How to Match Foundation to Your Skin Tone

Finding the right foundation shade is a lot easier said than done. Are you fair, light, light medium, medium, tan, dark or deep? With so many different factors to consider, it’s enough to make your head spin. But, Maybelline New York is here to help you find your perfect match with a few simple tricks.

How to Match Foundation to Your Skin Tone

Explore tips from our Babelline @miabgalvan to find your perfect shade match using Maybelline's Fit Me Foundation.

Find Your Finish

Before you even get into shade matching, it’s important to know which formula will best suit you. Pigment can vary based on ingredients, which is why it’s smart to start here. Identify your skin concerns and goals below to ace your base.

Discover Your Undertone

Are you warm, cool, neutral or olive? Luckily the names of the undertone families are somewhat self-explanatory with warm tones having more yellow and orange while cool tones have more blue and red. If you don’t fall under either of those categories, you might be neutral-toned, which means that you have equal amounts of warmth and coolness. If that’s still not you, you probably have an olive complexion, which you-guessed-it, has a hint of green.

You can figure out yours by looking at the veins in your wrist. If they’re blue or purple, you’re likely cool-toned. Green veins usually mean you’re warm or olive-toned and blue-green signals neutral. There’s also the jewelry trick, which is a bit more simplistic and a little less scientific, but can give you a quick idea of what undertone you’re working with. Typically, those who look best in gold jewelry are warm-toned and those who prefer silver are cool-toned. If you’re still stumped, a swatch test along your jawline will help you to see which shade best matches your own.

Do a Swatch Test

While it might be easier to swatch foundation formulas on the back of your hand, the most accurate way to find your match is by swatching along your jawline. Follow the steps below to find your Maybelline New York Fit Me Foundation, which comes in 40 shades across skin tones. These steps apply to finding the right concealer, too.

  1. If you already have a good idea of what your undertone is, you can go straight to that color family and swatch a few shades within it.

  2. Not too sure which undertone you are yet? Take one foundation shade from the four color families (warm, cool, neutral or olive) that looks about your skin tone (fair, light, light medium, medium, tan, dark or deep) and swatch stripes next to one another on your jawline.

  3. Whichever blends most seamlessly into your skin is the one for you.

  4. If they all seem a bit off, you might want to go back and try a shade lighter or darker.

Try Maybelline New York’s Foundation Shade Finder

To take out all of the guesswork, you can head straight to our Foundation Shade Finder quiz that’ll do the work for you.

  1. Get Started

    Your browser will likely ask for permission to use your camera, so grant access in order to begin and click the “start” button. A message will appear, asking if you’re ready to take a selfie. If you are, you know what to do!

  2. Read the Fine Print

    Because you’re going to be inputting personal info, be sure to read the terms of use and if you agree, it’s go time.

  3. Step Up Your Selfie Game

    For the best results, follow the selfie tips. For example, you’re going to want to be in a well lit room or standing in front of a window for natural light. If you have a ring light, now would be a great time to use it.

  4. Snap a Pic

    An oval will appear, make sure your face fits the frame and click the shutter button to capture your image. You’ll see a preview and get to decide if you like it.

  5. Meet Your Match

    If your image was captured correctly (sans shadows), it’ll take you directly to your color match. Then you choose the type of coverage you want and the finish you prefer and you’ll be taken to the foundation that best fits your skin tone and complexion needs– it’s as easy as that.

  6. OR Skip the Selfie

    You can use the shade finder without using a selfie, too. Instead, you’ll have to answer a few extra questions. It’ll ask you to identify your undertone by examining the color of your veins. Then, you’ll be asked to select a face–from three images– that best resembles your coloring. Finally, you pick your coverage and finish and you’ll be directed to your perfect match.

Quick Fix

If you wound up with the wrong foundation shade, there are a few ways around it. Here’s how to make it work.

  • If You Went Too Dark…

  1. Dilute your foundation by mixing it with a primer or moisturizer. By adding a pigment-free formula, it’ll sheer out your foundation so that there’s less color and coverage.

  2. You can use it as a contour shade, applying it under the cheekbones, along the jawline, on your temples and down the sides of your nose to add dimension.

  • If You Went Too Light…

  1. Instead of using the formula all over your face, treat it as more of a concealer by applying it to certain spots that you need more coverage.

  2. Use it as a highlighter on the highpoints of your face like the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and on the inner corners of your eyes for a pop.