How to Find the Right Foundation for Your Skin Tone

From a pro!

Caitlin M.
ByCaitlin M.

Foundation might be a necessary step in the makeup process, but it can also be a difficult one to master. In fact, if it goes awry, it can cause big issues. Foundation that is too light or dark will instantly have the opposite effect and draw attention to the fact you're wearing makeup instead of blending right into skin. To help you color match like a pro, we tapped celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli to get the lowdown on all things foundation.

Know your tones: Undertones are key in understanding foundation. Finding your skin's right undertones is the best way to find your perfect foundation match. Thankfully, there a few ways to learn your tone. The first way is to learn how your skin behaves in the sun. "Cooler skin tones typically have less melanin in their skin are more likely to burn under the sun quicker," explains Scibelli. They're typically fairer-skinned, as well. In addition, veins in cooler-toned people's forearms or wrists tend to appear bluer in shade. "Warmer skin tones appear to be obviously 'warmer' in tone, with yellow and orange undertones peeking through their skin," he says. Warmer skin people usually have olive to deeper skin tones and have more green-toned veins, he adds. Bottom line: Blue-toned veins indicate cooler tones, greener veins are warmer, and a mix of both indicates a neutral tone.

Match it up: Once you learn your undertone, finding the shade to complement it is crucial. If you have cooler undertones, avoid foundation with yellow or orange undertones. Instead, look for a product with a slight pink tint to it to balance out your color. If you have warmer undertones, Scibelli recommends using foundations with beige or yellow undertones. "The yellow tends to cut the redness, which is really nice," he says. If you already have red or pink undertones, you actually want to avoid foundations with those undertones as they will only enhance redness in your skin! Lastly, if you're neutral in tone, find and option that's in the middle and doesn't favor one color over the other.

Give it a try: Obviously, it's incredibly important to test drive your foundation before deciding if it's "the one." Let's be honest, swatches and colors on makeup packaging just don't cut it. Whether you're at the department store or drugstore, testing your foundation is key. Instead of the traditional hand swatch, Scibelli says it's best to test makeup on your jaw line, as it's closer to your true shade. "Swipe a sheer layer of foundation across your jaw line to match your skin color," he says. "I like to keep the neck color in mind as well because you don't want a drastic difference in color between your face and your neck."

Apply like a pro: When you find your perfect pair, there's one last way to ensure it actually lives up to expectations. Scibelli suggests applying with a foundation brush. "I know so many women who apply foundation with their fingers, and I will say, it's not going to look as even," he adds. "You also risk bacteria and oil from your fingers to land on your face!" Scibelli suggests using a synthetic foundation brush and starting with a light application, then building up in areas where you feel you may need more coverage. Try rms beauty Skin2Skin Foundation Brush to get a finger-like application, without all the mess. "To start lightly, I suggest putting the foundation on the top of your hand and pick up the product with a brush from there," so that you have control over how much you're picking up!" he explains. Lastly, of course, you can always turn to a trusty beauty blender to help control blending. 

In need of a little foundation fix? Don't worry, we've got that part covered too. We rounded up (and tested!) the top ten drugstore foundations on Influenster!

What's your favorite foundation? Join Influenster and let us know in the comments below!

About the Author
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M.
Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller