How To | Buy The Right Shade of Foundation + Concealer Online

by Molly Gardner
foundation shade categories

It feels like in the past few years the majority of foundation and concealer launches have happened online before landing in stores.  This makes knowing your undertone that much more important, so you can order the right shade on your first try!

I wish that it would be possible to see all the shades in real life before ordering, but when you can’t, here is exactly how I order the perfect match online.

Before you read this post, I highly recommend knowing your undertone.  This post goes in to detail about figuring out your undertone.

How To Find Your Foundation Match Online

1 | Find Your Skintone 

There are generally five skin tone categories used to group foundations: fair, light, medium, tan, and deep.

Step 1, figure out which group you are in (I’m “Light”).

foundation shade categories

2 | Match Undertone

There are different undertones: Silver (cool), pink (cool), yellow (warm), peach (warm), olive (warm), and red (warm).

A neutral undertone is an equal blend of pink and yellow tones.

Generally:

  • extremely fair skin tones will have silver or pink undertones
  • light skin will have neutral, pink, yellow, or peach
  • medium skin tones will have neutral, yellow, peach, or olive
  • tan skin tones will have yellow, olive, or red
  • deep skin tones will have olive or red

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foundation undertones guide

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3 | Search Product Description

Most websites now give shade and undertone descriptions on the website.  Navigate to your product page and see if they list both the shade and undertone. If they don’t have it, always ask on the brand on Instagram or via customer service.

Based off of my skin tone and under tone, I look for products that are labeled light, with peach undertones.

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how to read product descriptions

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4 | Match Your Body

Often times I’ll give myself a faux tan or clients will have a spray tan and their bodies will be a bit lighter than their face.  Also, we tend to exfoliate our faces more than bodies and wear more sunscreen on our faces, so it stays lighter than our bodies.

Always make sure your foundation is the same color as your chest and neck area.  Test a little foundation there and if it blends in perfectly, you’ve got a match.

Most tanners will add a bit of a yellow or olive surface tone to your skin, so you might need to adjust your foundation to match those tones.

5  |  Tried + True

Still feel unsure?  Go with a brand that nails their shades.  There are a few brands that have accurate, true-to-life undertones.

Two of my favorites are |

  • Armani Luminous Silk – I’m shade 4.25
  • Koh Gen Do – I’m shade 113

Although Koh Gen Do offers fewer undertones, it’s mostly cool or warm, shade 213 is more yellow and the 300 shades are more red, what they offer is so perfectly matched with real skin tones. 

I find myself almost exclusively using KGD in my makeup artist kit because it’s so easy to match people.  If you are really struggling to understand specific undertones, Koh Gen Do might be a good pick for you.

The Armani is great because they offer a peach undertone, so it really blends flawlessly for me.  They also have great olive undertones, so for people who struggle finding good peach, olive, or red undertones, Armani does them all well.

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Shop Foundations

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I know these are two pricier foundations, so for a drugstore pick, I’ve been loving the new L’oreal Infallible Fresh Wear foundation.   It’s become my go-to errand running or quick dinner makeup.

I’ve been wearing shade 420 (haha, sweet number, Bro) but it does seem to pull a little yellow and also grey on me, even though it’s described as a peach undertone.  I’ve been mixing it with one small drop of shade 410 to brighten to overall look.

To be honest, the foundation undertones were tripping me up a little bit, because it was hard to find out any information.  I did some digging on their shade matcher on their website (matches your old brand and shade of foundation to theirs) and made the chart below to make it a bit easier.

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loreal infallible foundation undertones chart

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6 | Google, Pinterest, + Instagram

The Internet can be so helpful when trying to find the right foundation shade!  This is what I do when I’m ordering a  foundation that I’ve never tried before.

  • 1 | Go to either Google (or Pinterest) and type in the product name and then the word “swatches.”

For example, for Armani Luminous Silk, I’d type “Armani Luminous Silk Foundation Swatches.”

  • 2 | Then hit “images” at the top menu bar when the search results come up.  This will take you to all the photos and you can start to see what the shades look like on real people.

Generally swatches are done on the arm.  I prefer the face and jawline so you can really see how the undertones look, but I’ll take what I can get, especially if it’s a newer launch.

  • 3 | Once you have an idea of what shade you might be, type in that product name and specific shade, then go to image results page.

For example, search “Armani Luminous Silk foundation shade 4.25”.   You’ll get a better idea if this could be your shade and get see on on someone with a similar coloring to you.

  • 4 | For newer foundation launches, swatches might not be online yet, so I recommend checking out Instagram.  The brand’s page will usually have swatches and/or @trendmood1 always reposts what she can find for swatches really quickly.

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how to buy foundation online search

Pin To Read Later

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how to buy right foundation concealer online

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Video

Like I said above, I think visuals will really help with this post, so here is a guide to help explain all this info!  I hope you enjoy and I’d love if you left a comment below if this post and video was helpful.

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Shop the Post |

These are my affiliate links.  I really appreciate when you use them!  It doesn’t cost you any more to use them (I actually try and find the best deals so you save $) and I make a small commission.  This helps support the blog so that I can create more posts.

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