Hey everyone! I recently did an Anchor podcast on finding a foundation that matches your skin tone, and I wanted to also share that information right here on the blog in case you missed it or wanted something to go back to and reference as you’re out shopping for your perfect foundation!
Finding your color match can be tricky, and I have to say, this is probably the question I get asked the most by my clients and my followers on social media. People are often surprised to find out that my professional kit doesn’t actually contain THAT many foundation shades. For the most part, I mix custom foundations for my clients. It’s a common misconception that a makeup artist will have a perfect match for you in their kit. Sorry, but your girl isn’t going to carry around that many foundations!
Probably the easiest way to find your match is to go to a store that allows you to sample products right in the store. However, if you’re on a drugstore budget, this isn’t going to be possible. I’m going to give you some tips and tricks to find your foundation color match without falling victim to an expensive trial and error process! Ready? Here we go!
The first thing to keep in mind is seasonal changes to your skin tone. If you have distinct summer and winter seasons, you probably need two foundations – one for when you have a tan in the summer, and one for when you don’t in the winter. In the spring and fall, you can blend your two foundations to create your own custom shade!
Sephora has an amazing Pantone tool that they can use to color match your skin tone and get your foundation color in the different brands they carry both in store and online. Best part? It’s totally free, and if you stop in once in the summer and once in the winter, you’ll know exactly what shades you need to have on hand to create a perfect match throughout the year. Genius!
If you have an account with Sephora, they will store this information in your account so you can access it anytime. Super convenient!
If you don’t have a Sephora near you, MAC also has a wide range of foundation colors at their makeup counters. Their representatives are also specially trained to match foundations. If you choose to go this route, just keep in mind that they are salespeople so they’re going to try to sell you all the things. MAC does have great products, but just know it could (and probably will) turn into a pushy sales situation.
If you don’t want to spend the money on a MAC product, don’t be afraid to ask them to write down the shade. You can take that information, plug it into a search engine, and find less expensive dupes that will work with your skin tone.
Finding a foundation color match has a lot to do with knowing your undertone. Do you tend to tan easily and look better in gold jewelry? You’re probably a warm tone. Do you have fair skin that burns easily? Does silver jewelry look better on you? You’re probably a cool tone. If you don’t know, ask a professional (not necessarily a sales person, ok?).
If you’re in the middle, you are probably a neutral (like me). This is both good and bad. You can wear a lot of different bronzers and blushes, but eyeshadows and foundations can be tricky. You have to try different formulas depending on what your skin is doing in the moment and what you’re wearing.
A great rule of thumb when shopping for foundations is reading the color name.
R ### generally indicates a foundation with a RED undertone. Generally speaking (but not always), those of you with red undertones fall into the COOL color category. Y ### indicates a yellow undertone. Again, and generally speaking, if you have yellow undertones you can also assume you have a warmer skin tone. No letter prefixes generally indicates a Neutral undertone. While it’s pretty easy for us neutral folk to find an easy foundation match, we have a harder time with eyeshadows and lipsticks! This is because most eyeshadows and lipsticks are made for people who fall into the red / yellow and/or cool / warm undertone family.
I hope you learned a little bit about finding a foundation that matches your skin tone. If you want to read more about finding dupes, check out this blog post. My sister and fellow makeup lover Azadeh even talks specifically about Mac foundation dupes! If you want to get personalized advice about your skin tone or the best products to use (and how to apply them), I offer one-on-one lessons and makeup artists sessions. I can even take a look at the items you’re currently using and give you my professional advice! Head here to learn more about that. If you liked this post, leave a comment below or click the banner below to grab my FREE “Makeup for Beginners” guide!
I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!