This summer Kate Winslet revealed that she uses two shades of foundation. Why?
Not for extravagance but to tackle her cyclically changing skin tone. She said that at the start of her period, her skin tone looks more even but by the middle it flares up and becomes redder.
So Kate has become her own makeup mixologist, blending a darker shade into her regular, lighter base for some customised camouflage.
‘Hormonal fluctuations driven by oestrogen and progesterone can change the skin’s tone and texture,’ says Dr Vicky Dondos, cosmetic doctor and author of The Positive Ageing Plan.
‘The skin’s natural defence barrier can become more permeable just before your period, reducing its immune function and letting in more irritants. It’s also a tough time in terms of mood and sleep. Together, they all impact the skin, making it duller and more prone to flare-ups.’
For those of us trying to make peace between a temperamental skin tone and a foundation shade, there are now plenty of smart options for finding a skin-matching compromise.
A little mix
To target monthly red patches and imperfections, make-up artist Ciara O’Shea — who counts actresses Gwendoline Christie and Jodie Comer as clients — recommends using two different foundation weights as well as shades.
‘Using the lighter tone on the centre of the face keeps it looking bright and fresh,’ she explains. ‘Adding foundation that’s half a shade darker with a heavier texture around the outer edges and jawline will create the impression of contours and help conceal breakouts or flushing.’
For a seamless finish, Ciara suggests applying foundation with Sculpted by Aimee Perfecting Duo Brush (£17).
‘Use the smaller end to smooth foundation precisely to the centre of the face, then the bigger, fluffier brush and a light pressure to buff the deeper tone in circular movements so it’s invisibly blended,’ she says.
Studio 10 Age Repair Perfect Canvas SPF30 Foundation (£34) is a pair of cream foundations in one compact and packed with hydrating ingredients and light-diffusing pigments to blur the look of fine lines.
Sold separately but handily stackable, Trinny London Just A Touch (£28) comes in 25 shades.
Specifically targeting redness, the cream texture is light enough to leave the complexion luminous but buildable enough to double as concealer.
Adjust the setting
Some foundations will do the mix ’n’ match work for you thanks to hi-tech wizardry that automatically tweaks the tone as they settle on your skin. L’Oréal Paris True Match Nude Plumping Serum (£13.99) is a brilliant hybrid that mixes hydrating serum and sheer foundation with hyaluronic acid.
They say the nine-shade line-up matches 99% of the UK population, giving a glowing and lightweight result.
Meanwhile, Boots has analysed 1.9 million skin tones to create the true-skin matches for No7 Intelligent Colour Foundation (£16.50). It comes in four variations and can be built up for extra coverage.
Just a drop
To blend together shades à la Kate, pigment-intense colour drops are a budget-friendly way of altering your fluid foundation. Start with a little base in your palm and mix in drops one at a time until you get the shade you want.
Try e.l.f Mix to Match Foundation Shade Adjuster in Bronze (£4) to deepen fair foundations or even lighten darker ones, while Boutique Foundation Colour Adjusting Drops in Dark ( £4.50) feel like pigment-rich watercolours.
NYX Professional Makeup Total Pro Drop Foundation Hue Shifter (£16) comes in warm, cool, dark and light colour versions.
Need more redness coverage? Try Ciara’s nifty layering trick: ‘Dip your middle finger into the pool of foundation you’ve mixed up and drag it out from the centre so it becomes sheerer. Then pat over the inflamed areas for a more opaque finish without heaviness.’
If you want to completely nail your colour in one product, tailor-made formulas are worth the investment. It sounds counterintuitive but for complexions with monthly flare-ups, the trick is to have the tone analysed when skin is misbehaving.
‘Get it done when skin is inflamed rather than looking its best,’ advises Ciara O’Shea. ‘The foundation colour created for you will be well nuanced and blended to take into account undertones including redness so the result looks natural and helps perfect imperfections.’
At its boutique in Chelsea, Cosmetics à la Carte offers a bespoke blending service.
The 30-minute appointment allows a make-up artist to personalise the shade and amount of coverage, as well as adding boosters like shine control and SPF. You can take home a sample to test and the finished bottle is £65.
Dcypher allows you to create Custom Foundation (£28) from your phone. After scanning your face to analyse the accurate, individual tones in your complexion, choose your skin type plus the coverage and finish you prefer.
A mini sample will arrive through the post so you can tweak the final version before ordering too.