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5 Persistent Foundation Myths, Debunked

5 Persistent Foundation Myths, Debunked

5 Persistent Foundation Myths, Debunked

The first official foundation launched over a century ago, and still we’re flummoxed about how to find the best one for our own personal flesh.

Flesh asked writer and editor Amy Keller Laird to unravel the tangled mess. She spoke to top makeup artists, dermatologists, and neurobiologists (no kidding!) to get the scoop on what's legit and what's not.

Myth: The inner arm is a good place to test foundation.

Fact: Instagram and YouTube influencers often show foundation shades this way—but that really demonstrates a range of colors, not a skin match. “There is literally no bearing on your face from swatch on the arm,” says makeup artist Robin Black. So, confine this to the gram, if you must. Inner arms are usually lighter than your face; in general, don’t rely on any area below the neck for foundation color-matching.

Myth: You should always choose a foundation containing SPF.

Fact: Bzzzzzzt. This sounds right, but the ingredients in sunscreens can interfere with a foundation’s color. No dermatologist recommends relying on foundation alone for sun protection anyway. One study revealed that SPF in foundations was unreliable in providing protection because it migrated or moved—and gets wiped off—over the day, says Susan Taylor, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Myth: The color of your undereye circles is a good gauge of your undertones.

Fact: The color of your undereye circles depends on their cause (dehydration, genetics, allergies, etc.), according to Black. In other words, don’t use them as a clue.

Myth: People with freckles have cool-toned skin.

Fact: Freckles themselves are typically warm-toned. To get an accurate shade-match, look at un-freckled skin (i.e: behind your ear).

Myth: If you have pinkness in your cheeks, your skin is cool-toned.

Fact: Not necessarily true! Surface redness is caused by other factors including rosacea, allergies, acne, skincare products, a steamy shower, high-intensity exercise or even spicy food.

Myth: People with cool-toned skin only look good in silver jewelry, and people with warm undertones only look good in gold.

Fact: Sad! And not true! While jewelry can help you identify your undertone, we’re 99.9% sure you’ll look marvelous in any kind of metal (especially if it includes diamonds).