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How To Find Your Right Foundation Shade Like A Pro

Your foundation should blend all the way in.

Foundation is among the few makeup essentials that you don’t want others to see, meaning it’s supposed to look just like your skin but better. And when it comes to finding your perfect match, things can get a bit tricky, especially with the massive variety of shades and formulas to choose from. Luckily, we have a few solutions to help ensure a seamless finish. To start, you’ll need to have some knowledge of your complexion and undertones. Need some guidance? Keep reading to learn more about how to find your foundation color match, plus the best drugstore foundations you can use, ranging from powder to liquid formulas

How To Determine Your Undertone

While most people already have an inkling of what their skin tone is, the same can’t always be said for undertones. The difference between the two is that your skin tone refers to your complexion, whereas undertones are the colors that come through your skin and affect the overall hue. The undertones of your skin are either cool, warm, or neutral. Cool undertones appear in your complexion as hints of blue or pink, while warm undertones appear more yellow or golden. If your undertones are neutral, you fall in-between. 

To find your undertone, look at the inside of your arm. If your veins appear blue or purple, you’re cool-toned, while green veins indicate warm-toned skin. For those who are unsure, you might be neutral. You can also try holding a white piece of paper next to your face to determine your undertone. The white should create a cast of color on your skin. If your face appears more pink or blue, you fall into the cool category, and if you take on a more yellowish hue, you’re warm. If your skin seems gray, you’re neutral. 

How To Find Your Foundation Shade 

Once you’ve figured out your undertone, you’ll be able to look for foundation shades that correlate. If you have a warm undertone, you should look for foundations with warm tones. Cool undertones should go for formulas that have hints of pink tones. Some foundation shades even come with a label that will signify the undertones to make it easier to find a match (for example, an N will correspond to a neutral shade and a W will stand for warm).

When it comes to testing out foundation shades, there are some important techniques you should take note of. Check out our tips below. 


To find a foundation shade that best suits you will require a few trials. To color-match like a pro, try swiping your foundation shade on your chin or the apples of your cheeks. According to L’Oréal Paris celebrity makeup artist Sir John, your chin and the apples of your cheeks are likely to be two different colors so it’s important to invest in both foundation shades so that you can multi-foundation (kind of like multi-masking) to highlight the brightness at the center of your face. “If you use your chin foundation [there] you’re going to lacquer away some of the brightness that we have in the t-zone,” he says. “You don’t have to go a million shades lighter, it can just be one shade lighter.”

Editor’s Note: Since our faces and necks can be several different colors all over due to sun exposure, hyperpigmentation, and more, some women prefer to test foundation at the center of their chest for an overall even look that also matches the body. 

2. Test Under Different Lighting

Keep in mind that depending on the season, your complexion might change. You may be lighter in the winter due to less sun exposure, and darker in the summer if you tan. So be sure to apply a swipe of foundation first and look at it under different lighting before doing your entire face. And when it comes to lightning, don’t just rely on your bathroom lights (since you most likely won’t have bright lights around you all the time), be sure to test out your foundation in natural lighting as well to get a sense of what it will look like when you’re spending time outside.  

3. Use A Virtual Foundation Try-On Tool

Unable to test out foundation shades in the store? Try out the L’Oréal Paris Virtual Makeup Try-On Tool, which allows you to try shades from any of the L’Oréal Paris foundation lines. That’s more than 100 shades you can test without ever leaving the comfort of your home!

Our Best Foundations For Every Skin Tone

If you’re looking to add some new foundations to your beauty kit, read on for some of our favorite picks.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup

This foundation offers blendable, true-to-you shades that match your skin’s texture and tone. With 45 shades, there’s a pick for everyone, and it’s formulated with pro-vitamin B5 and vitamin E to keep skin looking radiant and healthy. It’s also free of oils, fragrances and won’t clog pores

Editor’s Tip: Don’t forget to set and lock-in your makeup with a powder. Reach for the L’Oréal Paris True Match Powder and dust it lightly across your face after applying your foundation.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear in a Powder, matte finish

Powder foundations are great for giving you an airbrushed skin-like finish. This breathable and weightless formula stays put for up to 24 hours and offers a matte finish suitable for all skin types. The best part? It’s waterproof and sweatproof, so you won’t have to worry about touch-ups throughout the day. 

L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation, Lightweight

This lightweight, long-wear foundation works to give your skin the medium-to-full coverage you crave while resisting sweat, water, and transfer. With 30 shades to choose from, it has an ultra-thin liquid formula that goes on smoothly and helps create a fresh, healthy-looking complexion. 

Editor’s Tip: Use a makeup blender like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender to blend and buff your foundation, working from the center of your face, outward.

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Radiant Serum Foundation with SPF 50

This liquid formula offers the full coverage of a foundation and the skin care benefits of a serum. Specially designed for mature skin, it’s formulated with vitamin B3, SPF 50, and a hydrating serum. It works to deliver a natural, radiant finish that evens out skin tone without settling into fine lines.



Photo Credit: Photography: Matthew Zach, Senior Art Director: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay

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