The foundation is an apt name for its use. The right foundation perfectly blends into your own skin and enhances your complexion. Since it is the base of your make-up, it can make or break your entire look. Choose the wrong shade and you’ll end up looking like cakey, too white or too yellow. In other words, the perfect product can make you look like a blooming blossom, while the wrong choice can make you look like a wilted and cheap flower. Several factors have to be considered when choosing your foundation, here are your guidelines:

Undertone and skin tone

Before choosing your shade, it would be helpful to know whether your skin tone is warm or cool. To check, look at the veins in your inner arm to know your undertone. If they look blue or purple, your skin tone is cool, but if they appear green, then you have a warm skin tone. If you have both bluish and green veins, then your skin tone is neutral. Warm skin tones typically tan under the sun, while cool skin tones turn pink or burn. Another way you can check is by holding up jewellery against your skin. If gold jewellery complement your skin, then your skin tone is warm. On the other hand, silver tend to complement cool skin tones. Again if you have a neutral skin tone, you can rock both silver and gold.

Skin type

Skin type also matters so you can watch out for specific product properties. For example, if you have oily skin, then go for a foundation that’s oil-free and/or has a matte finish. A good example is Eve Lom Sheer Radiance Oil Free Foundation with SPF 20. Dry skin benefits from foundations with a dewy finish, while combination dry and oily skin can go for powder-finish foundations. More importantly, if you have sensitive skin, hypoallergenic and scent-free foundations can help lessen irritations and breakouts.

Shade selection

Once you have determined your skin tone and type, it’s time to pick a shade. Different brands have different ways of pinning down the right shade for you. They label their foundations based on cool, neutral, and warm skin tones. For the uninitiated, foundations for warm skin tones typically have gold or yellow base, while for cool skin tones, they have pink or blue base. MAC cosmetics divide foundation shades into C (cool), NC (neutral cool), N (neutral), NW (neutral warm), and W (warm). Higher numbers indicate darker shades.

As a rule, always go darker lest you appear ghostly and washed out. Don’t match it with your neck as neck skin tend to be lighter than the face. If you’re unsure which one suits your skin tone, you can always ask a rep to help you out. One make-up artist offers this neat trick: Swipe foundation on your jawline along the side of your face and if it disappears, it’s the right shade.

Age-specific products

Your age also matters when selecting the right foundation as the older you get, your skin develops different needs. In your 20s, your skin is pretty much youthful and not problematic save for the occasional breakout due to overproduction of oil. As such, choose sheer foundations with matte finish products and oil-free formulations. Otherwise, you don’t need too much coverage. Thick foundations would make you look older. A prime example is Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra. In your 30s, it’s time to find products with hydrating properties to seal in moisture, such as Laura Mercier Silk Crème Moisturising Photo Edition Foundation . Once you enter the 40s, you can search for anti-ageing formula present in the Shiseido Future Solution Lx Total Radiance Foundation. Serum foundations are great for 50-year-olds and above.

One last pro tip, YouTube is a great platform when you’re uncertain about your choice. Of course, nothing beats a trip down to Sephora or a local makeup or departmental store where beauty advisers offer their expert opinion on your skin type.

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This article was contributed by A Better Florist.