One of the most enjoyable parts of buying makeup is having the opportunity to swatch the products. You get to see how the colors and formula work on your skin, and decide whether or not it looks like it’ll become a staple in your makeup bag — all within the few minutes you spend inside the store. No single product depends more on proper swatching than foundation. But unfortunately, there’s a lot of dispute about where on your body you should be testing out your makeup base to see if it’s the perfect match for you. To settle the debate, we consulted some of the most in-demand makeup artists in the country to weigh in with their opinions.
“Because we tend to protect, exfoliate and treat the skin on the face more than the body, they may be a different color than one another.”
Celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips — whose clients include the entire Kardashian/Jenner clan, Jennifer Lopez, and Bella Hadid — recommends matching to your neck, décolletage, and/or shoulder area. “Because we tend to protect, exfoliate and treat the skin on the face more than the body, they may be a different color than one another,” she explains. “It is important to take this into consideration when matching foundation because we don’t want to have a different color face than body.”
However, there are many other schools of thought among other makeup pros. Daniel Chinchilla, Ariana Grande’s go-to artist, advocates for matching your foundation with your face because your neck often gets less sun exposure and is therefore too light. Meanwhile, Denika Bedrossian — who Hailey Bieber worked with on her wedding day — actually recommends swatching the inside of your arm to get the best overall body and face match, and clean beauty expert Christy Coleman, whose clientele includes Emmy Rossum and Alessandra Ambrosio, says that swatching on your jawline will help you match both your face and neck.
Though these artists can’t seem to agree where exactly the swatch should go for the perfect foundation match, there are a few things that they all recommend doing before you decide on a foundation splurge.
First off, you should be looking at your skin’s undertone — whether it’s warm, cool, or neutral — to find the perfect match. Phillips has a quick way to figure out your skin’s undertone. “If you are pale and your veins appear more blue, you will most likely have a cool undertone and [you’ll] want go with a pink based foundation,” she explains. “If you tan easily and your veins appear more green, you will most likely have a warm undertone and [will] want to go with a yellow/golden foundation.” She also recommends having a variety of shades in your kit so you can match your skin depending on the season and occasion.
All of the artists agreed that you should be blending your foundation down your neck on a day-to-day basis. “For everyday, I’d recommend blending your foundation down your jawline and buffing it down slightly, that way you avoid any color differences,” says Bedrossian. “If you are going out and are showing more skin, feel free to bring it down to the chest. You will photograph beautifully.” Chinchilla also notes that you should be careful when you’re blending your foundation onto your body, as it can make a mess on your clothes. If you want coverage on your chest, he recommends investing in a body foundation that will stay put.
It’s safe to assume that each makeup pro and enthusiast has a different method for finding the perfect foundation match, but it is definitely important to be taking your face, neck, and upper torso into consideration. For a quick check, try swatching by drawing a line straight down from your cheek, to your jawline, and down to your neck. The color that seems to match all three sections the most is probably the best match for you.
Keep in mind that a lot of makeup technique is trial and error, and totally dependent on your skin and your personal preferences — but that’s what makes it so much fun!
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