Finding Foundation Part 1: Insights from a professional!

Hi everyone! How to find your perfect foundation has been one of my constant quests. Especially as products change on a daily basis. So to provide you with a guide I have interviewed our expert and thrown in some tidbits myself! Here goes!

I interviewed Tara Carrano McVety, owner of Shear Envy LLC, a place of all things beauty and hair! Tara is an amazing hairstylist and makeup artist who has spent over 20 years in the hair and beauty industry. Not only is she my bestie, she is the main blogger as well! How lucky are we to benefit from her years of experience? Here is our interview below:

Melani: How do you start to find the correct color and type of foundation?

Tara: Color matching depends on multiple factors. In the winter I tend to be less tan so I have a different foundation for winter than for summer.  Also some foundations are heavier than others. When I’m going through a breakout I tend to use something that will stay all day such as Kat Von D’s Lock-It Foundation. In the summertime my skin tends to be less prone to breaking out and I use a lighter formula such as Sephora Brand Perfection Airbrush Mist Foundation. grid:p381155

                     KVD Lock-It Foundation


          Sephora Mist Foundation


Melani: Where on the body do you like to color match?

Tara: I find that the best place to color match foundation is the back of your hand. As far as how to tell if you should use cool, warm, or neutral, I always go by the vein test. Roll up your sleeve and look at your veins. If they appear green, you are viewing them through yellow toned or warm skin. If they appear blue, you are cool toned. If you cannot tell and they appear dark then you are neutral toned.

Most foundations will have a description as to if they are cool, warm, or neutral by the color system N for neutral, etc.

Melani: Do you trust the cosmetics counter employees to assist with foundation or for advice at all?

Tara: I often do not trust the cosmetics counter employees. In my dealings with them, I have found that they do not have the know-how to apply cosmetics as a job. Makeup artist have specific training that they continually keep up with. The cosmetics counter employees are doing this as a job not a career.

Melani: Do you trust drugstore brand foundation?

Tara: I am not going to say not to trust the drugstore foundation but if you were going to use it professionally, for a bridal event, or even for a special event then I would not trust it. The drugstore foundation does not have the staying power as its more expensive counterparts, especially when you need it to last all day.

Melani: Thank you Tara for your insights!

It has been my experience that I also am a different shade in the winter and summer. I tend to use mineral powder foundation for work because it is quick and liquid or spray when I have more time. Depending on your skin type, you will also use a different formula. I am oily/combination and powder does not last but liquid does. Also I like to be matte not shiny so that also affects which foundation to go with.

From L > R Clinique Superbalanced in Light (N), Urban Decay All Nighter 4.5 (W), Kat Von D 54N, Nars Valauris (N). I am currently using the KVD and using a few things to lighten it up!

I have not had good luck with any drugstore foundation. I find that they oxidize (meaning turn orange) and change color, even if I buy the neutral color for my skin tone. For reference, pics are down below.

My vein color can go either way but I do have a slight yellow undertone. I use Neutral foundations.


The best advice is to head to the cosmetics store/counter with this info:

  1. Your skin tone: warm, cool, or neutral
  2. Stay away from the drugstore even if you are tempted, go to Sephora or Ulta, the quality is so much better!
  3. Have 2 go to foundations, one for winter, one for summer
  4. Do your research! Look at the Sephora website/ Ulta website for pricing, potential colors and formulas you are interested in. There are some very affordable foundations there.
  5. Remember to swatch the foundation on the back of your hand. Walk away and go see it in natural light. Wear it for 10 minutes. Air and sunlight make a difference. If it matches then buy it!
  6. Always know that if you buy from the cosmetics counter, Sephora, or Ulta and you are not happy then you can return it! Just keep your receipt

Let us know what foundation you use in the comments below.  Next up foundation types and reviews in Part 2 of Finding Foundation!

Bye for now, XOXO, Melani