Foundation is notoriously the most difficult beauty product to shop for online – not only is there such a vast selection of products available, but there are just so many factors to take into consideration. Because let’s face it, a foundation shade that doesn’t match your neck is not a good look.
To make the process as painless as possible, check out our guide to finding your perfect foundation, no swatching required.
1. Know your skin concerns
Is your T-zone an oil slick by noon? Hell yes, then you’re gonna want to opt for a long-wear, mattifying foundation, and avoid oil-based ones (look for ‘aqua’ in the first few ingredients to make sure it’s water-based). Skin prone to dry, flaky patches? Reach for a hydrating and luminous formula – many will also contains added antioxidants and nutrients to improve moisture levels. And if your skin is blemish-prone? Choose light, mineral-based formulas which will be kind to skin.
2. Identify your undertones
Identifying whether your skin is cool-, neutral-, or warm-toned is the key to making the perfect colour match. Skin with blue veins and a rosy-pink tint sits on the cool side of the spectrum, whereas skin with a yellow/golden tone and greenish veins is warm, and those who consider themselves to sit in between the two would be neutral-toned.
3. Choose a coverage
Some prefer a lightweight, barely-there coverage that subtly enhances and lets natural skin show through. However if you suffer from redness, breakouts, scarring, or pigmentation, you probably want to opt for a full-coverage foundation that cann help to conceal imperfections and create a completely even complexion. Alternatively, opt for medium-coverage, which you can choose to sheer out for a natural finish or build up for stronger coverage.
4. Customise your shade
Don’t rule out mixing it up – literally. Especially as (if you tan), one shade won’t suit you all year. Whether you mix two foundation shades, dilute the pigment with a moisturiser, amp it up with concealer, or use a primer to add glow, remember that you can tailor your shade to perfectly match your skintone.
5. If in doubt, go lighter
Stuck between two shades? Always go for the lighter one – foundation oxidises on skin which means it always ends up slightly darker than it appears to begin with. If necessary you can always deepen the finish with a dusting of bronzer – it’s a lot easier to do this than to lighten a shade that’s too dark, as this usually means it loses its pigment and coverage.
6. Google it
Thanks to the beauty community, the internet is full of videos and images showing swatches of foundations on skin. Even if you can’t find someone with your exact skintones, being able to reference and compare with others on TikTok, Instagram, or Google Images will be a huge help.