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Finding the Best Foundation Color for Your Skin Tone

by on August 16, 2012
in Health and Home, News, Blog :: 7 comments

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I’m not one for a heavy makeup routine. Most days, I only put on foundation to cover up dark spots and acne. It’s important to me that I don’t look like I’m wearing makeup; I want it to be natural. But finding foundation that is a perfect match for my skin tone can be a challenge, especially as my skin changes color from summer tanning (or winter paling). And even when I find a color close to my skin tone, I always feel like it changes slightly as I apply it.

That’s the problem makeup retailer Sephora and Pantone, a leader in color identification technology, have teamed up to solve. Their new ColorIQ system accurately identifies your precise skin tone (which they’re calling your “SkinTone number”) and then finds the perfect match in Sephora’s database of more than 1,000 foundations.

The process for finding your SkinTone number is easy. With a clean face, I recently sat down at the ColorIQ station in Sephora’s Times Square store and let the makeup artist analyze my skin with Pantone’s CAPSURE device, a hand-held spectro-colorimeter that is used in the design world to identify color with great accuracy. The artist took three pictures of different parts of my face with the CAPSURE, which were then averaged to a single Pantone SkinTone number (mine is 3y04).

Sephora ColorIQ

The makeup artist then plugged this number into Sephora’s Universal SkinTone Library on an iPad, narrowing down over 1,000 possibilities to fewer than 50 choices of either powder, liquid or cream foundations.

We picked three different liquid foundations to try. As the foundation was applied onto my skin, my flaws began to disappear and my skin color didn’t change—at all. I was so happy to finally find a foundation that matched my skin tone. And the whole process, including trying out the different foundations, took less then 20 minutes.

Sephora ColorIQ after

Currently, the ColorIQ system is only available in Sephora’s Manhattan Times Square/42nd Street and San Francisco Powell Street stores. If you’re in New York or San Francisco, you should definitely check it out for yourself. The analysis is free and you don't need an appointment. Sephora is hoping to bring the device to other stores soon.

Discussion loading


From Mary Mann on August 17, 2012 :: 10:20 am

Can’t wait until this is available everywhere!


I can't wait to try

From Jennifer Wagner on August 17, 2012 :: 11:19 am

I can’t wait to try this out. This has always been a problem with me in choosing foundation.


Using this site on Ipad

From Sleepless on August 17, 2012 :: 5:29 pm

Hi i dont know why but when i read your blog on my iPad I can’t expand the text size without it going blurry. It. Is too small to read without expanding it.
Is there anything you can do about it?


We don't see the issue

From Josh Kirschner on August 17, 2012 :: 5:44 pm

It looks fine when we expand the site on our iPad 3 with Safari. Perhaps it is taking a long time for your iPad to render the page and it looks blurry until it’s finished rendering? The page should load quickly, but maybe something else is running that is slowing down your iPad. Or it could possibly be Internet speed related.

What iPad and browser are you using?


Oh you are right!! I

From Sleepless on August 17, 2012 :: 5:59 pm

Oh you are right!! I am sorry. Thr 3g is taking too long to render the pages. I just need to wait and be patient..

I read your email every day and wonder how you ffind so many interesting things to write about.


It's not easy.

From Josh Kirschner on August 18, 2012 :: 2:25 pm

One of the hardest things to do is figure out which topics will be most practical for our readers. We’re alawys open to suggestions!

You are doing well

From Sleepless on August 19, 2012 :: 2:52 am

I don’t live in the U.S. but most of your topics are interesting and useful.


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