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Hello beauty lovers, I hope you are having a wonderful day! Today I wanted to share some advice on how to find the perfect foundation shade, specifically for fair skin with golden undertones. As you can guess, this is my skin tone, and through my experience trying out different makeup products over the years, I have finally discovered how to match my own face! Since I started wearing makeup in middle school (which was just concealer at that time), I have struggled to find the right shade for my skin. Even when I would consult with an employee at Ulta or at a department store beauty counter, they would often match me with a shade that was too dark, too light, too pink, or too orange. I felt like I would never find my perfect foundation color, but with some practice and experimentation, I have finally found products that work for me.
Like many of you have probably seen on other blogs, there are some rules to go by to determine your undertone, which is either warm (golden), cool (pink), or neutral. Many people recommend looking at the veins on the inside of your wrist, and the color will correspond with your undertone (greenish blue veins=golden undertone, blueish purple veins=pink undertone). Honestly, I have tried this technique, and while it does help determine your unique undertone, this does not help when choosing an actual foundation shade, unless the shade specifically states its undertone on the bottle. As someone with fair to light skin with a warm or golden undertone, my veins appear greenish blue. So, when choosing foundation shades, I look for those with a golden or yellow undertone, rather than a pink undertone. Shades with a pink undertone make my skin look orange, which I do not want! However, this is more difficult than it sounds, because when you look at a foundation shade, it is often difficult to determine if it is more yellow or pink just by looking at it.
I thought it would be helpful to list some of the foundations, along with their shades, that have worked for me. Personally, I find this to be the most helpful way to determine if a shade will work for you, because you can reference how it looks on my skin tone and compare to your own. Foundations often look different on the face than they do in the bottle, so unless you are going to go to your local Ulta or Sephora and actually test them on your face, I think this will be the next best thing to determine your shade. When choosing a foundation shade for golden undertones, try to look for a shade that is more yellow to green rather than orange to pink. This is something I have struggled with in the past, when the shades do not state their undertone and you have to guess based on your own observation of the color. Also, if you are deciding between two shades, I would recommend choosing one that is slightly too light rather than one that is slightly too dark, because it is easier to make a lighter shade match your skin using setting powder and bronzer, than a shade that is too dark on you. Of course, you want the shade to perfectly match your skin, but this is just my advice for times when you cannot choose between two shades that look close to your own match. Also, if you are color matching in a store and have the opportunity to try out a tester, swipe the product on your cheek from your jaw line to your neck. You want the foundation to blend in not only with your face, but also with your neck. Otherwise, you will have a line of demarcation on your jaw, and it will be obvious that your foundation doesn’t match. Also, try stepping out into natural light when testing a foundation shade. The bright lights inside department stores and makeup stores often fool you into thinking a given shade matches, until you step outside and look in the natural sunlight.
First, my favorite foundation to date is the Revlon Colorstay Foundation in the Combo/Oily formula, and I use the shade Buff 150. This foundation wears all day, does not settle into fine lines and pores, is full coverage, and does not oxidize on the skin. Also, the combination oily formula offers a semi-matte finish which helps it to last longer if you have oily skin. Even though this is a semi-matte formula, it is not drying on the skin, and it blends so easily. This makeup is so long-lasting that if you put some on your hand and let it dry, you need a makeup wipe to remove it, because it is basically waterproof and will not come off with just soap and water. Also, I love this foundation because they offer a wide range of shades for different skin tones, making it easier to find a shade that will work for you. Having said that, the shade I use is the second to lightest shade, so if you have skin that is a lot fairer than mine, you might not find the right shade for you. However, compared to other drugstore foundations, they do offer a wide range of shades. I always go back to this foundation even over high-end brands because I think the shade and formula is perfect for me. When you wear this foundation, it offers full coverage so it will cover blemishes, redness, and dark spots, but it doesn’t look like foundation. It blends into the skin so easily that you don’t see the foundation on the skin like some other formulas.
For this particular shade, when you look at the bottle or swatch it on your skin, the color looks neutral to yellow, with very little pink or orange undertones. This is why this shade works for me, because it suits my golden undertone. Also, this shade almost perfectly matches my skintone, it is not too light or too dark. So, if you have a skintone similar to mine, I would highly recommend this formula and shade! Also for reference, I have used the shade Nude 200 in the past, which is the next shade up, and this one was slightly too dark and had more pink/orange undertones in it. So, if your skintone is a tad darker than mine or a little more cool toned, this may work for you.
My next favorite foundation is the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream in the shade Fair. I love the formula of this foundation! Like the Revlon Colorstay foundation, this makeup blends very easily and naturally into the skin, but doesn’t look like makeup on your face. Also, since it is a CC cream, it color corrects any redness and discoloration on your face, giving you a flawless finish without having to use corrective color concealers. For me, this foundation is full coverage and buildable. The undertone of the fair shade is definitely neutral to golden, with very little pink, so it suits my skin tone perfectly. Also, this particular foundation includes an anti-aging hydrating serum in the formula, so it feels very nice on the skin. It almost feels like you are putting a skin care product on your face that has full coverage, rather than a foundation. This makeup has a physical sunscreen (spf 50) with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Other makeup products, like concealers, bronzers, blush, powders, and highlighters, blend over this foundation very easily without cracking the foundation or stripping it away. The only reason I prefer the Revlon Colorstay foundation over the It Cosmetics CC+ Cream, is because the Revlon formula wears longer, and is basically waterproof. However, on days where my skin feels dry and in need of some love, I reach for the It Cosmetics CC+ Cream, and it leaves my skin feeling healthy and hydrated. The one downside of the It Cosmetics CC+ Cream is they have a VERY limited range of colors. My shade, fair, is their lightest shade, in a total of five shades from fair to rich. So, unfortunately if you have fairer skin than mine, this may not work for you, and it is extremely difficult to find your shade out of only five options!
Next in my list is the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation in the shade Ivory. This foundation is medium to full coverage and oil free. For me, the formula is buildable, easy to blend, and doesn’t look like foundation on the skin. It is a very hydrating formula, but it is not as long-lasting as the Revlon Colorstay Foundation. It gives a very nice silky finish, but does not dry down matte. Also, the packaging of this product is gorgeous! I love the matte glass bottle with the gold font. This particular shade is ideal for fair skin, and has a neutral to golden undertone. I really appreciate the fact that Too Faced came out with a huge color selection for the Born This Way Foundation, they have a total of 17 shades! I really like this foundation, especially if I want a more natural looking finish to the skin.
The Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Longwear Liquid Foundation in the Shade 1.0 is a new addition to my collection, but after trying it out I really do like it. This is definitely the most full coverage foundation in my collection, so if you are looking for a true full coverage formula, I would highly recommend this! Like the name says, it is waterproof, and dries down to a matte finish. The formula is very thick and sets pretty quickly, so I would suggest working in sections while applying to insure even blending. The shade 1.0 is suited for fair skin with warm undertones, according to Sephora’s website. However, they also have additional shades in the fair family, in both cool and warm undertones. In total, they offer 24 shades, making it easy to find your perfect shade. The Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation is oil free, and I love the gun-metal packaging with the cutouts to see the shade inside.
For the L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation I use the shade Porcelain Ivory W1-2. This is the lightest shade they offer for warm undertones. I LOVE this line from L’Oreal, because they state the undertone on the bottle, so you never have to guess if a shade is neutral, cool, or warm. This product gives your skin a luminous dewy glow, without looking too shiny, and provides medium to full, buildable coverage. The True Match Lumi foundation also has a chemical sunscreen with octinoxate (spf 20). I do not have any issues with blending out this foundation, and other products sit nicely on top of it. This is not one of my absolute favorite foundations, but it does work for me, especially if I want a more luminous and dewy look.
In the Bare Minerals Bare Skin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation I use the shade Bare Linen 03. This foundation also has spf 20 in the form of titanium dioxide. Since this is a serum foundation, it has a very thin and liquidy formula. I do think this product has buildable coverage, from light to full depending on how much product you use. For me, the formula works okay on my oily skin, but I prefer formulas that are a little creamier and less liquidy. Also, this formula does settle into my fine lines and pores a little. However, if you have dry to normal skin, and you like light to full coverage that is buildable, I would recommend this product. The shade Bare Linen 03 works well for my fair skin with golden undertones, and does not look pink on the face.
The L.A. Girl Pro Coverage HD Long Wear Illuminating Foundation in the shade Fair is another new addition to my collection. I actually have not tried this out on my face yet, I have only swatched it. However, I still thought I would mention it, just so you can get an idea of how the shade looks for your own reference. I believe the lightest shade in the line is Porcelain, with Fair being the second lightest. They also have a white foundation shade which is meant to adjust the shade of your foundation if it is too dark. I do think I should have chosen the shade porcelain over fair because it is a little dark for my skin at the moment, but in the summer I think this shade will be perfect. I plan on trying the white shade to lighten mine. As far as undertone goes, this has a warm undertone, but does look slightly more orange on the skin than the other products I have mentioned above. However, it does not look pink, so I think I can make it work for my skin.
The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in the shade Buttercream 03 is perfect for days where I want the “no makeup makeup” look. It has a gel formula and actually offers decent light to medium coverage, especially for a tinted moisturizer. The shade buttercream is great for fair to light skin with golden undertones. Since it is a tinted moisturizer, you can kind of get away with not having the “perfect” shade match, because of the light coverage. I would recommend this product if you prefer very light coverage foundations, or if you hate the feel of foundation. Since it is a tinted hydrating gel cream, or basically a tinted moisturizer, it does hydrate your skin, but it does not feel heavy or greasy. This product also features spf 30 with titanium dioxide, so I think it will work great in the Summer months when I want a light face product that has sunscreen to protect my skin.
Finally, the last foundation I am going to talk about is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation in the shade Warm Porcelain. First off, I have some mixed feelings about this foundation. I love the concept of a stick foundation, because it is easy to travel with, not messy, and very easy to apply. Also, the packaging is gorgeous and very sleek, with the black packaging and rose gold details. And, this particular product includes a lot of color options, with a total of 25 foundation shades, along with 3 contour shades and 1 highlight shade. However, I do not like how this particular foundation wears on my face. Though the color is almost a perfect match, it is a very drying formula, and tends to emphasize my large pores and makes my oily skin appear dry and patchy. I have heard great things about this foundation from others with oily skin, combination skin, normal skin, and even dry skin, so it may just be something personal to me, but I find it to not look great on the skin. It has a matte finish and is medium to full coverage in my opinion. For me, I have to use a very hydrating primer and use a ton of moisturizer before application for it to look okay. If you have tried this out and have found the perfect primer and/or moisturizer to use with it, please let me know! I really do want to like this foundation! Also, one more pro for this foundation is it is very affordable for the more high-end brands, at $25. However, you only get 0.32oz in the tube, while most foundations give 1.0 oz.
I really hope this post helps you choose the foundation that is right for you! I have struggled for a long time to find the correct foundation shades, and I wish I had found some similar advice years ago! As I try out more products in the future, I will try to write another post sharing which shades work for me. Again, I have fair skin with golden undertones, and my skin is combination-oily. Another thing I would suggest is checking out Sephora’s website to figure out which foundation shade is right for you. For many of their brands and products, they have descriptions of the shades, to let you know if it is suited for cool, neutral, or warm undertones, and for fair to deep skin tones. You can also check the specific website of the brand you are interested in to see if they offer shade descriptions as well. I have researched most of my current foundations in this way to determine which shade to buy, especially because most of my products were purchased online. If you struggle with finding the right foundation shade, know that you are not alone! Everyone has issues with finding their perfect shade and formula, and it just takes time and practice. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that it helps you in some way. Have a wonderful day and I will talk to you again in my next post!
If you would like to see how these products look on the face, I have linked the relevant videos from my channel below. These are not all tutorials, but I have the foundation on my face if you would like to see as a reference!
Revlon Colorstay Foundation-Buff 150
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream-Fair
Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation-1.0
L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation-Warm 1-2 Porcelain Ivory
Too Faced Born This Way Foundation-Ivory
Bare Minerals Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream-Buttercream
Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation-Warm Porcelain