Foundation colour background

Find your perfect foundation

Ladies, it’s time to start afresh. Take a peak inside your makeup bag – we’re all guilty of owning cosmetics that have seen better days, so let’s scrap those products with the faded labels and invest in new makeup now... first stop, foundation! If you’re struggling to select the perfect foundation colour, fear not – simply read our handy guide.

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Step 1: Check your skin tone

Step 1: Check your skin tone

Before you go makeup shopping, examine your skin tone in natural daylight in a mirror at home. Remember to look at the skin colour of your face, neck and chest as you need to pick a foundation colour that brings uniformity to all these areas, and take note of any problem areas such as pigmentation.

Step 2: Are you cool or warm?

Step 2: Are you cool or warm?

Determine if your skin has a ‘cool’ or ‘warm’ undertone. Cool undertones have more pinks and reds, while warm undertones are more yellow and olive. The general rule is that warm toned complexions tan relatively easily. Cool skin tones tend to burn. If you have a cool undertone, choose foundation colours with ‘natural’, ‘beige’, ‘cocoa’, ‘bronze’ or ‘mahogany’ in their names. Warm toned foundations are generally called ‘golden’, ‘peach’, ’honey’ or ‘caramel’.

Step 3: Always test three shades

Step 3: Always test three shades

Now you’re ready to buy your foundation - when testing out shades, make sure your face is clean and moisturised. Choose the colour you think will match and then one that’s slightly lighter, and one that’s slightly darker. Apply a stroke of these three shades on the back of your lower jaw line and down your neck.

Step 4: Ensure it blends

Step 4: Ensure it blends

Check the colour match in a mirror. The best shade for you is the one that disappears into your face and neck without too much blending – if you’re at a makeup counter, the beauty advisor will be able to blend the best shade with a foundation brush. Try heading outside so you can double-check your choice in natural light.

Step 5: Let it oxidise

Step 5: Let it oxidise

If you have the time, allow the foundation to dry before investing. Some foundations dry orange as they oxidise with the air, plus oily skin can cause the base to oxidise and appear darker when it mixes with the oil. If this is the case, choose a foundation that is slightly lighter than your complexion.

Top tip

Never try to match the colour to the centre of your neck, directly under the chin. This area is regularly in the shadow, and usually one or two shades lighter than your face and chest.


Maybelline, £7.99


This lightweight foundation by Maybelline is perfect for those seeking natural coverage and a fresh finish, plus it’s free from oils and waxes. Created with a translucent base and lightweight pigments, the brand’s Fit Me Foundation has a purse-friendly price too.

Shop Foundation at Boots


Clinique, £22.50

Splash out

If you’re a fan of Clinique’s iconic beauty range, be sure to pick up a bottle of Perfectly Real Foundation. A must for combination/oily skin, it’s designed to reduce redness and the appearance of imperfections while providing enough coverage for everyday wear.

Shop Foundation at John Lewis

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani, £35.50

Blow the budget

The luxe packaging is enough to make anyone part with their hard-earned cash, but Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation is just as impressive on the skin with its weightless texture and all-day coverage. Definitely one for your wish list.

Shop Foundation at House of Fraser

Foundation texture

Preen & pamper

Look and feel fabulous with the best beauty brands.
Browse Benefit, Bobbi Brown, MAC and more & refresh your makeup bag.

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Makeup by Rina Steinberg, Images by Lucy Noble Photography

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