How to Choose Foundation Color that Matches Your Skin Tone

Woman with foundation on

Finding the perfect match of your foundation color to your skin tone is essential. If you choose a foundation that’s too dark or warm, you may have a yellow or orange tint to your makeup. Choosing one that’s too light or cool can make you look washed out. And unless you enjoy looking like Casper the ghost, we recommend using a shade that matches your skin tone.

Now, we know this is a challenge. Finding the right shade may feel like a year-long quest. Just try walking into the makeup aisle at your local store. Your main feelings are probably confusion, stress, and not knowing where to even start. But, if you feel like you’re about to give up, this article is for you. With the right steps and some extra foundation secrets along the way, you’ll be able to find that perfect, soul-mate match for your skin.

Finding Your Skin Tone

Knowing what shade foundation is right for you requires understanding your skin’s undertones, what shade you are, and how to test it to make sure it works. Let’s talk about what your undertones are and how to find them.

Know Your Undertones 

Nobody’s skin is exactly the same. One of the reasons for this isn’t a difference in shade. You and your friend may both have a darker shade of skin that almost matches. The biggest difference is likely in your skin’s undertones.

Undertones are the color tints that show through your skin and affect your skin tone as a whole. You may get a summer tan and have a darker skin tone than normal, but your undertones won’t change. For this reason, they play a huge role in what foundation will match your skin tone and what will end up making you look too yellow or washed out.

Below are the three different undertones and how to know which one you have!

Warm Undertones 

Warm undertones are characterized by a few different factors. If you have warm undertones, you probably tan more often than you burn. Warmer colors look better on your skin as well, such as red, orange, yellow, golden, and olive colors and other earth tones. Warm undertones go best with gold jewelry rather than silver jewelry, and you won’t look the best in blues, purples, or rich emerald greens.

Cool Undertones

Cool undertones are on the opposite side of the spectrum. If you have cool undertones, be sure to stock up on sunscreen as you likely burn more easily than you tan. Cool undertones look the best with rich blues, purples, and emerald greens and may look washed out if you wear earth tones like red and yellow. You may also stick to wearing silver jewelry as opposed to gold.

A great way to tell if you have cool or warm undertones is by using the vein test. Take a look at your wrist or an area where your veins are more visible. If your veins look green, your undertones are warm. If they are blue or purple, your undertones are cool.

Neutral Undertones 

Now, if you take a look and can’t tell whether your undertones are warm or cool, you may have neutral undertones. This can work to your advantage as your skin looks good on either side of the spectrum.

If you do have neutral undertones, you won't have to worry about matching your undertones with a foundation color. Instead, focus on finding your perfect shade match to blend in with your skin.

Pick Your Shade Match 

Once you know your undertones, you can find the perfect shade to match your skin. Many beauty companies will provide some sort of special tool you can use to compare to your skin. HIDE’s Premium Foundation comes with a shade match tool to help you find the best result.

Plus, the shades are matched up with the undertones they go with. So, if your skin has warm or cool undertones, you know exactly which shades to choose from. For instance, if you have warm undertones, choose from our Sand shade, Walnut, or Almond shade foundation. You can also explore the neutral shade options such as porcelain, vanilla, and honey that will go with any undertones!

Explore the various shades and undertones here!

Test Your Foundation Color 

Once you have a ballpark idea of what your shade should be, you can start testing them out. If you can’t test them in stores, get the opinion of a friend! Show them a few different shades and ask which suits your skin the most.

We know this part of the foundation choosing process can be tiring, but don’t be discouraged! The perfect shade foundation is right around the corner. Here are some of our favorite ways to test your foundation to make sure you have the right shade.

The Disappearing Test 

First is the disappearing test. Pick a few shades close to your skin tone and try them on. Try dabbing a bit of foundation on the apple of your cheek or around the T-zone if you have freckles. Blend it in with a sponge, brush, or your fingers and watch how it reacts with your skin. If you can still see a definite line where the foundation ends and your skin begins, it’s not the right shade. If the foundation seems to “disappear” into your skin, you’ve got a keeper!

Build Your Own Color 

If you try on multiple shades of foundation and still can’t seem to get the perfect match, you may be able to make your own shade. No, you don’t need some custom makeup cocktail formula to make your own foundation shade. All you need are the two closest shades to your skin. Custom blend foundations are actually fairly popular in the beauty scene, so if you need help finding your custom blend, reach out to a makeup artist or professional near you,

Be sure to choose one that’s slightly lighter than your skin and one that’s slightly darker. They should both match your skin’s undertones as well.

Wash your hands and grab a clean foundation brush. Next, drop a small amount of each shade on the back of your hand. Blend together on your hand and try on your face. Continue trying combinations until you reach the perfect match for your skin. Remember to take note of whether you use more of one shade than the other, so you’ll know what to do next time.

Disclaimer: this only works with liquid foundation that blends together—yet another reason that liquid foundation is the best. 

Other Things to Consider When Choosing Your Foundation

On top of finding the perfect foundation color that matches your skin, there are a few other factors that influence your foundation choice. Depending on what skin type you have and how much skin you want showing through your foundation, there are different options.

Your Skin Type 

When it comes to skin, there’s no one-size-fits-all. This extends to more than just shade as well, as everyone has a different skin type. Some skin is oily, others are dry, while some are normal, extra sensitive, or a combination of these.

Liquid foundation is the most versatile of the kinds of foundation. For example, liquid foundation has a smooth finish for normal skin, dry skin, and oily skin. It’s especially effective for skin with texture, raised areas, blemishes, and acne as it fills in texture and creates a smooth finish. Powder, on the other hand, can make acne or textured skin and make it look cakey.

Level of Coverage

It’s also important to know what level of coverage you want your foundation to provide. If you don’t want to completely cover your skin, opt for a coverage that’s light to medium. If you want a heavier amount of coverage, go for something medium to full. You can also look for a product with buildable coverage. This means that you can add layers of foundation until you get the coverage you desire.

Choosing between shades, types of foundation, and the levels of coverage they offer can be overwhelming. That’s what makes choosing HIDE such an easy decision! It’s suitable for all skin types, offers buildable coverage, and is available in different shades and undertones. Learn more about HIDE Premium Foundation and what it can do for you here.


Picking the right color match foundation isn’t easy, but this guide can help you find success. For more information on how to pick the best concealer palette for your skin, how to apply foundation, and other makeup tips and tricks, check out our blog here



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