How to buy foundation online and get it right.

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Like so many women, I thought the only way to get the right shade of foundation was to go in store and spend a great deal of time drawing swatches down your cheek. Sometimes though, that’s just not possible. (Especially if you have two children under the age of five).

Here’s a handy guide on how to buy the right foundation online, which almost guarantees happy squeals when the postman arrives.

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Whether you’re buying foundation from an Aussie store online, or whether you’re looking overseas for some exclusive brands, rest assure that it is possible to have the right shade arrive on your doorstep. You just need to know what to look for.

1. Know what you want

Narrowing down what you want from your foundation will make the whole process a lot easier. Decide whether you want something lightweight, medium or full coverage. Then, focus on what else is important to you in a foundation. If necessary, write a list of what you want from a foundation such as long lasting finish, hydrating, dewy or matte.

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Think about the foundations you already own (or have tried) and consider which ones you liked best. What was it about them that you liked, and what would you change? Use the resource that you have in front of you and Google the answers. Likely, someone has had the same questions as you do, and the answer is already there. Like the finish of that foundation, but would prefer something a little longer lasting? Type away and see if anyone's already done your research for you.

2. Know your tone

I often find that the most important aspect to finding the right foundation is knowing your undertones. Generally it goes like this: Cool toned girls have pink, red or bluish undertones to their skin. Warm toned women will see yellow, peach or golden tones, and neutral girls have a mix between warm and cool.

Keep in mind your undertones have nothing to do with the colour of your skin. Dark skinned women can still be cool toned and likewise with warm-toned pale chicks.

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A quick way to work out which undertones you have is to hold a piece of blue material up to your face. Then do the same with something red. If the blue looks better, you're cool toned and if the red suits you more, warm toned it is.

Another cheeky tip is to look at the inside of your wrist. If your veins look more bluish in colour, you're cool. Green looking veins usually belong to warm toned people.


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3. Make use of reviews

Looking at online reviews can really help you make the right decision on colour and formulation.

People will often reference themselves against other brands (some of which you may have tried yourself) when talking about a new foundation. For example, MAC's system of classifying skin tones is widely used as a reference point for people to compare themselves too. So if you're familiar with that, half the battle is won.

The 10-second beauty trick to make your foundation match your neck. is a fantastic resource for online reviews. The reviews are written by real people so it's trustworthy and at the top of the page you'll see a handy rating system which indicates how likely people would be to purchase the product again, and the overall score out of 5.

4. Use an online tool

I recently discovered the coolest online tool for finding the right foundation. If you head over to Temptalia you will be greeted by a very cool 'Foundation Matrix'.  There, you have the option to either start fresh, or reference a foundation that you already use as a starting point. You'll them answer a series of questions about your skin and out pops some awesome recommendations for you to try.

5. Search photos

Once you think you may have found a foundation shade that suits, do a quick Google image search. You'll be able to see other people who have used the product and compare your skin against theirs.

6. Ask about samples

If you're still having trouble working out which foundation is best for you, send a quick email and ask the company whether they are able to send you a few sample colours. This will allow you to try them at home and be confident that you're getting the right shade.

7. Check the returns policy

Like anything, buying foundation online can still go wrong. Colour guides on websites may be wrong, your computer screen may display swatches differently to real life.

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It's always worth checking the returns policy of the store your buying for. A lot of them offer free returns and exchanges which means it's a risk-free purchase. If it doesn't suit you, send it back or exchange for something else.

Do you buy your foundation online? Do you have any tips for getting it right?