Finding your perfect foundation match is probably one of the trickiest things in makeup. All makeup wearers understandably want to find that perfect foundation that blends seamlessly into the skin, covers up all blemishes and makes them feel like a flawless god(dess). And with all the choices out there, it can be downright frightening.
So to help, I’ve put together these foundation matching tips that have worked for me over the years and hopefully you’ll find them helpful too.
With that, let’s get right into it. Finding your perfect foundation match involves three things.
(Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)
1. Know your skin type.
The four main skin types as far as foundation is concerned are oily, dry, combination (oily + dry) and normal (neither oily nor dry…the lucky few!). Knowing which one you have will help you decide the foundation finish/formula that’s right for you.
Foundations typically come in one of these three finishes:
Matte – Powdery finish
Dewy – Glossy shiny finish
Satin – Half matte/half dewy
Matte or mattifying foundations tend to work well for oily skin because they have a drying effect and help to absorb and buffer the skin’s natural oils.
In contrast, if your skin is on the drier side, you might opt for a dewy foundation which has a more glossy luminous finish. Satin finish foundations are kind of halfway in between dewy and matte so they usually work with most skin types. However, there are no hard rules when it comes to choosing a foundation finish. It’s always best to try out different formulas and decide what looks and feels best on your skin.
2. Figure out your skin’s undertone.
The second thing to note is your skin’s natural undertone and whether it is considered cool, warm or neutral. Most brands group their foundation shades into these three categories so it’s important to know yours.
Unlike surface skin tone which can change due to external factors like sun exposure, your undertone is unchanging and is generally determined by the color of your veins.
Keep in mind, though, that there are variations and some people might even fall somewhere in between. Still, there are ways to get a good idea of your undertone so that you can find your closest foundation shade match.
I’ve found that the color of your neck or inner forearm, visualized against a white background, is a good indicator of undertone. If you see red or blue, you have what’s considered a cool undertone. If you see yellow/peach, you have a warmundertone. And if you don’t notice a predominance of any of these colors, then your undertone is neutral.
3. Experiment and swatch to find your shade match. Knowing your skin type and undertone will help you get started but won't guarantee you'll find the right foundation shade. It really comes down to experimenting to find your closest shade made. To swatch simply means to apply a sample of product to your skin to see what the color looks. I like to swatch foundations on the outer perimeters of my face to get the closest shade match.
PRO TIP: Combining different foundation shades is another nifty trick if you can’t find one shade that matches you. Final Thoughts on Foundation Matching My best piece of advice would be to use the tips above and take your time as you shop around. Also, makeup stores like MAC, Sephora and Ulta have makeup artists on hand so don’t be afraid to ask questions and take advantage of the free expert advice. But be prepared to not be allowed to sample products due to COVID-19. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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