I’m the first person to admit, my foundation is always wrong. Whether it’s the wrong shade, brand or coverage for my skin, it’s consistently slightly off in some way (even though everyone’s too polite to tell me, it’s kewl guys, I know). But as I’ve been talking to more people, I realise, we’re all kind of in the same boat- it seems no one really knows what colour sludge to rub across their face- and so I thought I’d compile a list of all the relatable struggles in the search for the perfect foundation.
The Impossible Shade Finding Experience: I go into Boots looking like your average Urban Outfitters It Girl yet I come out as a Dulux Colour Chart with every shade from porcelain to espresso swatched on my arm- even though 90% of the colours don’t even come close to my skin tone, once I’m 5 samples in I usually just think fuck it and collage my elbows with Chris Ofili-esque dotting and pretend I belong in the Tate Modern too. Until Boots run out of tissues. And so I have to walk my exhibit around with me for the rest of the day and risk being chased out of Topshop by the security guard for contaminating the fishnet tights with Rimmel.
But the problem is if you’re one of life’s risk-takers who doesn’t swatch, favouring a ‘grab the bottle which looks right’ approach, then you can face some dire consequences…
Foundation too light: You look slightly ill. All the time.
Too dark: You look like the pool scene in Angus thongs and perfect snogging except instead of having wotsit legs you’ve got a sweet potato face attached to Snow White’s neck. This could also lead to your Grandma licking a tissue and dabbing at the ‘dirt’ on your face, but maybe that’s just me.
Just right: hahahahaha please.
Or if you take the Findation.com route (which I’ll have you know, I was using before Cosmo made that bitch famous) then you put your destiny into the web’s hands. Websites like these are great in theory but problematic in practice because if your foundation is the wrong shade in the first place, you’ll end up colour matching to the wrong shade. So when I matched my too dark shade in Urban Decay, I ended up (surprise surprise) too dark in my Mac shade as well. And then I had to deal with dabby-Grandma all over again.
Alternatively, you could go into the shop to get tested but if that’s your route of choice then, well, you’re blady brave. I always see the No.7 counter with its colour measurement device that tells you your shade but I’m just too scared to go over to the beautiful MUAs and talk to them, let alone let them get close enough to judge my awful foundation. Even if I did talk to them, what do I say? ‘Hi can you zap me with your snazz machine?‘ might lead to security forcefully removing me from yet another shop. Or worse, my friend got tested in Mac once but because the lighting in the store was so bright it turned out to be completely the wrong shade when she walked outside. Nope.
If, after all that hassle, you do somehow manage to find a shade that at least slightly resembles your skin tone, then sadly the struggle isn’t even over (cheeky alliteration from your English Lit sholar over here). For example, why are all the decent ones so expensive? And why are they always tested on animals? I’m trying to save both my money and the environment but the companies selling in China keep ruining this for me. How can I justify not eating meat but then buying a product which has been injected into a rabbit’s eye in order to determine its safety? I can’t. So all go cruelty-free pls.
And you have to get the type right. I DON’T WANT MATTE: Matte sticks to dry skin! Matte becomes patchy throughout the day! Matte melts off my face as soon as the temperature gets above 6 degrees! I. Do. Not. Want. Matte. Foundation. I do, however, want a normal foundation which I then apply three tonnes of matte powder to. So yeah, also stop making everything matte pls.
And even once you’ve found the best, cruelty free foundation in the right colour and not matte, you’ll realise: there’s not a BLADY pump on the bottle. Why!? It’s like buying one of those ‘ready to eat’ fruit boxes and then finding out it doesn’t come with a fork so you have to eat the melon with your hands which leaves you with sticky fingers for the rest of the day- except instead of sticky fingers it’s massive orange smears across your palms which look like you’ve murdered a wotsit and escaped from the crime scene without removing the evidence. I really don’t mind paying £3 more for a pump if it can save me wotsit hands covered in bruises from banging the bottle.
I hope your foundation journey isn’t as traumatic as mine’s been.