We all have been there. Walking down the makeup aisle, choosing a foundation “that looks right” and taking it home; only to find out it’s wrong color, finish, or formula. For women of color it is especially hard to find the right foundation. I grew up with an older sister who resorted to mixing TWO different foundations to create the one she wanted and needed.
So I have created a guide to help those who are looking for the right foundation.
Step 1: Before anything else, determine what kind of skin do you have. Are you oily? Dry? Maybe you are a combination of both, like myself. Or maybe you have a special skin condition that would classify you as having sensitive skin. Either way, be honest with yourself! THIS WILL HELP YOU IN THE LONG RUN! This test by Renee Rouleau, an esthetician who caters to the celebrities, will help you find out which skin type you are: HERE.
Step 2: Find out your skin tone. This is a little hard to explain, but it’s basically the color of skin. Some of the popular labelling for the skin tones go lightest to darkest.
Now some brands may differ on the skin tones AND your skin changes throughout the seasons and climates. For example, in the summer I am labelled as “medium dark” but in the winter I am “medium tan”. So I jump between the two different skin tones each season.
Step 3. Determine your undertone. Are you warm, cool, or neutral. Unlike skin tone, your undertone usually stays constant. YOUR SKIN TONE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY DETERMINE YOUR UNDERTONE. The easiest way to find out is to check your veins (either on your waist).
- If you see mostly green, yellow, or olive-like color–you have WARM undertones.
- If you see blue veins, you have COOL undertones.
- If you see a mixture of both or have difficulty determining your colors, you are a NEUTRAL.
YUNANALYSIS made this chart to look for keywords used to describe your skin tone and undertone (I am usually described as caramel or walnut). You can also go into any Sephora Store. They have partnered up with Pantone to create a device that measures the darkness of your skin. They will then give you an idea where you are on the Pantone Skin Chart (i.e I am 2Y11 in winter, 2Y12 in summer)!
Step 4: Coverage. How much of your natural skin would you like to cover? Now, in my option, I prefer sheer to medium coverage. Whatever imperfections that are not covered with my foundation, a light concealer hides the rest.
- Sheer: barely there. Barely hides imperfections.
- Medium: some coverage. Covers some imperfections.
- Full: A lot of coverage. Covers all imperfections.
Step 5: Which formula would you prefer? As a guide line: powders work better for oily skin. Liquids and creams work better for dry skin.
- Cream: Plain Jane Beauty Creme Minerals foundation
- Liquid: Gabriel’s liquid foundation cosmetics.
- Loosed powder: Jane Iredale Amazing Base loose powder mineral powder.
- Pressed powder: BECCA Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation
- Serum: Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation
- Stick: Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation
Step 6: Lastly! Which finish would you like?
- Natural: I would describe naturall finishes as the between of satin and matte. These finishes look great on everyone! An California-based company, Bodyography, produces Natural Finish Foundations for an affordable price.
- Matte: No shine, soft look. Oily or combination skin types look great in this look to keep away oily skin. However, dry skin may want to stay away to avoid looking ashy or dull. TARTE’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15 is made with Kaolin clay to help with oil throughout the day.
- Radiant: Dewy (described as a “wet” look). Dry skin types love radiant finishes because it makes the skin look moisturized. But because it looks “wet”, oily skin should shy away from this finish–unless you apply a matte finishing powder. Vegan foundation, Veil Fluid Makeup Oil Free Broad Spectrum by Hourglass, provides sun protection and has a good range of shades.
- Satin: In the middle of radiant and matte, satin looks great on everyone. Urban Decay’s has a powder compact described to “add ultra definition” that is buildable and oil-free, that can be applied wet or dry.