Ace Your Base

Choosing foundation colour can be a tricky task and it's easy to get it wrong. So here's my guide to simplify your choices.

Despite what some make think, considering the undertone of your skin (whether you’re warm or cool) is not necessarily an important factor. Because foundation sits on top of your skin, the focus should be on matching the colour to the overtone of our skin and therefore opt for a colour that appears to disappear into your natural skin colour. Makes sense, right?

For example, you may have a cool undertone with a yellow overtone, or a warm undertone and a pinky overtone, so it's important to try shades on your skin for yourself rather than trusting what the packaging tells you.

First step is to find your formula. Take this short quiz to determine the product that best suits you.

How would you describe your skin? A. Oily/combination B. Dry C. Normal D. Sensitive

What's your biggest foundation gripe?

A. It disappears quickly. B. It looks flaky and dull C. It feels heavy D. It irritates my skin

What are you trying to hide?

A. Large pores and/or acne B. Fine lines and/or brown spots C. Nothing; I just want to blend minor imperfections D. Redness

The look you crave is:

A. Matte B. Dewy C. Natural D. Even

If you scored...

Mostly A's: When a foundation that contains oil comes into contact with oily skin, things get slick, causing your makeup to break down and slide off. Choose an oil-free liquid with lightweight silicone, which helps pigments adhere but won't clog pores and use a a travel-friendly pressed powder with silica for when you're on the go.

Mostly B's: Boost hydration with a rich anti-aging formula that contains moisturizing ingredients, like glycerin. BB creams packed full of goodness such as anti-agers, antioxidants, and sunscreen is also a good choice.

Mostly C's: You're blessed with low-maintenance skin and can wear any foundation. I recommend choosing sheer liquids with light-reflecting particles or a tinted moisturizer that has just enough pigment to even out your skin without being noticeable.

Mostly D's: If you're the sensitive type, mineral makeup is for you. Most contain skin soothers, such as zinc, and are free of potential irritants, like alcohol, fragrance and preservatives. Highly pigmented mineral formulas cover broken capillaries, redness, and discoloration.

Now that you've got that sorted, it's time to choose your shade.

When choosing your shade at a department or specialty store, don't be shy to ask for help. Get colour-matched by a trained makeup artist (and score some free samples while you're at it). It's also important to test the right spot. Swipe shades along your jawline rather than the back of your hand. The right hue should disappear into your skin.

Keep in mind that harsh overhead lighting can cast unflattering shadows so stand near a window or better still, go outside to check your colour in natural daylight.

Do your homework. L'Oréal Paris, CoverGirl, and Revlon have really helpful complexion-matching applications on their websites. Log on to answer questions about your skin and receive product and colour suggestions to use as a starting points.

Different formulas require different application strategies. Here's the breakdown.

Tinted moisturizers and BB creams: Rub them onto skin with your fingers.

Liquids, mousses, and creams: Brushes are best: Choose a flat-topped style that has synthetic bristles. "Unlike natural bristles, synthetics won't absorb the makeup, so it transfers better onto skin. Buff in a circular motion from the center of your face, blending outward.

Powders: To keep it light, use a fluffy brush to sweep powder up and down the T-zone. Leave cheeks bare for a bit of glow. For more coverage, pick a brush with dense bristles and swirl all over.

Sticks: Swipe foundation straight from the tube onto problem spots and buff with a makeup sponge.