Perfect Foundation Application
First and foremost, you should perform a stripe test on your face before purchasing any full-size foundation. What's a stripe test? It's simply applying a small swatch of foundation in a vertical manner on a specific area of your face to test for a color match.
Do It Right.
The correct way to perform a stripe test is as follows:
Caucasian to Medium Skin Tones: apply a small amount of foundation from the bottom of your jawline down onto the neck.
Women of Color: apply the foundation from the side of your cheek to just at the jawline.
*Conduct a new stripe test every six months because your skin tone can change that often from season to season.
Why do different skin tones stripe test differently? Mainly because women of color can have a condition called 'facial masking', which is when portions of the face are either lighter or darker than others. Sometimes more than one foundation color is needed to correct this problem; one to deepen and one to brighten (not lighten).
Contrary to what you may have heard from well-meaning friends, makeup gurus, etc., testing makeup colors on the underside of your forearm or back of your hand is NOT the correct area for color analysis. Think about it. Look at the underside of your forearm. Now look at the back of your hand. Put them next to your face. We can bet you they are different shades AND they don't match your face or your neck. The goal here is to create U-N-I-F-O-R-M-I-T-Y between the face and neck.
Perform the stripe test with 3 different shades of foundation at the same time next to each other and use shades that match your natural undertones.
Now here's the key...WAIT!
You must wait at least 3 to 5 minutes for the product to begin reacting with your skin's own natural oils and chemistry. Deciding if a color is right or wrong for you before the allotted time is up will not give you an accurate color reading.
If you are performing a stripe test with loose mineral foundation, you'll need to make a few minor adjustments as opposed to testing with a liquid or cream product. You can't just slap on a 'stripe' of mineral powder and expect to see accurate results. Apply the mineral foundation in a vertical manner with a small brush and gently work the product onto the skin. No heavy buffing or blending is needed. Now, wait those agonizing 3 to 5 minutes.
After 3 to 5 minutes check your stripes. The color that has blended in seamlessly is your match! If the first 3 colors weren't the ticket, then simply remove and perform a new stripe test with 3 new shades until you find your match. Just be careful & gentle when removing product. No harsh rubbing! You're stimulating your skin and it may flush slightly. If this happens, wait until your skin calms down and then proceed with the stripe test.
Let There Be Light!
Conduct your stripe tests in natural daylight- either outside or by a window. Indoor lighting, whether it's incandescent or fluorescent, does NOT give you a true, full-spectrum light source. Who cares if the lady behind the makeup counter thinks you're a nutball for running outside with a mirror?! You're on a mission to find your match (foundation match that is) and you're not going to waste another dollar on a makeup mistake! If ordering your foundation online, look for companies that offer small, inexpensive samples to try before you commit to buying the full-size version. Make sure to order a good selection (at least 4 shades) because what the colors look like on your computer monitor may not be what they really are. It's better to spend $10 on samples as opposed to wasting $30 or more on another makeup mistake.