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How to match your perfect foundation shade


How to match your perfect foundation shade

The rise in more inclusive ranges of foundation and other makeup is an incredibly welcome – and long overdue – update to the beauty landscape. It means more people see and can access a makeup product that reflects their skin colour. The drilling down on more realistic colours with varying undertones and shade options means you’re likely to get closer to your natural complexion but sometimes selecting that best match can be overwhelming. 

Foundation mistakes are tough to avoid, and expensive, if you end up with a nearly full product launguising in your bathroom drawer. To find something new, consider the type of product that would best suit your needs. Once you have that in mind, what’s the best way to find your perfect foundation match?

Ask the experts

The best way to get a good match is to head to a counter with well-trained staff, have them colour match you. Try not to feel overwhelmed or pressured to purchase. Instead, ask for a sample of the and wear it for a day or two so you cant see how it looks in a variety of lighting situations. 

Of course the suggestions they make may be pricier than you’re able to commit to and sometimes you just don’t have access to those experts anyway. If that’s the case, use the following tips to find another option in your price range.

Use a matching tool

Sites like, Temptalia’s Foundation Matrix and the shade matchers on retailers like Mecca and Sephora are also helpful, so long as you know a product you’ve previously used (or the sample you’ve been given!) and it’s shade name that’s  proven to be a good match for your skin. Just select that product and the system will throw up all your potential matches for that shade in other brands ranges.

Rose Inc’s Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum swatches

Find your undertone

Skin is naturally translucent with subtle colour variations just beneath the surface. These are referred to as ‘undertones’. Brands usually divide foundation collections into tone ‘families’ so to find the best match on shade name alone, it’s helpful to determine if you skintone has warm, neutral or cool undertones.  Here are some general guidelines to use while considering the way the skin on your forearms looks.

Cool undertones
Skin burns easily.
Skin has more red or pink in it.
The veins in your wrist look blue or purple.
You look best in silver jewellery

Neutral undertones
Skin sometimes burns and sometimes tans.
Skin has a combination of cool and warm colours.
The veins in your wrist look blue or green or both.
 You suit both silver and gold jewellery.

Warm undertones
Your skin rarely burns and tans easily.
Skin has more gold, yellow or peach in it.
The veins in your wrist look green or olive.
You look best in gold jewellery.

Naturally black, brown, or blonde hair combined with green, grey, or blue eyes is an indication of a cool undertone. Hazel, brown, or amber eyes combined with naturally black, auburn, or strawberry blonde hair indicates a warm undertone.

Swatch away
Once you’ve determined your undertone you can try some products. Choose two or three shades from the same brand that you think look closest to your complexion. On clean skin, apply a swatch of each next to each other from your cheekbone down to your jawline. The best match will be the one that blends or ‘disappears’ into your own skin tone. If you can, walk to a place where there is a natural light source to check the colours. 

Finally, if you have to choose between two colours, pick the lighter one, you can always deepen it slightly with a touch of bronzer or powder.


For more, check out these glowy new foundation releases or this range of sheer foundations you can apply with your fingers.



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