How To Choose The Correct Foundation Shade
Finding the correct foundation shade for your skin tone is harder than you may think. Take, for example, the fact that I was wearing the wrong foundation color for the past year. Yep, it’s true. I didn’t realize it, of course, until I was applying my foundation in natural daylight. The color was two shades darker than my chest! How could nobody tell me? Well, it’s awkward to let a friend know that their face and neck don’t match. So, in order to find the correct shade, I asked Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani Celebrity Makeup Artist, for tips on matching foundation to my complexion — and I’m sharing his insight with you. After all, real friends don’t let friends wear foundation that doesn’t match their skin tone.
Beauty Banter: When choosing a foundation, how can we do it without actually trying it on?
Tim Quinn: Take advantage of the new technology, if it’s available online, like on armanibeauty.com, you can use a Foundation Finder, which allows you to choose foundation shades from competitors that you already use and compare to the shades in the brand you are researching. Foundations with less pigment – like our Maestro, other tinted oils, or CC creams – are easier to find a shade as they allow your natural skin tone to shine through.
BB: Most of us can tell if our skin is light, medium, or deep, but what about undertones? How do we figure out if we are warm, cool, or neutral?
TQ: Generally, most fair people are cool, warmer undertones are more golden, medium, and olive. A good way to measure this is how jewelry looks on you: If you look better in silver, then you have a cool tone, gold, then warm. Warm tones have more yellow in the skin.
BB: Do we want a foundation that is our exact shade — or a shade lighter or darker?
TQ: You want a shade that mirrors your skin tone so it looks natural. You want to even out your skin, not blanket it to the point that it’s cakey. You can go a little darker if you want to cheat your color, just make sure you blend well. It’s better to match the shade and add bronzer to give warmth.
BB: Should our foundation shade change as the seasons change?
TQ: Yes, your foundation changes. In the summer or warmer months, you are generally outside or more active so you tend to pick up a little more color. Most people jump at least a shade darker in the summer. You might want to change the texture based on the season too; winter more hydrating formulas, mattifying in summer.
BB: Do we apply concealer before or after foundation?
TQ: Under eye, after; problem areas, first. Most foundation textures eliminate the need for under eye concealer, but formulas used to conceal blemishes are more dense.
BB: And how do we decide what shade of concealer is right for our complexion?
TQ: Concealer for the face is more pigmented, so choose on that is a tiny shade darker. For under eye, go slightly lighter for a slightly highlighted effect. If you only have one concealer, blend a little eye cream in it to use for under eye coverage.
BB: How do we decide what finish we want — matte, sheer, dewy, luminous – it’s so overwhelming!
TQ: It’s based on your skin type and also can be situational – time of day, occasion, work, night, weekend. Luminous Silk ($64) does so well because it checks all the boxes, lightweight yet buildable. I like the idea of wardrobing your face; have a wardrobe of foundation. CC Cream ($55) for weekend, Luminous Silk for work, and our new Power Fabric ($64) for special occasion.
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