How to Match Foundation: What's My Shade?

May 24, 2024

You've made the mistake too, haven't you? You decided to guess a shade and order foundation online. The convenience was just so alluring, plus your old one was almost out. Then, your new shade arrived and totally didn't match your skin, leaving you really about to run out, and with some weirdly orange color to return. In other words: not so convenient.

At bareMinerals, we believe you can order foundation online without stress or guessing (or disaster). And since we're all about natural-looking makeup, we know how to match foundation to keep you, well, looking like you. That's why we developed The Foundation Shade Finder, a stress-free way to navigate our collection of skin-improving foundations. It's an (actually) easy online tool for finding both your perfect shade and the right mineral foundation for your skin, whether you're concerned about signs of aging, acne, or your super sensitive skin. Now, to make sure you have a mistake-proof order, here are two easy tricks that will teach you a whole lot about your own skin. (And if you mess up anyway hey, it happens, we offer free shipping AND free returns on foundation for that exact reason!)


Understanding Your Skin Type: What Type of Skin Do I Have?

To get the best foundation shade match, it helps to know both your skin type and tone (don't worry, both are fairly simple to figure out). When it comes to skin type, you can decide whether you are dry, oily, combination or balanced by thinking about the natural state of your face, without any outside factors (AKA not after applying your favorite thick moisturizer, or coming inside from skiing on a windy day). One trick here is to look at your skin right about 20 minutes after you wash it. If your skin feels tight with dry patches, that's an indicator of dry skin. Oilier complexions usually have a bit of shine to them. Those with combination skin might have an oily T-zone area, with some dry patches as well. If you experience none of the above, your skin is most likely balanced or normal in its natural state. When determining your skin type, it also helps to take a moment to think about any skin concerns you may have. You can also try our Foundation Quiz where you can input your skin type and ensure ypu get the correct foundation for your skin type. 


Understanding Your Skin Tone: Deep, Fair, Tan?

So the next challenge is how to choose a foundation color, which comes down to finding two things: your skin's tone and its undertone. When it comes to skin tone, the first step is determining what 'intensity' your skin is, whether that's very deep, very fair or somewhere in between. You can take a look at the product swatches to determine your shade intensity, and we provide photos of people with each of the skin intensities, since it's usually easier to identify your own skin from, well, other skin. You don't need to pick a single shade yet, just identify which group of faces looks most like yours.


Understanding Your Skin's Undertone: Cool, Neutral or Warm?

The next step is one that can trip people up (but that's why we're here). After determining your skin's intensity, you'll benefit from knowing your skin's undertone as well. Not sure how to find your undertone? Regardless of how dark or fair your skin is, your skin tone will fall into one of three categories: cool, neutral or warm. If you tan easily, chances are you have a warm skin tone. If you quickly turn red in the sun and burn, you most likely have a cool skin tone. And if you burn first, then get tan over time, you likely have a neutral skin tone. Now, if you're so good at SPF that you're not really sure, use the wrist test. If the veins in your wrist appear green or olive, you have a warm skin tone. If they look bluish, your skin tone is cool. If you can't tell or have both, then you most likely have a neutral skin tone. One last tip: if ivory clothes look a lot better on you than stark white, you're warm-toned. On the flip side, if true white is most flattering, that's a sign of a cool undertone. Get compliments wearing both colors? You're likely neutral.

Now, go ahead and play with our shade finder to meet your mineral foundation match. We'll even ship your choice free (and take it back for free if you mess up!) because buying foundation online should be easy and maybe even a little fun.

Get your foundation shade match online now or if you prefer to take our foundation quiz and either way, you'll find your perfect match.