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Foundation: Finding the Right Shade

I see foundation as a canvass, so getting the right shade makes all the difference in one’s look. A lot of people use foundation that does not match their skin tone, making them look ashy. For some people, it may be difficult to find their perfect shade, but that can be easily remedied by mixing together two different shades, preferably of the same brand to make your own custom shade.

There are four key points you want to consider when selecting the best foundation formula and your correct shade: your skin type, desired coverage, skin tone and undertone. First, you will need to understand what type of skin you have: dry, oily, normal or combination. Based on your skin type and your desired finish, (matte, radiant, natural), you can select the foundation best suited to your needs.

The next step is selecting your coverage. Coverage means how much of your natural skin you want to show through your foundation. (sheer, medium or full)


Then, you need to determine your basic skin tone.  Are you fair, moderately fair, medium, medium deep, deep or very deep?


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Then, on to undertone, which is a word that usually confuses people.  When we talk about undertone, what we mean is the color that is most predominant in your skin after brown and white.

An undertone is the color that’s just beneath the skin, and while your skin tone (your skin’s surface color) can change over time (due to sun exposure, diet, health, etc.), the undertone does not. Foundations usually come recommended for one of three undertone types: “cool,” “neutral,” or “warm.” It’s possible, though, to fall somewhere in between (you could be “neutral-warm,” for instance).

Those with cool undertones will notice their skin has a pink, red, or blue tinge to it.

You have a “cool” undertone if:

  • • If the veins on your wrist are blue or purple
  • • If silver jewelry flatters your skin more than gold

If you have neutral undertones, your skin is neither pink/red/blue nor yellow/gold/peach, but somewhere in between.

You have a “neutral” undertone if:

  • • The veins on your wrist are blue-green
  • • Both gold and silver jewelry flatter your skin

Those with warm undertones will notice their skin has a yellow, gold, or peach tinge to it.

You have a “warm” undertone if:

  • • The veins on your wrist are slightly green or olive
  • • Gold jewelry flatters your skin more than silver

Once you’ve determined your ideal foundation formula, it’s best to pick at least 3 colors that appear to be close to your skin tone. Test them on a clean jaw line before you make your choice.  The shade that disappears is the correct shade match.   Be sure to use enough foundation so that you get a clear idea of its true color.  A little dot won’t show you enough.

Remember, foundation is all about creating a smooth and consistent colouring throughout your face, neck and décolleté; getting the right shade makes all the difference

Foundation: Finding the Right Shade
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