Makeup Tips: Choosing a Foundation Color

Just as the most important step in building a house is building the foundation, the most important step in makeup is choosing the right foundation.  The right shade of foundation will blend seamlessly with the skin, while the wrong shade will be like building a house with a weak foundation.  The wrong foundation color will make the entire look suffer, no matter how expertly the rest of the makeup is applied.

Foundation, whether it is is cream, liquid, or powder, contains color pigment.  These pigments are classified as either warm, cool, or neutral, depending on the predominant tones found in the overall color.  For a foundation to blend with the skin, it must match the skin tone.  Therefore, the first step is determining whether you have a cool, warm, or neutral skin tone.  Once this is established, you can focus on colors within your skin tone spectrum without wasting time on colors that do not match.

In order to figure out whether you have a cool or warm skin tone, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Do you prefer gold jewelry to silver jewelry?  If the answer is yes, then you probably have a warm skin tone.  Those with warm tones tend to favor gold jewelry, while those with cool skin tones tend to prefer silver or platinum jewelry.

2. What color are the veins on the underside of your wrist?  This is a quick and easy way to tell whether your skin is a cool tone or a warm tone.  If the color of your veins are blue, your skin tone is cool.  If your veins are greenish-blue or violet, then you have warm skin tones.

3. What color clothing looks best on you?  Those with cool skin tones tend to look best in colors like blue, green, black, and gray.  Those with warm skin tones tend to look better in colors like red, yellow, orange, pink, and brown.

Now that you have an idea of whether your skin tone is cool or warm, you can “weed out” the foundations that will clash with your natural skin tone.  The next and final step is to find the right darkness or lightness.

This is where testing the makeup comes in.  Select three or four shades of foundation that are closest to your skin tone, and then use a cotton swab or small brush to paint a small streak of the foundation in an inconspicuous area.  Usually the neck or the area of the jawline close to the ear works best for this step.  When you find the magic color, it will seem to melt into the skin seamlessly, rather than leaving a colored streak.  Once you find the color that blends in with your skin, you have discovered your ideal color of foundation.

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