With the amount of foundation choices available today, where do you even start and what do you need to know. Luckily for consumers, companies frequently offer samples so that people can try for free. Some will even mail you samples straight to your door if you know where to look.
Thanks to samples, it can be easy to find a foundation you love. But before you start signing up for all the samples out there, it pays to know all the different options.
1. Season Matters
You should change your foundation color and formula from summer to winter – especially if you live in a more extreme climate. In summer, it’s better to opt for a lightweight, mattifying foundation to prevent sweat and oil from ruining your makeup. In winter, skin tends to dry out, so a hydrating foundation foundation is best. As you get tanner through the summer or after a vacation, you’ll also need to adjust your foundation color. Wearing a foundation that’s too light for your skin can make you look ghost-like, while wearing one that’s too dark makes it obvious you’re wearing a full face of makeup.
2. Test Every Foundation in Different Lighting
Wearing the wrong color of foundation is a dead giveaway that you’re wearing makeup. When buying a new foundation, make sure you test out different shades on your cheek or jaw line, not your wrist or anywhere else on your body. Your skin color and texture can vary across different parts of your body, so the only way you can ensure your foundation will blend seamlessly from your face to neck is by testing it on those areas. Once you test a foundation on your face, walk into different lighting – especially natural light – to make sure it matches. Lighting can change the way foundation appears.
3. Know Your Skin Type
Identifying your skin type helps you know what kind of finish your foundation should have. If you have oily or combination skin, a powder, liquid, mousse, or spray specifically formulated for oily skin is your best option. Look for mattifying or oil-free formulas, which will control the oil on your skin as the day progresses. Mineral-based foundations are best for those with oily, acne-prone, or sensitive skin. If your skin is dry, you want to stay away from powder foundations, unless a given product specifically says it’s hydrating. If you choose a powder meant for oily skin, it can look flakey over dry skin. Instead, opt for a hydrating liquid, stick, or cream foundation.
4. Determine Which Finish is Best
Foundations come in different finishes according to how you want your skin to look. Finishes range from mattifying to dewy, with mattifying having the least shine and dewy the most shine. Satin, luminous, or natural finishes fall in between matte and dewy, providing a more neutral shine. Those with oily skin should stick to matte finish, while those with dryer skin most likely will prefer a finish with some shine.
5. Look for Coverage for Every Skin Problem
What coverage level you want from your foundation is entirely up to you, but make sure you’re aware of the kind of coverage a foundation will give you. Most foundations will say low, medium, or high coverage on the label. If your main concern is covering acne, scarring, sunburn, redness, uneven skin tone, or any other discoloration, opt for a high-coverage foundation. If you prefer a “no-makeup” look, this is more easily achieved with a low coverage, buildable foundation, or even a BB (beauty balm) cream. BB creams are lighter than the average foundation, but provide some coverage.
6. Sun Protection is Important
Having SPF in your foundation is an easy way to make sure your skin is protected every day. For younger people, wearing a product with SPF daily is one of the best ways to prevent wrinkles and sun damage. If you spend your days indoors, you may think you don’t need to wear SPF – but even going outside for a few minutes exposes your skin to harmful rays. Be mindful, however, that if you apply a lighter coverage of foundation, the SPF won’t be as strong as its label promises.
7. Both High-End and Drugstore Foundations Are Great
There are plenty of amazing foundation options at every price, so if you prefer to save, consider drugstore options. One advantage of buying a high-end foundation from a beauty or department store is the sales associates can help you find exactly what you’re looking for and apply it in store for you to test. If you’re buying your foundation from a drugstore, make sure to do your research beforehand and find a few foundations online that work for your needs and have a strong reputation or customer reviews.