Aim high: Foundation may be the one makeup product you should spend a little more money on. Department-store brands often contain high-tech anti-aging ingredients. Their formulas are perfectly blended (no lumps or frosting-like consistencies), which allows for a smoother, more even finish, and "they contain specially coated pigments that help the foundation adhere better to the skin, creating a weightless feeling," says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson, vice president of Cosmetech Laboratories.
The foundations you'll find in the aisles of your local chemist might not offer the same level of anti ageing ingredients, but that's not to say they aren't good.
Watch your tone: To find a hue that matches your complexion, use your skin tone as a guide: "If you have cooler undertones (meaning your skin has hints of red, blue, or pink), look for shades with the word cool in the name," advises Sheriff. If your skin has warmer undertones (hints of yellow or orange), look for the word warm on the product label.
Put it to the test: A shade that appears to be custom blended when it's on the back of your hand may look clownish when it's on your face. Instead of testing it on your hand—which tends to be slightly darker than your face— swipe a bit onto your collarbone, which is a closer colour match.
CHOOSE THE CORRECT FORMULA
Brush up: "A foundation brush helps the product go on smoothly and covers imperfections without creating a cakey appearance,"says Sheriff. "Using your fingers can cause skin irritations, because bacteria beneath your nails can be transferred to your face." If you're using a cream or liquid foundation, choose a brush made from a synthetic fiber such as nylon. For powder foundations and finishing powders, opt for a natural goat-hair brush.
Blend In: Pour a 10 cent piece-size amount of foundation onto the back of your hand or into a small, clean bowl. Then dip the brush into the product (just enough to cover the bristles—you don't want to drown them), and smooth it onto your skin with even strokes. "Begin on one side of your face underneath (repeat: underneath) your jawline, and work your way up to your cheekbones. Then continue to just below your brows and across your forehead. Repeat on the other side, and be sure to blend, blend, blend," says Barnes. Take a look in the mirror after applying the first layer to see if you're fully covered. You can always add more.