- If you've ever struggled to choose a foundation, you're not alone. It can feel like a mammoth task, testing different stripes of colour on the back of your hand, and then running out of the shop to see them in natural light. Sometimes it seems like whatever you try, you still end up either orange or milk bottle white - and it's not as if they're cheap!
Luckily, help is at hand at your local No7 counter. The clever company has photographed thousands of real women from across the UK, and created a clever database of possible skintones - plus custom-made foundations to match. Now you can make a free appointment, or just turn up, for a consultation with a difference.
I tested out the Match Made service at my local branch yesterday afternoon. After being greeted by Emma, I was shown to a seat and asked some easy questions about my skin's condition (sadly, very dry!) and what I was looking for in a foundation (namely moisturising properties, as well as flawless coverage). Emma asked if I was wearing make up - I was - and offered to remove all of it, or just two small patches near my jawline. I was happy for it all to come off, knowing it would soon be expertly replaced.
Now comes the clever bit! No7 have developed a nifty handheld device which, when pressed gently against your jawline, will take a close up photo of your skintone. Emma did this on both sides of my face so the machine could make an average match. It then cleverly knew the exact shade of foundation, and concealer, which would work for me. Unsurprisingly, given what generous people might call my 'English rose' (a.k.a pasty!) skintone, I was their fairest shade, Calico.
Time for some pampering! Emma carefully applied foundation, under-eye concealer, powder and blush, before we moved on to another thorny issue: lipstick. So many of us are nervous about lipsticks - it's so hard to know which shades will work, and there seem to be endless varieties available. Happily, once you know your foundation shade, No7 can suggest a whole host of lipsticks which will complement your skintone, and you can try them for free.
I had a whopping 19 to choose from, so Emma and I selected two to try. I was brave, and aimed for two shades I'd previously steered clear of - a deep russet, and a hot pink. Like magic, both did indeed work well with my fair skin, and really lit up my eyes.
Of course, if time is an issue you can opt for a quick swipe from the device, and an instant match up, rather than the full consultation that I enjoyed.
It's a no-pressure service, and you can either buy a product at the end, or not. No7 also offer follow-up consultations if you want to go away and mull things over. If you've got time to kill in your local Boots this weekend, give it a go - you might just be surprised.