Despite all the innovations in foundation – expanded color ranges, matching apps, shade-adjusting technology — there's still a lot of frustration when it comes to picking out the perfect hue for your face. But it doesn't have to be that way. We've broken down our best advice for finding your best match, ahead.
Know Your Needs
Do I like my foundation to look matte, dewy, or natural? Do I need a foundation that will control oil? What's my coverage preference — sheer, medium, or full?? These are all questions you should be asking yourself every time you head to the store in search of a new bottle – because knowing what you want from your foundation is half the battle.
If you're new to foundation, we'd recommend spending some time at a beauty counter swiping on different formulas to figure out what you like. Make note of textures, finishes, and coverage levels that appeal to you. While you're there, grab a sample and test it out for a few days. Something that looks glowy on your hand could look like a grease-fest on your face a few hours later.
Undertones Are Key
Knowing whether your skin is cool, warm, or neutral-toned is an integral part of the foundation-matching process. Not sure what you are? Try the vein test. "A cool-toned person will have a rosy tint to their skin, with blue-ish veins that you can see through the underside of your wrist or neck," makeup artist Elisa Flowers told us. "A warm-toned person would have yellow or golden tones to their skin and greenish-looking veins, while a neutral-toned person would have a mix between the two."
Many foundations nowadays are labeled "neutral," "warm," or "cool," so once you've got your undertone down, it'll be a helluva lot easier to narrow down your exact shade.
Do The Jaw-Line Test
No matter how many swatches you look at online, nothing beats trying a foundation out in the flesh. Most people will dab a little product onto the back of their hands and call it a day, but that isn't always the most accurate method since your hands can be a different shade than your face. We recommend testing on the jawline so you get a perfect match — no orange lines or streaks. Swipe a bit of foundation onto your jawline and blend, if it disappears into your skin, you've got a match.
Find The Right Brands
No matter how well you know your undertones and finish preferences, if the foundation you're lusting after doesn't come in a variety of shades, chances are you'll come up with a dud. That's why we always direct our friends to brands that have great shade ranges like Kat Von D, Lancôme, MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Revlon.
Take Advantage Of Return Policies
That said, not every foundation is available in tester form — especially if your foundation of choice is a drugstore find. That's why shopping at stores with generous return policies can come in handy. Retailers like CVS, Sephora, and Macy's offer free returns (opened or unopened) if you aren't satisfied with your purchase. Just make sure you return your items in time.
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