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How to Choose the Right Foundation Shade

How to Choose the Right Foundation Shade

Do you have foundation shade paralysis? You’re not alone! Nailing the perfect foundation shade can be tricky, but it all comes down to determining your undertone. The goal of a foundation is to match your natural skin tone and even out the overall appearance of your skin. Using the correct foundation shade will allow your natural skin tone to shine through. Use these quick tips to determine your perfect foundation shade by first understanding your beautiful skin’s natural undertone.

What is an ‘undertone’?

Your undertone is the underlying shade of your skin.  Undertones generally fall into four groups; Warm (yellow or golden light and medium skin tones), Cool (pink or red light and medium skin tones), Olive (medium and medium deep skin tones), and Neutral (balanced light and medium skin tones).  In fact, your undertone has nothing to do with how light or dark your skin appears. It also has nothing to do with the amount of pink or redness you see on your skin due to irritation, rosacea, eczema or acne.  Focus on your undertone first, rather than matching your foundation to your skin color in the moment.

Look at your face, neck and chest in daylight. Then, read the following descriptions and select the one that most resonates with you.

COOL

Cool undertones in skin has a beautiful pink, red and may even have subtle hints of blue. Does this sound like you?

Your skin shade is:  very light with hues of pink to medium tan if you are on the lighter end of the spectrum.  If your skin tone falls towards the deeper end of the spectrum, you could characterize your coloring as coffee or chocolate with varying degrees of cream. No one would ever say that your skin has a “golden” or “honey” glow to it.

You look amazing wearing:  jewel toned clothing (fuchsia, rosy pink, violet, emerald green, sapphire blue, aqua), grey and black clothing

You don’t look so hot wearing:  mustard yellows, burnt sienna, ochre, tomato red, orange, brown, hunter green, spring green, olive green, orangey red, burnt orange, coral and peach clothing

You look best in:  silver jewelry

Check the underside of your wrists:  your skin has red or pink hues and the veins on your wrists are mostly blue and purple

The wrong foundation will look:  too orange

You have:  blue, green, grey or brown eyes

You have:  light to medium ash blonde or light to medium ash brown hair, neutral brown or black hair

When you get in the sun: If you are at the lighter end of the spectrum, you burn first and then tan (maybe).

Celebrities with cool undertones:  Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman, January Jones, Christina Aguilera, Amy Poehler, Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily Blunt, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kate Middleton, Olivia Wilde, Oprah Winfrey and Alek Wek

Choose foundations with:  cool undertones and stay away from anything that looks golden

Try our cool Organic Mineral Infused Foundation in:  Cameo, Bisque, Shell, Camel, Sunset, or Clay 

Try our cool Organic Infused Blush in:  Cozy, First Blush, Majestic and Dusty Rose

Try our cool Organic Infused Lip Love Lipstick in:  Adore, Lovely, Enchant, Wink, and Kiss 

Try our cool Organic Infused Lip Gloss in:  Cirque, Swing and Fortune

WARM

Warm undertones in skin has a beautiful golden, peachy or honey glow. Does this sound like you?

Your skin shade is:  very light with hues of peach to golden beige if you are on the lighter end of the spectrum.  If your skin tone falls towards the deeper end of the spectrum, you could characterize your coloring as honey or golden. No one would ever say that your skin has a “pink” or “red” hue.

You look amazing wearing:  earthy brown, olive green, orangey red, burnt orange, mustard yellow, brown, coral, cream, ivory and peach clothing

You don’t look so hot wearing:  jewel toned clothing (fuchsia, rosy pink, violet, emerald green, sapphire blue, aqua), grey and black clothing

You look best in:  gold jewelry

Check the underside of your wrists:  your skin has peachy, yellow or golden hues and the veins on your wrists are more green

The wrong foundation will look: too pink, red or ruddy

You have:  blue, brown, hazel or olive green eyes

You have:  golden blonde, brown or black hair

When you get in the sun:  you tan easily and don’t burn very often

Celebrities with warm undertones:  Jessica Biel, Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Taylor Swift, Kate Hudson, Gisele Bündchen, Amanda Seyfried, Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Beckinsale, Beyonce and Mary J. Blige

Choose foundations with:  yellow or golden undertones

Try our warm Organic Mineral Infused Foundation in:  Pearl, Ivory, Porcelain, Tan, Sand, Beige, Caramel, Honey, Amber, Fawn, Sepia or Sable

Try our warm Organic Infused Blush in:  Tickle and Smitten

Try our warm Organic Infused Lip Love Lipstick in:  Muse, Afterglow, Innocent, Divine, Haiku, Courage, Tango, Secret, Moxie and Autumn

Try our warm Organic Infused Lip Gloss in:  Aerial, Levitate, Illusion, Carousel and Hypnotist

OLIVE

Olive skin tones are comprised of a variation of two undertones, yellow undertones or green undertones. This beautiful combo generally comes off as a muted bronze with subtle hints of green coolness. Does this sound like you?

Your skin shade is:  very light to medium tan bronze that could be mistaken for a classic “cool”. However, the “olive” skin tone is a slight deviation from the classic “cool” due to the subtle green hue that gives you that gorgeous cool bronze tone.  

You look amazing wearing:  almost anything! light pink, light apricot, plum, emerald green, olive green, turquoise, faded blue, denim blue, marine blue and golden yellow

You don’t look so hot wearing:  neon colors, brown, mauve and beige

You look best in:  both gold and silver jewelry

Check the underside of your wrists:  your skin has a muted golden hue and the veins on your wrists are more green than blue

The wrong foundation will look:  too white, ashy or pink

You have:  green, hazel, amber or brown eyes

You have:  blonde, red, brown, dark brown or black hair

When you get in the sun:  you tan very easily

Celebrities with olive undertones:  Eva Longoria, J-Lo, Jessica Alba, Selma Hayek, Lucy Liu, Kim Kardashian and Demi Moore  

Choose foundations that:   look balanced or are very subtly leaning towards golden.  Stay away from any bright yellow/golden foundations, cool pinks and reds.

Try our Organic Mineral Infused Foundation in:  Bisque, Camel, Sunset or Sable

Try our Organic Infused Blush in:  First Blush, Tickle, Smitten and Dusty Rose

Try our Organic Infused Lip Love Lipstick in:  Afterglow, Muse, Moxie, Innocent, Divine, Haiku, Tango, Lovely, Secret, and Wink

Try our Organic Infused Lip Gloss in:  Aerial, Cirque, Levitate, Illusion, Carousel, and Hypnotist

NEUTRAL

Neutral skin tones are comprised of a beautiful balance of cool and warm with no obvious undertones of pink, olive or yellow. If you have this skin tone you may have noticed that you are able to wear many foundation shades in a specific shade range. Does this sound like you?

Your skin shade is:  very light to a deep coffee or chocolate with no specifically distinguishing pink, red, golden, or honey hues to your skin. It’s exactly how it sounds, perfectly neutral.

You look amazing wearing: muted shades of baby pink, rose, ruby, jade, mint, grey, taupe, pink, beige and lavender

You don’t look so hot wearing:  electric colors, bright yellow, hunter green, bright pink, bright purple, red and black

You look best in:  gold and silver jewelry

Check the underside of your wrists:  your skin has a balance of golden and pink with no obvious undertones and your veins appear both blue and green

The wrong foundation will look:  too white, ashy or pink

You have: grey, blue, hazel or brown eyes

You have: light to medium ash blonde or brown hair

When you get in the sun:  you may or may not burn first and then tan

Celebrities with neutral undertones:  Sarah Jessica Parker, Adele, Miley Cyrus, Natalie Portman, Kelly Clarkson and Victoria Beckham

Choose foundations that: Look balanced or are very subtly leaning towards golden tones. Stay away from any bright yellow/golden foundations, cool pinks and reds.

Try our Organic Mineral Infused Foundation in:  Pearl, Porcelain, Bisque, Camel, Sunset, Sepia or Sable

Try our Organic Infused Blush in:  First Blush, Cozy, Smitten, Tickle and Dusty Rose

Try our warm Organic Infused Lip Love Lipstick in:  Muse, Afterglow, Innocent, Divine, Haiku, Courage, Tango and Secret

Try our Organic Infused Lip Gloss in: Aerial, Cirque, Levitate, Illusion, Carousel and Hypnotist

Test the Color Properly

Once you’ve chosen a foundation to test, use a Q-tip to swipe a small dab of foundation on your cheekbone, around your nose and at your jawline on one side of your face. Then, stand near a window or outdoors where you can utilize natural light for a true reading. You’ve picked the right color if your foundation disappears.

Don’t “correct” your skin tone. Your skin tone is perfect the way it is! If you have blemishes or redness, address the color inconsistencies first with a concealer. Then use the foundation that most accurately represents the beautiful skin tone you were born with.

Don’t try to change your skin tone. You will be much more radiant using the foundation shade that most closely matches the beautiful skin you were born with. And remember, depending on your skin, you might need different foundations for different seasons. Evaluate your foundation in the winter and again after sun exposure to make sure you still have a good match.

Still unsure where to start? Check out our Skin Tone Color Matcher here to identify your perfect products and shades visually. We also offer a free color consultation with one of our Beauty Advisors for a personalized color analysis and product suggestions!

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Wondering Where to Start? Try our Color Match system.

To help you select the ideal Organic Infused Foundation shade and related products for your skin tone, please click on the skin tone you feel is closest to your natural skin tone.