The options for foundation shades are, thankfully, continuing to increase, but major brands still tend toward offering more shades for fair skin types but only a handful of shades for richly melanated skin tones. While that is the obvious problem, and the makeup industry needs to do better, the practical difficulty of finding a makeup foundation is also exacerbated by how confusing it can be to match a shade to your real skin. When searching for a foundation that looks seamless on your face, you need to know your undertone. Let's dive into that, and how it contributes to finding your foundation match.
Understand your undertone
What's an undertone? The undertone is like your skin’s personal photo filter that is always always there. It is a subtle hue beneath the surface of the skin. While skin tones can range from fair to deep, undertones can have warm hues (gold and yellow), cool hues (red, pink, or blue) and neutral hues (green). Every skin tone can have every kind of undertone. In other words, one can have medium skin tone with warm hues, medium skin tone with cool hues, or medium skin tone with olive hues. The same foundation would not work for all three people.
The type of tint in your skin undertone influences the kinds of foundations that you can wear seamlessly.
See your undertone at a glance
One popular and quick method is to observe the colour of one’s veins. If they appear green, the skin’s undertone is golden or yellow, hence warm. If the veins instead appear blue or purple, the skin’s undertone is pink or blue, hence cool. When the veins seem to blend into the skin, your undertone is likely neutral.
Another method consists of thinking back to the clothes and jewellery one looks best in. Individuals with cool-undertones may feel more attractive in blues, cool reds, and silver jewellery. Those with warm-undertones look good in orange, yellow hues and gold jewellery. Individuals with neutral-undertones can wear both. This method is less accurate and is best as a secondary criterion for deciding undertone, rather than as a first test.
A third and most effective method is to stand before a white background, and observe which colours appear the most apparent in the skin, using the contrast of the white background against the body. If the skin and body appear slightly reddish before a white surface, you are cool-toned. When the skin and body appear slightly yellow against the surface, you are warm-toned. And when the skin seems to have an olive tint, you are neutral-toned.
We are all multi-coloured
We all have different tones in our skin— it's normal! Our bodies are not fully symmetrical, nor are they completely one colour. As you do these tests, you will observe shifts in the colour tones across different parts of the body. It may be deeper toned under the eyes, lighter on the cheekbones, darker again at the jawline, and brighter on the top of the nose and forehead. You may find your face, on the whole, is a tad deeper toned than the neck. Or you may find your body tends to appear darker than the face.
Decide where you want to match your skin tones. Some people match their foundation to the exact shades on the face, while others will prefer to match it to their necks or chests. It is common for the neck to be a shade brighter or darker than the face. Matching the foundation to the centre of your chest can be very effective because it brings the face and the décolletage together as one unit.
Observe the oxidation
When some foundations are exposed to air, their chemistry causes them to change colours. This process is known as oxidation. Oxidation is when the skin's pH reacts to ingredients called oxides within the foundation formula (such as aluminium oxide, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and iron oxide).
Pigments in deeper shades are more prone to oxidising, simply because they may contain a higher amount of pigment. A simple swatch test helps with that. Swatch a new product on the cheekbone, let it settle, and see how it reacts to your body after one hour. If the colour has shifted or taken on an orange-ish hue, it may have oxidised. Sometimes, a lighter coverage foundation can help with oxidation, as it contains fewer pigments in the bottle.
Find your finish
We all have different skin types— oily, dry, combination. Getting to the right foundation also means finding the ideal finish. There's matte, dewy, glowy, natural, and more.
Although the decision is entirely subjective, dry skin with matte makeup can look excessively dry, and even cakey. Likewise, skin that produces excess oil can look even shinier when paired with dewy or glowing makeup.
Taking finish into account helps ensure that the makeup is finetuned to the face and also deals with any beauty concerns. Match dry skin with dewy finish makeups for more hydration, and pair oily skin with matte finish makeups to control shine.
What if it still does not match?
It is not your fault.
For too many years, the beauty industry hasn't been serving all types of people. It's only natural to feel frustrated after putting in the effort, time, and money to discover that the shades still look too ashy or orange. Too many people have felt that the only solution to find their shade is to blend their makeup.
No person should feel alone to fend for themselves when the market offers thousands of products. Diversity is more than simply offering a shade or two. It is also about understanding the needs of underrepresented people, such as their usage, habits, and preferences.
At the end of the day, a foundation should make you feel good. It should not be an experience that brings up feelings of frustration, or worse, marginalisation.
Yuty Advisor - Makeup
When you are struggling to find the right makeup, Yuty can help. Yuty starts with you.
You can use the Yuty Advisor for Makeup to find your perfect match. It starts with taking a selfie, then answering a series of questions. With your selfie, Yuty makes note of any feature attributes such as skin type and finds your dominant skin tones to save you hours of trying to see your veins or observe yourself on a white background.
Yuty gets to know you, and about how your skin behaves, your preferences, your routine, the number of products you like to use, and more through the questionnaire. When you tell Yuty about your location, Yuty looks at data about that location: UV, Air Quality Index, Humidity, and uses the information you have provided to find the makeup that will match you the best.
No more trial and error, Yuty gets to know you, to recommend a beauty regime personalised to you.
Where you and beauty meet. Yuty takes into consideration your genetics, lifestyle, environment and preferences when providing you with personalised recommendations. Take the YUTY Advisor™ today to find your perfect match.
Waheed, A. (2020, September 11). What BAME women should be told when buying foundation.