by Katherine

Until recently, I was a slave to self tanner. My girlfriends joked that Jergens Natural Glow lotion was my signature scent, and my white comforter didn’t stand a chance against the orange aftermath of over-application. It got to the point where I’d had enough of the maintenance and was ready to embrace my natural, albeit paler, skin.

One of the toughest parts of my cosmetic bag makeover was finding a foundation that matched my skin tone. Through some trial and error and a good amount of research, I realized that I had been mistakenly buying products that were much too warm for me. (If you haven’t already figured out what kind of undertones you have, try the vein test. If the veins on your wrist are blue/purple, you have cool undertones. If they’re green, you’re warm-toned. And if they’re both, you’re neutral.) 

Fast forward to today, where I’m sporting a lighter set of makeup essentials that match the real me. Here are a few foundations I came to love in my search for just the right shade –

Best Buy:  Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation 

This bargain is available at your local drug store. I bought mine on a whim at Walgreen’s and immediately fell in love with its smooth texture and matte finish. The color blended perfectly into my skin without leaving a line on my jawbone. It’s long-wearing, too, and easily gets me through a 9-5 workday without turning my complexion into a blotchy mess. For just over $10, it’s a bargain worth trying. 

(My color: Ivory 15 – fair/cool with light pink undertones). 

Best Lightweight Foundation: Buxom Show Some Skin

For a lightweight foundation that’s more like a BB cream, this one is for you. I immediately loved how easily this blended right into my skin for a shear but polished look. This is my go-to for morning coffee runs, Sunday errands and workout classes when I just want a little something to brighten up my complexion. Notable ingredients include vitamin C, tamarind seed and marine algae extracts for extra hydration and softness. 

(My color: In The Buff – light with cool pink undertones)

Best Cult Classic:  Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

I’ve always loved Nars products, and this luminous foundation is no exception. I love how this foundation leaves me with a dewy, natural looking sheen. This particular formula allows for buildable coverage, so you can be as naked or polished as you’d like. It also boasts turmeric extract and other antioxidants that protect against free radicals. My only knock on this product is the packaging: the cap does not allow for easy dispensing. Be sure to buy the foundation pump along with it. 

(My color: Mont Blanc Light 2 – light with cool pink undertones)