Foundation- What’s your colour?

Choosing the correct foundation that matches your skin tone can be a frustrating experience. How many times have you picked the wrong shade? It is either too light, too dark or worse still, the wrong tone? On the day of your wedding, your foundation needs to be right in both the tone and coverage.

Here are some tips to assist you in selecting the correct tone and shade.


Undertone refers to the colour that is beneath your skin. Foundations come in 3 undertones:

  • Warm – if your skin has yellow, gold or peach tinge
  • Cool – if your skin has pink, red or blue tinge
  • Neutral – if your skin has neither pink/red/blue nor yellow/gold/peach but somewhere in-between. Olive skin colour tends to be categorised as neutral

So how do you know what your undertone is?

You have a Warm undertone

  • Veins on your wrist are blue or purple
  • You burn quite easily in the sun
  • Silver jewellery flatters you the most

You have a Cool undertone

  • Veins on your wrist are green or olive
  • You tend to tan easily
  • Gold jewellery flatters you the most

You have a Neutral undertone

  • Veins are blue-green
  • Your skin doesn’t contain any obvious pink, olive or yellow undertones
  • You can burn but also tan easily
  • Both silver and gold jewellery flatter you





Now that you have identified your undertone, you have to choose the right foundation best suited to you.

Here where it becomes complicated. There are numerous types to choose from;

  • Cream
  • Oil-based
  • Sheer
  • Mineral
  • Matte
  • Oil free
  • Whipped
  • Stick
  • Powder
  • Waterproof

Once you determined your undertone and the type of foundation you prefer, you now need to select the correct shade. Sounds all too complicated doesn’t it? But there are some handy tools out there that assist in finding that perfect shade for your complexion. Here a couple of examples:

Mecca Australia have the Foundation Finder.

foundation 2

It begins by asking you the type of coverage you are seeking:

  • Sheer
  • Medium
  • Full

It then asks you for the type of finish you want

  • Dewy
  • Natural
  • Matte

It then asks you for your skin type

  • Dry
  • Combination
  • Oily

Based on your choices, you will be given various brands to choose from. This is a good starting point. The disadvantage with using this is that you need to know your skin undertone in order to select the correct shade.

L’Oréal Paris have quiz that you can take on their website. What I like about this is that it matches the foundation to your undertone. It asks a series of questions such as

  • What happens to your skin out in the sun
  • What colour are your veins
  • What colour combinations work best on you
  • What colour jewellery flatters you the most
  • What is the colour of your hair and eyes

Based on your undertone, it will provide a recommended shade. Once again, this is also good starting point in choosing the shade of foundation that gives you the most coverage.

foundation 3

How do you pick the correct shade?

A good way to check find the correct shade that gives you the desired coverage is to apply a bit on your neck and test in good lighting. Where possible, I test it outside in the natural light. Unlike your face or décolletage, your neck does not get the same level of sun exposure so the neck area is a good guide to see which shade gives you the most coverage.

Do not be afraid to try different brands. Not all brands have the same level of coverage. What I do is pick a shade based on my undertone then select a 3 different shades ranging from light, medium to dark. I place a streak of each on my neck then pick the shade that I see the most. This means that I am getting the optimal coverage.

If you do not feel confident in selecting your own shade, ask for assistance.

If you are using a makeup artist, do not be afraid to test the shade of foundation they pick for you. You don’t want the wrong colour!!

How do you know if you have the wrong colour?

  • If you look washed out then you have gone too light. I recommend going one shade up
  • If you look to dirty then you have gone a bit too dark. Try going down one shade
  • If you look too pink, try a foundation with a yellow undertone or even neutral. The same applies if you look too yellow

If you cannot find the correct shade for your undertone, try different brands. Not all foundations are the same. Beige from one brand can look completely different in another brand. As I mentioned, do not be afraid to experiment with different brands!

Whether you are doing your own make-up or engaging in a make-up artist, the shade and coverage needs to be correct. One thing to keep in mind when selecting your foundation are your photos. The shade of foundation should be in-line with your photo locations otherwise you run the risk of your face looking too light or too dark.


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