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The ‘How to’ of foundation and Colour Matching.

Last month we talked about psychodermatology.  This month we’ll change track and talk about how to optimise your foundation.  Foundation is the cosmetic base you use to cover blemishes and even out your complexion so that you have a uniform surface on which to apply the rest of your makeup.  In my clinic we see a significant number of people with various skin conditions and have numerous solutions for all skin problems, one of which is medical quality makeup to disguise these skin problems whilst they are being treated.  Foundation, as its name suggests, is the first step in makeup application.  Wrong foundation can look obvious and unnatural so it’s important to use the right shade.  Let’s now look at how to choose the right foundation.

Understand your undertone. Before trying to choose a foundation, it’s best to determine a few things about your skin, such as your undertone. While the surface of your skin can change colour because of many things, such as exposure to the elements or acne, your undertone will always stay the same. Therefore, determining your undertone will help you choose the right foundation colour. In general, people fall into one of three undertones:

  • Cool, which means your skin is more blue, red, or pink.
  • Warm, which means your skin is more golden, yellow, or peach.
  • Neutral, which means your skin will have a combination of cool and warm colours.

Determine your undertone.There are a few tests you can use to determine your undertone. The tests involve assessing your hair and eye colour, what colours you look best in, how you react to the sun.  

  • Naturally black, brown, or blonde hair combined with green, grey, or blue eyes is an indication of a cool undertone. Hazel, brown, or amber eyes combined with naturally black, auburn, or strawberry blonde hair indicates a warm undertone.
  • People who are cool will tend to turn pink or burn easily in the sun, while people who are warm will bronze or tan in the sun.

Knowing your skin type.While knowing if you have dry or oily skin won’t help you pick a foundation shade, it will help you choose the right type of foundation. Skin can be oily, dry, or combination, and you can have normal or sensitive skin.

  • Choose a matte finish pressed base or oil-free liquid if you have oily skin.
  • Choose a mineral loose powder if you have dry skin.
  • Choose a triple milled powder if you have sensitive skin.  (Triple milling is a process used to refine particles to the absolute optimal size so they lay better on the skin for a better coverage).
  • Choose a foundation that offers full or medium coverage if you have an uneven complexion and want to cover most of your skin. Otherwise, look for a foundation that offers partial or sheer coverage if you have a fairly even complexion and want a more natural look.
  • It’s always a good idea to buy foundation that has a sun protection factor SPF, because this will provide a small measure of protection against damaging UVA and UVB rays.

Final tips. The best foundation is the one that disappears into your skin. Foundation isn’t supposed to be seen, it’s supposed to provide an even canvas on which to work. Test on your jawline to determine which foundation blends in best with your skin. This is the foundation shade that will best cover blemishes and redness while still looking natural. For advice applying makeup or for a colour match see the professional makeup team at the Chandler Clinic.

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