The Undertone Railroad: WOC Skintone Match Struggle

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Hourglass Chestnut and Becca Sienna foundation mix

One would think it would be simple, right, to go to a makeup counter, find the shade that’s closest to your skintone, swipe it across your jawline, and if it matches take it home. But it’s never that simple. If you’re lucky enough to find your shade, is a woman of color, the next step, and roadblock quite frankly, is often undertones. No matter what skintone you are, you’re most likely to fall into one of three categories for undertones: warm, neutral, and cool. Across most of the cosmetic world these words mean the same thing. A few companies, such as Mac for example, flip the definition of these words, which makes it confusing for makeup novices. As a seasoned makeup enthusiast, I do not have an issue determining what my undertones are; however, I do have trouble finding it! I am much cooler the darker I am so in the summertime I can find my match much easier. In the winter months, when I am much lighter, I fall between warm and neutral. When cosmetic companies are extreme in there undertones, that leaves me having to purchase two in order to mix the product to suit my skintone perfectly. This is no big deal when we’re talking about drugstore foundations, which cost between $7 to $12, but if we’re talking about department store/higher end beauty, then purchasing two foundations is like spending close to $100. This is why I would preferred to find a foundation that is not only compatible with my skin type, which varies between oily to combination-oily depending on the season, but to also find a match in one bottle. As a result of this never ending search I have a cosmetic bag full of foundation samples. I’ve narrowed down the brands I believe have the best matches for my skin tone, which in most times of the year is a warm neutral. The following are foundations I believe to be the most compatible for me. Hopefully you too can find use out of the option I have listed.

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Chestnut

Becca Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème $44: My shade, in this 20 color range, is Sienna which is described as a warm brown with neutral undertones. The description alone describes my complexion! The coverage is full, a little goes a long way, but it is not necessarily ideal for oily skin so prepping your skin and using a finishing powder are going to be crucial when wearing this foundation. The great news about this color range is that my skin tone is FIFTH from the darkest shade!!! That means if you are darker than my complexion, this is a line that you should definitely consider and sample.

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation $55: Hourglass is a high-end beauty line best known for their ambient lighting powders and veil mineral primer, which is my holy grail primer. This foundation goes on smoothly, almost like mousse, and finishes to a powder finish. While I would consider only three of their shades (from the 16 to choose from) to be for women of color, they do not go nearly as deep as Becca. In fact their deepest shade is Chestnut which is my shade. I do hope that Hourglass will extend their color range to include at least four more deep skintones, but in the meantime they have nailed my undertones in their deepest shade. Chestnut is described as deep two very deep with neutral to red undertones. This description is very similar to Becca’s foundation, which is why it works so beautifully on my skin. This is an exact match when I have no tan. Also mixes beautifully with the Becca foundation, so if you do find that you have it within the budget to purchase both foundations, I highly recommend it because the mattifying aspect of the Hourglass foundation works perfectly with the full coverage and deeper skintones offered in with Becca.


Marc Jacobs Genius Gel mixed with Cover FX Drops

Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel Super-Charged Oil Free Foundation $48: I’m a huge fan of Marc Jacobs Beauty. For those of you who follow me on my YouTube channel you know that I am absolutely obsessed with the latest foundation from his line called Re(marc)able. I wear the shade Cocoa Medium, which is the second to darkest shade in his 16 color range. But I find it to be just a tad bit yellower than the majority of my face. So I was actually very surprised to find that the genius gel formula was slightly different in undertones in the same color name. The genius gel Cocoa Medium matches my skintone perfectly and the formula is a little thicker, which offers more coverage and blendability. There are three deeper skintone options for this foundation, The deeper skintone are beautifully formulated with realistic undertones so I highly recommend grabbing a sample.

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops $44: These drops have revolutionized the way we use foundation! If you find a foundation that you love, but the shade is slightly off, you can use these drops to customize the color to match your skin tone perfectly. There are 25 colors to choose from. I am number N100, which is described as being for deep skin with neutral undertones. There are two colors deeper than mine, N110 and N120. The product can also be worn on its own as a high pigment foundation similar to the formulation of Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able. If you purchased a foundation that is your exact match in the middle of the seasons you can purchase two custom cover drop bottles, one lighter and one darker, that way you only need one actual foundation throughout the entire year!

I hope that these options are helpful to you in your search for the perfect foundation shade. You can also visit your local Sephora to get color matched by the color IQ program, available exclusively at Sephora stores. Not only does it match your skin tone, it also includes lipstick shades as well as foundation formulas which suit your skin type. Comment below and let me know which foundations you have found most suit your skin tone and/or your skin type and whether or not you have to mix your foundations. Until next time, ladies, stay fabulous and I will see you next week for another Makeup Monday.

Victoria James

Victoria “Vikeejeah” James is a blogger with a focus on beauty, natural hair, and plus size fashion. To keep up with her, be sure to follow her on SNS
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