The perfect makeup look starts with the right foundation shade. A great rule of thumb in choosing the right foundation shade is it should be almost invisible. It’s the kind of makeup product you don’t want to see. Foundation should seamlessly blend into your skin tone and be consistent regardless of the amount you apply.
Sometimes when you look at the bottle, you think that it’s the right match for you. However, once applied, it’s a shade lighter or darker than you’d want it to be. Having an almost perfect choice of foundation is a common occurrence among makeup users. Most likely, you’ve either misjudged your undertones or the product oxidized.
Before you purchase a bottle of foundation, you must know the factors to consider to ensure you pick a foundation shade that matches your face. There are two key factors in choosing the right foundation shade—figuring out your skin tone and identifying your undertone.
The Difference Between Skin Tone and Undertone
Skin tone is your surface color; it’s how you describe your skin color to other people (i.e., fair, tan, dark). However, certain external factors, such as tanning, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, and dark spots, can affect how you perceive your skin tone. To better understand your skin tone, you can look at your jawline’s surface color or ask a friend or beauty professional.
On the other hand, your undertone is the color tone beneath your skin’s surface color. It’s one of the most ignored and misunderstood elements of skin tone because it isn’t easily identifiable. Unlike your skin tone, your undertone doesn’t change when you tan or apply brightening products.
Determining your undertone can be a little more difficult than figuring out your skin tone. But, there are a few simple methods you can do, like checking your vein color, doing the sun test, and assessing your jewelry.
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Mismatching your foundation shade is a common makeup mistake. Finding your perfect foundation shade will be much easier if you know your undertone. By identifying your undertone, you’ll be able to balance and harmonize your skin tone with the correct foundation shade.
In shade matching, the ultimate goal is to avoid the line of demarcation. An example is when people who have neutral or cool undertones wear foundations with a yellow base. When you apply a foundation that doesn’t match your undertone, your face will show a line of demarcation, making your skin look gray or ashy. Additionally, the formula can oxidize and make your skin look even more unnatural.
Choosing the Best Foundation for Your Skin Tone
Once you know your skin tone and undertone, you’re one step closer to finding the right foundation shade for your skin. You may still go through a couple of trials and errors, given that there are hundreds of foundation lines and types in the market. But, knowing the specific characteristics of the foundation you’re looking for will help you identify your best match faster and smarter.
For cool undertones, avoid yellowish foundation because this can make your skin appear sallow. Go for foundation shades with a pinkish or blue base.
For neutral undertones, look for peachy foundation shades or something that’s not overly yellow or pink.
For warm undertones, a slightly yellow or golden foundation shade will look best on you.
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Tips for Buying and Applying Foundation
Ask or look for samples. If you are still unsure of what your exact foundation shade is or are in between two shades, grab a travel or sampler size bottle, tube, or sachet. Then you can try them at home, and if it’s not the right shade, at least it won’t be much of a loss.
Follow beauty vloggers and influencers that have similar skin tones as yours on social media. With this, you can get good product recommendations from them.
Before you buy a foundation, check the product in natural light. Artificial indoor light can affect how you see the foundation’s shade.
If you’re stuck between two shades, choose the lighter one. It’s easier to deepen a foundation shade with a bronzer than to lighten a darker foundation shade.
Combine foundation shades. With a little experimentation, you can mix up foundation shades to get your ideal shade. Just make sure the foundation products you combine have the same consistency.
Swatch seasonally. Your foundation shade may not be your match all year round. Your skin may get darker during the summer months and be paler during the other months. Shift your foundation shade accordingly by swatching your skin again when you notice a color change. By doing this, your foundation shade can match your skin tone transition.
For a more in-depth guide on how to figure out your skin tone, identify your undertone, and choose the right foundation shade, you can check out this infographic by Maybelline PH.