How to Match Foundation to Skin Tone

Shopping for foundation can sometimes feel like an impossible mission. You might’ve even found what you thought was the perfect shade, but it didn’t look anything like the color in the bottle once you put it on your skin.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a foundation with the wrong undertones. If the color doesn’t match your skin, then you can wind up with a sharp contrast line on your neck where the makeup ends and your natural skin begins, and no one wants that.

Fortunately, you can make sure your skin always looks natural by learning how to match your foundation to your skin tone. Continuing reading to learn more about how to find your perfect foundation match.

Definition of undertones

What Are Undertones?

The undertone of your skin is the color that lies just beneath the surface, and it affects your overall hue. Undertones are classified as neutral, warm, or cool.

Warm undertones are often described as golden or peachy, as there is more yellow or orange in your skin tone. People with warm undertones look great wearing foundation with orange and gold hues.

If you have cool undertones, then your skin has more blue or pink in it. In this case, you’ll want to look for a foundation that has more of a bluer-base in shades of red and pink.

Neutral undertones have a mix of both. If you have neutral undertones, then figuring out how to match foundation tends to be easier, since you have more options to choose from.

How to find your undertone

Pick Your Shade

If you’re wondering “how do I match my foundation to my skin tone?”, you first need to figure out what your undertone is. There are a few ways you can go about this.

One of the fastest ways to determine your undertone is the jewelry method. With this method, you’ll want to think about which jewelry looks best against your skin. If you tend to look better in silver jewelry, then you likely have cool undertones. But if you love the way gold jewelry looks on you, then you may have warmer undertones. Someone who switches easily between both is likely to have neutral undertones.

You can use a similar method by holding a white piece of fabric close to your face. Someone with warm tones will notice that it enhances their skin, while a person with cool undertones will look washed out. You can also try the vein method by looking at the color of the veins on your wrist. If you have blue veins, you likely have a cool undertone. If you have more green veins, you have a warm undertone. If you see both colors, then you have a neutral undertone.

Once you’ve figured out your undertone, it will be a lot easier to find your perfect shade. Most foundations come in a variety of light, medium, and dark shades.

Keep in mind that some people have uneven skin tones. This could be caused by sun exposure, genetics or even dry or oily skin that needs special care. Learning how to manage skin with different tones throughout isn’t difficult, but you’ll want to be extra cautious to choose a blendable foundation that works well with your overall skin color.

Be Mindful of Your Skin Texture

When you’re first learning how to match your foundation to your skin tone, you need to be mindful of your skin texture. Our skin’s texture influences how the foundation glides across the surface, along with the absorption rate.

If you have dry or aging skin, then you’ll want to look for a foundation that has a hydrating effect. Someone with oily skin may need to use a powder-based foundation that helps reduce the chances of the colors being diluted by your natural oils. It’s important to find the right finish for your skin that is not only the perfect shade, but also works with your skin texture.

How to do a color match for your foundation

Do a Color Match

While it would be great if you could tell what foundation color looks best on you by just looking at the bottle, you’ll want to put it on your skin to see how it actually looks once it’s applied. Before buying any foundation, it’s important to do a color match so you don’t come home, open up the bottle, and then realize it’s the completely wrong shade.

Try Out Your Foundation In Different Lighting

Foundation has pigments that can reflect and absorb light, which can make the color seem different in various situations. Once you’ve applied a swatch of foundation to your skin, you’ll want to look at the foundation in different lighting, like in natural light vs. artificial light.

Make sure to check your face from every angle to see how the light hits your features and impacts the color. While the color can change slightly, you should find that a foundation that is the right shade for you will look right in every type of lighting.

Match It to Your Neck and Chest

If you know how to match your foundation perfectly, then your makeup should also look good on your neck and chest area. This part of foundation matching can get a little tricky, since many people’s faces are darker than their neck and chest.

Choosing a foundation that matches your neck helps you to avoid that dreaded contrast line that is a dead giveaway that you are wearing the wrong color of foundation. Don’t forget to match your foundation to your chest as well. You want to choose a foundation shade that blends seamlessly from your face all the way down to your chest.

Bottles of liquid foundation in different shades

Be Mindful of the Seasons

Knowing how to match foundation to your skin tone is a year-round challenge because your skin color is likely to change with the different seasons. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, then you can expect the skin on your face to get darker in the summer. Alternatively, your skin tone should lighten up over the winter months, especially if you live in a cloudy or cooler climate.

As you swap out your wardrobe, take a moment to reassess your current foundation shade as well. You might need to do a new color match to switch to a new color, or you might want to pick two shades to blend while you are in the in-between stages of tanning.

Apply Your Makeup Correctly

The way that you apply foundation also makes a big difference in the final appearance. You should always apply makeup on clean, dry skin with a clean makeup brush.

Once you’ve prepped your skin, you can then apply your sunscreen if you need more coverage than your foundation provides. Then, you have the option of applying a primer. You might want to use a tinted primer to smooth out any parts of your skin that are red, or you might prefer the extra hold that certain primers provide for extending the wear of your foundation.

Remember that a little goes a long way. Quality foundations should provide enough coverage to last all day with minimal touch-ups. Putting just enough foundation on your skin to smooth out the color is the most effective way to avoid a cake-like appearance.

You’ll also want to choose the right application tool. Using your fingers can expose your skin to bacteria that cause blemishes, and you might pull too hard on delicate parts of your face that are prone to wrinkles. Instead, you’ll want to use a fluffy foundation brush with powdered types and a dense one with stick or cream foundations.

Wet foundations also go well with a makeup sponge. As you use your makeup tool, remember that the idea is to gently buff the foundation into your skin so that it stays in the right place. If you find that certain parts of your skin are still not blending in, then you might need to use a concealer as well.

When you’ve blended the foundation well into your skin, then your final step is to set it. You can use blotting paper or setting spray to make sure that your foundation lasts all day. To preserve your appearance, try to keep your hands off of your face and remember to reapply the foundation if your face gets wet or after you put on more sunscreen.

 Woman putting liquid foundation onto her hand to color match

Discover Your Perfect Foundation Match

Finding your perfect foundation match can seem like a long process, but it’ll be worth it in the end when you find your perfect match that blends seamlessly into your skin.

After you figure out your skin’s shade and undertones, you can pick out the foundation that is the perfect hue to blend into your skin and provide subtle coverage. With UVA protection, you can also ensure that your foundation serves double duty by helping to maintain your skin tone so that the color matches for longer.

If you’re in need of a new foundation, check out Colorescience. Colorescience foundations provide lightweight and creamy coverage that is loaded with peptides and lipids that help hydrate skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, providing you with a perfect finish that lasts all day.