web analytics

Foundation Matching Tips from Professional Makeup Artists

Makeup Artist Foundation Matching Tips

Recently I shared my fall/winter foundation matching adventures. And, I shouldn’t be the only one doing this! I highly, highly recommend updating your foundation, BB Cream or Tinted Moisturizer match each season. Your skin definitely changes color throughout the year, and this is the best way to avoid the dreaded jaw line!

I asked makeup artists for their favorite foundation matching tips. They had a lot to say! Notice that some of this advice is contradictory (especially when it comes to matching to your face, neck or chest if they are different colors).

“If someone’s face is quite a bit different from their neck, do a foundation shade match more towards their cheek. Do three tiger stripes of shades and blend to match. Matching towards the center of the face instead of the side of the jawline is more effective in this circumstance.”
Katie Dahlstrom

“Always match to your neck (it tends to naturally be lighter), and add bronzer to bring the color on your face to normal.”
– Haley Kulow

“An amazing tool to use is Temptalia’s Foundation Matrix. You can input your current foundation to find a match in another line or you can find an entirely new foundation shade by answering a few simple questions.”
Meghana Prasad

“Test out the shade you believe to look the best, apply next to it one shade lighter and one shade darker. Let it settle into your skin for 5 or so minutes and then walk to the front of the store, where (there is) natural light from the windows, and take a selfie. Pick the color that best matches your skin tone.”
– Haley Kulow

“Choose 2 to 3 shades and test on your jaw line, if possible test colors in natural light. The one that disappears into the skin and matches the neck most closely is the one for you. Mix foundation with moisturizer and smooth over neck. Another option is to skip liquid foundation and apply a Dual Powder Foundation, Gabriel’s DPF is buildable for more coverage where needed and can be applied to neck and décolleté.”
– Gabriel DeSantino is the founder of Gabriel Cosmetics

“One important tidbit I’d like to share is that most women need to buy more than one foundation shade. It’s a common practice amongst makeup artists to custom blend foundations, and that is something that will make the everyday person’s life so much easier.”
– Sheila, blogs at The Painted Ladies, and she is available as a makeup artist

“Look for color that will mimic the skin-tone such as Advanced Mineral Makeup choose a shade 1 to 2 shades darker than your face if body is spay tanned to have a even flow the trick is getting the right undertone of foundation Advanced Minerals makes it easy.”
Ann Mayo

“If you desire a more ‘bronzed’ look or a more ‘porcelain’ look, THAT is when our powders and bronzers come in — NOT the foundation color!”
– Amanda Gabbard is a makeup artist at the Guerlain Spa in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria

“You can’t tell a foundation color by looking at the bottle.”
– Haley Kulow

“If the coloring in your face is vastly different from the color in your neck, you really are going to need two different colors and possibly even different formulas. The skin on the neck is different from that on the face and you’re most likely dealing with dryness, rosacea related issues and/or sun-related damage if texture is also very different. Start with Moisturizing the face and neck, apply a smoothing primer to both areas and then use a correcting foundation. I love Lancome Visonnaire 1-Minute Blur and follow with Teint Visionnaire. Their darker ranges are gorgeous!”
– Regina Ventimiglia

“You can approach it two ways. The first, you can match the foundation to your chest if you will be showing your chest. You would have to apply to the face and neck and blend downward into the chest. Or you get a shade that matches your face and neck and then use a light, matte bronzer to blend the face and neck into the color of the chest.”
Liz Fuller

“Foundation should be applied to the chin (so you can see what will match the neck) and on the nose (where most of us have a bit of redness). The color should literally blend into the skin seamlessly. It shouldn’t look too ‘light’ or too ‘dark.'”
– Amanda Gabbard is a makeup artist at the Guerlain Spa in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria

“In general, I recommend matching your foundation to the shade of the décolletage. It’s worth spending a little more money and visiting a makeup counter where you can sit down with a sales associate/makeup artist and get your perfect match. It’s best to test foundation in natural light, away from the artificial store lights. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples so you can get a good feel for the wear of the foundation in your every day life.”
– Sheila, blogs at The Painted Ladies, and she is available as a makeup artist

“Your foundation should match your neck. If the neck is darker than the face you can compensate with a bronzer.”
Karen Dupiche

“It is important to match the undertone of the foundation to the undertone of the skin so that the skin looks most natural. Place a yellow based foundation and a pinky based foundation along the jaw line, the one that disappears into the skin is the one that matches. When the neck and face are different colors, either match the foundation to the neck and chest or bring the foundation down to the neck and chest. I personally tend to match the perimeter of the face to the exposed skin (chest and arms) and bring it down and keep the center of the face lighter.”
Margina Dennis

“Most people’s necks and faces are not the same color. I recommend thinking about your finishing results before choosing a foundation. Makeup foundation will oxidize on your skin and the color will slightly alter after about 15 minutes, especially with an oiler skin. If you are someone who is a bit heavy handed with bronzer, this is something I would take into consideration before choosing a foundation. If you are going to be applying a lot bronzer, do not choose a color that is too dark, because the layering of color will make it too dark.”
Elise Brill

“Normally foundations, nowadays, have a more yellow base than a pink tone to them. That is because most of us have a yellow base undertone. Some have a peach or a warm tone along with the yellow but this does not mean you should wear a pink foundation. First analyze your skin tone. See if you have more yellow than pink or peach. Then you can start looking for the appropriate color. Osmosis makes it easy to find the right shade. First find out if you are a light, medium or dark. This will help you to find the right intensity. For those with yellow and some Olive tones in their skin, you can choose the Golden shades. For those with Yellow and some Peach you can choose the Natural shades. Apply foundation to the neckline if your face color is different than your neckline. You can also use a small amount of the Osmosis South Beach Bronzer to warm up the neckline if it is much lighter than your face color.”
– Alejandro Falcon is the artistic director at Osmosis Skincare

“Always match foundation on your jawline where your complexion is most even. You want to match both the surface tone and under tone of your skin. It’s more important to match the color in your chest than your neck which is normally always slightly lighter than your face. A matte bronzer applied in the hollows of the cheeks and at the hair line will warm your complexion and create dimension in your face. My favorite is Bobbi Brown.”
Karol Young Moses, blogs at Add Lip Gloss and Stir

“The best thing I can say is learn how to blend like a champ – use a top notch blender (BeautyBlender or The Sephora Collection: The Perfector) and choose the two best shades to blend from face to neck. Make sure to cover all areas and leave no hard lines, especially on the jaw.”
Meg Raiano

Foundation Guide with Tips and Tricks
Check out more tips, hacks and product reviews in the Foundation Guide!

Affiliate Links

Sign up for updates

About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

Leave a Comment