Many thanks to Orcé founder Yu-Chen Shih for putting this guide together for Ayla.
“Close enough” isn’t close enough when it comes to shade matching. Foundation wasn’t made to be seen, so in order to achieve the natural, seamless finish you’re striving for, you’ll need a shade that wears like it was made for your natural complexion.
But how to find it? Shade matching sounds simple enough, but it can be frustrating and time-consuming. There are a few ways to make the process a whole lot easier, and we’re breaking them down below.
Undertone vs. Skin Tone
The first step is understanding the difference between skin tone and undertone. We talk a lot about skin tone in beauty, and many people assume it’s an all-encompassing term. What they don’t realize is that skin tone strictly refers to your skin’s range of darkness to lightness, while undertone is the overall hue that comes from beneath your skin’s surface.
Identifying Your Undertone
There are four types of undertones. Warm undertones are peachy, yellow, or golden. Cool undertones are pink, blue, and red. Olive undertones are greenish-yellow. Neutral undertones are a mix of warm and cool. You can determine what type you have by examining the veins in your wrist under natural light. Do they look slightly green? If so, your undertones are warm. If they have more of a blue tint or even purple, your undertones are cool. If it looks like a mix, you have neutral undertones. You can also consider how your skin reacts to the sun. Do you tan easily and rarely burn? You likely have warm undertones. If you’re sensitive to the sun and tan minimally, you probably have cool undertones.
Swatch It Out
Once you’ve identified your skin’s undertones, you’ll instantly be able to make a much more informed decision when it comes to foundation shades. However, nothing beats trying it out for yourself. The final test is to swatch a few different shades in person to see how they wear. In some cases, skin tone can vary between the face and neck, so we recommend testing along the jawline to get the full picture and ensure an all-over match. Apply in small swatches side by side, then wait at least five minutes as the pigments come together with the moisture in your skin. Your perfect match will be nearly undetectable on skin.
Now it’s time to start experimenting. We recommend ordering our Experience Set, which will allow you to test three mini shades of Come Closer to find the one that’s right for you. While our shade range does focus on Asian skin tones, its variety of undertones means that anyone can wear our foundation. In fact, celebrity makeup artists love using our foundation on Caucasian celebrities such as Jessica Biel and Olivia Palermo, as the yellow undertone in our shades can help to neutralize redness and brighten complexion. If you’ve already found a shade you like, but are looking to try our skincare-infused formula, we’ve created this chart that compares popular foundation lines with our shades.
Note from Ayla: Our team is always happy to pitch in with your shade-matching efforts! Just call us or email firstname.lastname@example.org with a recent makeup-free photo, and we’ll help you out.
Shop the Orcé collection here, check out our Brand Spotlight interview with Yu-Chen, and find out why we love this brand so much in our Letter from Dara.