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Should Foundation Match the Face or the Neck?

Should Foundation Match the Neck or the Face?

Recently, a reader wrote in asking the following question:

I've always had a problem finding foundation. My real problem is that my face is a different color than my neck. My neck is very pale and my face is a little darker and redder. When I match foundation to my neck I look ghostly white, but if I match it to my face I have to put a bunch on my neck so I don't have a foundation mask. Do you have any tips?

Ah, a question for the ages. No matter what your skin color, picking the right shade and finish is no simple feat. For most of us, our necks and faces don't seem to be uniform. (And most of us don't particularly care to wear foundation on our necks in the first place.) Get tips on how to make foundation work for both your neck and face when you read more.

  • The selection: Most makeup artists will tell you to match your foundation to your neck for the most natural look. Start off with a foundation test. First swipe on three different shades (a light, medium, and dark one for comparison) from the top of the jawline down to the neck. The one that disappears into the skin and matches the neck most closely is the one for you. Note: It may take several tries to achieve the perfect balance.
  • What to avoid: Stay away from foundations that are too pink. They almost always look unnatural and masklike, calling attention to the fact that your neck and face are not the same shade. Instead, find a foundation with a yellowish undertone which will help to balance out any redness in the face.
  • Pulling it all together: Remember, the point of foundation is to even out the skin's tone, not to create an opaque veil of mismatched color. Most people need less product than they think they do, so try a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer instead. You can also dilute your base with a wet sponge, stippling lightly onto the face. If you find that your foundation is just a tad too light, brighten up with some bronzer and blush. A touch of bronzing powder on the neck and chest can also help to bring it all together.
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ツ3452478 ツ3452478 3 years
I'm contemplating doing the self tanner to help my lighter neck and chest somewhat match my darker face. This is a very annoying problem I have, as well.
NillaWafer88 NillaWafer88 6 years
Okay, what do you do when your neck is paler than any foundation anyone makes? My face is only slightly darker, but still on the verge of looking like a Tim Burton character.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 6 years
I made a typo. I meant a satin finish and not full coverage matte. :)
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 6 years
I'm an MUA, and agree to go with something that matches the neck/body. I always go with a foundation that has an easy texture. Light and not with a satin finish. Like NARS Sheer Glow, but it runs on the golden side. So I like Neutrogena Healthy Skin too.
isahrangme isahrangme 6 years
my forehead is a darker than the rest of my face, which is redder and/or darker (can't decide which or both) than my neck! if i match to my neck, it'll be too light for my forehead i think... i have foundation that is matched to my cheek area, and it's already too light for my forehead :[
Beauty Beauty 6 years
Thanks for the self-tanner tip, lizbear317. Good idea!
lazeny lazeny 6 years
I actually match the shade of my foundation to the tops of my chest and along the collarbone because the skin color around my neck is very uneven. I do apply foundation down to my neck to even things out and I make sure the shade matches my chest. Depending on the weather, and the fact that it's easy for me to tan (and loose that tan after spending a day indoors) with a neutral beige foundation (Shu Uemura 764) or a yellow undertoned foundation (Shu Uemura 964 or Lunasol YO03). I often wear V-necks or round necks, & an occasional low cut top, so for me it's very unnatural if I match the shade of my foundation to my neck - since my neck is darker than my chest and my face is redder than my neck.
Renees3 Renees3 6 years
thank you so much for these tips! It's been a long time question for me, and these all make sense. I also like lizbear317 idea of self tanner on the neck, maybe like one of those super gradual ones. I've always steered away from pink undertones even when salespeople say I should wear them because them always make me look pinker than I already am and it looks yucky! Maybe this weekend I'll try to hit up Sephora or a make up counter to find a new foundation! :-)
lizbear317 lizbear317 6 years
I've been using self-tanner on my neck so that I can get it closer to my face color & foundation. I have so much red in my face, especially around my nose, but I look sickly with yellow-based foundations. The self-tanner evens out my skin tone and then I don't look like I'm wearing a mask when I use foundation.
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