Ladies. And some Gents. We’ve all been there. Excited to buy a new foundation. Approaching the counter (or the aisle in Walmart, let’s be real) with unashamed hopes, trusting the Sephora/Ulta/Clinique counter employee with all our expectations of achieving flawless skin.

You try on their recommendation. And it looks lovely. So you buy it. And then the real world comes crashing down and you look sallow and possibly jaundiced in natural sunlight. Which really isn’t helping the fact that you’re now well into your twenties and perma-single. Or maybe that’s just me.

Point is, skin is difficult to match. Rather, foundation is near impossible to match to skin. Furthermore, an important step I think that’s often left out of foundation searching: What do you want your skin to look like? Because within a range, you can blend any close color in until it looks how you want it to.

No matter how many times I warn cosmetic counter employees that I have deceptive skin, they always reach for the lightest gold in the range. Because I do have olive skin. But it is literally the palest olive skin EVER. So I end up painting myself darker and yellowy-er until I look like the squash version of Snooki when I wanted to look like a Kardashian. Except I don’t. I enjoy my freakish, pale olive skin. So I usually just go with a pale foundation that works for me, even though it’s more made for a “pink” undertone. At least it’s CLOSE to my skin shade.

Let’s do a comparison. My favorite foundation I think I’ve ever found:

Clinique Even Better Foundation in 02 Fair. (Pardon the sunglasses line around my eyes.)

Annnnnnd a typical example of what I ALWAYS GET SUCKED INTO BUYING:

Tarte foundation something or other in 16 golden something. Harrumph.

Big difference, no? And I honestly prefer the first. So how the heck are we supposed to find the perfect shade when the lighting at the counters is so flattering and the salespeople are so persuasive?

My friends, I give you: Temptalia’s Foundation Matrix. One of my favorite makeup blogs ever, THIS. THING. ROCKS. You plug in a bit of info, find the one foundation you’ve always loved, then look and see what there is out there that should match you. In hundreds of brands and shades. I still suggest you go try the foundations, but at least you know where to start.

My favorite Clinique Even Better? I was initially sold into 16 Golden Neutral. Which is what I recently used to paint myself into a gypsy for the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Remember, I wear and love 02 Fair. There are about 6 shades in between the two. Which I now see includes a shade for “very pale skin tones with warm undertones.” Which is only what I’ve been searching for my entire life. Le dramatic sigh. Anyway, I’m tired of obsessing over money lost and tans faked.

Go forward, children, and match thy foundation!

Yours,
Kaitlin

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