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How to find foundation shade online with photo?

Finding the right foundation shade can be tricky, especially when shopping online. With so many foundation shades and undertones available, how can you determine your perfect match just from a photo? Don’t worry – with the right tips and techniques, you can easily find your ideal foundation shade online.

Analyze Your Skin Tone

The first step is analyzing your natural skin tone. Look at these factors:

  • Fair, light, medium, tan, or deep complexion
  • Pink, neutral, olive, yellow, or golden undertones
  • Skin concerns like redness, discoloration, acne scars
  • Changes in skin tone like tanning or seasons

Identifying your depth of skin tone and undertones will help narrow down foundation families and shades. Fair complexions often have pink undertones, medium complexions tend to be neutral or golden, and tan or deep skin commonly has golden undertones.

Take a Selfie in Natural Lighting

To best assess your skin tone, take a selfie in natural daylight. Indirect sunlight near a window is ideal. Make sure you’re not wearing any makeup so your bare skin shows through.

Take photos from different angles – straight on, profile, above. Check the photos to see if your skin looks warm and golden or cool and pink. Zoom in to look at your neck and jawline, which typically match your face.

Drape Fabrics Against Your Face

Another handy tip is to drape different colored fabrics against your face to determine undertones. Try both cool-toned colors like jewel tones and warm colors like mustard yellow. See which makes your complexion look lively and which washes you out or makes you look sallow.

You can also try silver and gold jewelry. See if you suit sterling silver, white gold, or if warmer yellow gold flatters you more. This gives clues about cool or warm undertones.

Analyze Your Veins

Examining the color of your veins can also indicate warm or cool tones. Look at the veins on the inside of your wrist in natural lighting. Are they…

  • Blue or purple? You likely have cool undertones.
  • Green or olive? You probably have warm golden undertones.

If your veins seem to change between blue and green, you may have a neutral skin tone.

Ask For Help at Makeup Counters

Another option is to visit makeup counters in stores for a color matching session. Many cosmetic brands like MAC, Clinique, and Estée Lauder offer complimentary consultations. A makeup artist can expertly assess your skin in person and recommend shades.

Bring the photos you took of yourself for reference. Ask for samples of 2-3 shades that might suit you. Take notes on the shades and formulas recommended.

Swatch Foundation Shades

Once you have an idea of your skin tone and undertones, it’s time to swatch. Test shades on your jawline, near your neck and chest. Give them time to dry/set before checking the match in natural light. The right foundation should disappear into your skin, looking seamless.

Swatching in-store is best so you can test textures. If shopping online, look for brands offering samples or with flexible return policies. Only order 2-3 shades that seem closest to your skin tone to test.

Know Your Formula

Factor your skin type into the formula you choose. Consider options like:

  • Liquid – buildable coverage, various finishes, best for normal to oily skin.
  • Cream – rich hydrating coverage, dewy finish, ideal for dry skin.
  • Powder – lightweight coverage, matte finish, suits oily and acne-prone skin.
  • Stick – easy sheer coverage, best for dry skin and touch-ups.
  • Serum – light breathable coverage, luminous finish, great for all skin types.
  • Cushion – medium buildable coverage, lightweight feel, best for normal to dry skin.

Consider Seasonal Changes

Your foundation shade may vary slightly between winter and summer. Some tips:

  • Fair skin often gets a touch darker and warmer in summer.
  • Olive and darker skin can deepen and enrich in summer sun.
  • Use a tinted moisturizer or luminizer for adjustable sheer coverage.
  • Mix and customize shades to self-adjust for seasonal changes.
  • Plan to reassess your match yearly or seasonally.

Try Online Foundation Finder Tools

Many cosmetic brands offer convenient online foundation finder quizzes and tools to help determine your best match:

Brand Foundation Finder Feature
MAC Online shade matcher quiz
Estée Lauder Virtual shade consultation
Clinique Foundation shade finder tool
Smashbox Online complexion quiz matching
Urban Decay Virtual try-on technology
Sephora Color IQ skin tone analyzer

These online tools guide you through a series of questions about your skin tone, texture, and concerns. Many brands allow you to upload a photo for their technology to scan and match. Try several for the most accurate shade recommendations.

Read Reviews and Ask for Advice

Reading online reviews can provide valuable insight from real people with experience matching the foundation. Look for tips about shades and undertones specifically for your skin type. You can also search for makeup forums and communities to ask for personalized advice about finding your foundation match.

Order Foundation Samples

If you have the shades narrowed down, many brands offer convenient foundation samples you can order online to test the color match at home. Popular sample options include:

  • Sephora – samples available with qualifying purchase or for a small fee
  • MAC – samples free with online purchase
  • Clinique – samples free with any purchase
  • Urban Decay – free samples with orders over $35
  • Nars – samples free with any purchase

Order a few samples in shades close to your match for the most accurate at-home trial before purchasing the full foundation.


Finding your perfect foundation color online takes some effort, but is certainly achievable. Analyzing your skin under natural lighting, trying shade-matching quizzes, and sampling products are all effective techniques. With the right tools and diligence to compare shades, you can successfully shop for foundation online and look flawless.