#1 If you don’t know what shade to choose
Shade shopping is a chore, and especially difficult when you’re in a crowded store. It’s important to eyeball three shades you think are closest to your skintone, and swatch all three in a row along the lower half of your face from below your cheek to your jaw. The shade that blends into your skin the best should be the best fit.
However, if your face is a much lighter shade than your neck (due to fake tanning your body or regular exfoliation), use your chest to swatch the foundation as that should be a closer approximation to your face shade.
#2 If you don’t know what type of foundation suits your skin
There are various types of foundation (liquid, cream, powder) out there made with different types of ingredients (mineral, oil-free) to best suit differing skin types, so it can be tricky figuring it out.
If you’ve got oily skin, powders will work well. Liquids and creams can work if they’re mattifying and oil-free. Be sure to opt for non-comedogenic formulas so it won’t clog your pores.
Avoid powders if you have dry skin, and go with a hydrating cream foundation instead. If you’ve got sensitive skin that doesn’t react well to certain chemicals, try a mineral-based foundation that’s preservative-, dye- and fragrance-free.
#3 If your foundation is too dark
If you’ve gotten fairer or bought a foundation you love that’s too dark for you, an easy option is to mix in a lighter foundation (you might have one lying around that you’ve refused to throw away). If you don’t have one, you need to decide if the foundation is worth keeping.
If it’s expensive, you might be able to sell it for a fair amount on an app like Carousell and use the money to offset your purchase of a more suitable shade. If not, you can try a foundation lightener like The Body Shop’s Shade Adjusting Drops, but keep in mind that the drops may slightly alter the consistency of your foundation if you use too much.
With an affordable foundation, it’s worth just going out and getting the right shade. On the other hand, if the foundation doesn’t suit your skin type or wears terribly on your skin, just get rid of it.
#4 If your foundation is too thick
A great way to thin your foundation is simply by adding some of your favourite moisturiser to it. It gives you a more natural coverage while hydrating your face. Alternatively, you can try adding a drop of face oil to your foundation (not recommended if you have oily skin).
#5 If your foundation is too pink or too yellow
Using a foundation with the wrong undertone will never look good on your skin and a cool-toned foundation can make you look ashy if you have warm undertones. Give it away to someone else who suits the shade or use it as a colour corrector (pink tones work for dark circles and yellow tones for redness. There’s no saving foundation that doesn’t suit your skin tone.
#6 If your foundation is clinging to patches or blemishes on your skin
Exfoliating and moisturising are incredibly important, especially if you have dry flaky skin. It could be that your foundation is too drying for your skin type. Alternatively, it may be that your dry skin needs a little more care or a more hydrating moisturiser before you apply foundation. The solution? A primer that hydrates your skin will also be good under a more drying foundation.
If you have combination skin, just use mattifying primers on key oily zones and avoid the dry areas.
#7 If your liquid foundation is fading too quickly
The fundamental makeup rule for getting something to last is to prime and set. Find a lasting primer like Make Up For Ever’s Step 1 primer (I like the smoothing one), and set your foundation with a light dusting of powder.
#8 If you aren’t getting the coverage your foundation claims to have
You might be applying it with the wrong tool. A damp sponge, stippling brush and a soft sparse kabuki brush will give you lighter coverage, while a denser kabuki brush will give you fuller coverage. Don’t forget that it’s better to build coverage gradually with thin layers rather than to cake it all on.