In this post I’d like to help you choose the right shade and texture of your foundation. In general, this topic is rarely explained and many of you have problems when choosing an appropriate makeup base, not only a mineral one. The right shade and texture of foundation are the most important factors in the process of makeup application. Since the face is a kind of canvas, everyone will notice a wrong foundation on your skin, that looks like a mask or that is too dark, too cakey, …


A few helpful rules when choosing your foundation

The foundation has to melt with your skin, providing a healthy appearance and has to be the exact shade that matches your entire skin tone

When choosing the color of your foundation, check it under natural light without any dark shades around (not in the artificial light of the store)

The color of your foundation has to match your skin tone in the area, starting from the neck through jawline and whole face

Do NOT try the color of foundation on your hand. The hands are always different in color compared to the face

Try first a sample of foundation; during the day the skin’s natural oils activate with the foundation and the foundation color can change or deepen

You may change the color of your foundation depending on the season; our skin color may change through the year (summer/winter)

These are the basic rules to understand when choosing a foundation, even though every brand has its own names of colors. But to understand better, I will show you later some practical examples.


Essential rules from the color theory that will help you

choose the right shade of foundation

Undertone of your skin (warm, cool, neutral)

Depth level of foundation color (light, medium, dark)

Texture of foundation

Luminosity (content of shine in a product)

Undertone of your skin

If you are not sure about your undertone, a classic advice is to look at the color of your veins on the wrist; if they are green, you have warm undertones, if they are blue, you have cool undertones. If your veins are something between blue and green, you are a neutral. That is in general the “golden rule”. This will be much clearer on the example below. Cool shades of foundation have more red mixed in, while the warm shades are yellow based, without any reds. These is the basic difference between shades. However, there are many shades and their names are not cool or warm, but they have their own names like Ivory, Beige, Sand,Honey…But in every color you have to figure out, if its suitable for you skin depending if it’s more pink or yellow based (cool or warm) or a neutral. This is especially evident in the second and third photo, where you can see the absence of red tones in the Olive foundation. The Golden foundation has a lot yellow, while the Neutral is a more balanced shade with both pink and yellow.

warm vs. cool shades


Depth level

In general this represents the level of darkness or lightness of your skin (light, medium or dark) and does not depend on the undertone or color of foundation. You have to figure out the level of lightness or darkness of your skin. I have chosen an example of Alima pure mineral foundations to explain the difference in colors and darkness. Alima has 10 levels of depth- from 0 to 9 – 0 is the lightest, 9 is the darkest, regardless the color of foundation. In the pictures below, there are different shades of foundation but they are all the same depth level. The first picture shows the depth level 2, that is for very light skin tones. The second picture shows the depth level 8, which is for very dark, tanned skin.

Light foundation shades

Dark foundation shades


Texture of foundations

Regarding texture foundations comes in form of:

powder (minerals)

creamy (usually in stick or in a palette)


mousse, gel

The formulation/texture of the foundation is another important factor to consider. Do not choose a foundation just because is the last hit in advertising. Behind that, bear in mind what type of skin do you have. If you have very dry skin, look after a hydrating formula in a cream or liquid formulation, that will provide you a healthy, dewy look. Minerals are most often in form of powder and suit all skin types.


Luminosity (content of shine in a product)

refers to the amount of light reflective particles in the product, in this case in the foundation. If the foundation hasn’t any light reflective particles it means that is matte. That is great when we want a non shiny effect on the face, especially when the skin is oily with shiny areas. If we want a sheer, dewy, luminous look, we will use a glowing foundation on a dull and dry skin to give a touch of light and freshness to the face. Even with mineral foundation is the same, you can choose a matte or semi-mat formula, or you can opt for a light reflective glowing foundation. If you have oily skin, avoid a glowing foundation with reflective particles inside, even a mineral formulation with glow. Instead choose minerals that are matte and absorb oil from your skin. In this case you can try a mineral oil control primer that you apply before your foundation. Usually, a good mineral oil control primer contains kaolin, a natural clay mineral that absorbs oils and toxins.

Evidently, as you can see, the luminosity and formulation of foundation are in correlation with your skin type.

Considering all this factors together, I hope you will choose your perfect foundation!

If you are interested in this topic, then keep following my next posts with reviews of new foundations.

0 comment on How to: Choose your perfect foundation

  1. green makeup
    January 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm (12 years ago)

    Thank you, I appreciate very much these words:)


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