Are you wearing the right foundation shade?


When I was learning how to apply make-up, my biggest anxiety was colour matching the foundation correctly to skin colour. The biggest faux pas has to be having a face covered with foundation that doesn't match the rest of your body! However, I was soon put at ease when I learned a few tricks to master the technique. So, I thought I would share these with you to make your lives easier!

Starting with the basics, there are two types of skin tone. Those who have a pink undertone (warm) and those who have a yellow undertone (cool). One way of working out if you have a cool or warm undertone is by (believe it or not) looking at the veins in your wrist. If they are blue, then this signifies cool, but if they are green, this signifies a warm undertone. However, if like me, you have some veins that are blue and some that are green, the best thing to do is simply look in a mirror. Look at your face and if there is an underlying redness you are probably warm. If you look quite yellowy at times, then you are cool.

Foundations also also come in these tones. MAC make it easy for us by categorising their make up into NC, C (cool) or NW, N (warm). However, not all make up companies have made it this easy, so a good way of testing foundation is to swatch the ones you think match closest onto the hand or jawline. It is important to give the foundation time to react and settle into the skin. Before you make any decisions, wait at least two minutes. The correct shade should fade into the skin and match the neck. Now, if you fake tan, I would swatch a bit lower down the neck too, as you want the foundation to match your tan rather than your skin colour!
From left to right: MAC Pro longwear NC15, NC25, NC35

The one that matches the skin and neck best for me is NC25.
When selecting a foundation you should also take into account your skin type.  Foundations are categorised into dewy, matte and semi matte. If you have greasy skin, a matte foundation will suit you better, but if you have dry skin, I would try a dewy foundation. For combination skin, a semi matte foundation is best. Usually the bottle will say if it is matte or dewy, but the best way to tell is to test it out on your hand.

One final tip is to make sure you look at your skin in actual daylight. Indoor lighting can make your foundation look a totally different colour to what it actually is. So when you are picking a foundation colour, I would always step out of the shop and make sure the colour matches in daylight. To make things even more complicated, it's best to use different foundation shades in the summer and winter as due to sun exposure you are obviously more tanned in the summer.

A great website I have come across recently is . You simply input some of your current foundation colours and it comes up with a list of other foundations by various brands that may match your skin. It's great for if you are looking to try something new or strapped for time.

I hope this brief explanation of foundation matching helps you. I would love to know if you have any others that could help. Which foundations do you like most? Which could you not live without?

Amina xx

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