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Make-up Manifesto: choosing the right foundation

Our new beauty blogger Erin Rice answers your questions on make-up and beauty.

Laura Mercier, Nars and L'Oreal are Erin's top foundation picks
Laura Mercier, Nars and L'Oreal are Erin's top foundation picks

How can I pick the perfect shade of foundation?

A. Choosing the correct foundation shade can be daunting and potentially disastrous. From Porcelain Ivory to Honey Beige, how are you ever going to know which shade is the right one for you? 

This is where I have perfected picking the right shade, saving myself from many unnecessary purchases. And now you can do the same.

The correct foundation shade is essential to any make-up look and if it’s not accurate it can result in nasty tide lines and uneven faces.

First things first; do not ever, and I repeat, ever test foundation shades on your hand or wrist. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Always test foundations along your jaw line. Even if you are in the middle of Boots, no one is going to care - I do it all the time! Pick three shades you think are closest matched to your natural skin tone and make three strokes on your jaw line, blending each one in. Whichever one naturally disappears is the correct shade for you.

Another fail safe way to find the right shade is to simply go to a make-up counter and ask to be matched up; they will do the exact same three stroke procedure and pick the correct one for you. Furthermore, instead of buying on the day, ask for a sample. Most beauty counters will provide you with one. If not, take in an empty tub and they should happily oblige. This way you can really test run the foundation to ensure it’s perfect for you.

I always recommend not buying your foundation on the day of trying out different shades. Once you have tried it out and you think it’s the correct colour for you, walk around and have a think about it. You may even notice that what you think looked good in the store is actually not a great colour for you in natural light and you may have to try a different shade. By doing this, you will save yourself from any mistakes and disappointing (not to mention expensive!) purchases.

One last tip; don’t go for brands that have limited colour choice. My personal favourite brand choices that have a great range of shades are:

L’ Oreal - True Match (£9.99)

Laura Mercier - Silk Crème (£33.00)

Nars - Sheer Glow/Sheer Matte (£29.50)

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