Dan Thompson: Beauty Busted


Foundation Colour Matching

How to Select the Perfect Shade for You!

This past weekend I had the privilege of working with some very talented cosmetics professionals.  

I was asked to give a workshop to help hone their make up artistry skills and I have to say it was a pleasure to be in the company of such eager and excited people. One of my favourite joys is to teach. It reminds me of all the fun the beauty industry offers.

One topic that came up, more than once, was the difficulty in matching foundation shades for their clients.

Yes even the pros have difficulty with this!

Here is my fail-proof method for chosing the correct shade of foundation. This works regardless of coverage or formula and my only caveat is: if you can't try the foundation on before you buy; don't buy!


Selecting Foundation

Step 1 - Consider both the overtones and the undertones of the skin.  Overtones are obvious and often seen through the centre of the face (ie pink or yellow). Undertones are a little trickier. Look at the neck to determine the undertone: fair, medium or dark.  This changes with season and with time.  Skin is a living organ and the foundation shade will need to be updated regularly.

Step 2 - All foundations are colour swatched according to: light, medium or dark undertones. Within each of these categories there are shades that are more pink (cool) or more yellow (warm). Choose three shades which match both your overtones (cool, neutral or warm) and your undertones (light, medium, dark). Apply directly to the jaw line in vertical stripes going toward the cheek leaving enough space between each selection to compare without confusing the colours. Be generous with the application it is important to see the colours clearly.

Step 3 - In natural light look at all three shades and determine the swatch which you cannot easily see where it begins and ends on your skin (can you see the top of the swatch or the bottom? this is the wrong shade for you). The one without a defined beginning or ending, on your face, will blend the most naturally to your skin.

Last tip - always apply foundation with a brush (even liquid) not a sponge.  You will use less make up and the look will be more polished.