1. Determine Your Skin Tone
Determine your skin tone depth (how light or dark your complexion is) by referencing The Fitzpatrick Scale. This scale indicates how your skin reacts when exposed to UV light and has 6 different levels, each of which has specific characteristics. Find out which level you are by asking yourself, "How does my skin react when I've been in the sun?"
Sometimes, you may find that you fall between two levels and that's ok. It simply means you may need to mix 2 different shades of foundation to get your exact match. Or, it can mean that you can get away with wearing a foundation color that fits into one category or the other.
2. Discover Your Undertone
Determine your skin's undertone. Your undertone is the actual hue/base color of your skin. It doesn't change despite things like sun exposure and skin conditions such as acne and/or rosacea. Undertones are permanent and can be Cool (pink, red, blue), Warm (peach, gold), Neutral (balanced red & yellow) or Olive (both warm & cool). The best spot to find your undertone is by using a mirror in natural daylight (by a window or outside) to look at the skin on the side of your face below your ears.
You can also look at gold and silver jewelry. Those with cool undertones tend to look best in silver. Conversely, those who look best in gold tend to have warm undertones. If you have no preference, you're probably more neutral or olive.
3. Pick Your Best Foundation Match(es)
Find your skin tone depth level and undertone using this chart. Then choose the corresponding foundation colors that most closely match your results. See below for foundation swatches or view foundation colors here: sample sizes of foundation.
|Your Fitzpatrick Level:||1 (Fair to Light)||2 (Light to Medium Beige)||3 (Light to Medium Tan/Olive)||4 (Deep Tan to Medium Brown)||5 (Deep to Dark Brown)||6 (Deepest Dark Brown)|
|Cool Undertone Foundation||Linen, Bisque||Sandy Beige, Rosy Beige||Fawn||Latte||Mocha||Espresso|
|Warm Undertone Foundation||Golden Ivory||Golden Beige, Warm Beige, Honey||Golden Tan, Tawny, Caramel, Cashew, Almond||Toffee||Earthy Brown, Pecan||Mahogany|
|Neutral Undertone Foundation||Neutral Ivory||Neutral Beige||Neutral Tan, French Toast, Praline||Nutmeg||Mocha, Walnut||Espresso|
|Olive Undertone Foundation||-||-||Cool Olive, Warm Olive, Flax||Amber||Golden Bronze||-|
4. Stripe Test
You should perform a stripe test on your face with sample sizes before purchasing any full-size foundation. What's a stripe test? It's simply applying a small swatch of foundation in a vertical manner on a specific area of your face to test for a color match. Contrary to what you may have heard, testing makeup colors on the underside of your forearm or back of your hand is NOT the correct area for color analysis.
The Correct Way to Perform a Stripe Test:
Caucasian to Medium Skin Tones: apply a small amount of foundation from the bottom of your jawline down onto the neck.
Women of Color: apply the foundation from the side of your cheek to just at the jawline.
Why do different skin tones stripe test differently? Mainly because women of color can have a condition called 'facial masking', which is when portions of the face are either lighter or darker than others. Sometimes more than one foundation color is needed to correct this problem; one to deepen and one to brighten (not lighten).
Choose the Correct Lighting.
Conduct your stripe tests in natural daylight- either outside or by a window. Indoor lighting, whether it's incandescent, LED or fluorescent, does NOT give you a true, full-spectrum light source. Perform the stripe test with 3 different shades of foundation at the same time next to each other and use shades that most closely match your natural undertones.
Wait For Results.
You must wait at least 3 to 5 minutes for the product to begin reacting with your skin's own natural oils and pH chemistry. Deciding if a color is right or wrong before the allotted time is up will not give you an accurate color reading.
If you are performing a stripe test with loose mineral foundation, you'll need to make a few minor adjustments as opposed to testing with a liquid or cream product. You can't just smear on a stripe of mineral powder and expect to see accurate results. Apply the mineral foundation in a vertical manner with a small brush and gently work the product onto the skin. No heavy buffing or blending is needed.
Check Your Results.
After 3 to 5 minutes check your stripes. The color that has blended in seamlessly is your match. If the first 3 shades weren't a good match, then simply remove and perform a new stripe test with 3 new colors until you find your correct shade. Just be careful & gentle when removing product. No harsh rubbing. You're stimulating your skin and it may flush slightly. If this happens, wait until your skin calms down and then proceed again with the stripe test.
*Conduct a new stripe test every six months because your skin tone can change that often from season to season.
Once you've found the color that is your match, now it's time to learn how to apply your foundation correctly: PERFECT FOUNDATION APPLICATION