Find your perfect foundation match with this foundation shade finder

How to find your perfect foundation match online and in-store

12th November 2022 | Author: Abigail Beall

Finding your perfect foundation match is much more difficult than it should be – let us help! 

You can spend a fortune on finding the best foundation, but not a single brand – from budget to designer – will look right until you find the correct foundation shade and tone for your skin.

As a guide, you’ll know when you’ve got a perfect foundation match when you are able to apply it to only parts of your face without it being obvious. That said, though, given that foundation is used to balance your skin tone and create a blank canvas, don’t be disheartened if the colour doesn’t immediately match. If it blends in naturally as you start to buff it out, then it’s a close foundation match.

In our How to apply foundation like a pro, our resident makeup artist Victoria Howe explains – as part of our Ask the MUA series – that if you have to apply foundation all over your face to balance out the colour, you’ve got the wrong shade and tone.

Below we’ve explained how to find a foundation match manually, as well as how to find a foundation match online. We’ve also listed the various shade finder tools from major brands (and will be adding more as they become available, and as we try them out). Click one of the links below to jump to the section that suits you best:


♥︎ General foundation match tools

♥︎ Brand foundation match tools 

How to find a foundation match

The first place to start when looking at foundation types and brands is to identify your skin tone, which is notoriously the most difficult part.

What is my skin tone?

Undertones fall into three categories – warm, cool and neutral –  and choosing a foundation with the wrong undertone is what causes your face to look yellow or orange, or white as a ghost when applied. So how can you tell which of these categories you fall into?

♥ Foundation match: Jewellery test

In natural lighting, put on a piece of gold and silver jewellery at the same time.

  • If the gold jewellery looks better against your skin, you have a warm skin tone
  • If the silver jewellery looks better, your skin tone is cool
  • If both colours suit you, your tone is most likely neutral

♥ Foundation match: White test

In natural lighting, hold a pure white piece of clothing next to your skin, followed by an off-white piece of clothing.

  • If you better suit the pure white clothing, you have a warm skin tone
  • If the off-white clothing looks better against your skin, your tone is cool
  • If both suit you, your tone is most likely neutral

If you have warm skin tone, look for foundations with yellow and peachy undertones.

If you have cool skin tone, your skin better suits makeup with pink/red and blue tones.

If your skin is neutral, a mixture of the two will look great.

How to match foundation to your skin online

It is always important to try any foundation before you buy it, and most shops and online retailers will be able to provide samples for this once you’ve narrowed down your shade.

They will also be able to help you make these selections. Alternatively, you can carry on reading to find out how to match foundation to your skin online.

You can also virtually try on various foundation shades on an increasing number of retailer’s own websites. You can find out more in our: How to try makeup on online guide.

♥︎ Findation Foundation Finder

Foundation match sites, such as Findation, work by comparing the similarity between brands. For example, if you know your match in Smashbox or MAC, the site will tell you what Estee Lauder foundation you need.

You can add a single foundation, or multiple types, and the site will build a picture of what your skin tone is before making suggestions.

It’s also ideal if you’re looking to switch up your foundation, especially in winter compared to summer when your skin might be drier. This way you can find the correct shade in a foundation brand that will be more hydrating, as an example.

The more types you add, the more accurate the suggestions. The downside is that if you’re yet to find a foundation match, you won’t have a point of reference. It also doesn’t support all makeup brands, so there are limitations but it’s a great place to start.

Try Findation's Matching Site

FURTHER READING: Best foundation for dry skin and Best foundation for oily skin, acne, spots and blemishes

♥︎ Cult Beauty Match Me Foundation

The Cult Beauty Match Me service offers a slightly different take on the other foundation match sites in this list in that it lets you find your perfect foundation shade based on a selfie.

You begin by entering your country, email address and name. The former is so the site can match you with foundations that are available in your country.

Once in, you’ll be asked to select your skin tone from Fair, Light, Medium, Tan/Olive, Dark/Rich, and Deep before being asked to narrow this selection down.

Next, you’ll be asked to choose your preferred coverage – sheer, light, medium, and full – and you can choose as many as you like.

Step 5 of the survey asks how you like to wear your foundation – lighter than your natural skin tone, true tone, or darker, and then you’ll be asked to upload a selfie.

To be honest, we’re not sure why we have to go through the rigmarole of choosing an undertone and then narrowing this down if we’re just going to upload a selfie but still, the Match Me service will then present all your matches from across the brands that are both on sale via Cult Beauty, and that have agreed to take part in the service.

Our matches include Huda Beauty, NARS, IT Cosmetics, Charlotte Tilbury, The Ordinary, and many, many more. You can filter this list based on the type of coverage or brand you want, by price range, by skin type, and more. You can also get the list emailed over to you for future reference.

Alternatively, if you’re ready to buy you can just click “Select Colour”.

Try Cult Beauty's Match Me

♥︎ Temptalia Foundation Matrix

With Temptalia’s foundation matrix , you start from scratch. By manually inputting information about your undertones and how fair your skin is, the site will give you a foundation match.

It begins by asking you to pick from one of six undertones. These range from Pink to Peach, Neutral, Olive, Yellow and Red. Each with a description underneath. From there, you’re asked to narrow this down further. You are then presented with a row of foundation shades and you need to select the one you think aligns most closely.

Of course, the accuracy depends on the information you input and getting you to choose a shade from a list when you have no idea is almost counterintuitive. Plus the exact foundation colour match you need can change throughout the year.

In summer, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, your skin might tan or become freckly (make sure you’re reducing the chances of this by wearing SPF if you want to avoid age spots when you’re older!). In this case, you will need a different shade of foundation.

Try Temptalia's Matching Site

♥︎ Slapp

What started out as foundation match app, Slapp has since expanded to be an online makeup comparison and shopping site. However, it’s stayed true to its original mission and offers a way to get an exact match by uploading a selfie.

It was set up by fashion and beauty journalist Jamila Robertson, and it uses technology to recognise your skin tone before recommending which foundations will suit you best.

Simply upload a photo in natural light (so take the photo when stood outside in the middle of the day) and select reference points on your face. This includes the skin tone on your cheek, chin and forehead.

From this, Slapp will analyse your skin tone and make suggestions of which foundation to buy. You can then buy directly from the app.

Try Slapp's Matching App

Finding a foundation match from your favourite brands

Almost all major makeup brands now offer tools that help you find a foundation match.

Of course, they only recommend their own foundation shades but once you’ve successfully matched to an individual brand, you can use the likes of Findation or Slapp to find the matching shade in other foundation ranges.

♥︎ Bobbi Brown Foundation Match

Bobbi Brown’s foundation match offers two different ways to help you find your perfect foundation shade.

The first takes you through four step-by-step guided questions to help you narrow down your skin tone, undertone and coverage preferences. It begins by asking you to select from skin tones including Extra light, Light, Medium, Medium-deep or Deep.

You’ll then be asked to select from one of three undertones: cool, neutral or warm. The third step then shows you what foundation shade you have been matched with, it provides an image of a woman who is wearing the foundation shade that resembles your skin. If this isn’t correct you can go back and change the skin tone or undertone. If the match is perfect you can continue and Bobbi Brown will recommend two foundations that are their best sellers.

Still not convinced that is your correct shade? Bobbi Brown also offers a virtual try-on. This is best used on the mobile phone as the virtual try-on Bobbi Brown will need access to your front camera to match you with the correct foundation shade.

All you need is good lighting and a clean camera lens. Bobbi Brown’s programme will then scan your face and once it’s recognised your skin tone it will give options of ‘perfect match’, a ‘lighter shade’ or a ‘dark shade’ and you will be able to see the difference between these shades to see which suits you best.

Take the Bobbi Brown virtual try-on

♥︎ Boots Foundation Match

Boots offers a fuss-free foundation match finder that takes you through six steps to take to find the right shade – and its results aren’t reserved for its own N07 brand. There’s a separate tool for that, which we’ve detailed below.

The general Boots Foundation Finder starts by asking what type of foundation you like to use – liquid, cream, powder, mousse, cushion, pressed or stick. The second step shows you a series of images displaying different skin tones and you have to choose the one that best suits your own, from a possible list of 19. These range from very light to dark.

The third step asks what skin type you have, from a list of eight, and we really like this because this makes a huge difference as to how well you get on with a foundation. You are then asked what type of coverage you want which ranges from barely there to full. It also gives you the option of choosing a foundation finish, from natural, matte, dewy or satin to luminous.

The fifth and final step is all about the undertone of your skin and once that is selected it gives you results. Refreshingly, Boots doesn’t just show No7 foundations and these results come from a range including Revlon, Clarins, No7, Maybelline and it also lets you the filter price range too. We enjoyed using this foundation finder and it gives more depth to finding you the closest match.

Try Boots Foundation Finder

♥︎ Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury offers two online foundation matching tools. The first, the Foundation Finder, works in a similar way to the Il MAKIAGE quiz by asking you to rate your skin tone compared to photos of other men and women, as opposed to you trying to work out if you’ve got a yellow undertone or a neutral base.

This sounds like it should be harder, but it’s amazing how much easier it is to pick out the skin tone that most closely matches yours. And if you’re struggling, take a selfie in natural light and put it next to each photo!

You can also choose whether you want light, medium or full coverage as Charlotte Tilbury’s foundations are very different. The Light Wonder, for example, is poles apart from the Flawless Finish range in terms of thickness and blurring.

The second foundation match tool is powered by AI and is called Charlotte’s Expert Foundation Finder.

You begin in a similar way, selecting the skin tone that most suits yours from a line-up of photos, before choosing which tone “you see most in your skin” – this ranges from green to pink, yellow, golden and beige. You’re then encouraged to either take a live selfie, or upload a photo.

We were recommended Shade 5 – Neutral in Charlotte Tilbury’s new Beautiful Skin Foundation range and the brand does claim that with this AI-powered foundation match tool, if you don’t get a flawless match then you can get your money back.

Alternatively, you can book a live 1-2-1 consultation with a Charlotte Tilbury makeup artist and they can help you out.

Use the foundation finder

♥︎ Estée Lauder

It’s not cheap, but the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation consistently tops best foundation lists. This is because it offers a buildable, full-coverage finish without leaving your skin looking cakey. It doesn’t settle into your pores and fine lines, even without primer, and it has an impressively wide shade range. Plus, it comes with SPF 10.

Of course, having such a selection of tones and undertones to choose from also makes finding your perfect foundation match a little tricky. Estee Lauder offers a couple of options to help you.

Firstly, you can have a 1-2-1 consultation with one of Estee Lauder’s beauty consultants. They can advise you about skincare, makeup and more.

Secondly, on the mobile version of the Estee Lauder site, you can virtually try on each shade using a selfie, or live camera. This iMatch Service is available here, or you can access it via the foundation’s product page.

Read our full Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation review

Use the iMatch Service

♥︎ Fenty Beauty foundation shades

You’re a little spoiled for choice when it comes to finding your best Fenty Beauty foundation shade.

Firstly, there’s the Shade Finder Quiz. In a similar way to other quizzes in this foundation match article, it involves answering a series of questions and picking models that most closely match your skin tone.

From there, Fenty Beauty will not only reveal which shade/number you are in the Pro Filt’r range, but it will also show you which shade to go for in the new Eaze Drop tinted moisturiser collection.

What we love about this is that it also tells you what type of skin tone you have i.e: “for light to medium skin with warm yellow undertones” which makes it easier when shopping on other sites, too.

Rihanna then takes this Shade Finder Quiz a step further by letting you virtually try on the recommended shades.

This tool superimposes each shade over an image of your face to help you uncover your closest match and if it’s not quite right, you can try various shades either side of your recommended tone until you find your favourite.

You don’t have to take the Shade Finder Quiz first, either. Simply go straight to the Pro Filt’r or Eaze Drop page and select “Try on Shade” in the bottom right-hand corner of the image. Et voila! There are 50 shades to choose from so you should be able to find one that best suits you.

Also, don’t feel like you have to then buy the foundation via Fenty Beauty’s US site. You can simply go to Boots and buy it direct from the high street!

Fenty Beauty foundation shades

♥︎ Huda Beauty foundation shades

There are a couple of ways to find your best Huda Beauty foundation shade. The easiest is by using the brand’s own shade finder quiz (explained below), but because it’s such a popular brand, you can also use Findation and the Cult Beauty Foundation Match Me tools above.

To use the Huda Beauty foundation shade finder you need to decide whether you’re looking for a foundation match for the #FauxFilter Luminous Matte foundation, the #FauxFilter Foundation Sticks, or the GloWish Skin Tint.

Once you’ve decided, click on the links below to go to the specific shade match quiz.

None of them is particularly complex, and they rely quite heavily on you understanding your skin tone and being able to pick out a similar tone from a line-up of people. That said, the times we’ve used it we’ve managed to get close enough and we wouldn’t say identifying our skin tone is a strength of ours!

Take the Huda Beauty quizzes

♥︎ Il Makiage

We’ve tried many, many, many foundation match quizzes and tools but the best, most accurate has been Il Makiage’s Power Match algorithm.

If you haven’t heard of Il Makiage, it’s a cult makeup brand from New York that recently launched in the UK.

With the launch, it brought its machine learning Power Match makeup quiz and, through the use of a bespoke algorithm, the foundation finder can find your perfect shade with a 90% accuracy rate.

This quiz asks you a series of questions before recommending one of the company’s 50 shades, and it does this without ever looking at a selfie. The brand can also recommend concealers that pair perfectly with your recommended shade.

Having typically struggled to find a shade that suits us, this tool nailed it however, at 90% accurate there will of course be 10% of recommendations that don’t hit the mark.

This is why Il Makiage lets you try any recommended shade for a matter of weeks before giving you the option of trying another shade. If it does mismatch your tone, you can return the foundation or swap it for free.

Take the Il Makiage quiz

♥︎ MAC Cosmetics

The MAC Foundation Finder tool approaches finding a foundation match a little differently. You have to manually choose whether your skin is Light, Light to Medium, Medium, Medium to Dark, Dark or Deep Dark before selecting a selfie, from a row of images, of a person whose skin most closely resembles yours.

This is definitely quicker and more simple than other foundation matching tools but puts more emphasis on you knowing whether you’re dark vs deep dark, or whether your undertone is golden or rosy.

Either way, once you make a selection you will be shown your selfie choice and you can either swipe right to see a lighter shade, or swipe left to see a darker one.

Under each image are the most appropriate shades across MACs base makeup range including its Studio Fix Fluid, Studio Fix Powder and Studio Waterweight foundation.

These offer Full, Medium-To-Full and Sheer-to-Medium coverage, respectively.

Take the MAC quiz

♥︎ No7 Foundation Analysis Tool

No7 foundation match toolNo7

No7 recently launched an AI-powered Foundation Analysis Tool that helps you discover the best type of foundation, and shade, across the entire No7 foundation range.

You start by selecting your skin type – if you’re unsure, check out our What skin type do I have? guide for help – and which skin concerns you want to improve. You then select your preferred finish and coverage before uploading a selfie.

Once a match has been found, you’ll be shown the type of foundation that would best suit your skin above three different shades. The shade in the centre is the shade No7 believes is your best match, however it also shows the shades above and below and you can virtually try all three on within the same window.

Once you’ve found your favourite, click Add To Basket and then go to Checkout to buy.

FURTHER READING: We’ve ranked Boots No7 foundations from worst to best, from Stay Perfect to Beautifully Matte

Try the No7 tool

♥︎ Too Faced

TooFaced’s Find Your Match quiz not only contains a quick shade finder quiz that helps you find your perfect foundation, but it also helps you discover a customised routine to help enhance your complexion even further.

You start by selecting your skin type – from dry, to balanced, oily and combination – before being asked which skin concern bothers you the most. The choices this time include hyperpigmentation, blemishes, dark circles, redness and pores and texture. Too Faced then shows four foundations with different finishes, and these include matte, naturally flawless, naturally flawless and radiant, and 24-hour natural matte.

It’s only then that you’re asked to pick from one of three undertones; rosy, golden and neutral, before using a shade slider to pick your closest skin tone to reveal your perfect shade.

Take the Too Faced quiz

♥︎ Urban Decay

Urban Decay offers a great online Find my Shade quiz that helps you find a foundation match, but (unsurprisingly) it will only match you to an Urban Decay Stay Naked foundation.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we’re big fans of this foundation – particularly for dark skin tones – but it is pricey.

The video below explains more about using the quiz and you can discover your Urban Decay shade here.

Take the Urban Decay quiz

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