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How to Pick the Perfect Foundation for You

Color Clues

At the store, grab three samples: one that seems to match your skin, one a shade lighter and one a shade darker. Apply each, let dry, then choose the one that disappears. No testers? Hold bottles under your jaw.


The benefits: Whipped versions—a mix of powder and emollients—deliver the best results for combination to oily skin, as most have a matte to semi-matte effect. “They feel weightless, thanks to the air-light texture,” says celeb makeup artist Melanie Mills. First rub a bit between your fingertips; it’ll warm up, spread more evenly and melt into skin for a seamless finish.


The benefits: Fabulous for mature skin, serum foundations soften discoloration and help makewrinkles less obvious, since the barely-there texture won’t settle into fine lines and emphasize them. Also lovable: Many contain anti-aging and brightening ingredients. Just note that they’re too sheer to camouflage blemishes or scars.


The benefits: Portable, easy to apply, foolproof: check, check, check! “The creamy texture glides on, and the high concentration of pigment offers heavy-duty coverageand staying power,” explains celebrity makeup artist Julianne Kaye. Swipe across your forehead, over each cheek, down your nose and on your chin, then blend. Or simply cover flaws.


The benefits: Rich and pudding-like, it hides everything from blemishes to dark circles. Because it’s oil-based and thickish, Mills notes, pigment stays truer longer (no risk of looking blotchy at the 3 p.m. office meeting). Plus, it leaves a dewy finish, especially flattering on women with drier skin. Use a pea-size amount; a little goes a long way.