The struggles of finding the right foundation colour


Have you ever looked back over photos of yourself and cringed? When your foundation was too light, too dark or just too orange - your face so obviously does not match the rest of your body. 

Girl. Join. The. Club.  We’ve all been there and most of us have cried in despair at having to go back into a store and go through the torture of trying to match our skin tone to the perfect foundation.

It’s overwhelming, when you firstwalk into a make up store or pharmacy and see the lines and lines of various options of make up. It’s intimidating and the urge to snatch up the colour that looked right and run out of there was strong. 

As a proud woman of colour, I’ve had the horror of trying a foundation on, thinking it was perfect, buying it and leaving the store only to realise once outside and in better lighting that I had transformed myself into Morticia Addams from the Addams Family.  But hey, at least I was set for Halloween, right?

Even worse, when you have to consider the seasons and how the weather may affect your foundation colour depending on your tanning abilities, your skill in keeping your face out of the sun and how quickly you get freckles. 

It’s quite daunting, going into a department store and walking up to a makeup counter and trying to field all the skin questions being thrown at you. Are you looking for full coverage? What’s your skin type – oily, dry, sensitive? Liquid foundation, cream foundation, matte finish, pressed powder, tinted moisturiser? I praise the makeup gods for the handy little Pantone colour IQ that has aided us through our dark times in finding the perfect colour. 

The truth of the matter is, we’re all different and we all have a multitude of skin colours and tones. Trying to cater to every single person and shade out there is incredibly difficult but we’re lucky that it’s 2018 and more and more brands are stepping up and releasing a wider variety of shades, even if we’re not privileged to receive it in Australia yet.


Now I can’t count myself as an expert, but my experiences and the advice of others have lead to a few tips that could help a fellow brother or sister out. 

  1. Undertones – do you have a cool, warm or neutral undertone? Paler people tend to have cool undertones, whereas darker skin tones have a warm undertone.
  2. Test the foundation in natural lighting and be wary of oxidation. Leave the foundation on for an hour and then check for changes.
  3. When you find a colour that you think works, test it against the shade lighter and the shade darker to be 110% sure.
  4. Test your foundation on your neck/jawline/cheek instead of your hands.
  5. Don’t be scared to mix and match different brands and colours to find what suits you best!