7 Make Up Tips from Nilofar Mussa and Mira Parmar

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Like finding the right fitting jeans, buying a new foundation can take time. From choosing one with the right undertones to finding a formula that suits your needs, there are a few different elements to get right. We asked make-up artists Nilofar Mussa and Mira Parmar how they choose ‘the one’…


1. Assess Your Individual Needs

“Your skin is a living, breathing organ and choosing the right formulation of foundation to meet its needs is vital,” explains Nilofar. “Understanding your complexion will tell you which formulation, weight and texture base is best for you. Firstly, identify your skin type – is it oily, dry, combination or normal? If your skin sits on the drier side, an oil-based or cream foundation will work much better than a water base as it won’t dry out your skin. If you are oily/combination, try an oil-free foundation. Then have a think about the texture and finish you want to create. If you prefer a luminous glow, look to bases that state this is what they offer; likewise, if you prefer a matte finish, make sure you’re buying one that offers this coverage. These all sound like simple steps, but they’re essential for getting the right formula.”

2. Identify Your Undertones 

“An undertone is the colour from beneath the surface of your skin that affects your overall hue,” says Mira. “Finding out whether your skin has warm, cool or neutral undertones is the key to finding the right foundation for you. There are easy ways to discover this. Firstly, you can do the vein test, by looking at the ones on your wrist. If you have blue/purple veins, your undertone is cool; if you have green veins and yellow, golden skin, your undertones are warm. If you find your veins are neither or in between the two, then you’re considered a neutral undertone. Another way is to put jewellery on: does silver or gold look better on you? If it’s gold, you have warm undertones; if it’s silver, you’ve got a cool undertone. Most foundation brands have warm (W), cool (C) and neutral (N) shades to make life easier for you.”

3. Always Do Your Research

“It’s incredibly important to do your research before you buy a foundation – especially if you’re ordering online,” says Nilofar. “Remember that a foundation can look great on someone else, but may not necessarily be the right one for you. Plus, your skin changes with the weather and environment, so don’t be afraid to try a new formulation if your current one isn’t hitting it. I recommend two places that will help you narrow the field: Findation.com and MatchMyMakeUp.com are great sites and give very accurate shade recommendations. I also recommend that, when shopping on a multi-brand site, you get in touch with the customer service team and outline your individual needs. They can then advise you on the best-suited formulations before you order anything.”

4. Buy In-Store If You Can

“Ideally, buy in a shop because you can try the shades out and pick the right one for you,” advises Mira. “In a shop, you’ll often be given samples, which is a great way to try a foundation for a few days first – if you like it, then you can order it online. Test a few shades out and always make sure you’re in natural light when you do. That way you can see how it sits on the skin and blends. Some foundations oxidise once on the skin, so it’s wise to try it on for an hour or so and see the results.”

5. Swatch Against Your Face

“In my opinion, the face is still the best place to test any foundation,” advises Nilofar. “I would suggest sweeping it onto the cheek, rather than the jawline, as most discolouration tends to be through the centre of the face, so you will have a more accurate result. Also, the cheek is equidistant from the forehead and jaw, so swatching here allows you to make sure your foundation works with the top and bottom of the face. If you’re still unsure, swatch a cool, warm and neutral foundation on your forearm or chest, you’ll soon see which works best with your skin tone – two will look ‘off’ while the correct one will look believable.”

6. Know That You Can Mix 

“For most people, one foundation is enough and there’s no need to mix shades,” advises Nilofar. “However, some may find they love the texture of a foundation but they sit in between shades. You can absolutely mix in this case to get a perfect match. It’s also worth considering tailoring your make-up kit to the seasons. Many of us tend to be more pale throughout winter and more bronzed in summer, so you need to switch up your base. My advice on mixing is to use a palette and brush. Dispense a small amount of each foundation on your palette and pull down a bit of each with your brush and mix, using a 1:1 ratio to start. Swatch on the skin, and see if you need to go lighter or darker, and adjust accordingly.”

7. Finally, Remember These Key Things…

“It’s also worth being aware of foundations that contain SPF,” finishes Nilofar. “These can cause flashback, which may seem irrelevant, but you will see it on a night out or at an event with flash photography. Secondly, if you find your foundation doesn’t apply well, check to see if it’s compatible with the other products you’re teaming up with. Remember oil and water repel, so if you’re using a highlighting oil with a water-based foundation, it’s going to break up and begin to bubble. Finally, always check with your retailer what their return and exchange policy is before you buy a foundation. Many brands (but not all) won’t accept returns, so make sure you get a tester sample and are happy before purchasing.”

Shop Our Edit Of Some Of The Best Foundations Below…

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Ultimate Coverage 24 Hour Foundation, £32 | Becca

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Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation, £27.50 | Benefit

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Airbrush Flawless Foundation, £34 | Charlotte Tilbury

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Even Better Glow™ Light Reflecting Makeup, £28.50 | Clinique

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Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation, £39 | Shiseido

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Beautifully Matte Mousse Foundation, £14 | No 7

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True Skin Serum Foundation, £50 | Ilia

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Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £27 | Fenty Beauty

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Born To Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation, £10 | NYX

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Say What?! Foundation, £29.50 | UOMA Beauty

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Un Cover-Up Cream Foundation, £52 | RMS Beauty

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Stay Naked Foundation, £31 | Urban Decay

Visit NilofarMussa.com and MiraParmarMakeup.com


Sean Mitchell

Author at Pynck

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