An obsession with skincare, makeup and all things beauty. Honest reviews and opinions.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Buying Foundation Online - tips and tricks!

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With me buying a new foundation, I wanted to do a mini blog post about the ones I own.

Bobbi Brown UK


Left to right - 
The Ordinary Serum foundation - 1.0p
Mac Studio Fix - NC10
Anastasia Beverly Hills foundation stick - Alabaster 
Kat Von D Lock It - Light 44

I’m including comparative swatches as I find these invaluable when looking for a new foundation. As I’m very fair skinned, I’d previously struggled with finding a foundation pale enough for me. I’ve had a few orange faced disasters over the years! Thankfully brands are now expanding their shade ranges further and further, in both directions, so I’m finding paler shades more readily available. I think it goes without saying that there’s still a lot of work to be done by brands to ensure darker shades are included in their ranges too.


It never ceases to amaze me how different in colour my foundations can be, yet all suit me! One thing that’s becoming more prevelant for brands at the moment is to ensure that there’s not only a good variety of shades but that different undertones are catered for too. There’s often confusion when it comes to undertones but basically there’s three types - warm, cool and neutral. If you have warm undertones you’ll probably tan, have peachy / yellow toned skin, suit yellow gold jewellery and your veins in your wrists will look green ish. If you have cool undertones (like me) you’ll likely burn / turn red from the sun, you’ll have pink toned skin, suit white gold / silver jewellery and your veins will be more blue. If you’re a mixture of the two you’re likely neutral. All of my foundations are cool / pink toned except Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk which is neutral and Mac Studio Fix which is warm toned, I’ve no idea why but it suits me better than NW10 which should be my correct shade!

Anyway, as my home town of Grimsby doesn’t have many decent shops where I can be colour matched for foundation, I often guess and place an order online. Luckily for me this has always worked out well and it’s matched! So I thought I’d share my tips...

1. Check different sites that sell the foundation - some shops carry all shades, some a selection. I’ve been nearly caught out before thinking there were less shades to choose from as the site I was looking at didn’t carry them all! You’re best place to start is the foundation brands website. Some will post details of the undertones of shades, there might even be swatches! Matching your correct undertone is pretty important. I’ve often found that colours shown on websites can vastly vary! 
2. Swatches and comparisons. Google is your friend! I’ll spend ages looking for comparison swatches. Pick a foundation you already use and match well to and search for that (including your shade) and the foundation you want to buy. For example I usually use Mac Studio Fix NC10 for my comparison as it’s a popular foundation. So I’d search “Mac Studio Fix Foundation NC10 Giorgio Armani Face Fabric”. I’ll start in the images and hope that someone has posted a swatch comparing the two. Seeing the two foundations next to each other is the best way to compare them. If there’s no luck in images, I go to websites. Often someone has blogged about their new foundation and stated what other brands / shades they wear for reference. 

3. Foundation matrix websites - some very clever people have set up databases where you input what foundations you match and it uses data given by others to match you to your shade in another brand. My favourite site to use is Temptalia https://www.temptalia.com/foundation-matrix/
I’ve had accurate results from using her foundation matrix. It’s fun to test it out with shades you know you already match! Maybe that’s just me 🙈
There’s also https://findation.com/ 
It doesn’t hurt to check both! 

Using a combination of all of the above can give you a pretty good idea of what shade you need to be choosing! Obviously it’s not completely accurate so it’s always best to get colour matched in store if possible or order from somewhere that takes returns if you get the wrong shade (Bobbi Brown do this!).

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4 comments

  1. I’m always put off ordering online, in part because of the shade but I also like to test a foundation’s wear too. I made a mistake of buying a Charlotte Tilbury foundation once as I loved the shade, coverage and everything (and this was bought in store!) 2 hours later I was an oil slick! So I prefer to get a sample first anyway. Great tips though, especially about the warm/cool tone tell tales. Xx

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  2. Yeah it’s definitely a good idea to try before you buy if possible! X

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