Expert Advice

How To Choose The Right Foundation Colour For You

No7 Foundation tones

At one time or another, we’ve all made a bad call when it comes to choosing a foundation colour. Pick a shade too dark and your face can look much darker than your neck, leaving you to deal with those embarrassing foundation lines. Or pick a shade that’s too light and your face can look all grey and ghost-like. Neither is a good look! So, why is it so hard to choose the right foundation colour for your skin?

Choosing a foundation colour that matches your skin

Foundation is an essential part of any make-up kit. It acts as a base on which you build up your entire make-up look. It can give you a boost of confidence by covering up your imperfections such as spots, blemishes and dark circles and gives your face a blank and even canvas for you to work with. But it can only work its magic if the colour matches your skin tone.


foundation colors

With thousands of foundation shades on the market to choose from, that also range in coverage and finish, it’s no wonder many of us choose a colour that isn’t quite right. Thankfully, there are things you can do to increase your chances of making the best choice each and every time. So, if you want to know how to choose a foundation colour that works for you, follow our step-by-step guide.

Identify your skin tone

Take a look at your bare skin in the mirror in natural light to identify which skin tone you have, ranging from fair, light, medium, medium/rich and rich. You might find that instead of just being one tone, you’re a combination of a few skin tones such as light-medium or medium-rich. If you’re really struggling to work out what type of skin tone you have, ask a friend to help or visit a local beauty counter for assistance. Knowing which skin tone you have will make it a lot easier to determine which foundation colour will suit you most.

To find the right foundation color, you should try various shades on your face

Check your undertone

Now you have a better idea of what skin tone you have, it’s time to find out whether your skin has a cool, warm or neutral undertone. Again, look at your bare skin in a mirror and in natural light and see whether you can pick out pink or golden tones. If you can see more pink tones, you’ve most likely got a cool under tone, whereas golden tones mean you’ve got a warmer undertone. If you think you’ve got a combination of the two, your skin has a neutral undertone. Now you know this, you can go straight to the foundation colours that suit you and avoid the ones that don’t.

Always test on your face – not your hand

Now that you know which skin tone and undertone you have, it’s time to test some foundations. Just make sure it’s not on the back of your hand. The skin on your hands is not necessarily the same colour as the skin on your face, as it gets more exposure to the sun. Any test swatches you make on your hand aren’t actually going to be as accurate as they could be.

As your foundation is going onto your face, it makes sense to test it there too. We recommend testing foundation colours on your jawline instead of your hand to find the perfect shade. Remember that your foundation shouldn’t show up on your skin; it should almost disappear when applied.


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No7 Beauty

No7 Beauty

Writer and expert