How to find the right foundation shade for dark skins – Sindhu Kathaa


How to Get the Perfect Foundation match

The Pan-Cake we knew came a very long way since it was first created by Max Factor. Now it’s called Foundation and comes in different range of brands, formulas and shades. Even with all these different shades to choose from, the hunt to find the perfect fit can leave a woman of color overwhelmed by options. I know because I am a dark skinned woman myself. For many years I’ve tried to get a foundation that would match my skin, not to mention I’ve even sought help from professional makeup artists and sadly they always advises me the wrong shade. So, I did my own research, I took notes and tried many products before being able to find my perfect match. Today I will share with you my six essential steps to help you wade through the shades.



The perfect foundation should melt in with your
skin tone and make you look flawless.

1. Get to know your skin type: Not all formulas are meant for every skin and by knowing your skin type, it will avoid you getting the wrong product for your skin, which can irritate your skin, give you breakouts, make your skin look oily, etc.

  • Dry skin people tend to have dry patches, invisible pores, dull complexion, invisible lines and lack of dermal elasticity.
  • Oily skinned people have big pores, thick complexion, their skin appears shiny and dull. They also have a lot of pimples and blemishes as well.
  • Sensitive skinned people have a lot of redness, they have signs of itchiness, dryness and they can have a burning sensation on their skin.
  • Normal/ Combination skinned people have a radiant complexion, less imperfections, very few noticeable pores, T-zone gets oily quickly and they don’t have a lot of sensitivity on their skin.
  • Aging skin people have fine lines, wrinkles, they have signs of itchiness and they have sensitive skin.

2. Finding your undertone: A lot of the time people get confused with skin tones and undertones and it is not the same thing at all. Undertone is a shadow beneath your skin and even when your skin tone changes, undertone stays the same. Some people can have a cool, warm or even neutral undertone.

  • The best way to your find undertone is by observing your vein, if your veins appear to be greener that means you have a warmer undertone. If it is blue, then it is cooler. If it looks more pink or orange then it is neutral.
  • The jewelry trick is, if you look better with gold jewelries then, you have a warmer undertone. If you look better with silver jewelries, you have a cooler undertone and if both look good on you, you have a neutral undertone.

There are many other ways to find your undertone, but these are the easiest and effective ways.

3. Find the right formula for your skin: Nowadays, foundations are made in many different formula’s according different skin type and it’s important to choose the type of foundation that is best suited for your skin type and your personal preference.

Cream Foundation

  • Great for those with normal to dry skin.
  • The coverage can go from sheer to full coverage.
  • The finish can be semi-matte, powdery or dewy.
  • The best choice if you want to conceal any apparent discolorations and imperfections on the skin.

Liquid foundation

  • All Skin types (There are Oil Free foundations for oily skin)
  • Great for mature skin.
  • Buildable coverage.
  • The finish can be dewy, satin or matte depending on the formulation.

The pressed powder foundation

  • Wonderful for oily skin
  • Depending on the powder its can sheer or buildable.
  • Gives a matte finish
  • Evens out the skin tone, hides imperfections and absorbs excess oil.

Mineral foundation

  • All skin types, especially well suited for those with sensitive skin or rosacea. (Except for oily skin)
  • The coverage is Light to medium
  • Gives a matte finish
  • Evens out the skin tone, moisturizes, protects and absorbs excess oil.

Tinted Moisturizer

  • Normal and dry skin.
  • Sheer to light coverage.
  • Dewy or Matte finish
  • Great for mature skin
  • Lightly evens out the skin tone, while giving a true “no makeup” look and moisturizes the skin.

4. Swatching different colors: Now that you know what your skin type and undertone is, you can go to any Make-up store of your choice and look for foundations according to your skin type and undertone. To save you some time pick the colors you think is your shade and swatch them on your chest. The one that melts with your skin is the right match.


5. Getting as many samples as possible: Many people make the mistake of buying skin related product even before trying them on and that’s a big NO! NO! It’s always best to try any cosmetic or skin care products before buying to avoid any unwanted allergic reaction. On that note, get a lot of foundation samples from different brands that seem to match your skin tone.

Don’t forget to write the brand and shade number on the sample.

6. Testing your samples: Wear a sample a day, observe throughout the day how it looks and feels on your skin.

  • Give the foundation few hours to set completely on your face and neck, some foundations can look nice right after the application, a few hours later they will oxidize or look ashy.
  • When you’re wearing a foundation you shouldn’t be able to feel it on your skin and it should feel light and comfortable to wear for long hours.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family if the shade matches your skin tone.
  • If you are planning to wear foundation and take a lot of pictures on a night out, then you have to do the flash test. Flash test is taking pictures of yourself with flash, this step will help you to see if the foundation looks natural. Because some products, especially the ones with SPF can make you appear yellow or too pale in your pictures.

That’s it, those were my six easy steps and I hope it was helpful.

Sindhu Kathaa

Can’t find your shade?

If you weren’t able to find the right shade, my best advice is mixing one darker and lighter foundation until you get the right color. Don’t make the mistake of getting the lighter shade as it will look ghostly or ashy, and getting a darker shade will make you look darker and unnatural.


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