If you are just beginning to wear make-up, or want to change your look, you know that there are a lot of different brands available. Which one is right for you, however, will depend on a number of factors including your particular skin type and tone, how much you want to (or can) spend on make-up, and your lifestyle.
One very good place to learn about your skin type and tone is by visiting one of the make-up counters that are located in larger department stores like JC Penney, Macy’s, Belk or by visiting a store that sells a particular brand (Merle Norman, for example). The associates there can help you determine whether your skin is considered dry, normal, normal/combination, or oily. From there, you can begin to consider the different brands.

How to Compare Makeup Brands

Decide how much money you can or are able to spend. Specialty make-up such as that sold in department stores is more expensive than that sold in drugstores or chain stores.

Check different brands to see if they offer specific formulas for different skin types. Some do, others don’t. This can be done by checking a website or reading articles and studying advertisements in beauty and fashion magazines.

Now, look at the different shades of make-up. Ask yourself: Are there enough shades to choose from that I can make a fairly close match to my skin tone, or are my basic choices in a particular brand light, medium and dark? This will help you decide which brands, if any, you might wish to eliminate.

Consider your lifestyle, as it will dictate if you need, for example, a long-lasting makeup or one that does not easily come off when exposed to perspiration or very humid conditions. If you work in an office, but don’t want to have to worry about having to make touch-ups during the day, you can choose a brand that has long-wearing properties. If you work outdoors or lead a very active lifestyle, then you can look for water-resistant or moisture-proof formulas.

Learn these terms: hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic. The first means that the ingredients are not likely to cause an allergic reaction; the second means that the make-up will not clog pores. Unless you have problems with allergic reactions, you probably won’t need to worry about the first one. Whether or not the second one is important will depend upon your pore size.


  • When you visit the department store make-up counter or the make-up store, first ask if you have to make a purchase in exchange for their help. You may not, but if you do, don’t be pressured into buying more than you have to.
    If a make-up is not marked hypo-allergenic, or if you’re not sure if you may be allergic, first check the ingredients. Some are considered more likely to cause allergic reactions than others (such as AHA or BHA), while others are harsh. Try to obtain a list of the most common ingredients found in make-up. Go to a brand’s website. Then, research the ingredients.
    If possible, test a small amount of the make-up you are interested in on the inside of your forearm. Wait 24 hours and if no allergic symptoms (rash, itching, burning) occur, then it’s probably safe for you to use.
    You can determine your pore size by looking in the mirror. Your pores, if they can be seen, look like tiny dots or holes on your skin. Are your pores easily visible, only slightly visible or barely noticeable? The more noticeable they are, the more likely they can become clogged, which can cause blackheads, pimples, and other acne problems. If they are very visible, you might want to consider a non-comedogenic make-up.