1. Skin Type - Your foundation needs to be compatible with the chemistry of your skin so that it looks beautiful and last all day. If your skin is dry you need a moisturising formula so look for words like Nourishing, Lift, Radiance and Plumping. (Kate's Favourite: MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation €36.50) If you have oily skin you will need something absorbent with buzz words like Clarifying, Mattifying, Velvet and Cashmere. (Kate's Favourite: Estee Lauder Double Wear Light €34.50) If you don't know your skin type you probably have normal or combination skin, as people with dry and oily skin usually notice problems with their foundation either soaking into their skin or sliding off. Foundations for normal and combination skin are often called Satin, Balancing and Natural. (Kate's Favourite: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua €38)
2. Colour - Every brand will have a different way of categorising their foundation colours but it helps to figure out your skin tone. Check the veins on the inside of your arm. If they are a purple-ish blue you have pink toned skin. If they are green-ish blue then you have yellow toned skin. If they just look plain old blue, then your skin tone may lie somewhere in between pink and yellow, in the neutral zone. Get the sales assistant to check 2 or 3 shades on your jawline and don't forget to look at it in daylight! Your neck, face and chest might be different colours so your are aiming for something that ties everything together and gives you a uniform effect.
TOP TIP: If your neck is much paler than the rest of you, match your foundation to your chest and you can always add some bronzer to your neck afterwards.
3. Test it out - Absolutely nothing beats the experience of wearing a foundation to see if it's correct for you. Try to get a sample of the foundation or ask to pour some into a pot. Then apply the foundation as you normally would; in your own mirror in the morning before you go to work with your own makeup tools (brush/sponge/fingers). You will need to check how it looks in daylight, in a photograph, up close and at the end of the day. If your skin is very oily or very dry you can't expect your foundation to be perfect right through to the end of the day, but something that needs minimal maintenance is the aim.
5. Change it up - Your skin tone and skin type will change throughout the year so when you notice your tan fading or the cold weather starting to dry out your skin, it's time to check if your foundation is still working for you.
As featured in my monthly column for Xpose Magazine