When shopping for foundation, nothing beats the accuracy of swatching the color in person. That said, with the advent of online shopping, there will come a time when you'll be tempted to buy your base online. The problem with that, of course, is you can't always tell if you're picking the right color. Having contact-free alternatives to swatching is therefore a must, and below, celebrity makeup artists Jyka Espinoza and Jason delos Reyes give their best tips for guess-timating your shade like a pro, plus one of our own tricks as a bonus!
1. Determine your undertone.
According to Jyka, knowing whether you're cool, warm, or neutral-toned already cuts your shade choices in half. But in case you don't know your skin's undertone yet, Jason says that the quickest way to determine that is to look at the veins on your wrist. If they're blue, you have a cool undertone. If they're green, you're warm or olive. If you see both blue and green, then you're neutral.
Usually, brands describe shades on their official website by combining light, medium, or dark, and the three undertones mentioned above to further help you choose. For example, you can be light-neutral, medium-warm, or dark-cool!
2. Take note of your existing foundation shades.
Your current foundation collection can be your shade guide when shopping online, especially if they come from international brands. This helps because you can compare these colors to the description of the product you want to buy online, and if they're similar or the same, you've got a match!
For your convenience, Jyka recommends logging in your shades on websites like Findation, which will list your possible matches in other brands and make choosing easier. Beauty blog Temptalia's Foundation Matrix works the same way, and it's our personal favorite because the site also has color comparisons for other eyeshadows, blushes, and lip products!
3. Buy a travel or sample size first.
If the shade selection you're dealing with is too tricky to choose just one, go the safe route and look for mini sizes of the product. According to Jyka, there are online shops that sell sample sizes of foundations, which you can buy if you're not sure about your match. You can swatch these colors at home, then buy the full size if you like it! The great thing about samples and travel-sized products is that they're more affordable than the full size, so if you do buy the wrong shade, it's not too much of a loss.
4. Find out if the foundation oxidizes.
A lot of formulas, particularly ones with a mattifying finish, tend to oxidize or darken hours (or even minutes!) after application. That's why Jason recommends doing your research on the product you're eyeing, so in case it does oxidize, you can adjust and grab something that's a shade lighter.
5. Follow people with a similar skin tone on social media.
Building your following list with people, especially beauty vloggers, with similar skin tone as yours is one of the easiest ways to get a good product recommendation. Once you find someone, all you have to do to find your shade is to know what they're using!