How to Find the Right Foundation Shade while Online Shopping
With stores like Sephora and Ulta closed due to the pandemic and in-store color-matching and try-outs no longer a thing, we rely heavily on online shopping to tend to our beauty needs. While it may be easy to find a lipstick or eyeshadow online, foundation is a completely different story with its abundance of shades, undertones, and oxidation. Foundation–as the name suggests–is the fundamentals of our entire look. If our foundation sticks out and doesn't match our neck and shoulders, our entire makeup look will look funky. So whether you're experimenting with a new foundation or finding one that matches your new summer tan, follow these two simple steps to find your perfect shade!
☆ Step 1: Know your undertone
I use to spend hours in Sephora swatching a bunch of different shades trying to figure out the right shade for me. If a shade was too dark, I'd immediately go to the shade right below it thinking it would be slightly lighter. But that's not how it works.
Foundations typically come in three or four different undertones: cool, neutral, warm, and sometimes olive. These are the colors that come through your skin from underneath the surface.
Someone with a cool undertone might have a pinkier complexion, they often look best in silver jewelry, and their veins look blue or purple.
Someone with a warm undertone tends to have yellowier or beigey complexion, they often look better in gold jewelry, and their veins are blue or green in color.
Someone with a neutral undertone has a balance of both warm and cool tones, they look great in both silver and gold jewelry, and their veins are blue.
Additionally, someone with an olive undertone has a green or grey complexion.
Undertones are extremely important when determining your correct foundation shade. For example: if your complexion is naturally warm, a cool-toned foundation can make you look extremely ashy. Or if you're naturally cool-toned, a warm foundation can make your face look super orangey or yellowy.
☆ Step 2: Find your shade range
Now that you know what undertone you are, the second step is to find what shade range you fit in. This might be obvious for some if you're a make-up pro, but if you're unsure, no worries! A huge benefit when online shopping for a foundation is that the internet has everything! Brands don't typically display their swatches or descriptions of the shades in-store, but when you're online... there are tons of resources, which leads me to the next tip.
FIND THE SWATCH CHART!
If the swatch chart isn't displayed on the site that you're shopping on, it can easily be found with a quick google of "[Foundation name] + swatches." Using this swatch chart, you can compare your complexion to those of the models'. If you have fair skin, you're likely to be in the light or fair shade range. If you sport a nice brown tan, you might fall within the medium or medium-dark range. These swatch charts often include descriptions of the undertones as well, which incredibly helpful.
Foundation shades are typically numerically organized from lightest to darkest–yes–but this doesn't mean that shade 140 is the next shade you should try if 145 doesn't work out. The organization of foundation often skips around varying from one undertone to the next. Perhaps shade 145 has the right undertone but is too dark, you will want to find the next lighter shade with the same undertone such as shade 135.
This will at least help you narrow down your options to two, so you won't have to order a bunch of foundations just to swatch them.
☆ If you have another foundation that's already a perfect match, look up its undertone and description to help you find your new match!
☆ Sephora has a great Shade Finder tool that can help match your current foundation to another brand. This tool is great if you already have a match, but not the best when you're trying to figure out your shade.
☆ For the best foundation, look for a shade that matches your neck, shoulder, or decolletage!
☆ Always use a primer or moisturizer underneath your foundation to prevent oxidation!
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions or if I left out any info, I'll try to answer them below