To begin, let’s ignore the shade, and focus purely on getting the best functional match between the type of foundation and your skin. Since everyone is different, there is no set formula that you can follow, so it might take some trial and error. That said, there are a few guidelines that will definitely narrow down your search. For starters, you’ll need to figure out the type of skin you have.
If your skin is dry, you’ll want to avoid powders and opt for either a liquid or a stick foundation instead. Liquid foundation is most ideal for dry skin, as most formulations will have a moisturizing quality, giving your skin the much needed glow while at the same time combating the dryness. If you’re still not sure what you’re looking for, keep an eye out for foundations that advertise moisture.
Now, if you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum, with more oily skin than most, you’ll need to use one of two things – a powder, or an oil-free liquid. This should be self explanatory, if your skin is already oily, there is no need to get a moisturizing foundation. Instead, you’ll want to get a powder that can absorb the oils, leaving your face looking matte smooth. If you’re prone to breakouts you’ll need to hunt for a more specific foundation, ideally something that contains salicylic acid.
If your skin doesn’t fall into either category, then you have some more work to do. Combination skin requires careful planning and strategic application of a powder foundation. You’ll want to make sure to distribute more powder to where you need it most, but make sure to focus on blending it correctly so you don’t leave any visible lines.
Now that you’ve figured out what type of foundation is best for your skin, you’ll want to match it to your skin tone. Professional makeup artists can do this by eye, but you’ll need some extra help. If you’re just shopping around for your first set of foundation, you’ll need to do some tests before you buy. Grab a few colors that you think are close to your skin tone and draw a few lines on the back of your hand. Keep in mind, store lighting can be misleading so take a quick walk outside to compare. Another thing to note– make sure to give the foundation a few minutes to absorb into your skin, as the color will change as it dries.
By now, you should be able to find a foundation that’s right for you, but before you go on applying it, remember that you should never apply to un-moisturized skin. And if you’re on the drier side, you’ll also need to exfoliate before you moisturize. If your foundation doesn’t have any SPF in it, make sure to also slather some sunscreen prior to putting it on.