How To Choose A Foundation Shade Online: The Make-up Artist’s Guide
5 minutes read
Globally, millions of women ask, “What foundation shade am I?” Here, the experts tell us how to determine your correct skin tone (and undertone) and how to choose the right foundation shade online.
What colour suits your skin tone?
Foundation, skin tones and undertones
Your skin tone is basically how dark or light your skin is, depending on the amount of melanin it has. There are three primary skin tones: fair, medium and dark. Undertone refers to the different shades just beneath the surface of your skin.
- Fair or light skin: This skin type is sensitive to the sun, burns quickly and needs plenty of protection from UV rays. It usually has cool undertones: these are red and pink hues with a bluish tint.
- Medium skin: People with olive skin tone that tans easily. They usually have neutral undertones – a balance of both of the other two skin tones.
- Dark skin: People with this skin tone often believe they don’t need sunscreen. This is not true. They usually have warm undertones – gold, peach and yellow. Some also have sallow skin.
Sometimes companies also talk about The Fitzpatrick classification – this is a system that categorises skin phototype:
Typical features of the skin and the tanning ability:
- Pale white skin, blue/green eyes, blond/red hair – Always burns, does not tan
- Fair skin, blue eyes – Burns easily, tans poorly
- Darker white skin – Tans after the initial burn
- Light brown skin – Burns minimally, tans easily
- Brown skin – Rarely burns, tans darkly easily
- Dark brown or black skin – Never burns, always tans darkly
Work out your skin tone
Ask yourself the following questions…
- What is my hair and eye colour?
Those with fair hair and light eyes often have cool or neutral skin tones, while those with dark hair and eyes have a warm skin tone. However, there are many exceptions to this rule.
- What colour does my face look in natural light?
Hone in on your jawline because this will be your most natural skin tone and the one you need to match when choosing a foundation colour.
- What do my veins divulge?
Bluish or purple veins indicate that your skin tone is cool, while those with warm skin tones usually have green or blue/green veins. If you can’t decide whether your veins are blue or green, you likely have a medium skin tone.
- What colour of jewellery looks best on my skin?
Even though we all have different metals in our jewellery box – there’s usually one tone that complements our skin perfectly.
Cool undertones prefer silver jewellery, while those with warm undertones look best wearing gold. Medium skin tones are lucky – all jewellery colours suit them.
Colours that suit your skin tone
Clarins advises, “If your skin has pink or red undertones, go for a beige or pinky-beige foundation. Those with sallow skins with yellow undertones can colour correct with a pinky beige or neutral foundation. And those with olive or dark skin should choose golden beige shades.”
Make-up experts’ tips for testing the product on your skin
- Don’t test on your wrist, neck, or hand. Test on your jawline. The perfect shade will disappear into your skin.
- Check what the foundation looks like in natural light. Don’t rely on the mall or shop lighting.
- Don’t go too light or too dark. Match the colour perfectly to your skin tone.
- Please don’t buy the foundation until you’ve tested it on your skin for a couple of hours. Make sure it doesn’t oxidise in daylight, doesn’t react to the oils in your skin and changes colour.
Talking texture and skin type
Foundation comes in liquid, powder, or cream. What you use is a personal decision that depends on coverage, your personality and what feels comfortable on your skin. It’s also important to consider your skin type.
- Oily skin: Use a powder-based foundation that soaks up excess oil and mattifies the skin. Our choice? The long-wearing Everlasting Foundation, £35, which conceals imperfections.
- Combination skin: The Everlasting Foundation, £35 mattifies and hydrates. Although it has an extremely light texture, it offers excellent coverage for up to 24 hours.
- Dry skin is often also sensitive: We recommend first nourishing and hydrating the skin with the SOS Comfort Face Mask, £33 , then using a moisturising serum foundation like Skin Illusion, £34.
- Mature skin: Exfoliation and hydration create a smooth canvas for make-up to sit onto. For this skin type, use an Extra-Firming Foundation like Everlasting Youth Fluid, £38, the light texture and formulation mean that it won’t settle into lines even after it’s dried.
It’s all about coverage
- For a natural finish that enhances your skin tone, choose a BB Cream. The BB Skin Detox Fluid SPF25, £35,50 contains Acerola Seed extract that boosts the skin’s oxygenation, offering a balanced, radiant, natural-looking effect.
- For light coverage, choose Skin Illusion, which comes in 24 shades. It’s moisturising and creates a gorgeous glow.
- The Everlasting Youth Fluid, £38 offers medium coverage in 24 shades. It instantly restores skin, offering a radiant, glowing effect.
- For full coverage, Everlasting Foundation, £35 offers a flawless finish, 24-hour wear and hydration. Its lightweight texture mattifies the skin, quinoa hydrates and organic oat sugars lift and tighten facial contours.
Online foundation colour guides
There are several sites where you can compare foundation products. That’s fine if you already know what works for you and gives you a good basis. However, be aware that some services might use algorithms that are not always accurate. If in doubt, enlist the help of a professional.
Virtual Foundation Finder
To make things easy and match you with the perfect foundation, Clarins offers online assistance. The Foundation Finder app lets you choose your skin tone and undertone, how much coverage you want and whether you want a matte or luminous finish. It then suggests the perfect foundation.
There’s also the innovative virtual Try-on app: Upload a photo of yourself or use your camera, then try on all the different foundation products in various shades to see what suits you best.
Clarins’ beauty experts also offer excellent advice on foundations, including everything you need to know about achieving a natural, matte, smooth, or radiant complexion. It’s all there online waiting for you.