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Finding your perfect foundation shade

Finding your perfect medium-coverage foundation is a lot like finding your perfect date. Both will make you feel like the best possible version of yourself when you’re around them. Both will look past the surface to complement your undertones. And, in 2018, finding both is far less hassle when you go on online.

If what you want is a medium coverage foundation, then Lush’s solid Slap Stick range offers just that. Our super squad of human testers described the coverage as “medium buildable”, meaning this foundation sits on the fence between offering you sheer, light coverage (with less colour pigment in) and full coverage (with more colour pigment in). And in defence of sitting on this fence, many find that medium coverage is the sweet spot between evening out their skin tone and keeping their natural features visible. To achieve more dramatic, less translucent looks, you can easily build it up by adding layers.

If what you need is a foundation with moisturiser, then take a look at the ingredients list of these new inventions. Coconut oil comes in on top which gives this foundation a number of benefits, such as being effortlessly smooth to apply whether you’re putting it on with your fingers, a brush or a foundation sponge. On your skin, the rich coconut base creates the kind of finish that Pinterest boards are built on: naturally-glowing, dewy and smooth-looking complexions. It’s not just about looking good on the outside either because the soothing and softening properties of coconut oil are effective on your skin, leaving it feeling beautifully hydrated and soft to the touch too.

And if you want all this and nothing else - no unnecessary packaging and no unnecessary preservatives - well then, hey, presto you’ve found yourself in the right place. The new Slap Sticks are almost entirely zero waste (“almost” because the base of the foundations is wrapped in vegan peelable wax so that you can pick them up without slipping up).

How do you choose your shade?

There’s only two things you need to know: your number and your letter.

Your number

There are four families of Slap Stick shades: dark, medium-dark, medium-light and light and within each family there are ten different shades, numbered from the deepest tone (40) to the palest tone (1). By looking at your skin and comparing your skin tone with the Lush staff members modelling the new range online, you should be able to pinpoint which family you fit into ie. if you think you have medium-dark skin, then you will be choosing a foundation between numbers 21 and 30.

Once you’ve got an idea of which of the four shade bands is your best fit it’s time to find...

Your letter

Your letter indicates your skin’s undertone: the shade beneath that surface tone.

Knowing your undertone has two key advantages. It will help you to find a shade of foundation that more closely suits your skin, so you’ll hear more of “Your skin looks great” and less of “Your foundation looks great”. And it enables you to apply your foundation quickly and confidently, knowing that the colour is going to compliment you throughout the day, in different lights, without hours of careful blending.

There are three different undertones to consider: C for cool, N for neutral and W for warm. Undertones have nothing to do with temperature and don’t change over the seasons like your surface skin tone sometimes does. Instead, undertones refer to whether your skin leans towards the Cooler, pink, red or blue side, the Warmer, golden, yellow or peachy side, or falls somewhere in the Neutral middle of this shade spectrum, balancing both tones.

One way to find out your skin’s undertone is to check out photos of yourself with a tan. If you tend to tan easily, you are probably warm-toned, whereas if you look flushed first, you are most likely cool-toned. The second option is to look at the underside of your wrist. If the veins there are mostly blue or purple, you’ll lean towards cooler hues, while greens indicate a warmer tone. An even mix of both suggests you’re a neutral.

If you already use foundation, you can also check the description of your current makeup which normally distinguishes between undertones. But for those who have never worn foundation before or are still not sure of their undertone, neutral is a good place to start. Lush strategist and makeup lover Maddie Saunders explains: “Most people find that neutral works with their skin, and then you’ll be able to gauge more easily whether you would need or like more cool or warm undertones (or whether it’s just right!)”.

Once you’ve got an idea of your undertone, you can start experimenting! Kayley Thomas, who has project managed the new makeup range, explains how she uses her knowledge of undertones as a handy guide: “Neutral tones would suit my skin absolutely fine, but I’d rather look more sun-kissed so I tend to buy foundation with yellow undertones because I’m working towards a bronzed finish.”

There’s no one-size-fits-all how to use guide for these new shades. Whether you use your fingers, a brush, or a sponge is up to you. So too is whether you apply your Slap Stick directly to your face, or use a tool to create different finishes. What is certain is that a little goes a long way - apply, blend and build to your perfect fit.

Kayley uses two shades - “a lighter one and a darker one” - to create contours. After applying the two shades directly to her face she buffs them in, then uses a powder to set her makeup in place.

So there you go, go forth and discover new shades. Who knows? You might find the one.

You can find the Slap Sticks and the rest of the Lush makeup range here.

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