What to Look for When Shopping for Foundation, According to a Makeup Artist

February 11, 2021
Tembe Denton-Hurst
By: Tembe Denton-Hurst | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
makeup swatches in various shades
While there are no official rules in the world of makeup, we think it’s safe to say that a good base is the key to everything else. A bad foundation application can lead to an uneven and cakey result. To help ensure a seamless finish, start by finding the right foundation formula for you. To help steer you in the right direction, we asked makeup artist Emily Oliver for her foundation shopping tips.

Match Your Body, Not Your Face

One of the first steps in choosing a foundation is deciding what part of your body to match it to. “Chances are, one's face and body are not the same color — this is due to sunscreen, lifestyle and tone,” says Oliver. “People often think they should match their foundation to their face or neck, which, in my opinion, causes a ‘floating head’ effect, where the body and face look like two different entities. Matching to the left side (or driver's side) of the jawline is a great place to test.”

Pick Your Finish According to Your Skin Type

Another important component to consider is choosing the correct finish for your skin type. For those with dry skin, Oliver suggests steering clear of powder formulas because they can highlight “textured” skin. Instead, try a liquid formula like the NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Pro Drop Foundation
NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Pro Drop Foundation

Those with oily skin should be weary of foundations with a dewy finish, because oily skin can make the foundation appear too shiny. “Unless glowing is the desired look, stick to matte or semi-matte foundations and powders,” she says. We like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear Powder Foundation.

Determine Your Undertone

Finding the right shade of foundation goes beyond your skin tone. It’s also your undertone that determines which exact shade will match best. “The undertone determines whether one’s complexion is more golden, rose or beige,” says Oliver. “When searching for a foundation, do the three-stripe trick: Take three foundations that are close to your skin tone — one that looks more pink, one that looks more yellow and one that looks neutral in color — and apply one stripe of each along the jawline and gently blend. Whichever shade disappears into the skin will give an indication of what the undertone really is.”

Always Shop When You’re in a Good Mood

And the best time to shop? Oliver says to save your foundation picking for when you’re in a good mood. “It will open your mind to more options, which might just introduce you to foundation wardrobing (different foundations for different occasions),” says Oliver. “Remember: It's makeup. Have a little fun!”
Photo: Diggy Loyd 

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