Even before COVID-19 brought an end to tester products, the sanitary condition of the former makeup store staples were called into question. Now, in a world with masks and social distancing, it's unclear whether tester products may ever return. Without the ability to swatch and test, your makeup shopping routine may include peering through bottles and scrolling through online options. While this practice is more hygienic and safe, it's not always the easiest method of color matching, especially when it comes to foundation.
Before you forever swear off foundation, or make the mistake of choosing the wrong shade, there are growing options that are here to help. Virtual shopping and try-on processes via a smartphone cameras have become increasingly common, and some brands — including Rare Beauty, Sephora, MAC, and websites and apps like Slapp, Findation and Melange Beauty — offer virtual tools to help narrow down your options. But in cases where a foundation finder isn't available, consider these tips below, straight from the experts.
How To Find The Best Foundation Shade Online — Use Proper Lighting
Shopping for foundation from the comfort of your home, or smartphone, does require some preparation. It's best not to try and find your shade in the dead of night, but rather you'll want to make use of natural light, LORAC Artistry Advisor, Kelsey Deenihan suggested. "Try to match the foundation color to the skin on your jawline," she said.
Kori Fields, The Lip Bar Product Development Coordinator, recommended studying your face in a mirror. "Start by taking a good look at the center of your face and T-zone area, the perimeter of the face, and the chin and neck," she said. "The goal here is to see how your complexion changes in each area."
How To Find The Best Foundation Shade Online — Consider The Season
For those that live in climates where the weather changes, Kirsten Kjaer Weis, founder of Kjaer Weis, said to consider a change in your usual foundation coloring. "I typically go one shade lighter in the wintertime," she said. "This is a must if you normally get a bit of sun and certainly if you get a tan during the summer."
Deenihan offered further advice regarding seasonal foundation swaps, saying, "If the brand you’re looking into has multiple shades in the same undertone, stay in your undertone but choose a lighter shade to match your skin, if you’ve become more fair."
How To Find The Best Foundation Shade Online — Know Your Undertones
When eyeing foundation online it's likely that you'll come across terms like cool, fair, and warm. These all refer to the natural appearance of your skin, and to better understand the terminology, Fields said to start by looking at your neck, chest, and center of the face. "Cool-toned complexions usually look more blue, and pink, while individuals with warmer undertones have more red, and yellow in their complexions."
If you're stuck on what complexion you might have, Fields said to consider accessories, saying, "Cooler toned individuals usually look better wearing silver jewelry, while warmer toned tend to look best in gold. Another helpful trick is looking at the views in your wrist. Blue veins signal cooler skin tones, while green veins usually occur in warmer tones."
For those that absolutely feel at a loss when it comes to understanding their foundation shade range, Deenihan, along with Weis, suggested taking a scroll through Instagram, or looking closely at any accompanying images offered by the brand.
Lastly, it's also important to closely read any accompanying foundation information. "Every computer and phone screen is different and the colors might not be true, so make sure to read the description of the color," Deenihan said. "Most brands will use a name or a number and then give a description."
How To Find The Best Foundation Shade Online — Incorporate Other Products
There's always the chance that something you purchased online will appear totally different in person. When it comes to makeup, returns can prove especially tricky, and in case you can't make a swap, there are ways to make your look still work. "If your new foundation is too fair or cool, try adding a bronzer around the frame of your face and wherever the sun would naturally hit you. This will bring more color and warmth to your face," Deenihan said.