Since this process is so tough, we’ve decided to give you some help, creating our own best-of list for the perfect brand of foundation for every conceivable skin color. Hard-to-match brown or yellow undertones? We’ve got a match. How about blue or deep-ebony foundation needs? You’re covered. Super pale and can’t find a hue light enough? Consider it done. From the fairest of the fair to the deepest of the deep, we’ve got a brand that can handle your needs.
We’ve also included expert advice from top makeup artists Sam Fine and Neil Scibelli to help you find your perfect match. For example, how do you know whether you’re cool, warm or neutral? And, the answer is to look at your wrist veins: Blue-toned ones are cool, green are warm, and a mixture of the two is neutral. Great tip, right? We’ve got a million of ’em in the following slideshow, organized from lightest to deepest. The search is officially over, gals. Your perfect foundation is finally found.
Best All-Around Range
You have to give it up for the makeup brand that has literally tried to match every conceivable skin tone in existence and succeeded. With a wide range of truly beautiful hues with all the undertones there are in the universe, they deliver even coverage with a gorgeous glow.
When you’re looking for your perfect match, swatching is the key to finding the right color. “(You can) find the perfect match by testing two or three shades along your jawline,” says Fine. “The one that disappears into the skin is your perfect match.” Note — he said the jawline. “Don’t test foundation shades on your wrist or hand; if you want a shade to match seamlessly, test it on the area where it will be applied.” We’ve also found going outside or moving to natural light helps with getting the right color. Run for the window, check out the results, buy the one that fits.
There are also tricks to application. “Buy a foundation brush,” advises Scibelli. “I know so many women apply it with their fingers, and it’s not going to look as even. You also risk bacteria and oil from your fingers to land on your pretty face.” For an even application, pat the foundation in rather than sweeping it on. “When you sweep your foundation around, it can end up moving around too much, which can cause streaks and an uneven finish.” Start with a light layer, then build layers where it may be needed most, like blemishes and around the eyes.
You might think it’s easy to find a foundation for alabaster skin, but you’d be wrong. Gals with ultra pale skin also have challenges. This one gives up the goods for fair-skinned ladies, delivering hydrating, long-lasting coverage with a flawless finish.
An interesting challenge for women with light skin is that the foundation can make the skin look dull or matte. This oil-free foundation delivers even coverage with a touch of brightening, kind of like traveling with your own lighting crew. By the way, we all have pink undertones, you know. “Every woman has pink and red in their skin because our bodies contain blood,” Scibelli says. “It’s the melanin and pigment of your skin color that changes the way it shows through. Fairer skin tones will reveal more pink to red tone, while deeper shades won’t reveal as much.”
Having light skin with a peach or slightly golden undertone means avoiding anything that makes your skin look cool, lest you start heading into cadaver territory. This foundation gets it just right, with enough warmth to support your undertone, not to mention a smooth, flawless finish.
The challenge with most foundations for cool skin tones is finding natural healthy tones that help you look, oh, you know, alive. This foundation delivers even coverage that glows without being shiny, but not so matte you look like a cardboard cutout of yourself. It’s like the Holy Grail for medium cool gals.
Have medium skin that’s neither warm nor cool? Welcome to neutral territory — this is your foundation. It delivers a smooth finish with a slightly candlelit glow that will bring such life to your skin, people will ask what you did last night.
The ability to remain warm without veering into fake tanner territory is an art, and this foundation nails it. It’s just peachy or gold enough for a luminous glow, but it’s subtle so you still look like yourself.
Since olive skin can have a slight green undertone to its rich hue, some foundations can come off a bit artificial or too dark. The range of hues in this line blend flawlessly, especially with olive skin, delivering coverage that brings out your best. See also: It’s HD quality, which means ain’t no flash harsh enough, and ain’t no selfie tough enough to break through its flawless coverage.
From the woman who famously started her own cosmetics company based on her own challenges as a supermodel comes a genius new product that not only meets the needs of this and other skin tones, but transforms from a cream to a powder for a beautiful, even glow. It’s impressive, delivering great results for a very underserved skin tone category.
The challenge with tones in this category is maintaining your skin’s warmth without heading into sunset-orange or yellow-ochre territory. This full-coverage foundation delivers flawless coverage that melts seamlessly into these skin tones without giving you that jaundiced look.
Women of color with cool or neutral undertones need a foundation that doesn’t try to “warm you up.” (How many of you have wrestled with tan to deep shades that do that?) These shades can work from tan to ebony, but their sweet spot is in the caramel to deep-brown range.
Heading to the deeper end of the skin-tone spectrum means you have to deal with colors looking ashy or chalky. This genius foundation works with your skin tone to deliver a perfect match, working particularly well on women of color with rich brown and deep ebony tones. It’s demi-matte, so it looks fresh without appearing shiny and builds to cover imperfections like a dream.