How to choose the right shade of foundation

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I have a lot of love for Emily Blunt. It seems like she’d be pretty down-to-earth and would be happy to slap on a pair of jeans and a hoodie and knock back a few beers. Plus, her husband is adorable, so she’s got that going for her too.

And just like the rest of us, she’s human and stuffs up sometimes. Case in point, making this incredibly common foundation mistake. It looks like the fair-skinned beauty went and got herself a spray tan and forgot that her usual foundation was just a few shades too light.

I bet there isn’t a woman out there who hasn’t had this happen to her. Or worse still, a woman who hasn’t ended up buying the complete wrong shade of foundation and hasn’t realised it until it’s too late.

So here are some handy tips that can help you avoid the same disastrous situation:

• When shopping in a department store, it’s always a good idea to sit down and have the assistant colour-match the foundation to your skin. Go with a bare face and have her apply the foundation to your entire face – not just do a patch test. This way you can see how the foundation settles into your skin and how it wears through the day.

• Look for foundations that have a wider range of shades, like L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation or MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15. This way, you’re more likely to find a shade that suits your skin tone and isn’t just the closest you can get to it.

• Never test the shade on the back of your hand – the skin tone there isn’t the same as your face. Instead follow International Make-up Artist Rae Morris’s advice: “Match your foundation to the colour of your collarbone/décolletage.” Your face and body should be the same shade, which is why it’s so important to change your foundation shade with the change of season or if you’re getting a spray tan. If you take a look at the image at the top, on the right you’ll notice that Emily’s face, neck and chest are the same shade. Looks better, right?

Rae even has a handy tip of how to test this – “Put on a singlet top and apply your foundation. Turn side on to your mirror and put your chin onto your shoulder. Your forehead should be the same colour as your chin, shoulder, arm, knee, even right down to your ankle.”

• Do your best to test your foundation in natural light. This way, you’ll be able to see how right the colour is for you – fluorescent or dim lighting can mean you’ll end up picking the wrong shade.

• If applying fake tan, make sure to use a foundation that blends in with your tanned skin. Learn from Emily Blunt’s mistakes…

Have you ever picked the wrong shade of foundation? How do you make sure you pick the right shade?

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