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AIBU to wonder why I'm struggling so much to buy a foundation?

(60 Posts)
CheekyBrunette Sun 03-May-15 11:21:28

Every time I go to get matched for a foundation at my local department store, they act rather patronising with me and always try to match me for something that is clearly 3-4 shades darker than my skin. I’ve been wearing MAC all this while, but it tends to break me out a bit so I’ve been trying to explore other options like Clinique or Lauder.

For reference, my skintone is like say Mila Kunis when she isn't fake tanned. And they match me for something that is closer to Zoe Saldana.

Those who are familiar with MAC foundations- I'm an NC25-30 which I know is the right one since I was matched at a MAC counter and I’ve worn it all the time without looking like I have another person’s head on my body. But every time I go to the local place, they try and match me for something that is more like an NW 35-40.

I always try to politely put my point across and say that the colour they've matched me for is clearly too pink/orange/dark for me but I'm always met with an argument. I've tried taking a friend/family member with me to make sure that I'm not seeing things and they've agreed with me as well.
The worst is when they point to another salesgirl (who will 99% of the time be darker than me) and say that she is paler so I should wear a shade darker than her. I really don't understand it. A few times they’ve mentioned that since I am of Indian heritage, I should go for the darker shades as Indians are more tan.
I've taken other people with me to make sure I'm not overreacting or that I'm not being blind and mistaking my colour and it does appear that I am right.

This isn't about me wanting to be fairer than I am by the way!! I just want to look like MYSELF when I wear foundation and that includes not looking much darker.

Could it just be the local culture where everyone wants to look a bit fake tanner (think TOWIE). Or is is a tinge of racism that I’m detecting here?
Any thoughts on why this is happening and what I can do about it are welcome. I’ve got acne prone and sensitive skin so searching for a foundation is a nightmare anyway- this added stress of difficult people behind the counter doesn’t help at all :-(

I'm of Indian descent in case anyone is wondering (the country, not Native American :-) )

CheekyBrunette Sun 03-May-15 11:23:51

I'm typing from my phone, so please excuse any spelling mistakes in the OP.

Also I meant to say that they match me for something closer to an NW 35-45.

Sophieelmer Sun 03-May-15 11:24:31

Most places don't have a colour that will work on your skin shade. They just want to flog you something even though it might not be great, they'll still get their commission.

VacantExpression Sun 03-May-15 11:24:57

I am of fluorescent-tube descent and have exactly the same troubles that you are having, down to the acne prone skin. Its obviously a very first world problem but quite demoralising all the same. YADNBU, watching with interest for helpful replies!

19lottie82 Sun 03-May-15 11:25:39

Maybe try other brands rather than MAC?

saadia Sun 03-May-15 11:25:56

That sounds annoying. I am also of Indian descent and have found pretty good matches at YSL and Estee Lauder, also Boots' colour matching service (colour was good but didn't like the texture). Yesterday I got a pretty good match at Bobbi Brown. Have you tried there?

NotNowBono Sun 03-May-15 11:25:57

Have you tried going in to Boots? The No7 counter has a device that analyses the different shades in your skintone and comes out with the 'correct' foundation match. It's not always right (the assistant tried to take my freckles as a starting point, not my blue-white skin) but other people have had perfect matches, and at least you're arguing with a machine, and not with an assistant, iykwim.

seaoflove Sun 03-May-15 11:29:17

It depends on the brand. I find all MAC foundations err on the side of orange, which is bad for me as I'm pale and cool toned. Bobbi Brown don't do any pink based foundations either. I used to like Prescriptives before they disappeared from the UK, and NARS do a good selection of shades as well.

Now I have children and can't afford high end foundations I've been sticking to the high street. Was very surprised to find a Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in a shade that suited me, and I'm really pleased with a Bourjois CC cream I've just bought. So it's really worth shopping around.

CheekyBrunette Sun 03-May-15 11:29:38

Yes, I am actually trying literally all counters other than MAC since MAC foundation seems to be worsening the acne.

I've the local store that has all counters - Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Clinique etc. It's been the same kind of issue everywhere! They insist on selling me something that is much darker. And almost always I end up hearing some slightly snarky comment about my complexion.

Not sure if I'm doing something wrong....

QueenElsa Sun 03-May-15 11:31:10

Have you tried Illamasqua? skin base is a gorgeous foundation, and they have a little chart on their website that can help you colour match, it has lots of brands and their shades on with the illamasqua equivalent smile

As a side note, I'm a make up artist and I even hate going in to MAC!

seaoflove Sun 03-May-15 11:33:19

Have you tried matching yourself? You don't need an assistant to help. Try a few streaks of different shades on your neck or jawline and go out into natural light with a mirror. The one that seems to disappear is the one you want.

SaucyJack Sun 03-May-15 11:35:43

I don't think it's racist. I've had the same problem and I'm white.

I think it's just assumed that everyone wants to look like an Oompa Loompa these days.

Aridane Sun 03-May-15 11:36:08

Cheeky - I find Lancôme very good- and no patronising!

The Boots facility for matching foundation with their gizmo has not worked on the few occasions I have used the faculty - they ditched the gizmo results when it produced an inaccurate result and just went by their instinct.

In addition, if you're not familiar with the brand and customer service, it certainly doesn't hurt to go to a counter where a woman there has a similar skin tone to you

CheekyBrunette Sun 03-May-15 11:37:51

To clarify, it's actually the stand alone MAC store where I got the best service and perfect match! I just can't wear it everyday because it's causing the acne.

It's the local concessions for all other brands that are giving me trouble.

I'll definitely try Illamasqua, haven't been there yet.

I have even tried matching myself. But when I asked to sample the shade I had picked out, they told me is got the wrong colour as I wasn't fair enough for it.

Rather intimidating and frustrating!

CheekyBrunette Sun 03-May-15 11:40:31

You're right about Lancôme having fabb customer service! They matched me perfectly, but I didn't like the way that foundation smelled. Unfortunately. Plus it made me itchy!

drbonnieblossman Sun 03-May-15 11:44:24

Try Clinique OP. I have tried so many brands and Clinique has a fantastic range of colours and finishes.

Discopanda Sun 03-May-15 11:46:20

Lancome have fab customer service, I'm very pale with pinky undertones and their foundation is the only one that doesn't look orange on me, it's pricey but lasts for aaaaages

saadia Sun 03-May-15 11:47:36

I agree that the concessions within department stores are not always the most helpful (or even available in many cases). Have you seen the other very recent thread in S&B linking to an article about having the 'natural look'. The European author of that article was also given darker than necessary foundation in some cases.

CheekyBrunette Sun 03-May-15 11:48:06

Had a similar experience at the Clinique counter - and I find all their shades tend be a bit more pink. Ideal if you're Caucasian, but I've got more olive undertones in my skin so if often doesn't look quite right.

siilk Sun 03-May-15 11:50:12

I am a lovely chalk white and they never seem to match me pale enough. The best for me seems to be Chanel foundation. Lovely and pale!

CheekyBrunette Sun 03-May-15 11:51:41

Saadia- that's interesting, I haven't seen that thread yet, but I'll have a look now.

It must be some sort iof trend then to look darker than one is. I personally don't like it because then it means I need to fake tan my body or bring the foundation down my neck and chest - both of which I hate.

GrimDamnFanjo Sun 03-May-15 12:01:59

I struggled until I went to Bobbi Brown and had a "free makeover" [ I'd planned to buy two items anyway].
I think they have one of the widest selections of shades and foundation types. I am either the lightest or second lightest depending on the range.
I I would see if you can have a few full makeup demos with different brands and ask a LOT of questions around skin shades and colour matching.
My sympathies as this item of make up is really key.

Also try the gals on the Style and Beauty thread.

RichPetunia Sun 03-May-15 12:03:00

I have struggled to get a replacement tinted moisturiser since Chanel discontinued theirs. I have wasted ££££'s and hours trying to get something that will be as perfect. I would doubt there's racism OP just counter staff trying to do their best and frustration on your part that you can't get as perfect a match as your old brand. As I'm white, can I shout racism as well because I can't get a match? No, because it's silly to think that would be a reason.

VivienScott Sun 03-May-15 12:04:12

Buy it online, otherwise I do recommend Lancome.

itsmeitscathy Sun 03-May-15 12:10:37

I'm the palest of the pale and Mac always try to sell me pale foundation with medium powder so I look less pale. but I like being pale not orange! I've switched to bare minerals and get on Great with it and find them helpful. you get liquid stuff there now too. It suits my skin fins, no breakouts. it's worth matching in store to see how you like it then looking on QVC their get started kits are fab!

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