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How to Choose the Right Foundation For Your Skin Tone

Picking the right shade of foundation can be a daunting task—especially keeping in mind the gamut of Indian skin undertones. Two beauty connoisseurs help solve this problem.

It makes the base for your makeup and ensures an even, uniform complexion. Hence, picking the right formula—depending on whether your tone is wheatish or a hue of brown—is paramount if you want to feel comfortable in your skin. Available in a plethora of shades, finishes, and coverage levels, a foundation is as customisable as your Starbucks order! And while this abundance may thrill you, it will certainly confuse you. 

Plus, who trusts in-store lighting anymore? Finding your match made in heaven (yes, we're still talking foundation) may require a li'l bit of digging. But once you've narrowed it down to 'the one', you'll notice the flawless finish on your skin. All in all, it's hella tough to pick a shade that matches perfectly, but it's far from impossible. Cosmo reached out to two makeup experts who share their ultimate guide to choosing the correct foundation shade. 

According to Mamta Naik, Associate Vice President, Product Development, SUGAR Cosmetics, to begin the search for the ideal foundation, you must ask yourself three important questions:

1. What’s your skin tone? Fair, Light, Medium or Dark?

2. What’s your skin type? Oily, Dry or Combination?

3. What’s your skin’s undertone? Cool, Warm or Neutral?


While the first two are fairly easy to figure out, if you're struggling with your undertone, Amanda Bell, Global Director of Education & Artistry, Pixi, suggests, "Holda pure white fabric or a piece of white paper to the natural light. If your skin looks rosy in comparison, you're cool-toned, if it seems yellowish, your undertone is warm, and if you notice hints of both, you are neutral. One must also factor in the depth of pigment in the foundation and how deep your skin tone is—very fair, fair, medium, tan, deep, or deepest."

Concerning the kind of formula, you can pick from four different types of foundation: liquid, powder, stick, and cream. "Begin by shortlisting the foundation shades that you believe suit your complexion. Swatch each shade across your jawline and check for the one that blends seamlessly with your face and neck. Bear in mind that a few formulations tend to oxidize and may slightly change in colour on your skin. Thereby, swatch a foundation and wait for 5-10 minutes for it to settle in. You can follow this trial-and-error method until you find the shade you're looking for," explains Naik. 

Amanda Bell adds, "You must also discern the amount of coverage you need, by viewing your skin under direct sunlight. To achieve a skin-like, natural finish, pick a foundation with a light texture and tap on a concealer wherever you feel you require extra coverage. Specific ingredients in foundations can also help your skin achieve the textural finish that you desire. For instance, a light-diffusing pigment will give way to a glowy finish, while a moisturising foundation will lend a dewy finish. On the other hand, mattifying ingredients such as kaolin will offer a velvety-matte finish."

Taking all these points into consideration will help you find a foundation that is a custom fit for your skin!