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How to Choose the Right Shade of Foundation

Have you been victim of too-light, vampire-like foundation at one point or another? No longer will that be the case. (That is, unless you want to attract the attention of the Edward Cullens and Bill Comptons of the world.) As you begin to get more warmth from the Summer sun, you might need to switch your base shade to keep up with your complexion. To learn more about selecting the perfect foundation for your skin tone, just keep reading.

Your Undertones:
Generally speaking, if you look better in silver jewelry and you burn or get a rosy-red tan in the sun, you're probably a cool. If your skin looks more alive in gold jewelry or you tend to get a more golden tan, you're likely a warm. And of course, you're a neutral if you seem to be a combination of the two. Luckily, foundations are labeled accordingly, taking the majority of the guesswork out. Here's a hint: most people are in the warmer skin-tone category.

Don't Think Pink:
Unless you're really fair or cool, anything with pink undertones is probably not going to work. For something more natural looking, a yellow-based foundation is likely to be a universally flattering choice, as most skin has yellow undertones.


Get Stripping:
Sure, you can analyze your skin tone to your heart's delight, but the only true way to know if a foundation shade will work for you is to try it on. The best way to do this is to apply three different shades of foundation in vertical stripes, from the cheekbone to right below the jawbone. Avoid trying it on your arm, hand, or wrist, as these areas of the body can be different shades than your face. When in doubt, you can also sample colors on the forehead or décolletage.

Follow the Light:
Next, head to the window (or even outside) with a mirror, and check out your foundation stripes in natural light. The shade that disappears and blends into the face and neck is the one for you. Just keep in mind: the point of foundation is to even out tone, and not to change the color of the skin.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
JessicaMUA JessicaMUA 5 years
you cant clearly say yellow tone for yellow tones and pink is for pink undertones. There are MANY exceptions. People dont pick it out that way. There are even people who get into arguments at makeup counters because they are a cool and someone insisted they were a warm. Some people are yellow toned which is light but with alot of splotches of pink. Ive seen many clients who are light/yellow but certain foundations made them look like "jaundice/yellow" they complained.The right combo of pink and yellow made them soo bright and radiant. Its all on personal preference,thats all.Our skin is very diverse. One of the world's biggest makeupartist said everyone in the world can at least use 2 foundations, many people can wear 3 or more. It depends on what you are trying to bring out the most. On some days some people prefer to look more rosier so they use a pink undertone. Some people want that more rosier undertone because it looks fresher/young. We all know that NC is gold and NW is pink in MAC. NC is lighter than NW, NW is more reddish/pink. An NC40 and NW40. There are people who see both yellow and splotches of pink on them like I said. A yellow person will not look "ashy" when wearing pink undertones, they will look PINKY. Usually we humans are not one tone! we are not all yellow! there are fair skinned yellow people with pink undertones. Its actually preferred to use a combo of tellow/olive and red/pink undertones. You have to experiment. If you are yellow and use only yellow foundation than you will appear more flat( which is great if thats what you like) but addingpink makes you look rosier and many people love that. Alot of times darker toned women like African American/carribean women have to mix more than one foundation ,everyone on earth is different After years of being a makeup artist. The rule stands true. There are no rules to makeup, only rules of thumb. Nothing called "too anything".I disagree with telling anyone how to wear their foundation/blush/powder/eyeliner/eyeshadow. Makeup is subjective. Everyone has their own makeup style. Many light people tend to go light/lighter or mix it with a luminzer to make themselves brighter/radiant/porcelin like. A great example of this would be dita von teese, who even stays out the sun to maintain her light skintone and wears light foundation. Others prefer to be dark/darker and darken in the sun or use bronzer all over their skintone. Different people have different preferences. If I spelled "Horse" "Howrse" than there is no "ifs" "and" or "buts" because grammar isnt subjective. What is wrong is wrong!However. Makeup is subjective. I hate nude lips. Does that mean its right to say "dont wear nude lips" ? No. I might not like it but someone else might. There is no rule to makeup. Thats the beauty of being a makeup artist. There are soo many different styles. I hate bronzer. But maybe there is someone who loves that deep bronzed look. I cant go to them and say "dont go soo deep in the bronzer" and say its "constructive". There are soo many different styles.who is anyone to tell someone theyre wearing a too light or too dark foundation, because there is no such thing. Nicole and Sam from pixiwoo(huge makeupartists in Britain) sometimes wear paler or darker foundation and it looks gorgeous! as long as people blend it to the neck its fine....some people prefer to look bright and radiant.
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 6 years
Thanks Fashionista!! Good to hear from you :-)
Fashionista-fuera-de-la-ciudad Fashionista-fuera-de-la-ciudad 6 years
You have the real formula to find the best shade for foundation! I work as a beauty advisor and its how I do it!! Kuddos girl!!
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