There’s nothing worse than spending money on a new foundation, and then putting it on only to find that it’s not the right fit. It’s important to take the time to figure out what your skin needs before you make that investment. Finding the right foundation for your skin tone is notoriously more difficult for darker skin. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here is our five-step, fail-proof strategy for finding the best foundation for you.
Start by answering two important questions about the type of foundation you should be buying:
Determine your skin type: Is your skin really dry? If so, you need an emollient, creamy foundation that will help your skin retain a dewy and youthful look. Is your skin oily? If so, you want an oil-free foundation that won’t clog your pores. Combination skin requires something in the middle. If your skin is highly sensitive, if you have allergies, or are prone to break-outs, you probably need a hypoallergenic formula. Get clear on the current state of your skin and determine what type of foundation you need.
Be clear about what kind of coverage you need and want: Foundations offer a range of coverage from very light, sheer coverage typical of a tinted moisturizer to a heavy, flawless finish that can coverage the worst blemishes. The right foundation for you is going to depend upon the end result you’re looking for. Some common looks are matte, airbrushed, dewy, and powdered. Be clear on what statement you’re trying to make, as this will further narrow down your product choices.
Once you’ve selected the right type of foundation for your skin and your desired level of coverage, it’s important to find the right shade. Follow these three steps and you’re guaranteed to get a shade you love.
Know your undertone: One of the keys to finding the right foundation shade is knowing what undertone your skin has. These can range from pink to yellow and even blue. The range of undertones possible on darker skins is particularly wide. If you’re unable to conclusively determine this, stop by the counter at a department store and get a consult. You don’t have to buy the products there if you don’t want to, but be sure to ask the artist to share his or her thought process. You’ll likely get details, “Oh, this product is perfect for you because your skin is dry and this will keep it hydrated. This is the right shade because it’s warm and complements your golden undertones.”
Test the foundation on your jawline: Few things in the makeup world carry as much confusion on where to test on your skin as foundation. It’s common to hear everything from test on the back of your hand to your wrist and beyond. Let’s put that to rest once and for all: you’re going to be wearing your foundation on your face. Therefore, that’s where you want to test it. Specifically, test foundation along your jawline as this area is the hardest to blend and important to make look natural.
See the foundation under natural light: Department and drug store lighting is harsh and looks nothing like the lighting you’ll be spending your time in. Be sure to step out into natural light, just for a moment, to make sure that the match that looks good in the store looks good outdoors.
With a few baseline ideas and some careful testing, your next foundation should be a perfect match.
About the Author: Debbie Sweet is an acne specialist at Advanced Dermatology who has been writing about skincare for nearly 10 years. When she’s not writing, you can find Debbie on a yoga retreat or training for an upcoming marathon!