For so long, makeup brands and companies neglected to create makeup for women of color. Walking down the aisle and not finding a foundation that matches your pigment can take a serious toll on you. Luckily, more and more influencers and celebrities, such as Rihanna with her 40 shades of Fenty and Sir John working his magic on Beyoncé, are pushing for equality in the makeup industry. Now, finding the right foundation that matches your undertone is a bit easier with influential makeup brands being made by people of color.
With that said, here are tips on how to find the right foundation to match your skin tone so you can own any look you wear.
Step 1: Find Your Undertone
Undertone. What exactly is it? You probably know the tone of your skin, whether light or dark, but undertone seems like a bit of a mystery. While hard to describe, your undertone is the “tone” beneath your “tone.” Does that make sense? They are the colors that are beneath your skin’s surface that creates your unique hue, which can be warm, cool, or natural.
- Warm undertones: Gold and yellow
- Cool undertones: Red, pink, and blue
- Neutral undertones: Olive, or a mixture of the above undertones
Finding your undertone is a bit tricky, especially for multicultural women. However, there are a few strategies you can try to determine what type of undertone you have.
- Vein Test: This test is easy. Simply look at your veins and determine whether they appear bluer or greener. If they’re blue, your skin’s undertone is red, pink, or blue, meaning cool. If they’re green, your skin’s undertone is gold or yellow, meaning warm. However, if you have dark skin, it may be hard to tell with this test.
- Jewelry Test: Grab a gold bracelet and a silver bracelet and place each on a separate arm. Which one looks better? Don’t choose the metal you like, but the one that makes you radiate and glow. If gold looks best against your complexion, you have a warm undertone. And if silver looks good, you have a cool undertone. If neither stands out, you have a neutral undertone.
- Clothes Test: The clothes test is similar to the jewelry test. Cool undertoned people will look best in blue and red colored shirts, while warmer undertoned people will look best in yellows, oranges, and warmer hues.
- White Balance Test: For this test, stand against a white wall or hang a white bed sheet behind you and stand in front of a mirror or get your camera out. As you look at yourself, try and think what colors come from your skin. Do you see more red? Or warmer colors like yellow? This is another way to determine your undertone.
Step 2: Pick a Shade
When choosing a foundation, it’s important to keep your undertone in mind. If you have a cool undertone, look at foundations that appear to be more red, pink, or blue. And if you have a warm undertone, opt for foundations that come in gold or yellow hues. Then, choose multiple (between 5 and 10) to test out on your skin.
When testing foundations, look at your entire body, and not just your face. For women of color, your face tends to be a little bit lighter than the rest of your body. Your hands, neck, and chest are all good areas to look at when testing new foundations. However, always avoid your underarm. Your underarm barely sees the sun and can be multiple shades lighter than the rest of your body.
Once you’ve swatched foundations on your chest, neck, or arm, look for the one that matches your skin tone the most. The point of foundation is to create an even, uniform color to your skin’s complexion. You don’t want to choose a foundation that’s too light and makes your face look like it’s detached from the rest of your body.
When testing, it’s also important to keep the swatches on for a few hours. Oxidation is when the pH of your skin reacts to certain elements in the air and in the foundation, resulting in your foundation changing colors. As a tip, look for foundations that mention they match the pH of your skin. This will ensure you don’t end up with a different colored face after a few hours of application.
Step 3: Choose the Right One
You either have oily, dry, combination, or normal (lucky) skin. To find the best foundation, choose one that pairs well with your skin type. If you have dry skin, don’t opt for a foundation with drying formulas, such as those with matte finishes, as they will dry your skin out even more. Instead, choose a hydrating foundation that has moisturizing elements included.
- Oily Skin: Avoid dewy products as they’ll make you extremely glowy. Instead, opt for a matte or powder foundation if you have oily skin.
- Dry Skin: Avoid mattifying foundations as they can lead to drier skin. Instead, use a dewy foundation with hydrating formulas to help you glow.
- Combination: A bit tricky. If this is you, experiment with both mattifying, powder, and dewy foundations to see which looks best.
- Natural: The world is all yours, sister!
To complete the look, choose a coverage that matches your preferences. Some women prefer a more natural look, while others prefer to glow. With the right coverage and concealer, you’ll be able to mask blemishes and other imperfections to create a look you love.
The Bottom Line
Finding the right foundation for your skin type will take some trial and error. With these steps and some experimentation, you’ll be able to determine your undertone to find a foundation that matches your skin type to