One of the weirdest thing I’ve find about drugstore beauty shopping here in the US is the complete lack of testers. Is it just me?! No matter which store I try – Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Duane Reade – I cannot for the life of me find any test products. Other than those items that have been slyly ripped open by a previous customer. And really, that’s just not that nice…
Now the lack of samples isn’t as much of a problem really when it comes to some of the coloured items such as eyeshadow and lipstick – although it’s still a bit irritating. But when it comes to base products like foundation and concealer, that’s where I run into issues.
But, determined not to let this
major minor snag get in between me and my potential purchases, I’ve come up with a few (hopefully) helpful methods of matching my skin with the perfect shade.
- Learn from your past: If you’ve bought base products from a particular brand before in the past, take note of which shade you were. While the exact same shade might not be available in another product, it will at least give you an idea about which end of the tone scale you sit on. Light and pale? Olive? Tanned? At the moment, I’m sad to say I’ve reached pretty much the palest of the pale in terms of shade. Oh winter…
- Know your skintone: Does your skin have a pink undertone? Is it neutral? Does it lean more to the yellow end of the scale? Is it cool toned or warm? A lot of drugstore brands give quite good descriptions of their foundation and concealer product, suggesting different shades depending on your skintone, so knowing more about your undertones can really help when it comes to putting these guides to good use. Personally, I find that my skin is fairly neutral but has a slight pink undertone.
- Get in some good light: A bizarre one you might think, given that you can’t actually try the product on, but even when you’re looking at it in the bottle, it’s so much more effective to examine the shade in the light of day. Get yourself to a window (inside the shop that is, let’s not try and stroll out of the doors while holding an un-purchased product) and give the shade a good ole examine.
- Look at the shade next to different points on your skin – without make up if possible: When you test out a foundation in store, the delightfully helpful sales assistants tend to try it out on the jawline area, so it’s worth holding the bottle up to that area and seeing how it compares to your natural skintone. Obviously this will work a whole heap better if you aren’t already wearing make up, but if you can’t bare to step our of the house without your beloved base – guilty – it should work almost as well, regardless of what products you have on. It’s also worth comparing the shade to the palest skin on the inside of your forearm. If it looks way to orange/yellow/dark there? It will probably look about the same on your face too. Sorry.
- If all else fails, embrace the pale: If you have reached a fit of desperation and need to buy a foundation right now, my final recommendation is to always plump for the paler option of whatever choices you have in front of you. Call me crazy, but I think it’s a whole heap easier to blend in a bit of too-pale foundation than it is to try and pull off something that is a bit too dark. Once you’ve added a bit of blush and/or bronzer to the mix, nobody will notice the pallor anyway. Promise!
Do you guys have any good tips for tester-free beauty shopping? Feel free to share them below!