Choosing and Mixing Foundation

I doubt that any woman would tell you that foundation is easy to find. For the benefits, we’re willing to put up with it.

Any tips that make it easier are welcome. It might take a couple or three shopping expeditions for samples. Be patient. The payoff can be big.

Do a little research first. All shopping success begins with knowing what you’re looking for and what you will not be talked into, meaning know your colours.

For foundation, Season is less helpful. Know the formulation you want instead. I begin at Beautypedia and the product below and in the video is here on that awesome resource. In Canada, I bought it at Sephora.

Set out your sample tubs. Line up some cotton swabs and make stripes on your lower cheek and jaw. Look for the closest 2 or 3, ideally warmer and cooler, without trying for perfect yet.

Try mixing two together, either on a clean spoon or the side of the face. Take your best guess. If makeup makes you nervous, pretend you’re adjusting wall paint a few degrees either way.

I’m not one iota more artistic than you are, probably less. I just don’t accept that the colours in the foundation industry are the  most real-skin they could be, regardless of the price or fame of the line.

It’s not us. It’s never us. We’re fine and normal. It’s them. Granted, they have a big task. Skin colour is a huge topic, too big to cover every person in 10 or 20 groups.

We start with the many choices available, narrow them down, and adapt them to work for us. Just like we do with Season, fitness, diet, and everything else. Jump in.

From L to R, Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in Vanilla, Wheat, and Natural, spaced to give you a sense of the colours independently.

I end up with Vanilla and Wheat. Natural is the dark one that I remove.

I don’t mention this in the video but common sense tells us that more product must be applied to be an effective sunscreen. This product is sheer enough to be nicely buildable.

At some point, all makeup stops looking like skin. I prefer to apply sunscreen first and use less makeup, this one being my favourite under makeup for its fluid texture and matte finish.

A search under Sun Protection at Paula’s Choice offers many choices. Try samples of several  (on the product page where you select quantity) to find your favourite. I alternate 3 or 4 of them and try every new one.

The video is also here on YouTube.


For the next video, I’ll add 4 things: powder, blush, lip colour, and more eye makeup. I also change my top. It will be posted in about a week.

I will ask you to do what colour analysts do: begin by noticing without deciding. See you then.

12 thoughts on “Choosing and Mixing Foundation”

  1. I’m afraid I’m going to be that one woman who actually says foundation is (relatively) easy to find ;) (Maybe the exception that proves the rule, I don’t know…) I just need to choose the warmest / yellowest shade in each line, and that’s it; though getting the darkness level right is admittedly a bit more tricky – my skin is at the light end of medium, so foundation can fairly easily be too light or too dark, though I’ve also noticed the skin adjusts pretty well if it’s close enough, i.e. just slightly too light or too dark.

    But in any case, I’m sure the article is very helpful info for most other women! :)

  2. Let me add to the frustration of not only finding the correct color, but also finding one that does not contain skin allergens. My derm has confirmed through testing that I’m allergic to propylene glycol (turns my skin bright red) and fragrance (gives me microfine white bumps). She has recommended that I use the Jane Iredale mineral makeup and I do. Thankfully, the Iredale line offers a wonderful variety of shade choices, and it’s easy to mix them. However, once in a while it would be nice to change it up a bit, but it seems like just about every foundation has those two ingredients to which I am allergic. Sigh…

  3. Ooops, I forgot to mention in my previous post how much I enjoyed the video, Christine. And I definitely agree that foundation is probably the most difficult beauty product to get just right. Going from cosmetic counter to counter and sample to sample is both tiring and frustrating. Thanks for the great suggestions. Looking forward to the next video in this series.

  4. Jan, I seem to be allergic to many (most?) cosmetic ingredients, I can’t use most commercial moisturizers (or hardly any), for example, but with foundations I don’t usually have this problem, for some reason! To me it does seem as if foundations don’t generally contain so much allergens as face creams, for example (but I realize that’s not much help if the specific substances you’re allergic to happen to be commonly found in foundations). But for me, that just adds to the general notion that foundation, to me, is one of the easiest beauty products :)

  5. Though I have to add that one of the very few foundation products I did get an allergic reaction to was the one featured here, Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue… :( (I think it was shade Buttercream, which would’ve been great for me as a shade, though maybe a bit on the light side.) I wish I knew what it was in it that caused it.

  6. Melina, propylene glycol (propanediol) is in the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue product. Turning my skin red is just one of the problems I encounter with this ingredient — burning, itching, pustules, etc. can be added to the list. It would be to your advantage to have allergy testing done to halt the damage being done to your skin barrier. I have found that mineral foundation has been my best friend over the years and many natural looking shades are offered to accommodate a wide range of complexions. Best wishes to you in discovering what troubles your beautiful skin.

  7. Thank you, Jan! :) Allergy testing would be good, but so far I haven’t managed to get it done. I’ve tried to check the ingredients of all those products that have caused me trouble, but haven’t been able to find common denominator(s) yet. Of course, it may be several different ingredients I’m allergic to. Recently a natural organic face cream gave me the worst allergic reaction of my life, my skin was red for hours… And as a natural product it doesn’t contain propylene glycol, but maybe it was the numerous essential oils in it, I don’t know. (Often the so-called natural cosmetics are the worst for me, for some reason!) I’ve tried many mineral foundations, but they didn’t work for me, they make my skin look too dry and settle on any imperfections; silicone-based light liquid foundations work best for me, I’ve found, as the silicone makes them glide over skin so effortlessly, they feel like no makeup at all, and also silicone is generally a non-allergen.

  8. I don’t know if it can be of any help but in Germany and Austria we have our own Sephora which is called Douglas. This brand has launched a system called Douglas Color Expert with Douglas Color Code (very much looking like the Pantone Skin Color Chart). In their stores, sales people have a special scanner they put on different areas of your face to determine your very personal Color Code. There is also an app that allows you to do it at home (never tried though). IDK if they are scanning the overtone or the undertone so if the result varies when you have a tan or not, which would make sense, but when they scanned my skin the result was spot on! Then on their web site you can find a foundation matching your personal code and it works, really. Here is the link (in German, sorry): https://www.douglas.at/Tipps-%2B-Trends/Beratung/Douglas-Color-Expert/index_c113093.html#START

    Hope this can help some of us :-)

  9. I didn’t know this, Stephanie, thank you. Sephora once had a similar (or maybe the same) device. I found that most suggestions were too dark and warm. Actually, I don’t think they use it anymore.

  10. I try to never mix foundations because they usually turn muddy on me. But then again, I´m a BS, maybe the situation is reversed for me.
    I have very subtle clear beige overtones, not overly yellow and not blatantly pink. I usually try to find a fair foundation with a hint of clear yellow, or clear warm pink (a “peaches and cream” kinda pink).
    Minerals are usually the safest bet. Cream and liquid foundations usually run darker than powders, and often oxidize into weird, brassy orange tones.

    (Feel free to edit this comment, if it´s not proper to mention specific brands in the comments section!)
    I´ve recently stumbled upon a brand, Inika, whose mineral loose foundations seem very nice for Softs and Autumns.
    Mind you, I´m not a professional make up artist or anything.
    I´ve just noticed that most shades have that subtle hint of gray-green realness you mention (and that I really don´t look for).
    Its subtle enough that I can still wear it, though I´m not sure I´ll be buying another jar. I´ll probably try the baked foundation, that in photos seems to run “brighter” and clearer.
    Hope it gives you more options for Autumns foundations…

Leave a Reply

All mention of copyrighted terms and content from any book, website, or organization will be edited to include only the company name to avoid copyright violation on the part of 12 Blueprints. Thank you.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.