The Colors of the…Base?

Hello Lovelys!

I hope this week has been spectacular for you all! It’s finally getting warm here in Chicagoland, but it IS Chicago, and that could go away in minutes.

So today we’re talking about the most difficult part of base in my opinion, which is finding your color. Skin color is such a complicated thing. A lot of people think (and I was totally guilty of this too) it’s just “I’m beige in this, I’m beige in everything,” and thats definitely NOT the case for multiple reasons. First, makeup companies loveee to confuse us by not only giving names to foundations, but some only use numbers, some use both. Some companies have multiple foundations with the same name, but the colors are COMPLETELY different.

And then most complex of all is our own skin, because it changes so much and its all so different. I’m going to try my best to explain it as to you guys, because I know you can get it!
Here we go!

When speaking in the makeup world, skin generally has three tones to it: surface tone, undertone, and actual color. Surface tone and under tone often get mixed up because they are a bit confusing but fear not, I’ll simplify it. Think of when you get a sunburn. your skin turns red, and sometimes it stays red for some time. That doesn’t mean your skin will forever be red, it just means the surface is red for a while. Thats surface tone, and its complicated because it changes so much, and sometimes its so strong, it takes over the undertone. Undertone is the natural tones of your skin. Let’s take the example of two people who have a fair skin tones. They can both be the same shade of fair, but their skin looks completely different because one has a warm undertone and one has a cool undertone. Makeup companies really tend to categorize three undertones, though there are definitely more than three. These are: Warm (commonly referred to as yellow), Cool (commonly referred to as pink), and neutral (commonly referred to as beige). As I said, there are plenty more, such as olive but most companies (and I emphasize that I’m not saying all) don’t carry much outside of the three. Below are some foundations I’ve swatched to give you an idea of different tones.


Now these are taken in flash to enhance how they looks, but you can kind of see. The first looks a bit more neutral, the second clearly warm, and the last a bit more pink.

So how do you determine which you are? Well, when I was in Sephora training we were taught to go by the color of our veins. If the veins in your wrist look a little more on the green side, you have a warm tone, more on the purple is cool, and blue is neutral. I’ll insert a pic of my veins below (is that weird?) to give you an idea. Mine tend to look more on the green side, and true to that, I am more of a warm tone.

Some people can tell just by looking at themselves, but again sometimes surface tones get in the way. I find that if you look at your neck in the mirror and you look where your neck starts to curve into your shoulder, you can often see a hue there, and that’s what your undertone tends to be.

From there, you take into consideration your overall tone, and this is the “fair”, “medium”, “light” ect. names in base colors. Obviously every company differs in what they may consider “light” versus “fair”, but if you have a general idea you’re ok. And most people have a good grip on where they fall in the spectrum with this.

One of the biggest tips I can give anyone is if you can swatch your foundation on yourself in store, DO IT. Please, please, please do it! This will be the best indicator on of a foundation will work for you! I recommend watching on BOTH the neck and face, if your neck happens to be a bit darker in comparison to your chest and face, I would opt for matching to you chest and face instead. Its totally possible that your foundation will match your neck and not your face, and that’s ok. Typically the general guideline is if you have to match one of the two, you choose neck (or chest) so you don’t have that fabulous line of makeup that’s a different color. But ultimately the choice is up to you, whatever you feel is best for you. I do discourage swatching the arm or hand to match a color, as these areas get most sun, so colors won’t match the face.

Ultimately you want to pick the one that blends most seamlessly into the skin. I also recommend looking at the swatches in different light, as the color may appear different in different lights.

Now, if you’re really just like, “Look, that’s all very great, but what did you just say????” Fear not! Stores now have gadgets that match you. Companies like Lancome, Sephora, Estee Lauder among others have a tool that matches to your perfect tone. Are they always right? No. But they can give you a better idea. I also do recommend asking to get matched in your makeup store. Again, the makeup artist may not always be 100% correct but if you ask them to try the foundation on you or ask them to swatch, you’ll at least have a better idea of what to look for.

I hope that helped give you a better understanding of coloring. I can definitely go more in depth in regards to specific skin tones, ect, just let me know!
I hope you guys have a wonderful week, and I’ll talk to you in a few days!


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