Shaky foundations

You know how some things become your own personal Holy Grail? The search for the perfect handbag/bra/man, which starts with high hopes and often ends in disappointment? Well, I’ve just had one of those moments.

Ever since my teens, I have sought high and low for the right foundation. I know this makes me sound ridiculous, especially as I am lucky to have quite good skin anyway, but somehow I have fallen for virtually every single foundation ad ever made and convinced myself that each new product will somehow transform my life (already pretty great, I have to say) into a veritable Nirvana. Naturally, the collateral damage of this obsession has been a whole bunch of bottles, powders and creams over the years – matt, light-reflecting, SPFy, oil-free, mineral, BB, you name it – which regularly get dumped in the bin.

Today, I’m afraid I succumbed yet again. There’s been an ad on TV for a while now with a very big chain of chemist swearing it can find your perfect colour match with just a waft of its clever new computer thingy in your general direction. My girls had asked if we could have this done at the weekend, and I’d told them, with my sensible mother hat on, that it was unnecessary, they both had peachy perfect complexions, foundation never looked natural anyway and it was all just a big waste of money.

Could you stop me buying any more of this, please?

If only I had been listening to my own words of wisdom. For today, when I was out and about doing a lot of boring chores, I passed a big branch of the chemist. There was a poster in the window offering the colour matching service. Before I could say to myself, ‘don’t do it, you fool!’, I was sitting on a little stool with a white-coated shop assistant hovering over me. One click of her clever machine somewhere close to my jaw and she intoned, ‘calico,’ rather as I imagine the Oracle at Delphi would have done.

I left the shop with some hope in a jar, only to discover, of course, that it did much the same as other foundations do – make me look like a washed-out, 10-years-older version of myself, necessitating heavy use of blusher and mascara to bring me back to life. End result: Coco the Clown’s less glamorous older sister. And then I remembered that Prescriptives started offering the exact same colour matching service about 20 years ago – and that didn’t work for me either.

Just two questions for you:

1. Why do they test the colour around your jawline, when the rest of the face, which is usually more trouble-prone and therefore actually needs the foundation, is a darker shade?

2. Why do I keep on falling for this silliness?

Answers on the back of a bottle of foundation, please.

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