a bit pasty and a darker one for summer or wearing with a tan.  If you’re in between colours you can always mix the two, I do this all the time and I can always get a perfect colour match.

That’s all for now, I’d really love your feedback on which foundation you’re wearing and if you love it or not or even any questions you may have so please leave me a comment below or contact me on Facebook or Twitter anytime. 🙂