Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Common Makeup Mishaps


9
Atonality
Test your foundation on your face, not your hand, to make sure it matches your skin tone.
Test your foundation on your face, not your hand, to make sure it matches your skin tone.
© iStockphoto.com/ wakila

You can't quite put your finger on it, but there's something not right about your look. There are no smudges or smears, and there's no lipstick on your teeth, yet you look "off." If you have this feeling, it could be that your skin tone looks too pale or too tan because of a foundation mismatch.

There are a number of possible reasons that your foundation doesn't match your skin tone. One big one is that the artificial lighting in the store where you purchased it made it difficult to judge the actual color of the product. Another problem is that you typically test foundation by applying it to the back of your hand. While this makes sense for safety and hygienic reasons, it usually won't produce a good match for your face. Your hands get rougher treatment than your face does. They're exposed to more ultraviolet (UV) light than your face is, and they get washed more often. As a result, the skin on your hands may be darker or redder than the skin on your face. Finally, everyone has a unique skin tone that changes now and again for reasons including sun exposure and health. Cosmetics companies manufacture a limited number of shades of foundation, and it's unlikely that any of them will exactly match your skin.

But you can take steps to mitigate foundation mismatches:

  • In the store, take the foundation as close to a window or door as possible so that you can see it in natural light.
  • Clean your face of all makeup and test the foundation on your jaw line rather than your hand.
  • Experiment with different brands to find a shade that suits you well.
  • Try a product that lets you blend your own custom shade.

Once your foundation is set, it's time to add color. Keep reading for more makeup mishaps.


More to Explore