How to pick the perfect foundation

I remember when I was a kid and I was totally clueless that my foundation just didn’t suit my skin type or even match. It didn’t help that I couldn’t afford the Department Store brands where you can actually get matched up by a make up artist, that’s the only downfall of drugstore brands. But it you know what your doing, and hopefully you will after this post, you won’t be as clueless as I was!


What makes a perfect foundation?
First things first… The right foundation shade will dissappear onto your skin. Meaning that it’s the right colour for your skin tone. There is nothing worse then buying a bottle of foundation and it being  a shade too dark or light for your skin. Not a good look. It also shouldn’t settle into fine lines or pores. It should also cover up any redness or unevenness without looking obvious.

Do your research
I research all of my foundations before I buy them, especially high end. There is nothing better then reviews from the beauty blog world for unbiased opinions. The blogger will usually answer questions too if you want to know something about the foundation. (I always make sure I answer my questions I hope other people do too!)

Have a clean canvas
There is no point going to buy a new foundation with a face full of the stuff on, because you won’t get a true colour. Always make sure you properly clean, cleanse and exfoliate your skin to get the most accurate colour.

Know your skin type
Foundations are formulated for different skin types, so knowing yours is important. The different types are oily, dry, combination, normal and sensitive.
If your skin is oily, look for words like “oil-free,” “oil-control” or “mattifying” on the bottle.
Women with dry skin should look for moisturizing foundations with “hydrating” or “moisture-rich” wording on the bottle. Foundations containing glycerin glide on easily.
For combination skin, determine if you’re more oily or dry and go from there. Cream-to-powder bases work great for combination skin. Mineral foundations work well on all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

Decide what coverage you want
I personally love to have a full coverage because i have some spider veins around my nose that I just have to cover up. If you have good skin but just want to even out some imperfections, then a light coverage is for you. If you have blemished or uneven skin tone then choose a medium coverage. Medium coverage can be built up for a fuller look (but always check if your choice can be built up because not all do this well!)

Always make sure you try before you buy!
I wouldn’t dare leave a shop with a new foundation without even trying it. Foundations can look very different in the bottle then it does on your face. Always make sure you take advantage of those samples that are available to you in drugstores. But if you can afford Department store make up, ask one of the make up artists to do a colour match for you. They will usually apply the foundation and then you can shop around and see how you feel about it and then come back later. There is no better test then wearing it for a couple of hours!

How to test out samples in Drugstores
The first thing I will say is don’t apply foundation to your hand for a colour match. Your hand and your face will most likely have totally different tones. I see so many people, kids and adults, applying fountain to their hands. Why not apply it to the place your gonna actually wear it? I usually use my jaw line. I tend to pick 3 shades and see which one disappears. When you think you have the one, try it on a large area of your face. I always take a compact mirror with me when shopping for foundation so I can go outside in the natural light to check out the shade. The lights in drugstores can be harsh, so always choose the shade that passes the natural light test.

I hope you have learnt something from this post and if you have some tips for me I’d greatly appreciate them! We never stop learning, and I’m constantly learning new tips! I’ll keep you updated if I find anything else useful!

EDIT: I’ve received some other really great tips in my comments so I thought I would share them with you!

beckinablog said that if she doesn’t want to try them on her face, she gets a tester of a shade she already knows is a match for her and compare the old foundation to the new one. Great for if it’s a spur of the moment purchase when you already have a full face of make up on.

gwenllianbranwen also said that there are also loads of websites that you can type in foundations you match and then they suggest over brands and the colours you suit.

Clutteredcloset had one idea that I’m disappointed in myself for not thinking of. Carry around an acrylic pot to take samples away or if a counter has no samples, they can put it in the pot for you to take away! Brilliant idea! Stock up your acrylic pots girls!

Keep them coming, I’ll tag everyone that I think is a really good tip!


15 thoughts on “How to pick the perfect foundation

  1. These are some really great tips! Thanks for sharing. Though I usually find my shade by picking the lightest one haha. I have been wearing L’Oreal True Match Foundation in W1 Porcelain for years and it seems to be the perfect match for me and it’s what I always come back to. 🙂 xo

    • That’s usually the case for me too! Haha. But I’ve found some light shades can really wash me out so I always have to make sure. I tend to go to department stores these days though and let the experts pick for me!

  2. Great post!
    My favourite trick for the drugstore if you dont want to try them out on your face, is to get a tester for a foundation you already know matches your skin tone, and compare your new foundation to that. Works 99% of the time and its better than buying completely blind!

    • That’s a really good tip! I know sometimes your not always ready to get a new foundation and it’s kind of a spur of the moment thing, I’ll keep that in mind next time I wanna splurge randomly!

      • Definitely. Also I find it’s really great for those times when you don’t have time to spend ages in the store and you just need to grab it, pay for it, and go. I’ve always got a few foundations in mind that I want to try out, and I always compare them to the Rimmel Match Perfection in Light Porcelain because I know thats the best match i’ve found so far!

  3. *hangs head in shame* I am the person that puts it on their hands to test! Oh my days. Although I tried to improve this by applying it to my wrist instead, as I’m really pale. I’ve never really thought to actually stick the stuff on my face to test it, because I normally go in with foundation on. Need to get better prepared and go in plain faced! :-/ Great post! 🙂 x

    • Haha don’t worry, I used to do it too! Another place to try it is your neck if you have foundation on already, but your jaw line is always gonna be the best. Thanks for reading 🙂 x

  4. Great post such good tips, there’s also loads of websites that you can type in foundations you match and then they suggest over brands and the colours you suit, they tend to be really good so you can get colour matched high end then find a drug store alternative to that colour. They tend to be really good although not always a dead colour match they are likely to be pretty much right x

  5. Great tips! I wish I had known all of that long before. I think it’s also helpful to know what kind of finish you are going for. It makes a huge difference if you have a matte, satin or dewy finish. I think I would generally recommend people with large pores or bumps to stay away from super dewy foundations because they really accentuate any imperfections. It all is still a matter of preference though. Thanks for sharing!

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