We’ve gone through all kinds of changes to our lifestyle habits in 2020 so most of us are already rather familiar with the “new normal” in 2021. But does this include buying makeup without using a tester?

We know that shade matching for a foundation is one of the trickiest things to do although swatching using a tester in the store makes it a lot easier. Besides the fact that testers are taken off the shelves, as MCO 3.0 hits us, it means we can only replenish our foundations through online shopping only. How are we going to get our shade right, especially if you’re a makeup beginner?

We’ve compiled five tips the Daily Vanity team has tried to get our foundation shade matched without a tester!

Take reference from your old foundation


Does your previous foundation shade still work for you? If so, use it’ll make a great reference.

The next step is to look for bloggers or reviewers who use the same shade as you and find out about the other foundation shades they wear from other brands. You should be able to get a good reference on the suitable foundation shade, especially if you’re intending to try a new formula.

Understand what undertones mean


Skintones can be broadly categorised into three groups: warm, neutral, and cool. Your skin’s undertone affects the kind of makeup products that would look the best on you, and impacts especially the shade of your foundation.

Since we no longer can use foundation testers, understanding your own undertone will help you to shortlist the shades to consider.

Here are a few tried-and-true methods to decide what undertone you are:

  • Check your inner wrist and observe your veins. Do they look green? You are likely to have a warm undertone. Do they look blue or purple? You probably have a cool undertone.
  • What type of jewellery do you look better in? Gold jewellery? You’re likely to have a warm undertone. Silver jewellery? Then you probably have a cool undertone. F

If you’re still unsure, consult a beauty advisor or makeup artist at beauty stores. They are professionals who have been trained and most of them should be able to tell you whether you’re warm, neutral, or cool-toned.

Ask for samples


This tip is more relevant after MCO ends.

While testers are unavailable, there are beauty stores and boutiques that may be able to let you bring home samples so you can try out a few colours safely. They maycome in prepackaged sample kits or bottles and in some cases, the beauty advisor may be able to dispense foundations into clean containers for you to take home.

While most beauty stores and counters may not promote this service actively, it doesn’t hurt to ask – you may just be able to do so!

DV Tip: If you manage to get your hands on a sample to try at home, here are some tips to test it:

Always swatch it on bare face

While you may not have that option in the past in retail stores, now you can definitely do so at home! The best thing about bringing a sample home is that you can easily try it on bare face.

Trying it on your bare face gives you a more accurate idea as to how the foundation look and feel on your skin, as well as how it will look as it transits from your face to neck. Compared to applying it on top of the foundation you’re already wearing, which may give you an inaccurate foundation match since you’re actually matching it to your foundation instead.

Apply it along your jawline

Assuming there isn’t enough to go around your entire face, you should apply whatever amount of foundation you have on your jawline. This will give you a more accurate match than on, say, the back of your hand.

It also helps you decide if you are able to get a natural transition from your face to your neck when you swatch the foundation along your jawline.

Application of a little of the product along your jawline also serves as a sort of patch test so you can check for any adverse reaction you may have to the product.

Allow the foundation to sit on your skin for a few hours

The reason is because some foundations may oxidise overtime, giving you a different tone after a while.

It also gives you a good idea on whether you enjoy the texture of the foundation, its finish after a while, its longevity; in other words, whether you enjoy the foundation if you were to wear it on a regular day.

Try it under different lighting

Beauty professionals agree that lighting is key to shopping for the right foundation. To get the best foundation shade match, be sure to check out your foundation swatch in different common lightings that you’ll be exposed to, such as fluorescent lights, warm lights, and importantly, under natural sunlight.

Use a foundation finder


Many foundation finder websites and apps can help you do a good guess of your skin tone and match you to the closest foundation shade.

To find your foundation match for a particular product, most of these websites and apps will need you to enter in your best shade matches for at least one other foundation from another brand.

The more shade matches you enter, the better the website will be able to match you to your perfect shade in the foundation range you want to purchase.

A few of these websites include: