How To Tackle Getting Your Foundation Tested At A Makeup Counter

Is it just me or is getting your foundation tested a very daunting task? I have yet to find a foundation that looks absolutely perfect on me and it’s getting very frustrating. Since my tan is fading and I’m going back to my paler, winter complexion I decided now was a good time to go. I had watched endless youtube videos on Nars foundations the night before and decided I’d go and visit the counter in Selfridges the next day.

Foundation matching department store

I did a few swatches on my hand and hovered around a bit before plucking up the courage to ask to be matched. I haven’t had my foundation colour tested in years and suddenly I remembered why. To put it simply, it’s a horrible experience. The sales assistant made me feel very uncomfortable.

I had foundation on that day and as I waited to be served, I thought I’d do her a favour and take my foundation off. The only thing that was available was a dry tissue or a wet wipe, so of course I went for a wipe. When I eventually sat down in the chair, she asked if I had any make up on my face and I said “I’ve removed it for you” sheepishly holding up the now orange wet wipe. The sales assistant scoffed and said “don’t you know how bad those are for you? They’re only meant for lipsticks” before proceeding to take out some makeup remover from a drawer. Ok first of all, I was not cleansing my face, I was simply doing you a favour lady by removing it beforehand so you can do your job and secondly could you be any more condescending? Well it turns out she could actually.

She didn’t ask me my skin type or my preference, which is not a huge deal but then she went on to state that since I’m Asian I’m olive skinned my colour would definitely be Barcelona. Stopping right here again, this is a huge problem that fairer skinned South Asian and Middle Eastern girls have. Ladies, we are not all olive skinned. Do not let sales assistants push you into believing you are. Barcelona ended up being very orange and then she went on to try Syracuse which was even darker. I tried to prompt her a little bit and explained that in the Sheer Glow range I really liked Vallauris on me and she looked puzzled and pronounced it “Valarius”. I’m sorry but how do you work for a brand and not know how to pronounce the product names and then look at me like wtf are you saying? I didn’t want to be pedantic so I let it go but then she went on to say “I’ll try it on you but it’s not for your skin tone”. LOL. I don’t know why, but I continued to let her proceed and again I wasn’t entirely happy with the match. I could see her growing frustrated. After a weird awkward stare off, she said “You don’t have to buy from Nars, there’s other brands”. With that, I jumped off the seat and walked straight over to Estee Lauder (who btw were amazing).
I’ve now decided that nobody needs to be put through that, so I’ve put together a quick checklist of things to do before you visit a make-up counter.

1. Bare-faced – I had popped in after a day out so I still had my face on. If you want a really accurate match go to the counter completely bare faced. This can be quite daunting and scary for some people but it does make a difference. It irks me so much when sales assistants remove just a small patch of makeup near your jawline. What am I matching this to? My current foundation? *eye roll*

2. Know your skin type – If they don’t ask, be sure to tell them what your skin type is. Some foundations just don’t sit well with dry/oily skins so it’s best to be clear so that the two of you can discuss those areas.

3. Know your skin tone – This for me is the most important thing. Do not go in assuming the sales assistant will know her stuff because a lot of the time they really don’t. Especially if you’re a WOC then honestly do a little bit of research beforehand to know what tones will suit you. If the sales assistant tries to offer you an unsuitable colour you’ll be able to let them know before hand.

4. Ask ask ask – Ask what shade they’re about to apply, what the next shade up or down for you would be, what brush they’re using to apply. Make sure you come out of the store, fully armed with all the knowledge so that when you come out of the store you can make an informed decision.

5. Natural lighting – Department stores in particularly have horrendous lighting. If you really need to make a purchase that day, ask for a mirror and walk outside the store. If you’re not in a rush to purchase your foundation then go outside in natural daylight and into other stores to see the colour in different lighting. It makes a huge difference.

6. Samples – Always ask for a sample. Some brands don’t offer samples which is very frustrating so it’s always handy (some might say cheeky) to take a small bottle with you. Samples are vital, because again I think it’s important to see the colour in different lighting but also because a good high foundation is not cheap. Nobody wants to be stuck with a big bottle of foundation that doesn’t match and cost them half a days wage!

7. Walk away – Lastly, this is more of a note to self really, but if you’re made to feel uncomfortable then don’t be afraid to say no and walk away. They’re not doing you a favour, nor do they always know what they’re talking about so do not let them make you feel any less of the beauty queen that you are!

What are your tips and tricks when doing the dreaded foundation match?
2 comments so far.

What are your thoughts?

2 responses to “How To Tackle Getting Your Foundation Tested At A Makeup Counter”

  1. Joyce says:

    This is an absolute disaster! I’m always floored when I see how many people that work customer service don’t know how to properly interact with the customers! Great tips!

  2. Romina says:

    This is so true! I had a similar experience with Mac when I was younger and ended up buying NW50…I’m NC43. I’ve learnt my lesson now and ALWAYS aka for sample or keep the tester on my face and look in different mirrors.

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