How to find the right foundation shade when buying makeup?

Finding the right foundation is akin to finding your soulmate, at least in the beauty world. The perfect shade should seamlessly blend with your skin, enhancing your complexion without masking it. Yet, the quest for that perfect shade often proves challenging. To aid you in your quest, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to ensure you find your ideal foundation shade every time.

Understanding Skin Undertones

Your skin’s undertone is the hue that shines beneath your skin’s surface. Generally, undertones fall into three categories: warm, cool, and neutral.


  • Warm undertones have a golden, yellow or peachy complexion.
  • Cool undertones are typified by pink, red, or blueish hues.
  • Neutral undertones have a balance of both warm and cool hues.


To determine your undertone, look at the veins on your wrist. If they appear greenish, you likely have a warm undertone. If your veins seem more blue or purple, you’re probably cool-toned. If it’s hard to tell, you likely have a neutral undertone.

Testing Shades

The best place to test a foundation shade is along your jawline, as this area will give you an accurate read of your face and neck color. The right foundation should blend seamlessly with your skin and disappear without leaving a stark contrast.

Considering Skin Type

Your skin type is also a key consideration when shopping for foundation. If you have oily skin, you might want to opt for a matte finish, while those with dry skin might benefit from hydrating or dewy foundation.

Choosing the Right Shade

Once you have established your undertone and skin type, it’s time to select the right shade. Foundation is typically labelled with its undertone (warm, cool, neutral), which should guide your selection process.

  • Warm Undertones: Opt for foundations labelled with W, Warm, Golden, or Caramel.
  • Cool Undertones: Look for labels indicating C, Cool, Pink, or Rose.
  • Neutral Undertones: Search for foundations marked with N or Neutral.

If you’re shopping in a store, apply a small amount of several shades that seem to match your skin tone to your jawline. If you’re shopping online, use the brand’s shade finder tool or compare the shade description to your skin tone.

Natural Lighting Check

Always check the foundation in natural light. Indoor lighting can alter the appearance of the shade. Step outside with a mirror or near a window to get an accurate idea of how the foundation looks on your skin.

Time for Oxidation

Remember, some foundations may darken as they oxidize and react with the air and your skin’s natural oils. Ask for a sample, if possible, or wear the foundation for a few hours to ensure the color stays true.

Getting Professional Help

If you’re still unsure, a makeup artist or consultant at a makeup counter can help. They are trained to match foundation shades and can provide you with professional advice.

Remember, the goal of foundation is to enhance your natural skin tone, not to change it. The right foundation will make your skin look like the best version of itself. So, take your time, try a few different shades, and when you find the one that disappears into your skin, you’ll know you’ve found your match. Happy hunting!

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