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How to Find the Right Makeup Foundation for Your Skin


Finding the right makeup foundation is an important first step to creating a beautiful face. Foundation is the base for the rest of your makeup. Foundation can bring confidence by evening out skin color, minimizing pores, and giving the appearance of a fresh, flawless face.

Your True Makeup Color Match

The first thing you need to do when finding your foundation is to find the perfect shade of color. Matching the color of your foundation to the color of your skin makes the makeup disappear into your face. Foundation is definitely the makeup that you do not want to see. To get a great makeup color match to your skin, you must find both your skin tone and the undertone of your skin.

Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep

Skin tone is the color of the surface of your skin in natural daylight. The surface of your skin, your skin tone, is usually described in relative color groups. For example, your skin tone may be generally fair, light, medium, deep, or dark. Skin tone is usually constant and does not change, other than for people who are able to become tan or get a sunburn. It is a major mistake to only know the skin tone when going to the foundation color chart. To match shades, you need to add the undertone to your skin tone.



See Beyond the Surface with Undertone

Once you have determined your skin tone, dig deeper by finding your skin undertone. The skin undertone is the hue beneath your skin’s surface. The undertone can be described as the hidden colors in your skin. Fine artists, especially painters, are excellent at seeing skin undertones since they look at colors and their variations so closely.

Understanding the Types of Undertones

  • Warm undertone reddish or pink hues
  • Neutral undertone—a balance of red and yellow hues
  • Cool undertone—yellow or golden hues

Three Tests for Undertone

The classic test to determine skin undertone is the paper test.

1. Bright White Sheet of Paper Undertone Test

Hold a piece of bright white paper up to your face. Ideally, do this in bright daylight near a window.

What do you see when you compare your skin undertone coloring to the contrast of the stark white paper?
Do you see more yellows or golden hues in your skin?
You have a warm undertone.

Or do you see more reds and pink hues in your skin?
You have a cool undertone.

Are you unsure of what you see or do you see a great balance of hues in your skin?
You may have a neutral undertone.

What is my true color match foundation?
Skin tone + skin undertone = True color match foundation

2. Hands On But Hands Off

Once you know your skin tone and undertone, the best way to pick your foundation is in person. It is best to be hands on and try foundation samples. Get your hands on the foundation. However, it is a rookie mistake to test foundation colors on your hands. Hands are often a much different shade than the color of your face. The ideal spot to test foundation color is the jawline since you can compare the foundation shade to your neck and to your face at the same time. These two places often are the lightest and darkest places on your skin.

3. Mix and Match

Even armed with knowledge of your own skin tone and undertone, it can still be tricky to find the perfect shade of foundation. You can be like the makeup professionals and mix and match different shades to create a custom foundation.



Many Other Foundation Choices

The color shade match for foundation is just the start. Finding your foundation is both an art and a science. Formula, desired coverage, and application will also play roles in finding your foundation.

Foundation Formulas

There are fans of every type of foundation.

Liquid—classic formula, great for most skin types
Powder—great for oily, sensitive, or acne-prone skin
Cream—easy to apply, great for extreme conditions
Stick—same as cream and great for travelling

Desired Foundation Coverage

Foundations are made with different amounts of ideal coverage in mind, including light to medium to full coverage.

Foundation Application

Brush—provides maximum coverage
Sponge—provides medium- maximum smooth coverage

Florida Academy Can Be the Foundation to a Great Career

Can you determine someone’s skin tone and undertone in a snap? Are you a natural at seeing beauty in every shade? Do you love applying makeup on yourself and all your friends? Consider studying at Florida Academy in a real-world salon atmosphere in Fort Myers, Florida. Our Diagnostic Priming Specialist program is a certification program that will teach you the art and science of the beauty industry. You will get hands-on instruction from the pros to apply makeup professionally. Then, you’ll be on the road to one of the most in-demand careers—one that O*NET Online says is growing faster than average compared to other occupations.

Florida Academy’s Diagnostic Priming Specialist program is an official Make-up Designory (MUD) partner school. This MUD partnership provides our students a rigorous education in the intricacies of professional makeup artistry for film, television, fashion, theater, and retail. Our Florida Academy students proudly use MUD professional makeup.

Discover your passion today!

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