face makeup 8 Expert Tips for When You’re Between Foundation Shades

Sir John gives us the cheat sheet to perfectly matched foundation.

August 29, 2022
Foundation Help In Between Shades

The transition period between summer and fall is a mourning period — and not just because we’re lamenting the drop in temperatures, but also because the struggle with our summer foundation shade begins. As fall approaches, your summer foundation may become too dark while your winter shade is still too light, leaving you stuck in a foundation shade limbo of sorts. 


Instead of buying new foundation between every season (or if you’re someone who's always between shades), there are ways to make the one that you have work — and actually work really well. We reached out to Sir John, celebrity makeup artist and L’Oréal Paris consultant, to leverage his expertise on the tricky topic of shade matching when you’re between foundation shades. Read on as we share his tips to help you find your perfect foundation shade year-round.

8 Tips for When You’re Between Foundation Shades

Learning how to manipulate makeup when you’re in between foundation shades is very valuable and it can make your life a lot easier. Not only does it work between seasons but it’s especially helpful if you’re someone who has a hard time finding the right shade or undertone in a formula or brand you love. Let these tips below be your guide to your foundation shade match holy grail.


1. Mix Like a Pro

“Don’t be afraid to mix [foundation shades],” Sir John advises. “Try different ratios until you find the closest shade.” While mixing foundation can feel a little intimidating, it’s really hard to mess up and it’s a great way to get the right shade when you’re not that far off from the shades you currently have. We love the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation because it comes in 35 shades and the ultra-thin finish is ideal for mixing. 


When you mix your foundations, it also ensures that you’ll always have the perfect foundation shade through each season. Try mixing foundation on the back of your hand to find the perfect shade and always test it on your neck to confirm that it matches.


Editor’s tip: If you struggle to find the right undertone for your foundation, the L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup comes in 45 shades and is arranged by undertone (neutral, cool and warm) for easy selection.


2. Match Your Foundation to Your Neck

A tell-tale sign that your foundation doesn’t match is when your neck and your face are different shades. There are a couple of ways to fix this. “Pay close attention to the shade of your neck

and shoulders and choose the one closest to that,” Sir John explains. If you match your foundation to your neck, that instantly fixes the line of demarcation between shades. 


Always remember to blend your foundation past your jawline and down your neck to eliminate any harsh, unwanted lines where your face makeup meets your décolletage. This tip is especially important if you’re going for a foundation shade that matches your face or body better than your neck.


3. When In Doubt, Always Go Lighter and Use Bronzer 

If you’re stuck between the lighter and the darker shade, it’s much easier to create a darker-looking complexion with the help of bronzer than it is to lighten up a darker hue. 


Bronzers offer definition and dimension to a lighter foundation,” Sir John explains. “It provides a warming sculpt and the illusion of a deeper foundation color.” We love the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer because it melts into the skin and comes in eight shades that are perfect for sculpting or bronzing. 


4. Embrace a Faux-Bronze Glow

If you’re too pale for your current foundation shade, use self-tanner to bridge the gap while giving yourself a gorgeous, faux-bronze glow. The L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Water Mist, Vitamin E gives your complexion a gorgeous, bronzed glow without any unnatural orange hues. Spray some onto a cotton pad and swipe it all over your face. For your neck and décolleté, hold the bottle about ten inches away and mist in a sweeping motion over the skin.


5. Use  Foundation to Highlight and Contour 

If the foundations you have are too light and too dark, this is the best way to hack the system and use it to your advantage. Sir John recommends using the darker shade to contour your face while using the lighter shade to highlight the high points. 


Foundation is merely a base for contour and highlight so why not skip that step altogether and use your foundation to get coverage and dimension? The result will look like a sculpted version of your normal makeup and it’ll feel much lighter on the skin. 


6. Use Face Powder for Dimension

If you don’t have an extra foundation on hand but you have a few shades of face powder, use that to lighten or deepen your complexion by a few shades. A powder foundation like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder will give great coverage while melting into the skin to offer a seamless blend.


7. Opt for a Full-Coverage Concealer

If you’re in between shades, don’t underestimate the power of concealer in place of foundation. A good full-coverage concealer like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage, can wear just like a foundation when needed. Apply it to the under-eyes and in all areas where you need coverage, like on dark spots or under-eye bags. When you’re finished, set your face with powder and continue on with your makeup routine. 


8. Don’t Skip Color-Correction

Color correctors are great for balancing your skin tone and creating an even base for shade matching,” Sir John tells us. If you have multiple skin tones, this can make finding the right shade much easier. If you’re looking to just wear concealer, it can also help to create a more even skin tone. 


We recommend the L’Oréal Paris True Match Color Correcting Crayon to color correct and neutralize your complexion. Use the green shade to conceal redness and blemishes, the bisque, peach, or orange shade to disguise dark circles and hyperpigmentation and the yellow shade to hide blue or purple areas such as age spots.


Next: 5 Places To Apply Bronzer For Sun-Kissed Looking Skin


Edited by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo: Chaunte Vaughn