Foundation: How To Choose The Right Shade

Hello My Lovelies,

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed I posted some InstaStories back in early June about a tinted moisturizer that I purchased from Laura Mercier. Since I have been struggling with my skin these last few months (even skipping out on foundation didn’t help), I was tired at seeing my dull skin and wanted to purchase a lighter coverage.

I stopped by at the Laura Mercier counter at Nordstrom and asked to get matched. While I was waiting for the woman to assist me, I began to test my own and felt I had found the shade that fit me well. At least, based on it matching my hand perfectly…I thought it was a good match and looked very natural.

When the woman sat me down, I had noticed she only removed a small portion of my makeup (near the jaw line) and began to test out different shades until she found the one that matched. Now, I had my opinion about this at the moment, but thought I’d trust her expertise since I also used to work for a cosmetic line (Elizabeth Arden) years ago and purchased the shade she recommended.

The next day, I began to apply the shade and noticed it seemed a bit dark than what I was used to…almost yellow even. Of course, with natural lighting things always change and had the hope it would help a bit, especially after giving it some time to settle on my skin. The moment I stepped outside, I did not like the shade at all.

Now ladies, we all have gone through this struggle of feeling the pain and frustration of finding the perfect shade that fits your skin-tone.  The downfall to drugstore foundations is you cannot test them, which makes the whole process even more complicated than what it needs to. However, it’s also terrible to approach a counter and get recommended the ultimate wrong shade for your skin. Sometimes, we just give up and decide to go bare faced for a while. Hello Dark Circles!

I decided to take matters into my own hands and went back to Nordstrom and had another woman match me. This time, I told her exactly how I wanted to be matched. Now, as I mentioned, I used to work for a cosmetic line years ago and if there is anything I learned during my time at Elizabeth Arden is the correct way to match a foundation.


Whoever is assisting you, you will notice the same technique of removing a small portion of makeup that you already have on your face and them using the bare skin to match. One thing to keep in mind is location. Location is key in order to find your perfect match. Inside versus outside. Forced lighting is very different from natural lighting and you will always get different results. What may appear good indoors, will not necessarily mean it will be the same the moment you step outside and let the natural light hit you. That Goddess you imagined in your mind completely crashed and burned within seconds. You either end up looking like a pale ghost, or somehow you baked a little too long in the oven.

Second thing to keep in mind when the person assisting you says, “that’s a perfect match,” is, in what way? Is it a perfect match to the makeup I already have on or is it a perfect match to my actual skin?

So, I have the solution for you and with this you will never have to go through the struggle of finding the right shade for you ever again. Are you ready? …. the neck. Yes, you read correctly. Skip having to match the foundation to your face and have it match instead to your neck. There is nothing worse than having the shade of your face be different from the shade of your neck. Why do you think a lot of makeup youtubers and makeup artists state to bring the foundation down to your neck? It’s all about hiding and blending everything in so it doesn’t look so separated. That is something I never understood as makeup should only be kept on the face and not be distributed down to the neck. Talk about leaving makeup marks all over your white collar. Super annoying and hard to remove.

When it comes to matching, always apply the foundation on your neck. Whatever shade matches your neck is the right shade for your face. Of course, this you’ll have to do twice a year as winter and summer skin-tone will change.

When I instructed the woman to do as such, ironically, the shade I had applied on my hand from the previous day ended up being the shade that matched my neck. I made the exchange and the next day I applied the tinted moisturizer and felt absolutely content. Indoor, outdoor, it was perfect.

So, the next time you decide you want to get matched, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Location is key – you’re being matched indoors, not outdoors.
  • Don’t match by applying the foundation on your face – most people will match it against the makeup you already have on. What sense is there if you’re possibly wearing the wrong shade to begin with?
  • Match your neck – this will prevent from your face and neck being polar opposites of each other.
  • Educate – now that you know, educate the “experts” to step up their game.

I hope you find this super helpful as it definitely helped me the second time around. Enough with the countless shades and endless returns. Do it the right way and be done with it.


~ Erika



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