So how should you go about choosing the right shade of foundation?
Follow our step-by-step guide below…
1. Find your tone
Firstly, you need to work out whether your skin has warm, pinky tones or cool, yellow ones. There are several ways to find out. For example, if you look better in gold jewellery, you probably have warm tones, and if you look better with silver jewellery, you may well be cool-toned.
Another thing to consider is your hair and eye colour, as customarily those with blue, grey or green eyes, and blonde, brown or black hair are cooler in tone than those with brown, amber or hazel eyes and strawberry blonde, red, brown or black hair.
Some also say that you can tell your hue from looking at the veins on your wrist. If they show up blue, you have cool undertones, but if they show up green, you’re warm.
2. Make your selection
Now it’s time to go and select a few shades of foundation, using the knowledge of whether you are cool or warm to guide your choices (if you’re still not sure, just grab a selection, and you’ll soon find out!)
It’s all very well swatching a sample on the back of your hand, but the skin here is actually a different colour to that on your face, so it won’t help you much in finding the right foundation.
Instead, apply a small amount of each product to your jawline, remembering which foundation is which (it helps to do them in number order!
3. Assess in daylight
Next it’s time to go outside. Most shops have very artificial lighting, but you need to see your foundation in daylight to find out if it’s a perfect match.
Using a hand mirror, have a good look at each individual foundation and see how it looks on your skin. What you’re looking for is a colour that’s almost invisible because it blends in so well.
Many people think that by going a few shades darker they can look tanned, but it’s much better to buy a true match foundation and apply bronzer if this is your desired effect, as a whole layer of too-dark foundation will just look weird.
Make sure the foundation blends well into your neck (this is why it’s applied on your jawline) as the skin of the neck tends to be lighter, and can be an obvious tell-tale sign if your foundation is far too dark.
4. Test it out properly
Once you’ve found the colour you like, get a sample if possible. This is generally only possible with higher-end brands; but as these are considerably more expensive, that’s where you really need to avoid mistakes!
It’s best to try a foundation on your skin for at least a few hours before making the plunge, as the product can oxidise and therefore change colour. Using a sample will also let you know whether it has good staying power – after all it’s all very well finding your perfect match, but if it slides off within half an hour it’s no good to you.
Another option, of course, is to have your skin tone professionally matched by beauty counter staff, although never be tempted to rush into a purchase. Let them put the product on you, then go outside in daylight before deciding whether it does actually suit you.
Although there are lots of great makeup counter staff out there, we’ve all had that experience of being pushed into a shade completely wrong for us, so be sure to stand your ground!