Home Tips & Trends Guest Editor I’m a Pro Makeup Artist & These Are My Top Tips for Finding Your Perfect Foundation

I’m a Pro Makeup Artist & These Are My Top Tips for Finding Your Perfect Foundation

On a quest for the perfect foundation match? Let pro makeup artist Jackie Alves be your guide.

All products featured on Beautify.tips are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Honestly, I think “quest” is the perfect word to describe the process of trying to find a great foundation. Its definition is literally “a long, tiring search for something.” But ya know what? I remember back in the day when it wasn’t so hard. And just in case you’re wondering which day I’m talking about being back in, it’s the 80s, my friend. When makeup was only half an aisle at the drugstore or a few counters at the mall.

When times were simpler and I didn’t feel the need to bring my Indiana Jones safari gear just to head into my local makeup super emporium and fight off all the spirits, spiders, and snakes while trying to get to the Holy Grail… that one perfect foundation shade, formula, and price. The one bottle of skin-colored goodness that would match my forehead, neck and chest without breaking the bank.

Welcome to the Jungle

These new 10,000 sq. ft. places are seriously designed to keep me inside forever, I know it. I can have an in-depth, carefully drawn out plan, complete with coupons and hundreds of points earned on the designated app and an overuse of my makeup store credit card but in the end it all gets thrown into the gator pit and next thing I know I’m trapped in quicksand searching for the hottest new under eye primer and trying to find a highlighter I don’t need but TikTok says I do because it will makes my face not only look like it was made out of a disco ball, but I’ll have cheekbones for days!

Photo: Jackie Alves

So how do we actually begin to look for and acquire one of these illusive great matching foundations? Let me throw down some easy-to-handle guidance based on my 30 years in the beauty industry.

  1. First consider what you want your foundation to do besides just cover imperfections. Are you loving a “dewy finish” that allows your skin to look luminous? Or are you looking for the blurred and flawless finish offered by a matte foundation?
  2. Next, ask yourself if you want a sheer coverage, lightweight liquid or possibly a full coverage creamy option.
  3. Once you’ve determined which formula of foundation suits your individual needs based on coverage and finish you should next begin to choose a shade. This doesn’t have to be as tricky as you may think, but plan accordingly. Whether going into the big ole makeup barn or multi-choice mall-based beauty counters, HAVE. A. PLAN! Girl, don’t you just go in all crazy like, thinking you’ll find that highly sought-after jewel of a shade by striping them all over your arm! Ask friends, check reviews of women of a similar generation, and give yourself time. Don’t expect to run in and run back out with what you need unless you’re simply replenishing a product you already love.
All About Color Correction

Alright then, we’ve established the plan. We have a map and you’ve packed water and a snack for energy! While on the hunt, keep in mind that unless you want to color correct, you shouldn’t go against your skin’s natural undertones. These will be warm, cool, or neutral and a quick way to determine yours is by taking a look at your veins. If they’re purple or blue, you’ve got cool undertones. If it’s green veins you see, warm undertones it is.

And if you’ve got blue-green veins, your undertones are probably neutral. If you have a warm complexion, go with a foundation shade that has yellow, gold, or peach undertones. And if it’s on the cool side, choosing a foundation with pink undertones is your best bet. If you find yourself on the neutral undertones list, look for a shade with both gold and pink. I’ve found that those of us over the age of 40 typically have a little discoloration in our skin so don’t worry if you can’t find your exact all-over color.

Photo: Jackie Alves
Expert Application

You may need to apply to your face and neck, both or perhaps opt for two foundations that are right next to each other on the color guide but that stay in your skin’s undertone zone. For example, as we age our cheeks can become more pink, forehead more tan, neck becomes pale, and chest very red. So, if you’ve got a variety like me, grab the two foundations closest to your actual skin tone and the bonus is you’ve now got twice as much product so it’ll last twice as long… and you’ll always have a perfect match.

This can be a life saver and take a lot of the pressure off finding the perfect shade. Especially since so many of the beauty advisors or consultants that once used to help us with all the color matching and shade striping has been replaced by the internet makeup guru or downsized and demoted to stocking the shelves at big ole makeup barn. (I seriously miss those peeps!) Hopefully you’ve got a product or two in your hot little hands by now and you can make your way to the register. Just make sure to duck and dodge those fabulously packed extras you didn’t plan on! You can thank me later. However, if you do actually need a powder and concealer to compliment your new foundation choice remember these tips:

Consider a concealer that is either an exact match to your foundation or perhaps just a little bit brighter if you’ll be using it under the eyes. Allow me to explain. If your foundation shade and skin tone are in the medium zone, you can choose a medium concealer if you’d prefer it to blend right in. But if you’re like me, and love to be a little brighter under the eyes, you may want to choose a light concealer to go with that medium foundation, and so on.

The Finishing Touch

In the lineup for a perfect canvas, you’ll want to choose a powder. Choosing a loose powder for a sheer, lightweight finish is simple. Just use the same undertone method we talked about for foundation selection, and you should have a lovely match. For more coverage and a matte finish, I usually suggest a pressed, full coverage powder in a foundation-matching shade that you can apply with a brush in the morning and throw in your purse for touch-ups later.

As always, my friends, I say there’s no right or wrong with makeup, and you should always choose shades and formulas that make you feel comfortable and at ease with your makeup ritual. That’s all for today’s guided tour on your “Quest for a Perfect Foundation Match”. Join us next time when we talk about finding the Fountain of Youth– is it really located in JLo’s backyard?


Jackie Alves helps women rediscover their beauty, gain new confidence, and boldly step into their next season of life. She’s the Co-Founder & Head Makeup Artist of The Beauty Bar Skincare & Makeup Studio, as well as the Head Educator of The Beauty Bar Pro Makeup Academy & Creator of the studio’s line of professional makeup products.

Jackie is the Founder & Beauty Educator of The Real Makeup Artist, a beauty brand featuring on-demand masterclasses and personal, online makeup tutorials focusing on “Real Makeup for Real Women” and how to “Become Your Own Makeup Artist”.

After landing her first makeup gig at the age of 17 in Las Vegas & now having over 30 years of experience in the beauty industry, Jackie uses her experience to help women overcome the challenges of finding practical beauty choices & techniques to fit their individual styles & needs in a world overrun with cosmetic companies, products, and procedures.

Jackie has worked with dozens of A-listers, including iconic fashion designers, Estel Day & Mark Tango of the fashion brand Mark & Estel, Movie Producer & Director, Kate Cohen of Straight Up Films, and several top photo & film studios in Las Vegas, Nevada.