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Tips for the Department Store
Being able to try before you buy at a department or specialty store is a huge bonus, but you can still snag the wrong shade unless you do the following:
Ask for help. Get color-matched by a trained makeup artist -- and score some free samples while you're at it.
Test the right spot. Swipe shades along your jawline to take into account the color of your neck, which is often paler than your face. The right hue should disappear into your skin.
See the (natural) light. Harsh overhead lighting can cast unflattering shadows. Stand near a window or head outside to check your color, says Emily Kate Warren, a makeup artist in Los Angeles. Or visit the Estée Lauder Beautiful Skin Studios (esteelauder.com/locator for locations), which use Philips Lighting technology to mimic day, evening, and office lighting.