Dear Carissa- Finding a Foundation

Assorted foundations etc taken from my personal kit.

Hi Carissa,

Love your blog. It’s simple and very informed. I wanted to ask you a question about choosing a shade for foundation. I’ve heard friends who say that when they buy foundation they would choose a color that is a tiny bit darker than their skin tone. They choose the darker foundation because it would not “wash them out” when they are taking pictures. Is it better to choose darker foundation as an “insurance” against looking too pale in photos?

Thanks and keep up the good work on you blog,


Hi Phoebe,

Some women prefer their foundation a little darker, or a little lighter. I was helping my mother-in-law find something last week that would add a pinky tone to her ‘too yellow’ foundation.

Aside from preference, your foundation will look the most natural if it matches your skin tone as closely as possible, which is easy now thanks to ‘skin tone correct’ foundation shades, which are yellow based and tend to flatter most skin tones. Lines like Bobbi Brown, Stila , Smashbox, and Laura Mericer are just a few that subscribe to this theory, so finding a foundation from those lines is usually pretty easy.

As far as the ‘washing out’ that you see in photos, that’s the result of talc in the foundation that flashes back at the camera. Mineral makeup is talc free, but watch out for it in other powder foundations as well as some liquids.

My best advice would be to find a foundation that matches, then add bronzer if you’d like more color. If your skin is oily, foundations probably turn darker on you, so keep that in mind.

Thanks for reading and sending in your questions.


Carissa [at] CarissaBeauty [dot] com

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  1. Hooked On Beauty says:

    I really like Laura Mercier for everyday makeup. They have a great shade selection and their staff is really helpful- they also have great coverage for your discolorations too!

  2. Nevada County Virtual Tours says:

    I just found your blog and am thrilled! My question is which foundation do you suggest for pale skin that has red and brown tones? I had some facial burns a couple of years ago and though I don't have scars (thank God!), my skin is discolored- It's not unusual for people to tell me I have dirt on my face which is not a great feeling. I've tried a lot of drugstore remedies which haven't worked. I know nothing of primers and powders, so please advise! Thank you so much!!

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