How to Color Match Foundation

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From what I can tell, choosing foundation and lipstick seems to be the hardest and most intimidating things for women who aren’t terribly comfortable or interested in makeup.

And I totally get it. Lipstick can feel really foreign and intense if you aren’t used to wearing it, and there are roughly a million shades and finishes of foundation that it can seem daunting to even start the search!

I love trying cosmetics, testing out new foundations is always fun for me, but if you are looking for your first foundation, or simply just want to discover the absolute best one for you, I’m sharing some tips to do just that today!

I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Teighla Norris on this shoot. She’s a makeup artist and hairstylist, and I’d highly, highly recommend her if you’re in the Raleigh area!

I asked her to come in and help my friend Joanna color match a foundation, and share a few of her tips for applying foundation as well.

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The most ideal spot to color match is along your jawline. It’s easy to compare the shade with a flat part of your face (your cheek area) so you don’t run into shadows from the light hitting your nose or chin.

“It is truly life changing when you match your foundation exactly.  A correctly matched foundation disappears onto the skin leaving your skin looking naturally enhanced and flawless and leaves people wondering if you even have it on.  No more orange jawlines!” says Teighla.

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If you aren’t sure of your undertone, often pink or yellow, try lining up 2-3 foundation shades, one more pink and one more yellow, to see how they compare to your skin. Stand near a window for natural light, and see which matches best.

One of the most common ways to determine your undertone is to look at the veins on your wrist. If they look blue, your undertone is likely cool. If they look green, you probably have more warm tones to your skin. If you can’t really tell, you may be right in the middle at neutral. This article expounds on undertones more if you want to check it out!

Joanna’s skin is cool toned, and Teighla ended up using the first shade of foundation that she swiped. The second one was too light, and the third was too yellow.

Oftentimes I buy foundation from Ulta, Sephora, Nordstrom or Target, and they all have great return policies. So if you aren’t able to test out the foundation in store, which you can do everywhere but Target, keep in mind that you can return it. It’s best to look up each store’s return policy before you buy.

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I used to err on the side of a touch too light than too dark for foundation, but I’ve learned that too light can be really terrible. It can look quite ghostly in photos. Take the time to find the right color for your skin, even if that means something a bit darker in the summertime and lighter in the wintertime.

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Teighla also has some great advice for applying foundation. She says, “Start with one pump.  Applying with a foundation brush helps you to achieve an even coverage of foundation.  Go back with a DAMP Beauty Blender to make sure it’s completely blended and to blend in concealers.  When using the damp beauty blender it is best to use a stippling motion so that you are not wiping off the makeup.  I blend the foundation down the neck to be sure that the neck and face match.”

Personally, I like to start near the center of my face and work my way outwards when applying.

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Doesn’t Joanna’s skin look just radiant? She’s glowing, but still looks really natural and not overly made up!

I wish you the best of luck in finding your idea foundation shade, and really hope these tips help!

Huge thanks to Teighla Norris for doing makeup, Jordan Maunder for shooting, and Leslie-Alford-Mims House for providing a beautiful atmosphere!

For more tips on foundation, here is why I recommend using a foundation brush to apply, and my favorite foundations based on coverage.

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Michele says · 08.29.16

All of this is why I tend to make trying makeup in store the last thing on my errand list. Otherwise, I wind up going to other places (than just home) with other colors smeared on my face!

I think you, your sister, and all of your fabulous friends should get an RV and drive around the country doing makeovers for people like the What Not To Wear crew! Wouldn’t that make a great TLC show (or at the very least a better TLC show than bringing back Toddlers and Tiaras or Say Yes To The Crew Sock)?

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Jessica says · 08.29.16

I LOVE THIS IDEA! Haha!

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Meredith says · 08.29.16

So of the 3 choices on her face which one was chosen?

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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Chrissy says · 08.29.16

Which color did she end up using? And is she considered cool, warm or neutral?

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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Ashley Ziegler says · 08.29.16

I don’t normally wear foundation, but when I want to purchase some, I never know how to. This is so great! Thank you! 🙂 I also sell LipSense if you would like to review the product on your blog! It’s a long-lasting lipstick that isn’t a stain! 🙂 Message me for more details!!

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Kayley says · 08.29.16

After reading this post, I think it would have been more helpful had you included what skin undertones your friend has. Is she cool, neutral, or warm? What foundation of the three on her skin did the makeup artist choose and why? These two details would be really beneficial.

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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kate says · 08.29.16

Great tips and lovely photos!
http://my–socalledlife.blogspot.com.es/

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Jen P says · 08.29.16

Great tips as always! As an aside I’ve been watching your snaps, I feel your pain with the cold sore situation! I get them also a couple of times a year and they are so miserable. My dentist prescribed Zovirax pills, u take them as soon as you feel a cold sore coming on and I have found that it doesn’t even develop, or if it does it lasts one to two days and is way less painful and noticeable. I just keep the pills refilled and at the ready. I wish someone had told me about this years ago, so I’m passing it along to you! Love your blog and snaps!

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Rachel says · 08.29.16

Same comments as above! Is the model cool, warm or neutral? Which of the 3 shades sampled on her face did the artist go with? This type of info would be helpful. 🙂

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says · 08.29.16

I’d love to know which of the three shades was chosen for her.

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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emily says · 08.29.16

Which shade was shown for her? Was she cool/neutral/warm? And which shade was which tone?

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emily says · 08.29.16

picked, not shown *

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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Andrea says · 08.29.16

I love these tips and I agree that finding a foundation that matches is so hard. I always think it matches but the lights in the stores make the foundation shade look different!

http://www.thebeautydojo.com

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Emily says · 08.29.16

Thanks for this post – I also always wonder if it is the correct shade.
Which foundation color did the use.

Also, I recently cut my hair and would love to see a tutorial on a model with shorter/shoulder length (straight) hair of a few styling and/or curling options. Something to consider…Thanks!

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Stacy says · 08.29.16

Joanna is so beautiful!

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Shannon says · 08.29.16

What products were used to achieve this natural, glowy look?! I would love to try and recreate it. Her skin looks beautiful!

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Jessica says · 08.29.16

This is probably a dumb question, and maybe it’s supposed to be obvious, but which of three colors did Teighla end up using for Joanna?

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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Kelsey says · 08.29.16

I have NEVER found a foundation that matches my skin tone. I mean never. It’s tough being pale with olive undertones. Someone offer to do the shopping for me, please?

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Jasmine Jalava says · 08.30.16

Definitely need to keep this for when I purchase my next foundation! Thanks for sharing!

http://www.jasminesecret.com

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AmieS says · 08.30.16

I agree with many of the comments above…..more info on this please! what color was chosen? In one picture I thought it would be the foundation on the far left, but then in another photo I thought perhaps it was the one in the middle.

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Kate says · 08.30.16

Just added that to the post! Sorry I missed it! She’s cool toned and Teighla chose the first shade.

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Cassie says · 08.30.16

Where is Joanna’s necklace from?

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Calee says · 08.30.16

This is a great post! Just what I’ve been needing and looking for. Thank you Kate!

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Jocelyn says · 08.30.16

I didn’t even notice that Joanna had three shades on her face until you mentioned it; that first shade blends in so well! Joanna, you look great! Thanks for the tips, Kate. 🙂

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Kylie says · 08.30.16

which foundation was used? I didn’t see it in the post. thanks!

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Layne says · 08.30.16

What brand of foundation was used for the final look?

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Katie says · 09.01.16

I really love this post because matching foundation is SO tough to do! Conveniently, I have super pale cool-toned skin that looks pretty identical to Joanna’s, so you’ve done most of the work for me 😉

I will say, though, that with skin like hers, Joanna really doesn’t need foundation. I’ve been watching JKissa’s makeup tutorials on youtube, and while I don’t think I’m brave enough to try ANY of her looks, I really appreciate the fact that she just wears undereye concealer and really embraces her natural skin. I’m trying to do the same and I’d LOVE some pointers on how to match concealer to your natural skin (instead of to your foundation), especially without the undereye appearing too bright and mask-like. I’d also love some tips on blending it out… I’m using a beauty blender, but it’s still patchy sometimes.

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Liz Zambrano says · 09.01.16

What brand foundation was used on her?

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Shauna says · 09.02.16

Great post and very helpful! It can be very easy to choose the wrong shade of foundation x

Blushhx

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Lyn says · 09.02.16

Joanna is beautiful, and I thank you for the post. But honestly, I don’t think even the chosen foundation is *perfect* for her. A perfect match (and there’s bound to be one out there somewhere for everyone!) should completely disappear on the face when swatched. Just my humble opinion!

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Tiffany says · 09.08.16

I always, but always, have problems in getting the right foundation for my skin tone. Especially in summer, when I get a little tanned and I must change it. I have a really greasy complexion, which adds an extra problem to my concerns. But thanks to you, now I am more confident that I will find the appropriate foundation. I am really grateful for this tips!

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Amy says · 09.13.16

Where is her necklace from?

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says · 09.14.16 Reply
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Liz says · 08.22.18

Thanks for the great info, Kate! What about for people who tan easily. I always find that my face is lighter than my skin (probably from using daily SPF Mosturizer) but I don’t want it to look that way. Do you suggest matching foundation to the chest/neck area ever?

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Diana Louis says · 05.03.20

Liz you are right you may also check olive skin tone https://glaminati.com/olive-skin-tone/

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Rose says · 01.07.21

Just thought I’d drop by to mention that findation.com worked great for me during lockdown in buying a shade from a different brand based on a shade from elsewhere that I already owned. Cant say if it always works but I was super impressed when I used it!

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