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Finding the right makeup shade for your skin can seem impossible. What looks like the right color in-store can be all wrong in natural light. Fortunately, there are a few ways to make sure that you’re getting the right shade. From high-tech to improvements on the old rules to solid backup plans, these tips will keep your face from being three different colors.
You may know that you should be testing foundation on your jaw and not on your hand, but you should go a little further. Beauty Editor suggests that you go to the store without makeup (who do you have to impress in the makeup aisle?) and test foundation in three different spots: underneath the eyes, on and around the nose, and on the jawline. By not wearing makeup, you can compare the makeup side of your face to the naked side. I guess you’d better hope that one of the first two shades you try works, or you’ll be wiping off a lot of makeup. The perfect shade should blend into your skin, but if you’re between shades, CoverGirl makeup artist Greg Wencel says to go darker rather than lighter. Not only will it cover more, it will prevent what Beauty Editor calls “pulling an eagle:” having a light face and a dark body.
If you want to take the guesswork out of it and use some fancy new technology, head to one of two Sephora locations to try out their swanky new Sephora + Pantone Universe Color IQ. Color IQ uses some fancy technology to find you the perfect foundation. Based on Pantone’s CAPSURE, a device that is used in the design industry to match the color of any surface, fabric, or material. The technology is being used for makeup now, with hand-held color spectrometers being used to pinpoint your best shade. A Sephora associate will use the Color IQ device to capture your skin color in three different places (because no one’s face is the same color all over).
The device will find average out the three results to come up with your Pantone SkinTone number. Once you reference that number against the Sephora Universal SkinTone Library on an iPad, you can find your best shades out of more than 1000 different products at Sephora. You can go even further by entering your preferred brand, “formulation, coverage, finish, skin type, ingredients, and SPF.” Unfortunately, the service is only available at the Times Square location in New York City, as well as one San Francisco location.
Can’t get to New York or San Francisco? InStyle has a Hollywood Makeover tool that you can use at home to try on different foundation shades from the comfort of your own home. Simply upload a photo of yourself and try on different makeup shades. It won’t be quite as accurate as trying the shade on in person (I doubt that the app is sophisticated enough to make up for different light types in the photo), but it will give you a starting point. Try out the tool at InStyle. If you have a hard time picking the right shade in-store, try shopping at a store with a good return policy like CVS. No matter how well you test the shades in the makeup aisle, sometimes they won’t look right in natural light. CVS will allow you to return a product that isn’t the right shade as long as you have the receipt and it is within 30 days of purchase.
Gone are the days of guessing at your perfect shade by swiping foundation of the back of your hand. With these new methods and tips, you should be able to find the perfect shade to look like you have naturally perfect skin.