Foundation - The Basics

If you choose to wear foundation, it's absolutely essential that you get the right shade! Wearing a shade that's too dark or too light will only make you look like you're wearing a mask! To get a flawless look, it's important to get a foundation that's the closest match to your natural skin colour. These are the factors you should consider before going out to purchase a foundation.

1. Do you really need it?

Example of foundation shades.

Foundation is not a must. Some people have pretty clear skin that just needs a moisturizer and you’re good to go. Or you may need just a bit of concealer to cover up blemishes.

The main purpose of a foundation is to even out your skin to make your face appear naturally smooth and clear.

So those who would find using a foundation useful would be those who have slight discolouration (light or dark or both patches on the skin), blemishes (scars and other marks) or simply feel that the skin on their face is uneven in tone.

2. What kind of skin do you have on your face?

It is important to know what kind of skin your have on your face because this will help to determine what kind of foundation is right for you.

Also, the skin on your face may not be the same as the rest of the skin on your body. Some people have really dry skin and require a lot of moisturizer while the skin on their face is oily and moisturizers only cause it to break out with pimples.

There are basically 3 skin types: dry, oily and combination (both dry and oily areas in the face).

3. Climate and Lifestyle

It’s important to also consider the climate of where you stay. If it’s really humid, you may want a foundation that’s light on your skin yet durable so it won’t melt away with the sweat and the heat.

Lifestyle is also important. If you work outdoors, you may want a foundation that’s light on your skin, long-lasting and containing sunscreen. If you work in an office, you may want a foundation that’s matte and therefore not too shiny.

4. Going out to purchase your foundation

After considering the above points, you’re now ready to go out and purchase your foundation.

Select the type of foundation according to your needs and your skin’s needs. If you work outdoors or are outside a lot, look for formulas that contain sunscreen. If you have dry skin, you may want a foundation that also has moisturizing properties.

If you feel you may not really need foundation but still want something to give you a more even look then you might want to get a tinted moisturizer.

Always keep in mind the type of skin you have and your lifestyle.

All the above factors will help you select the right foundation.

5. Selecting the right foundation

Foundations come in several types. There are liquid foundations which are more like lotions in consistency. There are cream foundations, mousse, loose powder, pressed powder and spray-on.

Choosing one depends on your preference and your skin needs. Some people with dry skin may find powder foundations more drying so they may prefer liquid or cream foundations and so on.

Many experts vary on how you should test foundation to see which is the right shade for you. Some suggest testing it on the back of your hand while some suggest testing it on your jaw line.

Whichever method you use, you should test it on the skin that is closest to the skin tone on your face.

The best shade is the one that appears to disappear into your skin when you put it on. This is the closest and best shade for you as foundation should look like your skin and not like a mask.

An example of a
waterproof foundation.

It’s also good to leave it on for a couple of minutes and then check it again. Some foundations seep into the cracks in your skin after a while and this will not look good. It should be evening out your skin and not emphasizing lines and marks on your face.

Ultimately, what you are looking for is a foundation that looks natural and not mask-like, that evens out your skin tone and doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

For us Pacific Islanders, this can be particularly difficult. Mostly because while we have various skin colours ranging from very fair to very dark, we all mostly have a yellow or golden undertone to our skin. This makes finding the right shade of foundation tricky because while the colours may be right, because of this golden undertone to our skin, foundations can look ashy, meaning that our faces end up looking whitish or powdery even if we use a liquid foundation. This then makes it obvious that we have foundation on.

So it’s often best for those of us of Pacific descent to select a foundation that meets all our needs in the points above, is the right colour but that also has golden tones in it.

If you don’t have this gold or warm undertone to your skin, then you don’t have to worry about this last bit and simply pick the shade that’s closest to your skin tone and meets all your skin’s needs.

A tip some may find useful is to mix foundations or mix it with a lotion with gold flecks in it. This may help to reduce the whitish tinge in some foundations making them more wearable.