This is my first post so I decided to start right from the basics. I am an Indian with a medium dark skin with very light pigmentation from lower lip to chin area. So, it appears like I have two shades on one face and that is why I struggled so much in my two years in United States to find the perfect foundation. A number of visits to MAC and Sephora and an extensive research later, I believe I have found the correct way to choose the perfect foundation for myself. While I did an elaborate research I filtered down few basic steps that I feel would help every girl for her to choose the correct foundation and this is a post explaining those steps. Following are the basic questions one needs to ask before buying a foundation:
1. What kind of coverage are you looking for?
Coverage is how much you want your foundation to conceal on your skin. It refers to the opacity of the formula. There are three kinds of coverages :
Sheer: It is the lightest, weightless form of coverage and conceals the least yet it provides evenness to the skin. It will not cover any form of discoloration or dark spots on the skin. It works best for day wear during summer time.
M.A.C studio moisture tint spf 15 in shade dark for sheer coverage in natural finish
Light : It feels very light on the skin and does a good job of concealing unevenness but will not cover heavy dark spots or acne marks. It works best for night wear during summer time.
Medium : It is a pretty opaque coverage which can help conceal acne marks, freckles, dark spots etc. It feels a bit heavier but is a good option to achieve an even look. It works very well for day/night wear during winter time.
Make up forever HD foundation in shade #155 for medium-to-full coverage in natural flawless finish
Full : This coverage is the most opaque and highly pigmented which can help conceal all kinds of flaws. This coverage is the best option for important occasions such as weddings etc. where one gets photographed a lot.
After you have decided on what kind of coverage you require, you need to ask second question.
2. What finish are you looking for?
Three basic kinds of finish that are available in the market are:
Matte : Shine controlled finish that is perfect for women with oily skin. Perfect for a day out shopping in sun.
Satin: I call it the runway finish. It is high sheen look which works well for night-time. Perfect for a night out in town with that angelic dewy look.
M.A.C studio sculpt spf 15 in shade NW 35 for medium-to-full coverage in satin finish
Natural : This is the right balance between Matte and Satin finish. Perfect for day at the office.
Next you need to determine your skin undertone because most of the foundations that are available in the market today have different color pigments to match different types of undertones. You don’t want to end up looking pink when you should be wearing a yellow or golden pigmented foundation. A good example to explain this is the numbering of MAC foundation colors. They have NW for cool toned shade and NC is for warm toned shade. One can remember this like NW= not warm which means for cool toned skin and NC= not cool which means for warm toned skin.
3. What is my skin’s undertone?
Undertone : It is the reflection of color or a shadow that your skin shows from within. In other words, it is the color that lies beneath the first layer of skin. Your skin tone may change but your undertone remains the same. It is very important to recognize your undertone in order to choose the correct foundation.
There are three kinds of undertones : Cool, Warm and Natural
Cool : Skin tone that falls from blue to pink side on color spectrum. This means that you have pink or bluish hues under your skin. If you are fair and don’t get tan rather burn in the sun easily means you have pink undertone. Women with dark ethnic skin usually have bluish undertone.
Can be determined by looking at your veins on the inside of your wrist. If it appears blue then you have cool undertone. Silver jewelry appears better on women with cool undetones. (This is no hard and fast rule but it just appears better.)
Warm : Skin tone that falls from yellow to red side on color spectrum. This means that you have yellow, orange, golden, red hues under your skin. If you are fair and get a tan under the sun means you have yellow, golden undertone.
Can be determined by looking at your veins on the inside of your wrist. If it appears green, then you have warm undertone. Golden jewelry appears better on women with warm undertones.
Natural : Skin tone that falls between yellow and green side of the color spectrum. This means that you have olive/yellowish hues under your skin. Women with natural tan or light brown skin usually have olive undertones.
If your vein color is hard to distinguish between blue or green then you more likely have a natural skin undertone.
After you have discovered and understood your undertone, you need to determine your shade.
4. Which shade of foundation you want to wear?
Choosing the perfect shade can be tricky and you need to choose a shade that matches exactly with your skin color. Most women commit the mistake of choosing the wrong shade and it could end up in a disaster. The best way to match a shade is to pick three foundation colors that you think matches best with your skin color. Start testing by applying each shade from high plains of cheek to the neck. If the shade is too light or too dark it will show. When you apply the correct shade it will blend right in.
Note that, one tends to get darker during summer time so one needs to buy one shade darker than usual. In winter time, one shade lighter than usual.
It looks like a lengthy and time taking procedure but once you understand the basics I promise it is a cakewalk and obviously the ultimate result is a beautiful you!
[Also, I am not an expert and this is just my knowledge and opinion about this topic which I learnt from my own experience and the choices may vary for everyone. The above pictures are captured by me of the products that I own.]