Everything You Need to Know to Find Your Perfect Foundation


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I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.






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A high quality foundation is absolutely essential for a high quality makeup look, but unfortunately finding a product that looks and feels amazing all day is often a challenging and lengthy process. Keep reading if you want to know my most helpful strategies to finally purchasing your perfect foundation.

Before you begin searching for your ideal foundation, you first need to identify your skin type: dry, normal, combination, or oily. Once you know your skin’s needs, it will be much easier to determine which products to look for in terms of formula and finish.

The three main types of foundation formulas are liquids, sticks, and powders, and in order to decide which is right for you, you will need to consider not only your skin type but also how much effort you want to put in and how you want your foundation to look and feel. Liquid foundations are the most popular, versatile, and complex, catering to all different skin types depending on the finish; apply with a damp beauty sponge for a more lightweight, luminous look or a brush for fuller coverage. The easiest and fastest to apply, loose and pressed powder foundations are most compatible with oilier skin types, generally provide light to medium coverage with a matte finish.

Deciding which type of foundation you need is relatively simple when compared to discovering the best formula because there is a broad spectrum of coverages and finishes, both of which will negatively or positively react with your unique skin. Light coverage foundations are often more dewy, while full coverage ones are often more matte, meaning medium coverage ones often have a natural finish. Dry or mature skin works well with hydrating, light-reflective formulas while shiny or acneic skin works well with oil-absorbing, long-lasting formulas.

Other factors to consider include whether or not you want a product with sun protection and whether you have skin sensitivities or specific concerns; if you have acne-prone skin, choose an oil free and non-comedogenic foundation.

Now that you have chosen the characteristics of your dream foundation, it is time to make them a reality.

One of the most crucial steps in the search for a new foundation is research. Although a product may work wonderfully on one person and not on another, gathering as much information as possible definitely increases the chances of loving a certain product. I first Google what I am looking  for — “best full coverage foundations for dry skin” for example — to get a better idea of which specific brands and formulas to consider. Then, I always read magazine articles, blog posts, and website reviews and watch YouTube videos from my most trusted vloggers to narrow down which product I will sample.

Once you know which product you are interested in buying, you need to begin the daunting task of finding your correct shade, which is influenced by your undertone.

Your undertone is the true, underlying color beneath the surface of your skin, regardless of how light or dark it is. Warm undertones are yellow, golden, peachy, or sometimes olive, while cool undertones are pink, blue, or red. Neutral undertones are a combination of the two. If the veins on your wrist look green, gold jewelry is the most flattering, you tan easily, and/or look best in earth tones, you likely have warm undertones. If the veins on your wrist look blue or purple, silver jewelry is the most flattering, you burn easily, and/or look best in jewel tones, you likely have cool undertones. If you can’t decide or find both options applicable, you likely have neutral undertones.

To find a foundation that matches your skin, first remove any existing makeup, then apply a moisturizer and primer, and swatch the foundation on your jawline with the tools you would normally use. Lighting in stores and at home can be deceiving, so be sure to check your color match outdoors in natural sunlight. The perfect foundation shade should be as undetectable as possible. Be sure to wait at least five to ten minutes after swatching it to see if it oxidizes to an incorrect shade or dries down to an unwanted consistency.

I always recommend asking for a free sample so you can test out the foundation with your normal makeup routine before purchasing. If you can’t color match before purchasing, I recommend doing a quick Google search of the specific shade name you are considering to see if those who use it have a similar skin tone. Once you find your ideal shade, all you need to do now is pay!

Hopefully, this post will help you avoid those dreaded refunds but if not, Sephora, Ulta, and department stores, have amazing return policies. Drugstores are a little more complicated, so if you are shopping at one, make sure you are aware of the return policy; lucky for you, I researched return policies and CVS, Rite Aid, and Target allow customers to fully refund opened and unopened beauty products as long you as you save your receipt.

Those are all of my tips for choosing the best foundation for your skin. If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much — I appreciate your time and loyalty, and I hope all of the effort I put into making this post informative and valuable shines through. Always remember that this process requires patience and trial and error; having flawless foundation from morning until night also requires an excellent, personalized skincare regime as well as the right primers, setting powders and sprays, and application techniques and tools. If you have any questions, leave them below and I will be sure to answer them.

Related Posts: The Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin + 20 Ingredients to Avoid, Drugstore Foundation GuideNARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation Review, L’Oreal Infallible Pro Glow VS. Pro Matte FoundationChanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation Review


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Hey, I'm Makena.

I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.

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