Back to Basics: Are You Wearing the Right Foundation?

The world of beauty can move at the speed of strobing light. But sometimes we need to take it right back to basics and in this series of articles, I'm going back to the foundation of make up. Yes, the literal foundation. And I'm concentrating on the tone.

Now, yesterday we learned how to ascertain whether your skin tone is pink, yellow or neutral. This is an essential first step because you need to know this in order to be able to choose the correct foundation tone for you. There are three ways to do it, some will work better than others for you.

You can catch up on that article here and when you've worked out your skin tone, let's move ahead to step two below.

makeup set



I teach colour theory in my ITEC make up training so I thought I could help you understand this second step and take away some of the confusion.

I am going to, in the words of MC Hammer, break it down.

What do you need to know about foundation tone?

The first thing to understand (and let me bring you back to primary school here) is your basic colour theory.


There are only three primary colours, red, yellow and blue. And it's from these three that every other colour is made by mixing them in some way or another (thus creating your secondary and tertiary colours).


And it's worth noting that white and black are not colours, they just define tint and tone, making things seem darker or lighter.

Now let's combine the colour wheel with our make up terminology.

These colours in make up terms are referred to differently:

  • Yellow: Warm skin tone
  • Red: Cool skin tone
  • Blue: Neutral skin tone

And all foundation is made up of these three colours. So when we say a "neutral", "warm" or "cool " foundation, all we mean is that there is higher a ratio of one of the colours as a base in that particular foundation. But all three colours are still present in ALL foundations.

Now we know that the idea of foundation is that it looks like your own skin only better. The more natural looking the foundation, the better. And this is why it's essential to match your skin tone with the tone of the foundation.

Look at your foundation bottle - what tone do you see? And does it match your own skin tone? Or have you simply never thought of comparing these two before?

Bobbi Brown has some great options for yellow tones, while Lancome have some for pink tones.

If you would like me to write an article with some specific suggestions for yellow/pink/neutral tones, simply leave a comment below and if enough of you want me to break down even more in my MC Hammer pants, it would be my pleasure.


Next I'll be covering Mac because their foundations can be divils to match; they are a beauty law unto themselves.

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