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Foundation: the basics

It's essential to choose the right shade and apply it well

21 OCTOBER 2011

When it comes to foundation, the two keys to success are to choose the right shade and to apply it correctly. Both these fundamentals hide a number of other factors, though, so take a look at these simple tips.


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In the right light
When buying foundation, it's not enough to test the product inside the shop under artificial lights: you also need to see the effect in daylight. If you can't step outside, try and get close to a window or doorway where there's more natural light. It's a good idea to have a mirror with you in your handbag so you can check the effect away from the glare of the lights around the makeup counter.

Finding the shade
Foundation isn't intended to change the colour of your skin, so the best shade is one that is virtually invisible when applied between the cheeks and edge of the face. If you select the wrong shade and it goes patchy as the day goes on, it's going to be far more noticeable than if you've chosen a product that matches your own skin tone.

When you're tanned
Bear in mind that your skin changes colour through the year, so you'll need to change your foundation, too. In summer you may find it enough to use a moisturiser with a hint of colour, whereas in winter you may want more complete coverage.

Skin preparation
It may be called 'foundation', but you still need to prepare your skin to make a good base to apply the product. For best results it's important to start with clean, toned and moisturised skin. You'll need to wait a minute or so for the moisturiser to be absorbed, but you'll have a better 'canvas' to work on.

Shake before using
If you're using a liquid foundation, don't forget to shake well before applying, as the pigments can settle to the bottom of the bottle, which will result in an uneven finish.

All-over application
Apply foundation to cheekbones, forehead, nose, chin, even on the eyelids, starting from the nose and working outwards.

Hands-on
Whatever format the foundation is, using your fingers will give a better effect than using a sponge applicator. The natural warmth of your hands will help the foundation blend better with your skin.

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