(Image credit)Foundation is one of those products that I really don't like buying. I often get matched to the wrong colour or wrong product for my skin type and end up with a foundation that I don't like but I don't want to waste so I use it up hating it the whole time. Through the years I've come up with some tips that I thought I'd share to help other people who struggle with buying foundation too.
1. When purchasing a new foundation get a sample pot of the foundation you've purchased. Use the sample first so that if you don't like it you can return the unused foundation.
It is difficult to return used products in Australia, so if you use the sample pot first you won't have any problems returning an unopened product and swapping it for something else. You'll usually get enough foundation in the sample pot for about a weeks use, which is enough time to see if you like the foundation, if it works for your skin type and if the colour is right.
I know they say to check out the foundation in natural light before you buy it, but really, who has the time to do that? Plus, I find that a little bit of foundation applied on my jawline might look fine, but when I do my whole face it looks different. Having a sample pot enables you to check out the foundation in natural light and any other light that you like, at a time that is convenient to you.
2. When you are going to buy a foundation, go without foundation on and your neck bare. You can wear eye make-up, gloss and blush if you don't want to go out bare faced, but try not to wear any foundation.
Foundation needs to blend in with your neck, the colour should be similar or else you will have an obvious foundation line which is never a good look. If your neck is covered you are likely to end up with the wrong colour match, I learned this the hard way.
3. You can return used foundations in Australia. Despite what the cosmetic companies would like you to believe, if you buy a foundation from a department store (Myer or David Jones), they colour match you and it's the wrong colour for you, you can return it.
The sales assistant won't like it and you will have to insist, but they will swap it for you because it's their fault that they colour matched you wrong. I've returned used foundations to Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden and swapped them for the correct shade. Both times they grumbled about it a lot and the Elizabeth Arden sales assistant even rang the lady who'd sold me the foundation at home to check I was telling the truth!
Incidentally, Estee Lauder have a satisfaction guarantee and will exchange products that don't work for you, that's something they don't tell you though!
4. Beware of who you buy from. Don't buy foundation from someone who is wearing foundation that doesn't look right, if they can't match their own foundation correctly it's likely that they won't match yours correctly.
If the sales assistant tells you that the shade they are matching you to 'gives you a bit of colour', don't buy it, it's the wrong colour. Blush and bronzer give you a bit of colour, you don't want a foundation to do that. Foundation should even out your skintone and make you look like you aren't wearing foundation, not 'give you a bit of colour'.
5. Buy from MAC, Kit Cosmetics or Mecca Cosmetica. These brands/companies are great about returns and happy to give you generous samples to try at home before you buy a full sized product.
I don't understand why more companies aren't happy to give out samples. I'm much more likely to buy a product if I've tried a sample of it because I get to test it out and I don't risk wasting my money on a product that doesn't work for me. The way some sales assistants carry on you'd think they personally pay for the samples.
6. Change foundations with the seasons and as you skin changes. No doubt you've heard this before but it is so true. Your skin changes with age and with the seasons, so that foundation you loved last summer probably won't be right for winter or in a few years time. Plus, formulations are always changing so it's good to try something new.
7. Get to know the staff at your shop/brand of choice. If you can get to know the staff at your favourite store they will know what you like and what works for you so will be able to recommend products that are likely to work for you.
Additionally, asking the staff to make a customer record card for you is also helpful. They can record all the products that you buy and this gives them an indication of what you will like/dislike.
8. Visit Findation. If you are buying foundation online or just want to have some idea of what colour will be right for you, check out Findation. All you do is put in some of your colour matches and Findation will show you what colours will work for you in lots of different brands. Genius.
That's all my tips, I hope they are helpful. If you have any more tips, please feel free to post them below.