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Find Your Perfect
Makeup Shade Online

Finally some good news: Foundation and concealer shade ranges have never been more inclusive. But whether or not you’re just now starting to see your skin tone reflected in the options available, figuring out precisely which shade will look most natural remains a challenge, particularly if you’re shopping on-screen. ILIA just launched a new lightweight, medium-coverage foundation with niacinamide, aloe, and allantoin in a range of 30 shades, which the company hopes offers a match for every skin tone. The focus is on helping people find their best shade while boosting skin with potent actives: “My goal was to create a foundation that looks and feels like the best version of your skin,” says founder Sasha Plavsic. “Now we’ve updated the formula with active levels of skin-care ingredients; it’s the same undetectable, second-skin coverage I love for a more polished look, boosted with built-in skin care.”

  1. ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation
    ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation goop, $54

ILIA’s cult-favorite, multitasking tinted moisturizer delivers lighter coverage with the same inclusive and expansive shade range. Inclusivity—and blendability—took work, says Plavsic, and a deep shade range was only part of the mission: The three-in-one formula functions as sun protection, skin care, and makeup. The biggest challenge lay in creating a mineral-based SPF with non-nano zinc oxide that could blend beautifully across a full spectrum of shades. “Where zinc oxide gets tough is in the deeper skin tones,” says Plavsic. “We created a (now-patented) delivery system to encapsulate the mineral sunscreen with the pigment, preventing the white cast it might normally cause when worn on deeper skin tones.” Incorporating skin-care ingredients presented difficulties, too. “We wanted true hero ingredients like hyaluronic acid (which helps hold moisture underneath the skin, plumping it) and niacinamide (a powerful but gentle-on-skin peptide) at levels that could be clinically tested for a visible improvement in your skin. Then it had to be fragrance-, silicone-, and oil-free—and it had to feel weightless on, too,” she laughs.

  1. ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
    ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 goop, $48

It’s worth the time and effort to research your ultimate shade, one that blends naturally into your skin. Once you’ve got it, you can wear it for years (barring a major tan or other change in skin tone), knowing your skin looks fantastic. Here, eight ways to zero in on your forever formula.


Ask an Expert

Send a makeup-free selfie taken in natural light to [email protected], along with the name of the brand and shade you’re currently using, and the pros there—who know every product sold on inside and out—can help you find your best match, even across different brands.


Look at Pictures

“Our new shade finder will incorporate UGC [user-generated content] photos,” says Plavsic. “You can flip through images of real people wearing the product in real environments.”


Can’t Decide? Go Darker

“When in doubt, choose the darker of two shades,” says Plavsic. “Darker tends to make you look warmer and less washed-out. Or consider mixing the two shades you’re thinking about together.” Blending also allows you to adjust through the year if your skin warms up in the summer or gets paler in the winter.

  1. Light Coverage with SPF 20

    The ultimate no-makeup makeup: It’s glowy, translucent, and skin perfecting.

    Beautycounter Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage
    Beautycounter Dew Skin
    Moisturizing Coverage
    goop, $50
  2. Serious Skin-Care Benefits

    From top New York dermatologist Macrene Alexiades, this works-on-every-skin-tone tinted moisturizer is made with 45 active ingredients.

    MACRENE actives High Performance Tinted Moisturizer
    MACRENE actives High Performance Tinted Moisturizer goop, $165
  3. Buildable Coverage

    An amazing tinted face oil that evens out and hydrates skin beautifully.

    Kosas Tinted Face Oil
    Kosas Tinted Face Oil goop, $42
  1. A Natural, Even Finish

    This brilliant creamy stick is foundation and concealer in one—it melts in, leaving skin fresh, glowy, and flawless.

    Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick
    Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick goop, $68
  2. Extra Moisture

    This multitasking foundation boosts moisture, protects with SPF 35, and leaves a dewy, your-skin-but-better glow.

    SAIE Slip Tint
    Saie Slip Tint goop, $35


Consider Your Undertone

Once you’ve narrowed down your skin tone—the surface hue—look at your undertone. These two together make up your true shade—the one that looks most like your skin. Warm, cool, and neutral undertones exist in the fairest skin color all the way to the deepest. “If you have some pink or red to your skin, you’ve got a cooler undertone,” says Plavsic. “If you have golden, yellow, or peachy undertones, you’re more warm. Olive, a slightly green undertone, is also warm.” Another trick: People with cool undertones have veins that look blue; warm (or olive) have green; if you see both, you’ve got a neutral undertone.

Most brands include undertones in their shade descriptions, which can help steer your choices. “My personal rule of thumb: Go with the same undertone as your skin in most cases,” says top makeup artist Jillian Dempsey, founder of Jillian Dempsey Beauty and the FYFE Beauty app, which has tutorials from top stylists and makeup artists. “But if you have pigmentation in certain areas, then neutralizing shades help: Pink covers grey, orange covers blue, green covers red, and yellow covers red. So consider those if you need them. Also, peach and lilac tones work well in powders to brighten sallow or dull skin.”



  1. Handcrafted in Japan, this silky, cruelty-free foundation brush leaves the most flattering barely-there finish. For an even application, use a gentle sweeping motion to blend and smooth.

    Westman Atelier Foundation Brush
    Westman Atelier Foundation Brush goop, $80
  2. These soft, brilliantly designed synthetic makeup brushes effortlessly blend powder, liquid, and cream makeup for a natural-looking finish.

    Otis Batterbee Precision Makeup Brush Set
    Otis Batterbee Precision Makeup Brush Set goop, $120



We’re obsessed with the ease and blendability of Unsun sunscreens, which come in two shades (light to medium and medium to dark). The tint makes the cream melt into skin beautifully—no matter your skin color.

  1. Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen
    Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen goop, $29


Use the Same Strategies to Match Concealer

Just as with tinted moisturizer or clean foundation, you can combine two different shades if need be. Go a little lighter than your skin tone for covering blemishes, dark circles, etc. Kosas’s new liquid concealer has 28 shades—one of the most inclusive ranges we’ve seen. RMS has fewer shades but an intense pigment load, which can make it very versatile.

  1. The tiny, pointed brush tip is so precise, which is especially key with concealer: Swirl the brush in concealer; brush the pigment over blemishes, dark circles, and other imperfections; then pat (never rub) with your finger to blend.

    Westman Atelier Spot Check Brush
    Westman Atelier Spot Check Brush goop, $38
  2. This super creamy medium-coverage concealer comes with the skin-care benefits of an eye cream, helping brighten and improve skin over time. And if it’s breakouts you’re looking to cover, there are calming and brightening ingredients in there as well.

    Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer and Daytime Eye Cream
    Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer and Daytime Eye Cream goop, $28
  3. For softening blemishes and dark circles: This moisturizing cover-up smooths blemishes and blends easily.

    RMS Beauty “Un” Cover Up
    RMS Beauty “Un” Cover Up goop, $36


Warm Any Skin Tone with Bronzer

Add dimension with bronzer. “Use a bigger brush to create a natural effect with a bronzer,” says Plavsic. “Start by drawing a ‘three’ shape from the top of your forehead down along your hairline, then underneath the angle of your cheekbone, and then out and gently along the jaw. You can get some nice definition that isn’t obvious contouring.”

  1. Westman Atelier Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer
    Westman Atelier Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer goop, $75
  2. Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick
    Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick goop, $48
  3. Westman Atelier Blender Brush
    Westman Atelier Blender Brush goop, $125