Decoding Foundation: Find the perfect type for you!

Most of us have been swiping on makeup for decades now, so it seems only fair to think we’d have it down to an art. But as seasoned as we may be, there are lots of factors that go into creating a flawless face, and it all starts with the base – foundation. If you’re lucky enough to have found the perfect shade and finish for your skin tone and type, kudos to you! But if you’re like the rest of us, here are a few things to consider when buying foundation.

By Candice Graham

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1. Find your shade.

Choose the wrong color and it’s hard to recover. By following these three steps, you’ll have the perfect shade in your makeup bag in no time.

First, determine your skin tone. Do this by examining your clean, dry face in an area full of natural light. To determine if your skin tone is warm or cool, hold a piece of white paper to your face and take note of the contrast. If your skin looks yellow or golden, you have a warm skin tone. If it looks pink, you have a cool tone. Everyone knows it’s a good idea to test a few foundations that look to be a good match. But do you know where to swipe? Experts recommend testing on your neck or jaw line, as they’re less exposed to the sun and thus a truer reflection of your natural skin tone.

Finally, step into natural sunlight. Go near a window or step outside with a mirror and see which color disappears most into your skin. Once you find the shade that disappears flawlessly, that’s likely the one for you.

2. Find your finish.

From sheer to dewy to matte, foundation goes beyond just color. Here, we break down the three most common finishes to help you determine the right look for you.

If you like a barely there look, sheer foundation is for you. Sheer provides a soft finish and is ideal for normal to combination skin types.

If you prefer a fresh-faced, lustrous complexion, go for a dewy finish. It’s especially great for dry and normal skin types.

If you want to control shine for a sophisticated, flat look, opt for a matte finish. This finish is perfect for oily and combination skin types.

3. Find your formula.

Not all foundations are created equal. Before you buy, make sure to avoid certain ingredients.

Diazolidinyl Urea is a known formaldehyde releaser that is toxic and can induce skin irritations.

Parabens are commonly used to preserve cosmetics and prevent bacteria, but they can also cause allergic reactions and have been found in breast cancer tumors.

Petrolatum aka petroleum jelly, is a mineral oil that can clog pores and has been associated with cancer. The European Union classifies it as a carcinogen and has restricted its use in all cosmetics.