The hunt for foundation is hard. You buy one. You go home. You look like Memoirs of a Geisha. You buy one. You go home. The monkey from the old Hi-C commercial punched you with his flying background oranges. You buy one, you go home...
The cycle goes on and on.
I've banded together some of my full-proof tricks for finding your perfect foundation every time. Use these simple tips and you'll always come out of the store with a foundation that's the correct shade, undertone, type and coverage for your skin.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
Does it match my skin undertone? (Cool, Neutral, Warm)
This is the most essential thing to know when on the hunt for the perfect foundation. If you are cool toned, your skin will typically be on the pinker side. If you are more on the warm side, you're skin will pull more to the yellow side. Neutral skin tones aren't on the extreme side of things and fall straight in the middle ground. If you can't tell what undertone you are, ask yourself this--Does silver or gold jewelry look best on you? If you answered silver then chances are that your skin is cool toned since the cool silver hues flatter you best. If gold, then your skin is probably warm. If both look fahhhbulousss on you then you guessed it--neutral.
Does it suit my skin type? (Oily, Normal, Dry)
Different skin types need different foundations. If you have dry skin, a matte foundation will cling to any dry patches and make it much more noticeable. A dewy foundation will deliver the moisture the skin needs to have a natural, skin-like look. If you're looking to control oily skin, a matte foundation along with a good setting powder, primer and setting spray will keep you shine free. Normal skin types can more easily choose a wider variety of foundation finishes based on preference.
Is it the coverage I want? (Light, Medium, Heavy)
If you think of it, foundation is the most "personal" of makeup products because it helps us to hide insecurities like acne, scarring, age spots and discoloration. Exploring a lot of different foundation coverage options will help you find your personal perfect match. If you're looking for lighter coverage look out for BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers and sheer finishes. If looking for medium coverage, look to mineral makeup and medium coverage liquid foundations. For heavy coverage, creams, mousses and thick liquid foundations.
Swatch from jaw to neck
Try out the foundation by swiping a small amount from your jaw down to your neck. This will give you the best indication if it truly matches your skin tone. Matching the color of your neck is integral if you want to avoid the painted-on mask effect sported by the likes of Snooki. I see a lot of people swatching foundations on their hands when makeup shopping and this is a big no, no. It's more convenient but a sure-fire way to find the wrong shade. Why? Because blood flow to the extremities of your body (like your hands) is weaker than blood flow to places like your head. This means that the color of your hands is different than the color of your face!
[Tweet ""Swatch from jaw to neck instead of hands to get your perfect foundation match""]
Try it on (in natural light!)
Probably the best thing you can do is test-drive the foundation. Have a makeup artist or saleswoman apply it to you, then walk to the nearest window or even outside the store if you can and look in a mirror. I can't tell you how many times I have been matched in the fluorescent lighting of a Sephora and come home to realize my brand spanking new foundation indeed resembles a tangerine. Daylight is the only way to truly tell if it matches your face and neck.
If you can't try on the foundation (like if you're at the drugstore), tuck a bottle of one you currently own in your purse before you go shopping. Even if that one's not a perfect match, it will help you gauge the right color for you by comparing the colors in the bottle.
Use the right tools
Don't underestimate the power of the tools you use, farmer Brown. The tools used to apply your makeup make a HUGE difference in the blending and overall finish of your foundation. Use a damp sponge like the beauty blender if you want a more natural, skin-like appearance or if you want to sheer out thick foundation. I personally love a flat top kabuki brush to perfectly apply medium to heavy coverage foundation. Even your fingers are great tools to apply foundation because it warms up the product to more easily melt into the skin.
If you buy a foundation that's the right color but not the finish you want, don't give up on it until you have tried out different ways to apply it! You'll find the foundation looks completely different with different tools.
What are some of your foundation finding tips? What is your holy-grail foundation?