Buying a foundation that works for you can be a stressful experience. There’s the crowds to contend with, for one, and bad store lighting, and having to choose the perfect shade — all in one day?!

The solution to this is a lot simpler than you think: buy your foundations online, of course. If the thought of not being to try out the product for yourself is sending you into a tailspin, don’t panic just yet. It is entirely possible to purchase a foundation of your dreams without having to leave your house.

Curious? Well, Daily Vanity has got the lowdown on pro tips you can employ to shop for foundations online, so, read on!

1. Narrow down the exact finish and coverage you want

Shopping For Foundations Online Brush

Dewy or matte? High coverage or sheer? With the staggering variety of foundations out there these days, narrowing down what you’re looking for in your foundation is key before you start hunting down options. The process of shopping for foundations online is made that much easier if you already know the specifics of what you want.

DV Tip: Opt for a foundation that works for your skin type. Oily skin? It’s probably best to go for one with a long-wearing formula, and a matte finish. Dry? A hydrating formula with a dewy finish will work best for you, then.

2. Figure out your undertones

Shopping For Foundations Online Undertones

You might be wondering: what are undertones, exactly? Well, simply put: it refers to the natural colours underneath your skin. Figuring out your undertone can actually help with picking out the right colour palette that works for you when it comes to your other makeup products as well, like your lipsticks and blushers!

Primarily, there are three types of undertones out there: warm, cool, and neutral. There are several tests that you can do to figure out which one are you, but our favourite (and one of the most foolproof methods!) is the vein test: simply look down at the visible veins of your wrist to make out your undertone.

  • Warm undertone: your skin is more towards a yellow and olive hue, and your veins appear green.
  • Cool undertone: you tend to have a rosy tint to your skin, and your veins are more visible, especially at areas such as the underside of your wrist or neck. They also appear blue or purple.
  • Neutral undertone: you have a mix of both green and blue veins, and or are somewhere in the middle between both undertones.

Shopping for foundations online is pretty much a breeze once you’ve figured out your undertone, really. Most makeup brands tend to label their foundations as ‘warm’, ‘cool’, or ‘neutral’, such as Nars, Dior, and Kat Von D. Just pick the one that corresponds with your undertone, and you’re good to go!

3. Research, research, research

Shopping For Foundations Online Research

Narrowed it down to a few foundations? Well, the next logical step would be to go on to review sites such as MakeupAlley, Influenster, and Amazon to find out more on how other people feel about the effectiveness of the product. Most of the time, there are even video reviews out there on YouTube, which really allows you to see the product in action! Take note of the texture, formula, and how it shows up on someone else to get a better gauge of how the product will work on you.

4. Opt for a foundation matching app

Shopping For Foundations Online Use An App

Already know your shade in a foundation from another brand? Well, you’re in luck, then! There are several apps and sites you can use that can help you figure out your exact shade in other foundations, even if they’re from entirely different brands. Sites like Match My Makeup and Temptalia just speeds up the whole process of shopping for foundations online, really, giving you that extra boost of reassurance especially if you’re still feeling apprehensive about your decision.

Or you can even utilise apps like Veleza, which comes with a foundation finder feature. They also provide honest, unbiased reviews of your foundation of choice so you won’t be left with buyer’s remorse.

5. When in doubt, go for the lighter shade

Shopping For Foundations Lighter Shade

If you stuck between two shades, always pick the lighter of the two. Why? Well, if you think about it logically: it is a lot easier to deepen foundation shades with bronzer and blusher than it is to lighten a darker foundation shade. Try it for yourself! Add a few drops of your favourite liquid bronzer to your too-light foundations and mix it up with a brush to see if you can get to your desired shade. We guarantee you that it’s a lot easier than you think it is.

6. … Or, failing that, mix your foundation shades

Shopping For Foundations Mixing

Now, this may require a little experimentation, but the professionals swear by it. Combine two (or more!) of your favourite foundations and mix them up to get the ideal shade, texture, and finish you’re looking for. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this, though it is recommended that you should always mix products of the same consistency. Yup, so mix your liquid foundations with your liquid foundations, and cream types with other cream tips.

So if you’re looking to darken your foundation, mix it with a existing darker foundation shade you have, and vice versa!

DV Tip: If you can, note down the ingredients in the respective foundations that you’re hoping to mix and see if they have any similar ingredients. The more similar they are, the more they should be able to complement each other in the mixing process.

7. Buy from sites with a good return policy

Shopping For Foundations Good Return Policy

Always have an insurance policy if anything, right? Sites like Sephora, Beautylish, and Althea offer great return and exchange policies within a certain number of days, and also have a diverse range of foundations (and brands!) to pick from. Just make sure to keep the original packaging and receipt with you, and to return it by the stated date. Take note also that the retailers may have specific policies on what you can return – make sure you’ve read them before returning the products.

Alternatively, you can always try emailing said brands to see if they happen to have foundation samples. There’s no harm in trying, and it’s better than wasting your hard earned cash!