How to Best Match Your Foundation to Your Complexion

Sorry that posts have been a little sparse lately. I've been working (I'm a copywriter as well) a lot lately and haven't had the energy at 2am when going to bed to post anything intelligible.

Now that summer in full swing I thought it might be a good idea to do a brief post on one of my biggest pet peeves. This is awful, but I can't stand when people don't match their foundations to their skin tones. Actually, it's not so much irritating as just something I always notice. Granted I'm hyper analytical, I think this issue is pretty easy to spot!

The problem is, there are a million different foundations out there and half of them don't have a color that is close enough to your own skin tone. My suggestion, keep trying them til you find one that is!

Here are a few tips on finding a foundation that matches your actual skin tone.

1. This is the first and most important tip, though the next is almost as important: Check prospective foundations against your skin tone in sunlight! Do not fall prey to neon lighting. Nothing looks like what it is under neon lights. How many times have you snagged an eyeshadow or lipstick in a store and when you got it home you realized it was an entirely different shade? Do yourself a favor, it may not be a big deal to get a teal instead of green eyeshadow, but make sure you check the actual color of the foundation you want to buy against your complexion under good lighting. I have gone so far as to pat some foundation on then walk to the nearest entrance before making a decision. Most malls have huge skylight-covered ceilings so if it's daytime you may only need to walk just outside the entrance of a smaller store and it's worth finding the nearest exit at a department store to have your foundation be exactly what you want it to be. Regardless of where you purchase your foundation, check it in good lighting!

2. I see sooooo many people do this and it makes no sense to me: Don't check foundation against your skin tone by rubbing it into your hand! Here's why, your face is probably going to be lighter than your hand or darker than your hand. Usually your face is lighter simply because so many facial cosmetics include SPF, and most people put sunscreen on at least their faces. Your hands get exposed to more sunlight most likely--think driving in the car and having one arm end up darker than the other. Try foundations on part of your face. If you know you're going out with the purpose of finding a new holy grail foundation, bring a makeup removing towelette if you're worried about not being able to remove prospective foundations with a simple tissue.

3. Buy one foundation for summer and one for winter if you're not completely pail as a ghost and don't intend to stay that way. I have an olive complexion so even though I wear high SPF natural sunscreen and minimize my sun exposure now (I could kick myself for being such a sun-lover in my teens) I still see a drastic change in the tone of my face between Summer and Winter. I don't tend to wear foundation daily simply because I work from home and have a clear complexion for the most part, but when I do wear foundation I want it to look right. Odds are if you walk around with the same foundation shade on year round you either never go out in the sun or you're wearing one that's too dark or too light depending on the time of year.

4. Check the ingredients. You all know by now that I prefer natural ingredients by far to chemicals. Unfortunately, there are so many nasty chemicals in so many brands--including some of the most popular ones. Consider companies that are a bit more conscientious about what they put in their products. Mineral makeup companies like Pur Minerals and Bare Minerals and naturally-focused companies like Origins have great facial products when it comes to foundations. If you're really health-conscious, stay clear of foundations that use chemical sunscreen ingredients like octinoxate. Even conscientious companies like Fresh sometimes use these :( Look for foundations that use either zinc or titanium dioxide to create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. If you haven't read up on chemical sunscreen ingredients, they can actually be allergens, are sometimes considered moderate skin sensitizers (even making skin more sensitive to light over time), can effect hormone levels and/or your thyroid, etc.

Those are the basics! And if all else fails, get a really good moisturizer and a really good cleansing mask or scrub and go nude! Facially nude that is, I can't really advocate public nudity, but to each his/her own! I love fresh-faced looks. I don't care if someone doesn't have porcelain-perfect skin, sometimes it's just nice to see real faces rather than a sea of Barbie-like mugs. But hey, I love makeup, too. Figure out what makes you most comfortable and go with it!

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