Decide on the best type of foundation before you set foot in the makeup store. Even the perfect shade won’t look right if you’re using the wrong foundation consistency. Jessica Matlin, writing for "Oprah" magazine, explains that your ideal foundation type is determined by your skin type: powder or mineral foundation works well with combination skin; powder foundation balances out oily skin and dry skin looks great with liquid or cream-to-powder foundation.
Think about your need for coverage. Coverage means how pigmented a foundation is, or how well it will hide blemishes. If you’re young and acne free, use a sheer foundation for low coverage. However, if you have acne scars or active blemishes you’d love to cover up, look for a higher-coverage foundation.
Pick out a shade at the makeup counter and test the color on your cheek or forehead if you're comfortable doing it yourself. The color shouldn’t look orange or ashy on your skin — it should blend. If you’re unsure about the best tone for you, ask a store associate for a second opinion. Some stores offer custom color services where they find your perfect shade and mix it in the store for you.
Don’t stress if you can’t find a tone that completely matches you. Emmy award-winning makeup artist Elena George says, “If you’re technique-conscious, you can go up a shade or two and it will still look even and pretty.” As long as you’re in the same general range of your skin color, use a sponge to blend around your features and keep makeup from looking too obvious. George suggests picking out two shades and using the lighter one to highlight the cheekbones and brow bones.