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Finding the Right Shade of Foundation, Powder and Concealer

Aug 17, 2007
Finding the correct shade of foundation, powder or concealer can be a difficult task. Our shade guide will help you determine your own skin tone and depth, which will allow you to determine your overall shade. Once you find your shade, you can find the foundation, powder or concealer that's best for you.

The first step in finding your shade is to simply look at your skin, without makeup, in daylight. Regardless of whether your skin is very pale or very dark, you should be able to determine whether your skin has more yellowish or more pinkish tones to it. If your skin looks more Yellow/Golden Olive or Golden toned, you have warmer toned skin. If your skin seems to be more of a neutral shade, you have neutral toned skin. If your skin looks more pinkish, you have cool toned skin.

If you can't tell what tone your skin has just by looking at it, the next step is to take a look at your undertones, which can be determined by looking at the veins on the underside of your forearm. If your veins look blue, then you most likely have pinkish undertones, which would mean you have cool toned skin. If your veins look more greenish, then you have yellow or golden undertones, which would mean you most likely have warmer toned skin.

Once you have determined your skin tone, you can next determine the depth of your skin tone. Skin will range from very pale to very deep. It should be fairly easy to determine the depth of your own skin. If you aren't able to decide on your own, someone else should be able to help tell you whether your skin is fair/pale, medium or dark/deep.

Now that you know your skin tone and depth, you can determine your overall shade. Makeup shades will almost always fall into the warm, neutral or cool categories we discussed above and will also be differentiated by the depth of each shade. So, for each category of warm, neutral and cool, there will be a corresponding shade to match pale shades of each tone, medium tones of each shade and deep shades of each tone.

Most cosmetics companies will make foundations in a range of colors and it should be easy to find your match once you know your skin tone and depth. For instance, they will offer different shades for warm toned/pale skin as opposed to warm toned/dark skin. Similarly, they will have different shades available for cool toned/medium skin and cool toned/dark skin.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

When actually purchasing your foundation shade, you will want to make sure you use the depth of the skin near your jawline or neck area as your criteria for determining your match. This helps to ensure flawless blending and to avoid ending up with a face that's too light or too dark that doesn't match the rest of your skin! If you simply try to match the depth of the skin tone on your forehead or cheeks, you will often end up with a shade that looks too dark compared to the rest of you. Choose the shade that matches the depth of the skin on your jawline/neckline, and then use a Bronzer or Skinfinish to highlight or add "sun" to your face, if desired.

Also, when it comes to actual makeup application, be sure to blend foundations and powders around the jawline and into the neckline.

For concealers, you may want to try a concealer with a slight tint to it. This will help cover up dark under-eye circles or reddish imperfections. Slightly yellowish tones will help to cancel out and cover up dark purpleish/blueish undereye circles. Sometimes just selecting a concealer that is a few shades lighter than your regular foundation will also work well for diminishing under-eye circles. Slightly greenish toned concealers will help to cancel out any reddish tones in your skin caused by acne, or other skin conditions.

If you have a significant undertone to your skin, you may choose to play it up or play it down by trying a shade that includes or excludes your undertones.
Often, people will wear a few different shades throughout the year because skin shade and tone can change slightly according to the season, physical well being and general lighting.

If you are still having trouble determining your skin tone, you should stop by a makeup counter and have a makeup artist help you out. They will almost always be able to easily tell you what undertones you have, and will be able to help you determine your overall shade to ensure you select the correct shade prior to your purchase.
About the Author
MAC_Girl writes reviews on MAC Cosmetics products and other makeup products. For additional help with finding the correct shade of MAC foundation, powder or concealer , visit www.maccosmeticsmakeup.com.
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