The Foundation Guide #1 | Finding the One


I thought it was about time I did an all-encompassing guide to everything foundation. I'm going to be talking everything from picking the right shade, choosing a good finish for your skin type to the best brands for different needs. I will also be talking you through my stash and comparing similar finishes as well as comparing the shades I have. Particularly on Instagram, I get a lot of questions about which shade I am in different brands and what I think of x foundation vs. y foundation, so hopefully this will answer those questions in more detail. I also plan to cover off application and my favourite tools. I'll be splitting this across three posts so it isn't ridiculously long. 

First things first: this time we're focussing on finding the One. So, get yourself a cup of tea, settle in and I hope you enjoy this...

What's Your Budget?

This is the first thing to consider when buying a foundation. I think if you find a good foundation in the drugstore, never let it go! However I'm yet to unconditionally love a drugstore base, so I'm more likely to invest in my foundation. 

If you're a Woman of Colour, I'm not going to lie, you will likely struggle on the British high street. However your best bets are Revlon (though they lean towards neutral tones) and L'Oreal. If you're able to spend a little more you're virtually guaranteed a perfect match by visiting MAC, Nars, Bobbi Brown or Estee Lauder.

What's Your Skin Type?

Picking a foundation is just as much about getting the right finish for your skin as it is colour-matching, so I'd advise narrowing it down in terms of that first. There's no point in rushing out to buy the foundation your favourite YouTube Guru gushes about if she has dry skin and you're oily.

As a general rule oilier skin types work best with matte finishes, combination skin with satin or velvet formulas, normal with a 'natural skin' look and dry with something dewy. However rules are meant to be broken and there are always ways of making different finishes work for your skin. Personally I find that a natural skin foundation is dewy enough for me and I finish it off with a little powder. Drier-skinned ladies will like a more semi-matte finish better if they use a good moisturiser or a nice, hydrating primer.

Bourjois have a good selection of dewier, more glowing bases, as does Bobbi Brown. For something more matte have a look at Nars.

Coverage

Personally, I own everything from the lightest BB cream to full-coverage matte. For different occasions I like to switch up my coverage: over summer it's light tinted moisturisers, for the cooler months I prefer a satin finish. On a night out I reach for full, matte coverage foundation but for the day I go for something medium.

Having skin concerns doesn't mean you have to wear a full-coverage foundation if you have a great concealer. It's all up to you and what you feel looks good and what you're comfortable wearing.

If you're looking for a more natural coverage, Bobbi Brown is a good high-end bet or Bourjois on the high street and for something fuller try Revlon or Estee Lauder.

Colour Matching

With the drugstore you kind of just have to accept it's a gamble. I would recommend applying a little bit to your neck then coming out of the store and into natural lighting and looking at it in a compact mirror, as that's really the best you can do. 

However for high-end foundations I live by one rule: samples or no deal. If an assistant isn't willing to decant you a small sample to try at home then take your £30 and go elsewhere. Personally, when I really want to see if the match is right I just bite the bullet and head into town barefaced. I make sure I visit the counter first and ask for the best bet to be applied to my face in full. Then I go about the rest of my day and see how it wears and make sure I check it out in natural lighting. If I'm happy with the shade, finish and wear-time then I'll head back at the end and buy the product. If the colour match isn't right then I ask for samples of 1 or 2 other potential shades. Sometimes though, you just aren't going to find the perfect match in a particular product.

Something I've definitely learnt over the years is that the undertones of a base product are just as important as where it is on the light-dark spectrum.  I'm really not sure why more brands haven't cottoned on! Broadly, foundations come in Cool (pink undertones), Neutral (beige) and Warm (yellow). Confusingly MAC label these in the opposite with the warm-toned ones being labelled Neutral Cool (NC) and the cool-toned ones being Neutral Warm (NW), so make sure you don't get caught out with that. I personally have very warm undertones so for me the more yellow, the better as a cool base looks ashy on me and a neutral base just looks very 'off'. 

This is my main issue with drugstore foundations as it seems most brands tack on their darkest shade as miles darker than the one below it and they generally have rosy undertones. Overall I do feel most drugstore brands that are labelled as having a good shade range are very neutral in tone. 

I generally do not order online and I find swatches can be hit-and-miss. If I absolutely have to, I will go with what a blogger who wears the same shade as me in another brand uses. Online matrixes where you input your shade in one brand to find your match in another can be a little unreliable.

I've found that for the drugstore Revlon errs towards neutral undertones and Bourjois towards warm undertones (other than for its darkest shades). MAC is good for both, however note that their warm-toned foundations they do tend to be more orange than yellow. Nars, on the other hand, is more yellow than orange when it comes to their warm shades.

Ignore the Name

One thing I've learnt is not to take too much notice of the name of the foundation or the shade! For ages I didn't try my now Holy Grail Nars Sheer Glow as I imagined it to be light and dewy when in actual fact it's a medium coverage with a satin finish. I've tried foundations labelled 'Golden' when they're neutral in tone. I've tried foundations where Shade 3 is deeper than Shade 4! Try to look past the name and get swatching.


I hope you found this first instalment helpful and keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3.

What are your top tips for finding the perfect foundation?

 


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51 comments

  1. I'm pretty much the palest in every foundation, so I always go there to swatch first. I wish that the likes of Boots and Superdrug had natural looking lighting so I didn't have to go outside to see if I'm a match!
    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

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  2. I love reading any posts you do that relate back to your skin type as I think we're quite similar and so far whatever you've recommended for combination skin I've absolutely loved! Really, really, really need to try Sheer Glow. I chose the All Day Luminous over it when I was picking a few months ago but I'm not all that impressed by it, Sheer Glow sounds like a better bet (though not from the name)!

    Amy x

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    Replies
    1. Definitely get your hands on Sheer Glow! xx

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  3. I have serious foundation envy right now! This post is super helpful as I still haven't quite found the right foundation for me, I'm very tempted to try the MAc studio fix fluid but, the price puts me off a little as my face doesn't seem to get along with most foundations.

    Olivia // BLONDE LA MODE

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  4. Fantastic post! I've only recently learned to start asking for samples - I've been really disappointed by about four higher end ones over the past year or two which amounts to over £100 wasted! I find if that does happen I can kind of make it work enough to not have to just chuck it out by mixing a drop of light, highly-pigmented concealer with it, but still... samples all the way now!

    Misia xx | gowashyourface.com

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  5. Another great post Jasmine! The world of foundation can be horribly confusing, even for us beauty addicts! You're right about more brands needing to offer a variety of tones and not just shades. Once I realised the difference bewteen warm, beige and cool, foundation matching was so much easier.

    The Beauty Locker

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  6. Wow so many foundations! This is such an interesting post. Thanks so much for sharing. Defintiely think it's best to spend some time swatching and testing foundations to make sure that you're getting the best out of it!

    Katya | The Beauty Harbour

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  7. Such a great post!! I find shopping for foundation the most tedious. Like you said sometimes shade don't mean anything!! Most of the time I stick to what I know because I really can't be bothered to swatch and trial and be disappointed!
    x
    Charlotte - http://www.alifeofacharlotte.com/

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  8. I love the Nars Sheer Glow but unfortunately it isn't the right shade for me. Thank you so much for this post- great tips!! :)
    ♥NY
    Yours Truly, NY


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  9. I really enjoyed reading this Jasmine :) I have found my favourite drugstore foundation which is L'Oreal True Match and I love how many shades they have in the range as I'm super super pale.

    Emily // Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

    xx

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  10. Great tips, I personally love satin finish foundations! My tips are the same as yours, test them out or get a sample before making the purchase! xx

    The Girl From the North | An Amazing Giveaway Here!!

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    Replies
    1. They really are lovely - not too dewy but not too matte :) xx

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  11. Such a useful post, I am rubbish at picking the right foundation but if I ever get a high end one I will get a match done and maybe a sample before I buy a full size one :)

    Pams Stuff and Things

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  12. It's so tricky when there is so many different products to find the perfect one for you! Trial and error definitely comes into it!

    www.laurenashleighbarden.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. Thank you for the post! After reading this I learned that you can have 100 foundations but it can still be hard to find the right one! xx

    A Little Dose of Makeup

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  14. This is such a great guide, Jasmine! I don't wear foundation every day, but I love these tips! Great post!
    xo Kiki
    http://colormekiki.com/

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  15. Really good post - looking forward to reading the rest of the series!
    I seem to have got oilier skin more recently and switched to a No 7 matte foundation but it doesn't last very well throughout the day. Maybe for my birthday I'll treat myself to a more high end foundation!
    💙 JH | www.hellojenniferhelen.com

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  16. In the US there aren't testers in the drugstore (at least I've never been to one that does) so you can't even swatch or anything. It's so annoying! But you can return makeup after using it, so I guess it works out. Though I probably wouldn't need to return it if I could swatch it first. These are great tips especially for people just starting out with makeup. :) xx
    http://www.lipstickisalife.com/

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  17. Looking forward to parts 2 and 3! Finding a shade match in the drugstore is ridiculous, they all lean so pink on me and I've been matched badly at counters before, a sample is a must!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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  18. This is honestly the most helpful post I've ever read about foundation! You've hit the nail on the head with everything you've said and I'm really looking forward to the next two parts :)
    Love Holly x

    www.thehollydays4.blogspot.co.uk

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  19. great post dear! Have a nice day:)

    irenethayer.com

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  20. I love these kinds of posts, they're always super helpful to me as someone who is yet to find their proper match in a foundation. I tend to always be the lightest shade unless I'm fake tanned and even then they just seem off. One thing I'd never though to do was to check the colour on my neck, you don't realise how different your skintone can be on your hands compared to your neck. I look forward to the next parts! x

    Megan | http://www.meganjean.co.uk

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  21. This is such a well thought out, and detailed post, I love it! At the moment I'm finding that Estée Lauder's Double Wear and L'Oréal's Infallible Matte foundations are working really well for me.

    - www.veebzboo.com
    - www.youtube.com/veebzboo - Kendall Jenner Inspired Make-up Look

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  22. Great post Jasmine! I agree that finding the right undertones is as important as getting the right shade. After a few a bit disappointing experiences with high end foundation I've finally learnt to ask for samples before buying :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

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    Replies
    1. I've had so many dodgy shade matches I don't take any chances now! xx

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  23. Great post, something for everyone! I sometimes have a hard time finding the right foundation - not only does it have to be the perfect shade but also the right formula! Right now I have Bourjois Healthy Mix which I would definitely recommend for dry skin or for a dewy finish x

    Aliya x | thecatandthegirl.blogspot.co.uk | https://www.bloglovin.com/people/thegirl09-10150959

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  24. Loved the post! I always struggle to find the right shade...I would say that MAC NC15 is perfect for me, but I don't really like MAC foundations formulas. Other then that, I often find the lightest shade too light and the darker one too dark. The fact that my neck is very light coloured and my face is darker doesn't help either. Now I end up mixing a foundation that is a bit too light with a high coverage powder that is a bit too dark. So altogether it makes a match.

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    1. I also find MAC's shades vary between their different formulations! My neck is actually darker than my face but I find it looks best when I match my neck anyway xx

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  25. Colour matching is always such a struggle for me! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

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  26. I agree that ignoring the names are important, as you said Sheer Glow isn't really sheer or that glowy yet it's my favourite foundation. I also think swatching a bunch of shades is really important, even ones you think won't be right. I used to always think Siberia in Nars would be way too pale for me but when I swatched it the other day it turns out it was a perfect match.

    www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

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  27. This was very helpful Jasmine, thank you for sharing. xx

    Julie
    www.rainingcake.com

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  28. This was a really helpful post, I'll have to think more about coverage the next time I buy a new foundation. Sometimes I forget that I like light to medium coverage and end up getting full.

    Kelly // Perfect Shade of Mauve

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  29. Ohh, can't wait for the other two instalments! I love these posts that you write in great detail. They're so informative and I always find them so useful!

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw thank you, I'm glad it's worth the effort :) xx

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  30. Finding that holy grail foundation can be an actual lifetime hunt haha. So far I have found some great foundations that work for me but sometimes even they can look bad if my skin is acting up. I alwyas try to get a sample first before I splurge on the full size x

    Beauty with charm

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  31. such an amazing guide! love the steps so bang on! great post Jasmine!
    Amanda | amanda-speroni

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  32. This image made me giggle because the shade of your foundations is so far from that of mine, ha! I guess one benefit of being the lightest shade in most brands is that its fairly unlikely I will ever get the wrong shade; it's hard to get it too wrong. I agree with you about the undertones! I am very pale, and most drugstore brands interpret 'pale' to mean 'pink,' which is super annoying, as I have beige undertones!xx

    Laura | Beauty & Lifestyle

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  33. Excellent post. I love that we have very similar colouring and taste. It means I can always refer back to this when I'm on the hunt for a new foundation. Why I haven't yet tried Sheer Glow bemuses me!!!!!!!
    Sal xxx
    UmmBabyBeauty | @ummbaby

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  34. Such a great post as ALWAYS! You continue to bash out quality amazing content always babe! Seriously loving your posts so much babe! I STILL need to try Nars sheer glow and some of the others haha curse my money spendings!

    Lucie xx | LucieLovesIt.com

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  35. What a lovely post, great break down. However you have some pretty amazing foundations which I really want to try, The Nars one, Loreal one, Exi. You really do have great recommendations. Thanks for the post!

    Sam || Beautydetour

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  36. This is so helpful! For ages I used to just buy any foundation labelled 'ivory' because I have such fair skin, I now know to swatch swatch swatch! I hate looking back at how light my face was wearing an ivory foundation ... :o xx

    Lauren | shynature.blogspot.co.uk

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  37. Thank you for your comments! I'm really glad this was a helpful post :) xx

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  38. This is one of those amazing posts that I dearly wished had been written before I got into makeup!
    So detailed, clear and easy to read and I am excited for the rest of your posts!
    Iqra | The Blushing Giraffe x

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  39. This is a really helpful post! I always seem to have the biggest problem when choosing the shade as my face is neutral/pink and my neck is yellow so I should go for something yellow to match my neck. Unfortunately all the MUA always match it to my face..... The struggle :Dxx

    Anu♡ | Based On | bloglovin

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  40. I would like to purchase my first Highend foundation , I have normal skin with oily t-zone , huge pores 😭😭. I would Iike somthing with medium builduble coverage . I have medium skin tone peach undertone . Dior forever 033 ( shade reference) thank you so much in advance xx

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