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    Here's Everything You Need To Know About Foundation

    You thought you knew everything you needed to know until today. Surprise!

    Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

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    1. Test foundation shades on your neck *not* your arm. Chances are your arm is actually darker than your face, thanks to its constant exposure to the elements (aka sun).

    Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / Via

    Check out more even more game-changing beauty charts!

    2. Consider which kind of foundation you prefer: there's liquid and powder. Powder is better for matte (but generally lighter) coverage, while liquid is dewier and can conceal more.

    Bonetta / Getty Images

    Looking for suggestions? We've got you covered:

    NYX "Stay Matte Not Flat" Powder Foundation ($6.64+ on Amazon; available in 26 shades) is a great straightforward option. It offers buildable coverage (with of course a matter finish) and if applied with its included sponge can be used as a concealer, as well.

    L'Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation ($7.50+ on Amazon; available in 33 shades) is designed to smoothly transition to your skin tone, so it looks perfectly natural every time. You can wear it for light coverage or build it up to medium coverage, depending on your mood. It's even loaded with Vitamin A and C, wheat germ, and grape extract to nourish your skin and promote healthiness longterm. Plus, it has SPF 19 (IMPORTANT)!

    3. Identify your skin's undertones as a sure-fire way to properly pick the right shade for your complexion. Checking the color of your veins is an easy way to do so!

    What is an undertone? It's simply the color underneath your skin's surface. There are three categories: cool (pink, red or bluish undertones), warm (yellow, peachy, golden undertones), and neutral (a mix of warm and cool undertones). Btw, a lot of brands will label their shades with "C" for cool, "W" for warm, and "N" for neutral undertones! If there's no label, shades for cool undertones will have a pinkish hue and shades for warm undertones will have a yellowish hue.

    Check out even more useful foundation charts for beginners!

    4. Also keep in mind the "burn test": how easily your skin tans and burns will indicate your undertones (aka what kind of shade your foundation should be).

    Check out more from DermStore for The Burn Test!

    Too lazy to watch? Here are the three categories!

    Warm undertones: yellow to olive tone/tan easily and don't burn

    Cool undertones: pink or blue tone/burn or slightly tan

    Neutral undertones: clear tone of olive, yellow, or pink/can burn and tan

    5. Can't decide between two shades? Go for the lighter. The foundation will most likely deepen as it warms up on your skin anyway, so lighter is a safer bet.

    Check out more keys to finding your perfect foundation!

    Tarte Shape Tape Matte Foundation ($39 on Tarte; available in 18 shades) is a cult-favorite when it comes to a ~vegan~ and oil-free full coverage option. It's earned 408 five-star reviews for its matte finish, weightless feeling, and amazing oil-and-shine-absorbing formula!

    6. Narrow down your search for foundations by identifying your skin type. Foundations are usually specialized for different concerns like oily, dry, acne prone, etc. Good thing there's this quiz to help you!

    Pogrebkov / Getty Images

    Take this Tell Us About Your Skin And We'll Recommend The Perfect Foundation quiz to discover the best fitting foundation!

    7. Begin your routine with a Maybelline primer to create a smooth and long-lasting base for your foundation. Tldr: this will make your foundation stay 👏 put 👏.

    Other benefits of using this primer? It drastically blurs pores, moisturizes your skin, and creates a soft, matte finish. Plus, it feels super lightweight so you're comfortable all day.

    Promising review: "Coming from someone who suffers from acne, this product was wonderful. First day I used it, I had to work a full day of work then travel and I felt like my face was never oily. My makeup stayed on perfectly over the application. I love how the product doesn't seem heavy. It's almost silky and doesn't feel as if I'm putting on another layer of makeup. I would recommend this to anyone, especially people with sensitive skin like myself. I had no breakouts or red spots. The product seems to go hand-in-hand with my skin type!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $5.50.

    8. Apply your foundation with a kabuki or buffing brush rather than a paddle brush if you're a beginner. The softer bristles make it far easier to blend!


    Check out even more easy AF foundation tips for beginners!

    Promising review (for the kabuki brush): "Let me just say that I bought this brush almost two years ago and it's still going strong. I haven't noticed any shedding and it's a big was brush so it blends out your foundation in seconds. I personally like to pat my foundation rather than rub to get more coverage and this brush makes that so easy and it's so freaking affordable!" —Fatima

    Get them from Amazon: kabuki brush for $9.90 and buffing brush for $6.54.

    9. Assign your products the proper order so that everything works to their full effect. For example, serums will just sit on top of your skin if put on after moisturizer. And that's just a one way ticket to Cakey Makeup Express.

    Wake Up For Makeup / Via

    Study up on more helpful makeup charts!

    10. Rely on a shine-controlling option, like Maybelline's Fit Me foundation if you have oily skin. It features micro-powders that both absorb excess oil and blur pores — aka you're good to go all darn day. T-zone? I don't know her.

    And can we say long-lasting matte finish? Bless. Plus, its (obviously) oil-free formula provides a medium coverage but feels super light, so you never have to worry about cakey effects.

    Promising review: "I love this foundation. This is the first foundation I have tried that has matched my skin so closely. It gives me medium to light coverage which I personally love since I like wearing this during the summer time. I have acne scars that I really don't love. They make me feel self conscious about myself. But this product provided coverage over them! I have very oily skin so this thing is my holy grail. It goes on and blends flawlessly. I bought another bottle just because I love it so much!" —Simpleebekah

    Get it from Amazon for $5.69 (available in 40 shades).

    11. Moisturize five to ten minutes before applying your foundation so your skin has a chance to actually absorb your product (which helps foundation spread evenly). Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is well-known for creating a great base for your makeup!, Kayla Suazo / BuzzFeed

    Why, you say? It's oil-free, non-greasy, and designed to help your skin absorb quickly! Plus, the gel moisturizer formula (thank you, hyaluronic acid) really hydrates skin, so your makeup looks smooth and supple all day.

    Check out why a BuzzFeed writer will now only use this moisturizer!

    Promising review: "I love this water gel! I'm in Central Florida and with the heat and humidity it's important to have a light product that doesn't feel too heavy. This gel absorbs quickly and leaves my face super soft and smooth and the perfect foundation for my makeup. A lot of other lotions I have tried in the past has made my face get really oily and shiny after a couple hours with my makeup on, but this one does not do that at all. I absolutely love it and I'm on my second jar of it!" —Audrie H.

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    12. USE 👏 SUNSCREEN 👏 FIRST. EVERY DAY. Even if your foundation has some included, dermatologists recommend you include a base, as well (UV rays are no joke, my friends!). Supergoop! sunscreen has foundation in mind so it won't clog your skin or make you look cakey.

    It even doubles as a moisturizer! And can we take a moment to appreciate SPF 50? That is some real protection right there. Plus, it's oil-free (and organic!) so it won't clog your pores.

    Promising review: "I am a ginger and wear this every day for my face and neck, it works well and doesn't leave my skin feeling super oily or greasy. It sets in well and I can put makeup on on top of it within 5 minutes. I am out in a the sun a lot and just reapply this over my makeup, I usually have to touch up my foundation/blush a tad after reapplying but it's still quite convenient. A must-try, as no matter your complexion wearing sunscreen everyday will protect your skin." —Sarah Morgan

    Get it from Amazon for $19+ (available in three sizes).

    13. Try a well-loved crowd pleaser, like Makeup Forever's Ultra HD foundation if you have combo skin. It keeps your face hydrated, but also blends comfortably for a "second-skin feel" so you get the best of both worlds.

    This cult-favorite foundation has earned major popularity (over 4,000 five-star reviews!) for having *40* shades for every skin-type. It works well for sensitive skin (as well as both dry and oily), and provides natural-looking medium-coverage! PLUS, it works to create a seamlessly smooth effect, so it's great as a coverup during breakouts.

    Promising review: "This is hands-down my favorite foundation. It dries naturally matte, and despite my combination skin, requires very little touch-ups throughout the day. Also, the color matched perfectly to my melanin, which I was really excited about." —keilabee

    Get it from Sephora for $43 (available in 40 shades).

    14. Don't be afraid to ask for help from a sales associate — that's why they're there! They are TRAINED for this! A good sales associate will be able to match your complexion to a fitting foundation after just a few questions.

    15. Or take a test online — brands like Fenty Beauty have an optional interactive tool that takes all your traits into consideration before recommending a shade.

    Fenty Beauty / Via

    Be sure to use the Fenty shade finder tool before choosing your product!

    Btw, unless you're Patrick Star and live under a rock, you know by know that people are VERY committed to this foundation. And not just because we all want to be Rihanna (but that's part of it)! It literally *works* with your skin, thanks to its climate-adaptive technology that's resistant to sweat and humidity. It won't clog your pores, blends beautifully, blurs pores (tyvm), and has a shine-free finish that could make you cry. But don't because you'll ruin your makeup.

    Get Fenty Soft Matte Longwear Foundation from Sephora for $34 (available in 40 shades).

    16. Cut a tissue into four pieces and stick it on your face as a super-simple test for identifying what kind of foundation you need. The amount of tissue that stays on your face will tell you how oily your skin is!

    17. Wait around 30 minutes after testing out a new foundation to see if it oxidizes. Is there anything worse? Personally, I don't think so.

    World of Wonder Productions

    If you're saying "wtf is oxidation" it's basically what makes your foundation go from satisfying to orange.

    Check out more advice for how to find foundation that matches your skin!

    18. Stick to a hydrating style, like Revlon's ColorStay Makeup if you have dry skin. Its formula contains hyaluronic acid to effectively hydrate your skin over time, because anyone with dry skin knows the goal is to MOISTURIZE.

    It creates a smooth, full coverage look (say goodbye to finicky flakes) and has a demi-matte finish that'll last up to *24 hours*. Don't worry, it feels super lightweight so you'll actually WANT to wear it for 24 hours. It even has SPF 20, because longterm health is important!

    Promising review: "This is my holy grail foundation! I have very, very dry skin so I bought this. It's full full coverage — I usually just do one layer of this foundation and use it for event when I want something that will last forever and won't oxidize! I mean this foundation performs like a high end one! I love, love, love, love it! I still can't believe how affordable this product is." —Nassi

    Get it from Amazon for $7.78 (available in 13 shades).

    19. Turn to a color-correcting concealer if foundation isn't doing enough. The trick is knowing which color will neutralize your concern! For example, green has long been used as a solution to red pimples.


    Check out more easy-to-remember charts about makeup!

    This Sephora Correct-and-Conceal Palette ($25 on Sephora) has all the colors so you can go into full battle mode against your targets!

    20. Opt for a skin-clearing formula if the rest of your routine is focused on treating breakouts (why stop at makeup?). Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Foundation puts skincare first by using an antioxidant blend to actually improve your complexion over time.

    Not to mention its SPF 20 for protection from UV rays, a lightweight formula that offers full coverage without clogging your pores, and a healthy dose of vitamins (in addition to the antioxidants) to improve your brightness and tone!

    Promising review: "For the price, this is a great product. This eliminated 97% of any acne problems. It's my favorite foundation so far and that's saying a lot since I've shopped at Sephora for a few years now!" —Sydney Davis

    Get it from Amazon for $10.09+ (available in 14 shades).

    21. Focus on brands that actually offer a wide variety of shades if you're struggling to find ~the one~. Fenty, Maybelline, and Nars are just some options that carry up to 40 shades!

    Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

    Check out even more super-inclusive options!

    Get Fenty Soft Matte Longwear Foundation from Sephora for $34 (available in 40 shades), Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation from Sephora for $49 (available in 33 shades), and Maybelline Fit Me Foundation from Amazon for $5.69 (available in 40 shades).

    22. Keep up with seasons by adjusting your beauty routine. If your foundation isn't staying on suddenly come summer, try exfoliating more to control sweat and oil. Flakey finish in the winter? Time to moisturize like no tomorrow.

    23. Position your brush downward when putting on your foundation — gliding it in this direction eliminates those pesky errant bristles that sometimes get stuck on your face.

    24. Accept the help of a Tarte foundation stick if you're overwhelmed by all things makeup. It's super easy to apply and has all the same effects of a traditional foundation.

    This pup lasts 12 hours (that's longer than I like to be awake) and has a creamy, matte finish. Plus, it can be built up to full coverage! BUT here's why it's earned a cult following (hello, 292 five-star reviews): its ~vegan~ formula boasts antioxidant vitamins C, E, and Amazonian clay that'll hydrate or mattify, depending on your skin type. So everyone is happy.

    Promising review: "I love this foundation, it's exactly what I need for those quick and easy makeup days. It glides on so smooth and easily and covers everything so quickly. I absolutely love it. It provides great coverage and feels lightweight and smooth. It matches my tan skin perfectly, which is really hard to do with foundations." —Nicole I

    Get it from Tarte for $39 (available in 12 shades).

    25. Check your foundation's finish in natural light before leaving for the day to avoid any midday "ok but why is my face %$#*@ orange right now?" moments. If your room doesn't have a lot of sunlight, a well-lit mirror will do the trick!

    Keith Morrison / Via BuzzFeed Life

    Check out how these BuzzFeeders learned to get their makeup photo-ready!

    Get a light-up mirror from Amazon for $19.99.

    26. Blend your makeup seamlessly with a beauty sponge. It makes it extremely easy to even out your foundation and make it actually look natural.

    It's also great for concealing and contouring! But be sure to wash it to avoid bacteria build-up. Plus, this bad boy is latex-free and vegan!

    Check out more helpful tips if you're just learning about foundation!

    Promising review: "I love makeup, but have never been great at applying it, until now. This appears to be well-made, as it was in excellent condition when I opened it up. This thing works wonders! It seriously made my makeup look so much more flawless on my face. It blends extremely well and is so easy to use!" —Candace

    Get a blending sponge from Amazon for $6.95.

    27. Adjust the shade of your foundation with color-correcting drops if the original shade is not *quite* right. It's a much cheaper way to get the hue you're looking for without having to try yet another brand.

    These come in two shades: white for lightening and neutralizing yellow and brown for darkening (while keeping natural depth)!

    Promising review: "So I'm a darker-skinned woman of color with mainly orange and yellow undertones. A couple of the foundations I have are a little too dark for me although their undertones are perfect. I got the lightening drops since I didn't want to buy whole new foundations to mix with them and I'm so glad I did! Just one drop was enough to match the foundations to my perfect shade and the best part: they didn't change the undertones so the new shade still had that golden yellow undertone that I loved so much!" —Zainycat

    Get them from The Body Shop for $12 each (originally $20).

    28. ~Seal the deal~ with Urban Decay setting spray so your hard work stays put rain or shine. I'm not exaggerating — this will literally keep every drop of foundation pristine on your face through every form of inclement weather. That pimple is staying COVERED, darn it.

    If you don't believe me now, maybe you will after reading 5,150 five-star reviews? It's weightless, suitable for ALL skintypes, and creates smoother-looking skin without so much as a crack. How? Their formula actually *lowers* the temperature of your makeup so everything stays in place through everything: humidity, rain, you name it.

    Promising review: "This stuff is great! The heat and humidity in the South can wreak havoc on your makeup, and a Sephora beauty manager recommended the All-Nighter setting spray. Before I used it, my eye shadow would fade and mascara and eye liner would end up under my eyes by the end of the day. Humidity seemed to settle on my face and shine. This All-Nighter keeps both my face make-up and eye make-up from 'melting,' whether I'm in and out of the weather through the day or spend an entire day outside. I highly recommend it!" —toolengirl

    Get it from Sephora for $32.

    29. Get every last drop of your foundation with a Spatty. You paid good money for your products, you should be using every bit of it!

    Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

    The Spatty is just a clever little tool that has a curved edge on one side to get to the hard-to-reach areas of a round foundation bottle. No more spastically trying to hit the bottle against your palm the next time the pump stops working.

    Check out how a BuzzFeeder saves money on her foundation with this!

    Promising review: "This thing is AMAZING! If you are a beauty lover, this is a must-have to get the last remnants out your containers to maximize your product. You would be SHOCKED by what you throw away!" —Colleen Barreto

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

    30. Build up your coverage if going for a fuller look, rather than starting heavy right off the bat. This way you can fix any mistakes before it's too late.

    World of Wonder Productions

    31. Drop a little bit of primer oil into your concealer or foundation for a more dewy *glow*. It's easy to blend, looks more like your natural complexion, and can cheaply let you experiment if you're looking to veer from matte.

    This ~24K gold facial oil~ quickly absorbs into your skin to brighten your complexion. You can even use this by itself to hydrate and smooth your skin!

    Promising review: "First let me say they shipped it out fast upon request. This product is excellent. It leaves my skin radiant with continuous use. I will definitely purchase again!" —willa adorno

    Get it from Amazon for $6.66.

    32. Consider options like Glossier's stretch concealer if you want to dabble in foundation but still prioritize skincare. Brands like Glossier include major health benefits (hello, avocado and jojoba oil) so you can enjoy the perks of both!

    This concealer is also buildable, so you can wear it light or full! It has a super elastic consistency that lets it actually move with your expressions. Plus, its ingredients like avocado, jojoba oil, and cocoa butter nourish your skin, hydrate all day for a dewy finish, and promote a softer complexion! Is this what people mean by multitasking?

    Promising review: "I purchased this because I'd changed my beauty routine to focus more on skincare and I wanted a concealer I could use independently of foundation. The concealers I used to use tended to look too obvious on the days I don't wear any makeup. I bought this one because I was attracted to the 'stretch' part, which made it sound like it was supposed to 'move' with my skin. It does exactly just that! As far as coverage goes, I have to say that it's just perfect for me. It's not too 'watered down' at all, but instead provides just enough color to brighten my under eyes. This is definitely my new favorite concealer!" —Michaia

    Get it from Glossier for $18 (available in five shades).

    33. Start in the center of your face and guide your brush (or sponge) outward in the shape of a star when applying foundation. This way the concentration of your makeup is in the center (where it really belongs) and thins out along your hairline.

    And of course never forget your neck so it matches your face!

    Check out more from The Beauty Department for how to properly apply foundation!

    34. Consider a tinted BB cream if you don't like the idea of "wearing a lot of makeup." Its consistency should always feel like you're bare-faced (because you basically are). IPKN Moist & Firm Beauty Balm offers just enough coverage for a brightened but natural complexion., Maitland Quitmeyer / BuzzFeed, Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

    This baby also has SPF 45 protection and a gel formula that's loaded with nourishing ingredients like vitamin E and collagen for a more hydrated and brightened skin tone! And its matte finish certainly doesn't hurt.

    Promising review: "This is absolutely perfect! It’s so light that it just feels like I’m wearing my moisturizer and the coverage is perfect. I didn’t expect it to be because I have really red patches, but it covers them like a dream!" —TheLutzWood

    Check out why not one but TWO BuzzFeeders love this BB cream!

    Get it from Birchbox for $35 (available in five shades).

    35. Prefer your fingers? That's actually fine. Some people prefer this, as the heat from your hands can melt the foundation as your apply (making it easy to blend).

    Just be sure to always wash your hands first! Bacteria, bacteria, bacteria.

    Check out more from Nars for how to apply foundation with your hands!

    36. Blend two different shades of foundations together if you want a simple way to contour. Start with your regular shade and then apply one shade darker to your cheekbones, forehead, and chin. Voilà: you are an artiste now!

    And if you're feeling extra fancy, throw on some bronzer to really highlight your good work.

    Get them from Amazon: foundation for $10.09+ (available in 14 shades) and bronzer for $9.22 (available in three shade).

    You waiting for people to do notice *that something different about you* like:


    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

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