Beauty | September 13th 2016

The Shade Game


Let’s face it — when it comes to foundation, we’ve all had our fair share of makeup malfunctions. Whether we end up looking like we fell asleep in a tanning bed, or like we got nostalgic for the days of Twilight-mania, everyone’s gone through at least one serious foundation fail.

Finding the perfect shade for one’s skin tone can be a daunting task without the right knowledge. But fear not! With these easy steps, you’ll be an expert in no time.

Step 1: Understanding your Undertone
Before you actually choose a foundation, it’s important to understand your skin’s undertone. For the beauty beginners out there, an undertone is just the predominant color tone underneath your skin’s surface. A lot of people don’t realize that the epidermis (the lop layer of visible skin) is constantly changing color, due to sun exposure, acne, and other factors. So the best way to establish your true skin color when foundation-hunting is actually by knowing your undertone.

Typically, people fall into one of the three following categories of undertones: Cool, Warm, or Neutral. If you fit the first category, then your skin will appear more bluish, red, or pinky. If your skin has warm undertones, it may seem more golden, yellow, or peachy. If your skin has a neutral undertone, you might have a combination of both cool and warm tones.

Step 2: Test out your Tone
Now that you know a little bit about undertones, here are some tone tips to help you figure out yours.

Quick Tip: Test for undertones in natural or incandescent light, as fluorescent lighting can give skin a greenish tint.

The first test is the vein test. Look at the veins on your inner wrist. If they’re blue, you have a cool undertone. If they look greenish, you have a warm undertone. And if you can’t really tell if they’re blue or green, then your undertone is probably neutral.

The next test is the jewelry test. Silver jewelry tends to compliment cooler undertones, while gold tends to look better on warmer tones. If you can rock both, then you’re totally neutral!

Step 3: Know your Skin Type
While knowing your skin type doesn’t necessarily help in finding the right shade of foundation, it will definitely help you create a flawless finish for your face.

Quick Tip: Buy foundation with a decent SPF to provide a small measure of protection against sun exposure and harmful UV rays!

There are three categories of skin types: oily, dry or combination skin.

For oily skin, choose a matte finish or an oil-free powder foundation. If you have dry skin, opt for a moisturizing liquid or cream foundation. For those with combination skin, you want to balance oil treatment with hydration, so try looking for products that can be used together to sit gently on the face without leaving it streaky; powders, sticks, and creams in combination can all do the trick.

Step 4: Finding The One
Now that you’ve learned about your undertone and skin type, you’re ready to choose the right foundation shade!

When buying foundation, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the beauty experts. A lot of makeup companies, like Shiseido, NARS, and Estee Lauder have questionnaires and toolkits designed to help you navigate your foundation-hunting and gain an edge in the shade game.

Even without professional help, a little bit of looking around in-store will make an impact. Using your knowledge about your skin tone and type, the label can guide you through your search. Most foundations should indicate cool, warm or neutral tone, as well as their textural qualities on skin.

Once you’ve picked out a few shades, test them out on your jawline and neck. These are the best two spots to swatch foundation, as they are the truest to your natural skin color. The right shade will blend and disappear seamlessly into your skin, while the wrong shade will stand out and look blotchy.

Keep in mind that your skin is constantly changing, so the hunt for the right products is an ongoing process. Always remember that you are beautiful and the right foundation should enhance your beauty — not mask it. But now that you’ve found the perfect color foundation, you’re ready to take on the world face first!