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How to Match your foundation, the easy way

Over the years I have noticed a lot of my clients have the same makeup struggles, with the most common one being how to match the best foundation to your skin tone. I thought that would be good place to start my Blog!

So often clients and friends complain to me that they struggle to get the right foundation colour when shopping. It can be quite a disheartening and expensive process if you really don't know where to start. Walking into a makeup store or up to a counter can be intimidating for some and overwhelming for many, with the enormous range of products out there.

That’s where I come in, I want to share my advice to you just as simply and fuss free as I can. The reality is not everyone is a qualified makeup artist, but everyone can learn some simple techniques to change up your look when you want to.

So let's get into it and I hope you all try this technique next time you're in the face painting section.

First of all, I want you to collect up some of the foundations you already have in the back of the cupboard or bottom of the draw, or if you don’t have any just pop into a local cosmetics store or chemist and try this out with their testers.

Find the shades you think will most closely match your skin tone, choosing 3 - 5 so you can see the comparison. Just roughly eye ball the colour match at this point. By that I mean if you have olive or tanned skin then pick the more tanned foundations, and if you are on the pale to fair side then select the lightest foundation etc.

Where to match? Most people I have seen tend to either choose their inner wrist or the side of their face. The reason the inner wrist is not the best place to match is that it is considerably lighter than the rest of your body because it receives far less sunlight.

Why not the face directly then? Because again, depending on what you do day to day, your face can be lighter than your body from wearing sun protection, or it could be darker due to working outside. Or you may just love your spray tans.

A good rule of thumb is we always want the body to match the face.

Where then you ask? I find the best place to match is actually on the body, upper chest just below the collar bone - or your decolletage, if you want to be fancy. The reason we match to this area is because it receives the most regular sunlight, both covered up and exposed depending on your day to day activities.

Key term: SWATCH - to apply a sample of (paint, makeup, etc.) to a surface or one's skin to test or demonstrate the colour.

Below I have broken the process down into some easy to follow steps for you all to try.


Step 1. Choose your foundations, around 3 - 5 options of shades that look like a suitable match to your complexion.

Step 2. Swatch these to your decolletage, only a tiny amount (less than a drop) is needed. Mark these in small vertical lines close to each other. Always use a clean finger with each foundation colour.

Step 3. Blend each one into the skin downward strokes, again using a clean finger for each swatch.

Step 4. Blur your eyes slightly, squint through a semi closed eyes, and ask yourself; Which of these disappears the most?

Answer = Your colour match! :-)

I have added a quick video of the process to this post, so you can see how quick and easy this technique is.

I cannot stress enough how important lighting is for this process, wherever possible filtered daylight (through a window) is your best bet or clear/white lighting. Please do not use this technique under deep yellow toned globes as they will give you a false match every time.

In the video I have a slight sun burn so also compare to your shoulders that you are on the right track for colour.

Quick TIP: It is a good idea to repeat this process once in winter

and once in summer months to make sure you are

always putting on the right shade

between seasons!

If you happen to try this technique, please let me know how you get on as I would love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask, I will do my best to answer them, or at the very least, I will point you in the right direction.

Author: Kate Murphy

Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist

Gippsland, VIC

Editor: Rebecca Jean Giles

Sydney, NSW


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