How to pick the right foundation

As an ex-makeup artist and trainer, I find the most common dilemma women face in the makeup department is wearing the right foundation. Ladies, the foundation – as correctly implied by the name – is the base of your makeup and if it is done incorrectly it can be a deal breaker. More often than not, I find that due to lack of guidance by sales people and little to no awareness on matching foundations for desi skin tones – women are not just wearing the wrong formulation but also incorrect shades that can make their skin look grey and washed out. Here are my four tips for picking a foundation that’s just right for you.

  1. Choose according to your skin type.

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    If you have oily skin you are best off with a formula that has a matte finish. No, this does not mean you have to get a powder foundation. I find that powders tend to congeal onto the skin and can also cling to wrinkles and pores aging your skin by several years. My recommendation would be to find a formula that is lightweight and shimmer-free, which gives you a decent coverage and does not end up making you look like an oil-field. L’Oréal Infallible pro-matte foundation is a popular, reasonably priced choice.
    If you have dry skin, choose a foundation with moisturizing properties that will nourish your skin. A foundation that offers a satin finish with a slight sheen will give you a youthful glow and not highlight the dry patches you often find otherwise. Maybelline Fit Me is a great bet in the drugstore price range and easily accessible in Pakistan.

  2. Choose according to your undertones

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    Undertones are a largely ignored concept when choosing foundations, despite being the most important. Regardless of whether you are fair or dark skinned, the color that comes beneath your skin’s surface affects the overall tone of your skin. Most South Asians have warm undertones but you can look up the ways to determine if you have cool, warm or neutral undertones on the internet. Once you have determined that, you can pick your foundation shade accordingly as most companies make different ranges for different undertones. MAC for example has its NW range adapted for cool undertones and NC for warm undertones.

  3. Choose according to season and occasion

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    When picking a foundation you need to decide when and where you will wear it. If you live in a humid environment and aim to wear your foundation mostly during the day, with exposure to sunlight pick one that has an SPF with a long lasting finish and resistance to oil, water and sweat. For night events, avoid SPF as they can cause the dreaded white-flash in pictures and opt for better coverage to show off a flawless skin to compliment heavy eye makeup or dramatic lip colors.

  4. Choose with patience. Contemplate the options.

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    Now I know that when you enter the makeup store, there is that annoying sales girl standing on your head trying to sell the “whitest” shade to give you a “fair complaaaxion”. But hey, no need to get stressed out. Tell her you can figure it out on your own. Because, after this article trust me – you can do it! My main trick to find the perfect foundation shade is to sample it along your jaw line. Take some foundation on your hand and run it along your jaw line, blending gently – but not enough to completely wipe it off. Next, check it out in different lights – in the store, in the sunlight, on your phone camera and any where else you can manage. The shade that seems to mesh closest with your skin color is the one.

You don’t need to jump right into buying a foundation the same day. Take several days and try different brands. You can even try your luck and ask the sales person to give you a small sample to take home so you can try it out before investing in the right one. Once you have the right one in your make up stash, you’ll see how great your makeup looks. Good luck and happy hunting!

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