There's a reason it's called foundation. Whether we get it in liquid or powder form, foundation provides the first layer of makeup that we build the rest of our look on. It may be the only unifying factor between the makeup we wear to our 9-5 office jobs as well as our fun and flirty dates and late night bar hang outs. Finding the right foundation is critical to getting your look right -- especially since having the wrong foundation can look bad in so many ways.
Here is a basic four-step process for how to find the right foundation -- and there's a great chance you've already gotten the first step completed!
Know Your Skin Type
If you've already found a skin care routine that works for you (a face wash and moisturizer, and maybe even a toner) then you likely already know quite a bit about your skin. If not, ask yourself a few questions:
Know Your Coverage
Knowing what kind of coverage you want will help in determining what kind of foundation you ultimately get. Those who only wear foundation occasionally and who also have sensitive skin might be more comfortable with a tinted foundation (such as a BB cream or CC cream) while someone who wears foundation every day and has very oily skin would likely be more comfortable with a powder foundation.
When asked about coverage, the conversation can include things like:
Try Some On
The absolute best way to find the coverage and color that work for you is to actually go out and try some foundation on. If you have a mall with several department stores inside, this will be your best bet. Makeup counters like Clinique, MAC, Estee Lauder, Lancome, and even Sephora are filled with people who want to help make you feel more comfortable in the world of makeup. Better yet, they're trained professionals who know the struggle of finding the perfect foundation and are often more than happy to help you find one that will work for you.
Make sure you visit with a "fresh face" (cleaned and without any makeup on) and an open mind. You may find that a foundation looks particularly dark in a bottle but perfect on your skin, or seems like it wouldn't offer enough coverage but is actually quite sufficient. You should also recognize that it may take a few trips, so try not to overwhelm your skin. You shouldn't plan on visiting more than one or two counters in a single day; try to give your skin some time to breathe and relax between visits. The store will always be there tomorrow!
Find Your Brand
Once you have found a color and coverage option that work well for you, it might mean finding a brand that fits your comfort level (and maybe even your wallet). If you've figured out that you're really most comfortable with a liquid foundation in a specific color tone, try a few different brands to see what looks best on your skin and which you are most comfortable with. If you do decide to go the drug store route, make sure you familiarize yourself with their return policy so you aren't wasting loads of money on product you won't use.
If you're still not entirely sure, you can try a number of online beauty quizzes that will at least give you a bit of a headstart when you approach the beauty counter. This one from Total Beauty will get you familiar with some of the terminology used to talk about foundation, and is a great starting point.