Foundation, Glamour, Most Popular, Skin Care, Skin Tone & Undertone, Sun Care

Foundation Fundamentals: The Perfect Foundation

Why Should I Wear a Foundation?

I got into the beauty industry because I believe it is easier to feel good and do good, when you feel confident that you look good. (Check out my beauty philosophy for more) Right now, for me, a fine foundation is a pretty important step in that process. Maybe it isn’t for you. You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but I don’t need foundation, why would I care about how to wear it?”

There are, of course, the obvious cosmetic benefits of a foundation. It will help to even out skin tone and create a flawless finish on your face. Depending on the formula you may receive oil minimizing or hydrating benefits as well.

But, did you know that wearing a foundation is actually an important part of good skin care?

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage. The thinner skin of your face is going to absorb more that the thick skin of broad surfaces like your back, arms, and legs. Knowing this, take a look at your glasses or your car wind shield. Do you see everything smudged on the glass? Now imagine all of that being absorbed by the skin on your face.


A good foundation acts as a barrier on your skin preventing the pollutants and grime that your face comes into contact with each day from being absorbed. Then when you wash your a night that goes down the drain.

How to pick and apply a foundation

There are three important things to consider – the formula, the color, and the tools to apply it.

The first thing is to get right is the formula. Is your skin dry? Is it oily? How much coverage do you prefer? Tomorrow we will look at different types of foundation to meet your needs.

When picking a shade its important to look at the general shade and color depth of your skin, but also the undertone for your skin.

Then come back next week to learn about how to apply your chosen foundation for a flawless finish.

Find the right formula and shade for your foundation needs

Picking a the Right Formula

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundations are the best choice for people with dry skin, but modern formulas now work great for balancing oils and are non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) for people with oily skin. Many formulas offer moisturizing , anti-aging benefits, and/or SPF protection. There is also a much broader range of colors available in liquid foundations. Liquid foundations are typically easy to apply evenly. They also come in a variety of different coverages, and offer fuller coverage than most powders.

Powder Foundations

If you have oily, sensitive, or acne prone skin, powder foundation is probably better for you on a daily basis. Powder is has oil-absorbing properties, so it’s amazing for reducing that shine that builds up throughout the day. It is lightweight and won’t clog your pores. The coverage from powders are not as heavy as with liquid foundations, so you may want a concealer to wear under it for small imperfections. Powder can also be used in conjunction with a liquid foundation.

Choosing a Shade

Most people can easily identify their general skin tone, Ivory/Light, Beige/Medium, or Bronze/Dark, but identifying your undertone can make or break a shade match. Undertones can be divided into three categories, cool or pink, warm or yellow/golden, or neutral. Many may assume that all Ivory skin is cool and dark skin is warm, but that is not always the case.

When trying to determined your undertone or match a foundation it is best to use natural daylight. Artificial lights may change the appearance of your skin and makeup.

Finding your Undertone

Identifying your undertone is crucial to getting a perfect foundation match. But it will also up your fashion game by helping you find the right color clothes, accessories, or hair color to make you glow!

Cool Undertone

  • Burns easily
  • Veins on wrist may appear purplish
  • Silver-tone jewelry best complements your skin tone
  • Wardrobe may be full of jewel tones, blues, purples, and emerald greens.
  • Skin appears pinkish or reddish when neck is compared to white piece of paper.

Warm Undertone

  • Tans instead of burns
  • Veins on wrist may appear greenish
  • Gold-tone jewelry best complements your skin tone
  • Wardrobe may be full of earthy colors, reds, oranges, yellows, and olive-greens
  • Skin appears yellowish when neck is compared to white piece of paper.

Neutral Undertone

  • Burns first, but then tans
  • Looks great in any color jewelry or clothes
  • Other undertone matching tests are inconclusive or conflicting

Finding your precise shade.

The best way to identify your precise shade is to do a strip test. After narrowing down your general skin tone and your undertone, pick three color depths that you think might work for your skin.

Start with a clean face. You are going to compare the foundation to the color of your chin and the base of your neck. Use the corner of your eye as a guide and test between your eye and your ear on the jaw line. Apply a with a clean applicator and use approximately the same amount of foundation for each stripe. Make sure to let the foundation dry 15 seconds or more before comparing shades.

My stripe test. I have a winner!

This is me trying out a brand new formula last spring. I have an olive undertone which means I look at neutral foundations usually. I also hoover around the boarder between Ivory & Beige, usually going more Beige in the summer and Ivory over the winter. I choose to test the two darkest Neutral Ivory shades and the lightest Cool Beige, just because I knew the lightest neutral beige would be too dark and warm foundations look too yellow.

The beige here really stands out and would be a bad match. It is too dark and too pink for my skin. The Ivory N140 is hard to see in the photo, but it is a little light. The Ivory N160 is my perfect match for right now.

Final Notes on Foundation Matching

  • In the event that you can’t quite find that perfect match, opt for the darker shade and blend, baby, blend (which you should be doing anyway).
  • Many people, especially those with neutral or warm undertones, will have different skin tones depending on the time of year. They may also experience different skin types depending on the time of year (I am dry in the winter, but can be slightly oily in the summer). Be sure to match your foundation to the season.
  • No matter how much or how little you tan your undertone remains the same year-round.
  • Always protect your skin with SPF even if you don’t burn.

To get the most out of your foundation, speak with someone trained to help you find the right foundation and apply it flawlessly. Your local Independent Beauty Consultant has an abundance of products to specialize your skin care and makeup to meet your specific needs. Don’t have an Independent Beauty Consultant? Ask your questions here!

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