The Best Way to Color-Match Your Foundation With Your Skin

How do you find the right foundation shade for your skin? It's simple. Learn how to pick the right color and avoid fake and obvious-looking makeup.

The Right Foundation Shade: How to Color-Match

Have you ever picked out a foundation based on its color as it appears in the bottle only to find it's two shades too light once you put it on? As with many other makeup products, foundations can look different once applied than they do in their packaging. So instead of wasting time running back and forth from the makeup counter making returns, check out these helpful color-match foundation tips!

If buying foundation online, always request a sample

Look, you're too busy to pop into your local Sephora to pick up some new foundation. So there's no shame in buying your makeup online. However, when it comes to foundation, picking out your perfect shade from online pictures is incredibly difficult since the product often looks very different in person. While buying foundation at a brick and mortar is ideal, purchasing it online doesn't have to be a problem. Instead of guessing your shade, simply request a sample beforehand. That way, you can test it out at home before buying it online.

Test the foundation color on your neck

While women have been advised for years to color-match their foundation by putting some on their jawline, turns out, putting it on the neck is a safer bet. Since the skin on your neck is more uniform in color than your face, it's easier to find a good color match that way. However, if you're still slightly unsure of the color after testing it on your neck, you can apply some more on your jawline. Only then will you see if there's a drastic break in color.

But when it comes to testing foundation on any other parts of the body aside from the neck and jawline, don't bother. Testing it on your arms or hands is never a good idea since your skin color in those areas can look drastically different than your face.

Make sure your face is prepped appropriately for foundation wear

You'd never apply a fresh coat of polish to nails that have leftover color from a manicure before, would you? The same goes for applying foundation to your face. In order to see if a foundation correctly matches the color of your skin, make sure your face is exfoliated and in healthy condition first. Exfoliating your face gets rid of dead skin cells that can make your face appear dry and patchy. This can result in a discoloration after applying foundation.

Get in tune with your undertones

Knowing what hues are woven into your skin tone are imperative when picking out a color of foundation. There are two typical hues of undertones known as warm or cool. To find out if you have warmer or cooler undertones, look to your inner arm for assistance. If you notice your veins appear more blue or purple, you likely have cool undertones. If your veins seem greener, your skin has warmer undertones. If you can't really tell, consider yourself neutral and go with hues that cater to both.

If you have cooler undertones, stick to foundations that have slightly pinker hues. If you have a warmer skin tone, look for foundations that look more yellow or gold in the bottle.

Go outside to see foundation shades in natural sunlight

Ever notice that your face looks totally different outside than it did in the bathroom 20 minutes prior? That's because fluorescent lighting can sometimes make your skin look different than it would in natural sunlight. If you're trying on a new foundation in a store, step outside with a hand-mirror to see if the shade does, in fact, match your skin tone. More often than not, the sun's light may bring out different pigments in the makeup, making it appear lighter than it should.

Update your foundation shade when needed

If you spend a lot of time out in the sun, chances are your skin may darken in color or you may develop a more uneven skin tone. That's why it's always good to update your foundation shade depending on the season. If you spend a lot of time outside during the summer, for example, come fall, you may notice you need to go one shade darker in your foundation. Or conversely, after spending months indoors, you may notice that a lighter shade may be more appropriate. Either way, every six months or so, re-evaluate your makeup and make sure the shades still match the color of your skin correctly.

Resources— L'Oreal Paris, Glamour, Insider, Beauty Bakerie