It’s happened to so many of us. You go to a drugstore, peruse the shelves, hold up a shade of foundation to the back of your hand and decide it matches, buy it and take it home, only to find that it’s way off. It’s the wrong shade or the wrong undertone or just wrong. How frustrating is that?
Not everyone has the option of being matched by a clerk in a department store or testing foundations in the store, so here are a few tips for finding the right shade for you.
First, determine your undertone. There are three main types of undertones: warm, cool and neutral. How can you tell what your undertone is? One way is to look at the veins in your wrist. If they appear a very vivid blue, you have cool undertones and should look for a more pink-based product. If the veins in your wrist look greener, you’re warm. Cool-tones can generally be found among fair-skinned people, whereas the warm-tones are going to be in the olive to dark-skinned people. Neutral tones can be a little trickier to figure out, but if you’re having a hard time telling if you are warm or cool, then you’re probably neutral. Another way to tell that you’re neutral is if you’ve done a little trial and error and find that one shade is too pink or another is too golden.
Once you’ve determined your undertones, then you need to find your shade. This is the hard part—made worse by horrible fluorescent lighting in drugstores and the lack of testers available. My #1 piece of advice is to pick a drugstore that has a generous return policy. Riteaid is one drugstore that has a 100% beauty satisfaction guarantee, meaning if you buy a foundation and it’s not right, you can return it. With that kind of guarantee, finding the right shade is a little less stressful.
You want to hold the bottle up to your face and neck in the mirror or, if there’s no mirror, hold it against your hand to determine if the shade is close. Comparing the shade to your neck is key because you want the foundation to match your neck so it won’t look like you’re wearing a face mask that ends at your jawline. If possible, have a friend help you out. There are no hard and fast rules here, so unfortunately there is a little trial and error involved. However, if you already have a foundation at home that’s been working for you, bring the bottle into the store and hold it up against other foundations to match.
And if all else fails, there are plenty of brands now that make a foundation that matches you! I like Almay’s.