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How do I match my foundation to my skin tone in store?

Finding the perfect foundation match can be tricky, but it’s important for making your makeup look natural and flawless. Here are some tips for matching your foundation to your skin tone when testing products in store:

Know your undertones

First, determine if you have warm, cool, or neutral undertones. Veins that appear blue or purple mean you have cool undertones. Green or olive veins mean warm undertones. A mix of both means neutral. This will help guide you to foundations with compatible undertones.

Test natural light

Head to the natural light section near the store entrance. Natural light doesn’t lie! Avoid fluorescent lighting which can distort color. Take a hand mirror and test shades along your jawline in natural light to see which tone blends in seamlessly.

Try before you buy

Test a few shades before purchasing. Dot and blend them along your jawline near your face, not on the back of your hand which is often a different tone. Be sure to let it sit for a few minutes before judging the color. The right shade will disappear into your skin.

Know your skin type

Consider your skin type too. Those with dry skin should avoid matte or powder foundations which can cling to dry patches. Oily complexions tend to fare better with oil-free liquid and powder foundations. Look for hydrating foundations like cushion compacts if you have dry skin.

Ask for samples

Don’t be afraid to ask for samples at makeup counters. Most are happy to make you mini samples of foundations to take home. This allows you to test colors in natural lighting to determine the best match before purchasing.

Start lighter rather than darker

It’s better to start with a shade slightly lighter than your skin and blend down to match it. Starting with a darker shade rarely works well as it’s hard to lighten without looking unnatural.

Test on your face, not just your hand

Putting foundation on the back of your hand is not the most accurate way to test. The skin on your face is a different color and texture, so foundations can look different. Dotting it along your jawline or cheek gives you a better sense of how it will look.

Check oxidation

Give your test foundation 20 minutes or so to oxidize before determining if it’s a match. Some formulas oxidize and turn orange after application. Wait to see how it interacts with your skin before purchasing.

Blend into your neck

Be sure to blend the foundation down onto your neck to ensure your face matches your body. There’s nothing worse than having an obvious foundation line.

Try different formulas

Test different foundation formulas like powders, liquids, sticks, and cushions. Sometimes a different formula in the same shade matches better due to differences in texture and coverage.

Don’t settle between seasons

Your skin tone likely shifts somewhat between summer and winter. Don’t settle for a color that’s not quite right – get matched each season for your best foundation.

Sun protection is key

For the most accurate match, protect your skin from tanning and use self-tanner rather than bake yourself in the sun. Otherwise you’ll have to keep adjusting your foundation.

Make friends with the beauty staff

Develop a relationship with associates at your favorite makeup counter. They can provide invaluable expertise and free samples to help you find your perfect match.


Finding your ideal foundation is well worth the effort. A flawless complexion ties your entire look together. Take the time to swatch under natural light, check oxidation, and test drive it before buying. The right formula in the perfect shade can make you look airbrushed and beautiful.

With some trial and error while keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to find a foundation that effortlessly melds with your skin. No more makeup lines or unnatural color! Just naturally gorgeous, glowing skin.

Now that you know how to match your foundation when testing products in store, you can feel confident finding the ideal shade. Keep these tips in mind during your next foundation hunt for a complexion that looks professionally done. With the right formula and color, you’ll look photoshoot ready wherever you go!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to test foundation color in store?

The best way to test foundation color is to apply it in natural lighting along your jawline or cheek in store. Let it sit for 10 minutes to oxidize before determining if it matches or not. Be sure to blend down to your neck as well.

How do I know if a foundation matches my skin tone?

A properly matched foundation will disappear into your skin and become nearly undetectable. It won’t look too light, too dark, too yellow, or too pink. The color will effortlessly blend in and match your neck as well.

Should I ask for a foundation sample before buying?

Yes, asking for a sample is highly recommended. Most makeup counters will make you a small sample to take home so you can see how the foundation wears throughout the day. This prevents buying the wrong color.

What is the best foundation formula for oily skin?

Those with oily skin tend to do best with oil-free liquid or powder foundations. Avoid foundations with a dewy or luminous finish. Matte or semi-matte formulas work best for controlling shine.

How do I color match foundations online?

It’s tricky to color match foundations online, but you can use brand shade finders on their websites for guidance. Also look up swatches of the shades you are considering to compare to your skin tone. Only purchase from retailers with a good return policy.

Should I get matched each season?

Yes, it’s a good idea to get color matched for foundation about twice per year or whenever you notice your complexion tanning or changing color. Your skin tone likely shifts at least a bit between summer and winter.

What is the best way to prevent oxidation?

Using an antioxidant primer underneath your foundation can help prevent oxidation. Quickly blending out foundation with a sponge vs. a brush also minimizes oxidation. Stay away from silicone-based primers if you’re prone to foundation turning orange.

How do I color match my foundation if my face is a different color than my body?

Focus on matching the foundation to your face rather than your body, since that’s where it will be applied. Be sure to blend it down your neck for a seamless transition. You can also use bronzer and self-tanner on your neck/chest to help even out your skin tone.

Should I wear sunscreen under foundation?

Yes! Always apply sunscreen underneath your foundation to protect your skin from sun damage. Choose a sunscreen marketed as a primer or with a matte finish to allow foundation to smoothly glide over the top.

Key Takeaways

  • Determine your undertone – warm, cool or neutral
  • Swatch potential shades along jawline in natural lighting
  • Let foundation oxidize on skin for at least 10 minutes before deciding on color
  • Ask for samples to take home when possible
  • Start with a lighter color and blend down
  • Match to your face, not just your hand
  • Blend onto neck to prevent visible lines
  • Get matched for each season as skin tone changes