Once you've determined the type of formula that would best suit your skin's condition, it's time to color-match. To land the perfect shade, it's important to test the foundation against the right area of your body. Our hands and arms can be different colors than our faces, since they usually receive less daily SPF protection. Avoid holding the bottle up to your arm or hands, and instead, aim for the jawline. The jawline is actually a great middle ground for a color-match, since foundation should transition seamlessly into your neck.
Foundations also have various undertones. You'll notice the yellows, the pinks, the neutrals, and so on. So what category of undertone do you fall into? Generally, we fall into the categories of cool, warm, or neutral. You'll notice that most pharmacy brands like CoverGirl, Maybelline, Neutrogena, and Almay (to name a few) offer foundations in those ranges of tones.
A quick and easy way to begin determining your undertone is by checking out your body's vein color. An accurate place to examine is the inner arm. The vein color that peeks through your skin can range in color, depending on your undertone, from blue to green.
Cooler skin tones tend to have more blue peeking through their skin, due to their more apparent blue-toned veins. Candidates with cool skin tones should steer away from foundations that are too yellow or orange. Instead, try looking for a foundation that appears to have slight pink undertones. The pink undertone will complement a cool undertone by neutralizing any blues that peek through the skin.
Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Foundation's Natural Ivory is one example of a hydrating, cool-tone color. For a matte finish, Maybelline's Fit Me Matte & Poreless line has a great range of cool tones like Ivory, Buff Beige, and Spicy Brown. CoverGirl's Outlast Stay Luminous Oil Free Foundation also includes similar cool tones, such as Creamy Natural.
Warmer skin tones tend to have hues of yellow or orange peeking through their complexion, with more of a green tone to their veins. If you find yourself in this category, you'll want to avoid any pink formulas, which can end up looking sallow, gray, and obvious on your skin. Instead, stick with a golden base to complement the already-existing olive tones in your complexion. Try CoverGirl's Outlast All-Day 3-in-1 Foundation in Warm Beige.
If your skin tone doesn't seem totally cool or warm, then you may fall in the neutral category. Neutral skin tones are made up of a combination of both, with less obvious blue or yellow undertones. In this case, shop for formulas that have a balance of both cool and warm tones or simply ones that actually say "neutral." If you find yourself mixing two colors together because you're neither too warm nor too cool, you may want to check out brands that are making "neutral" foundations like Almay, Neutrogena, and L'Oréal's entire neutral category of True Match foundations.