It’s no secret that finding the right foundation can be a challenge — whether you have vitiligo or not. Every brand has a different color formulation and making a purchase can feel like a risk. Whether you’re trying to cover your spots or let them show and color match two different shades of skin, having vitiligo can add an extra layer of frustration when it comes to blending and finding your perfect shade.
So we searched the internet. We asked our friends. We even consulted an esthetician. Now we’re bringing you the ultimate guide to color matching foundation.
Find your undertones
Traditionally, undertones are divided into three categories: warm, cool and neutral. Undertones are the color below your skin’s surface, the hue beneath your skin tone. Whether you have vitiligo or not, your undertone remains the same. An easy way to determine your undertone is to look at your veins. If you look at your arm and your veins appear green you likely have warm undertones. Blue veins indicate cool undertones, while a mix of the two indicates a neutral undertone. Once you know your undertone, keep an eye out for key words related to these undertones in the name and descriptions of the shades of the foundations you’re looking at. Brands such as Bare Minerals include descriptors like “neutral ivory,” “golden tan,” and “warm deep” to help guide you.
Ask the experts for help
A beauty consultant or customer service representative in a store like Macy’s or Sephora can be a wonderful resource because they’re trained to help you find your perfect color match. A cosmetic dermatologist or local school for makeup artistry may also offer consultations that are more in depth and may be more understanding of the unique challenges that come with blending or covering your spots. Stepping up to the makeup counter and putting your skin in someone else’s hands can be daunting, especially when you have vitiligo. If you’re feeling shy, search the web for people with similar skin tones. What shades are they wearing? What brands do they love? This could be the perfect starting point for you.
Look for samples and testers
Now more than ever, companies are willing to offer a sample you can take home for free or sample packs you can purchase with a small amount of several different shades for you to try. If you’re shopping online, be on the lookout for samples that are offered as you checkout too. The same technology that brought you the filters on Snapchat and Instagram may also help you pick the right foundation. Websites like NARS and Maybelline have introduced virtual color matching tools using facial recognition technology.
Do a test on your jawline
Think you’ve found your perfect shade? Time to test it out. Be sure to try the foundation on your jawline. While testing foundation on the back of your hand may be common, your hands will not be the same shade as your face (whether you have spots on them or not), and it’s important to get your color just right for a seamless, natural look. This is especially important if you’re looking for multiple shades of foundation to match the multiple shades of your skin.
Take it outside
Have you ever put on a pair of black pants, only to step into the sun and realize they’re actually navy blue? When it comes to color matching, natural light is best. Bright sunlight reveals details you might miss indoors. So get outside and take advantage of the natural light. Many drugstores even offer returns for products that aren’t quite right.
Decide what feels good for you
From the subtlest beauty balm cream to a full coverage foundation, it’s all about your comfort. Some prefer a matte finish while others love the look of a dewy glow. You may want to cover your spots, let them shine or land somewhere in between. What’s recommended to you may not be something you feel comfortable with, so play around, experiment and see what makes you feel like your most beautiful self. Check out some of our readers’ favorite products here.
Makalah Moore is a writer based in Massachusetts who has lived with vitiligo for sixteen years. In her free time she enjoys reading, photography and spending time with friends and family. Find her on instagram @the.moore.you.know.