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Foundation to Best Match Your Skin


This month’s topic is “Knowing the shade of foundation to best match your skin”.

I get asked about this all the time.

Foundation Matching

Simply put, there are so many factors to consider when choosing a foundation, but the best rule to follow is do the neck test. When trying a new foundation, your neck must match, so you want to look for a color that matches your neck well enough to blend with your face, but that will not be too dark or light for your face. So I start by finding a color that matches my neck, and then depending how much darker or lighter my face is, I buy a second color to blend with my face. This is the key. Buy two foundations, maybe three…your present neck color, and either a lighter or next darkest shade, then your CLOSEST face foundation match. If buying three colors, get a color lighter than your face, darker than your face, and an exact match to your face. Be sure they are all the same make and blendable. I recommend Loreal True Match.

The idea is to apply foundation on your neck first, just a little, then work up to your face.

Apply the one that matches your face next then compare. If that is it; leave it. If not, you can mix the other color(s) or pat on certain areas and blend gently, until both your neck and face appear to be the right color.

Most people only use one color and as we tend to get more sun exposure in certain areas, like forehead, therefore often times one color isn’t enough.

As far as choosing the shade, be it warm or cool, I hear the warm or cool thing can confuse people so let me break it down simply for you.

Warm vs. Cool Colors

Warm colors are typically yellows, oranges, browns, yellowish greens, orangish reds.

Cool colors are based on blues, greens, pinks, purples, blue-greens, magentas, and blue-based reds.

A warm toned foundation is more yellow based. A cool toned one is more pink. Typically, any blush with a brown or peach undertone is warm. Whereas, any blush with a purple or pink undertone is a cool shade. Some colors can work for both skin tones, such as a peachy pink or a pink/brown. Avoid pale whitish or pastels for darker skin!

Warm does not mean dark skin!
Cool does not mean light skin!

Cool-toned Eyes are typically blue, or light green/grey. Cool-toned people tend to have blonde, brown or black hair. Skin has definite blue and pinkish undertones. Cool-toned skin looks best in colors like blue, red, pink and purple. These people tend to be flattered by silver jewelry. In natural light, the color of the veins on the underside of their wrist are bluish.

Neutral-toned Eyes may be any color. Hair may also be any color. Skin has unspecifiable undertones, such as pink, olive or yellow. Those with neutral coloring can wear just about any color clothing and look good. Neutral-toned people can wear gold or silver jewelry. For these people I usually mix a warm and a cool color with one being the more dominate, depending how it looks. Always start lighter if you are unsure. You can add warm spots and blend in with cool, or darker to light…but if you try to lighten a color that is already too orange or dark, it will look ashy or unnatural. I find that people with freckles are often a neutral, FYI. Don’t let the freckles confuse you. Always double check against the beginning of your neck to be sure the color matches.

Warm-toned Eyes are usually brown, green or hazel. Hair color for Warm-toned people is usually brown, black, red, auburn, blonde, or strawberry blonde. Confusing I know, but read on…Skin will have noticeable yellow/orange or olive undertones. Warm-toned people tend to look best in earthy-toned clothing, such as browns, yellows, oranges, yellow/green. They tend to look best in gold jewelry. In natural light, the color of the veins on the underside of their wrist are green in hue.

Colors in terms of Seasons

‘Winter’ skin is cool with a yellow undertone/light.. Think of very stark and dramatic skin. Asians and Africans often fall into this category. Caucasians with very pale skin and dark hair will fall into this category as well. ‘Winters’ look best in true white, true black, cool grays, navy blue, deep reds, bright pinks, jewel tones (emerald, royal blue, royal purple), and icy pastels. Colors to avoid include beige, orange, gold, brown and other washed out shades. ‘Winter’ skin tone will look faded and ashy in these colors.

‘Summer’ skin is cool with pale skin and muted (ie; tends to fall into the w. People with pale pinkish skin, ash blonde or brown hair, and light eyes will fall under this category. A ‘Summer’s’ could also have a strong complexion that tans easily. ‘Summer’s’ are mostly natural blondes. ‘Summer skin’ tone has a low level of contrast between eye, hair and skin color. Pastels, neutrals, and muted colors look best. Lavender, rose, mauve, pale yellow, and light blue are a few examples of flattering muted colors for the summer skin tone. Colors to avoid include black and orange. Also, other intense, vivid colors will be too harsh and drown out a summer skin tone.

‘Autumn’ skin is medium-dark warm/neutral and muted. People with light golden skin, red or brown hair, and brown eyes will be considered ‘Autumns’. An ‘Autumn’ might also have darker honey colored hair or golden blonde hair with blue eyes that have a gray or turquoise cast. These people will burn easily in the sun. Autumns look best in earth tones that are rich and muted. Think of colors you would see on autumn leaves and spices. Caramel, beige, burnt orange, gold, dark reds, olive, ivory, camel and rich brown look great on ‘Autumns’. Cool shades should be avoided. They will give you a pale appearance. Pink is extremely unflattering. Clear, bright colors and black and white will make you look faded and should be avoided as well.

‘Spring’ skin is light warm. Someone with light blonde, auburn, or strawberry blonde hair and clear light blue or green eyes will fall into this category most times. Springs have extremely light, ivory skin. Freckles and rosy cheeks are seen in springs as well. If you can’t decide whether you are a spring or autumn, most times autumns have dark eyes while springs have pale eyes. Pale, soft colors look best on springs. Ivory, peach, true reds, clear blues, camel, light pink, coral, golden yellow, golden brown, aqua and bright greens are all flattering on a spring however. This skin tone does not go well with dark, dull colors. Black and white will also be too contrasting for a spring skin tone.

If you are still unsure you can go online for color samples from various brands (for this any foundation company will work but samples are usually sold by companies like Ben Nye and Graftobian)…Chose the three colors you estimate are closest to you. Using a small foundation brush, swipe a small line of each color on your cheek, next to each other but not blended. The one that goes on and you don’t see a difference is your foundation color. If you aren’t sure. Take a photo about a foot away from camera, in natural light with no flash and look. If you still haven’t gotten a match try again.

Once you have the foundation color, I still advise getting a darker or lighter color or both, in case one area is darker. Then, practice blending up from the beginning of your neck (if your neck does not match), or just add warm colors or highlights where needed, and lightly blend until your makeup is seamless.
I will attach a video to this soon but for now, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

I hope this has been helpful, and happy beautifying!