top of page

Ace The Base: Choosing The Correct Foundation

Updated: Jun 15, 2018

We’ve all seen that girl with the slightly orange or pasty-colored face who seems totally unaware that her skin is a different color than her neck. In fact, we’re willing to bet you’ve even been that girl at least once or twice in your life before, because for some reason, finding the right foundation for your skin tone is hard. And it’s also why we all cling to our favorite foundations for years and years and years, only to descend into a cationic state once they get discontinued.

What Is “Texture?”

When describing skin texture, we’re simply talking about how smooth the surface of the skin is. Skin with even, smooth texture is well-hydrated and without clogged pores or raised bumps. There are a number of factors that can cause the skin to feel rough or look dull; the most common being rosacea, acne, chronic sun exposure, and extreme dryness. But overall, an excess of dead skin cell buildup is the usual culprit, which brings us to the easiest treatment method. 

Following are are the Three Steps in finding the perfect shade for your skin at the Drugstore:

Step 1: Find Your Formula

Take this short quiz to determine the product that best suits you.

How would you describe your skin?

A. Oily/combination

B. Dry

C. Normal

D. Sensitive

What's your biggest foundation gripe?

A. It disappears by noon.

B. It looks flaky and dull.

C. It feels heavy.

D. It irritates my skin.

What are you trying to hide?

A. Large pores and/or acne

B. Fine lines and/or brown spots

C. Nothing; I just want to blend minor imperfections.

D. Redness

The look you crave is

A. matte

B. dewy

C. natural

D. even

Mostly A's/Zap oil

When a foundation that contains oil comes into contact with oily skin, things get slick, causing your makeup to break down and slide off. Choose an oil-free liquid with lightweight silicone, which helps pigments adhere but won't clog pores.

Mostly B's/Go creamy

Boost hydration with a rich anti-aging formula that contains moisturizing ingredients, like glycerine. Our pick: Shiseido Makeup Radiant Lifting Foundation SPF 17.

Mostly C's/Lighten up

Lucky you! You're blessed with low-maintenance skin and can wear any foundation. For a believable finish, go for sheer liquids with light-reflecting particles or opt for a tinted moisturizer that has just enough pigment to even out your skin without being noticeable. We love NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA+++

Mostly D's/Correct and cover

If you're the sensitive type, mineral makeup is for you. Foundations that contain skin soothers, such as zinc, and are free of potential irritants, like fragrance and preservatives. Highly pigmented mineral formulas cover broken capillaries, redness, and discoloration. If you find loose powder too messy, look for a pressed version.

Step 2: Choosing Your Shade

Tips for the Department Store

Being able to try before you buy at a department or specialty store is a huge bonus, but you can still snag the wrong shade unless you do the following:

Ask for help. Get color-matched by a trained makeupartist — and score some free samples while you're at it.

Test the right spot. Swipe shades along your jawline to take into account the color of your neck, which is often paler than your face. The right hue should disappear into your skin.

See the (natural) light. Harsh overhead lighting can cast unflattering shadows. Stand near a window or head outside to check your color.

Tips for Shopping at the Drugstore

Thanks to high-tech displays and extensive shade ranges, it's easier than ever to meet your match at the drugstore. A few helpful hints:

Do your homework. There are several makeup brands that have complexion-matching applications on their websites. Log on to answer questions about your skin and receive product and color suggestions to use as starting points.

When in doubt, go darker. If you blend the color well, you'll look tan. But wearing a too-light shade will always make you appear chalky and overly made up, Willer says.

Step 3: Apply It Like a Pro

Different formulas require different application strategies. Eliminate guesswork by opting for products with a built-in brush or sponge tip. Or consult our cheat sheet:

Tinted moisturizers and BB creams: Rub them onto skin with your fingers.

Liquids, mousses, and creams: Brushes are best: Choose a flat-topped style that has synthetic bristles. Unlike natural bristles, synthetics won't absorb the makeup, so it transfers better onto skin. Buff in a circular motion from the center of your face, blending outward.

Powders: To keep it light, use a fluffy brush to sweep powder up and down the T-zone, Surratt says. Leave cheeks bare for a bit of glow. For more coverage, pick a brush with dense bristles, like a kabuki, and swirl all over.


With Love Renuka Krishna


bottom of page