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The ins and outs of finding the perfect foundation for your skin

An essential item in every woman’s make-up bag, few of us would leave the house without wearing it, yet many of us are still baffled when it comes to choosing the perfect foundation. We’ve all seen people walking down the street with a very obvious “tide mark” around their chin but none of us would ever admit to being guilty of this major make-up crime. Unfortunately most of us have and the fact is, unless you’ve chosen the right foundation, you can actually look worse than if you went bare faced.
Foundation is the one cosmetic you shouldn’t skrimp on. While you may favour cheaper make-up, when it comes to other items, you should see your foundation as an investment. The right base will make you look radiant and provide a substrate for the rest of your make-up to cling to, thus making it last longer.

The first thing to ensure is that you get the correct shade. Walk in to any pharmacy or cosmetics store at any time of the day and you will see women “testing” foundations on the back of their hand. This is a huge mistake! Although it may not be immediately apparent to the naked eye, the skin here is a different shade to the skin on your face and, by default, testing foundation here will lead to choosing the wrong colour and the aforementioned tide marks. The best place to test foundation is on your jawline. Apply a small amount and blend in, if it’s the correct shade for you then it won’t take much blending to match your skin tone.

Make sure to always see what you look like in natural light; harsh store lighting can often be deceptive and gives a false representation of how a product will look in daylight. If you are unable to test it in this way and undecided as to how it will look ask a member of staff if you can have some sample sachets to try at home. The majority of brands are more than happy to give these out and it means that you can test them at your own leisure and in your natural environment – which is, after all, where you will be wearing it.

Getting the shade right is only half the battle though. Finding a type that suits you is as equally important. There are literally thousands of different formulations on the market so it can be rather confusing. Again, store staff can be very helpful in this respect and can talk you through what’s on offer and what would suit your lifestyle.

There are many factors to take in to account when deciding which one to go with – the most essential being your skin type. For example, if you have oily skin you should use an oil-free formulation in order to avoid aggravating your sebaceous glands. Meanwhile, acne sufferers should invest in a foundation that is approved by dermatologists, has soothing properties and will even out skin tone. If you are unsure what your skin type is the staff in-store should be able to help you out. Don’t be embarrassed approaching the counter staff – they get these sorts of queries all the time and are trained to deal with them.

Another consideration when choosing foundation is your age. Teen skin has a naturally even tone and should only need a light foundation or a tinted moisturiser to maximise its radiance. However, as your skin ages the pigmentation changes and fine lines and wrinkles set in. There are specific anti-ageing foundations on the market but you may not need one of these. An illuminating foundation, which contains an optical reflection system made up of iridescent pearls, will reflect light evenly and give the illusion of smoother, more radiant skin and will work for people who just need to even out skin tone rather than mask heavy-set lines or wrinkles. It’s not necessary to wear a thicker foundation as you get older – if anything this will settle in to lines and wrinkles and enhance them further. Try a few different formulations before deciding which one will work for you.

Lifestyle should also be factored in when choosing a base. If you have a tendency to go on a night out straight from work, or you do long shifts, then you should opt for a long lasting foundation that will get you through the day without the need for a retouch. If however, you tend to find yourself in a hurry in the mornings you could consider investing in an all in one compact foundation that will eliminate the need for powder as it will dry to a matt finish.

In an ideal world experts recommend that you apply your foundation with a brush as it gives an even coverage and is more hygienic than using your fingers. Certain brands come with a built-in brush and these are worth purchasing if you are unwilling to invest in a brush of your own.

Above all remember that you should wear your foundation – it shouldn’t wear you. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t find your perfect one immediately as there really is something out there for everyone.


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