Make Up – Finding Your Shade

White chocolate is marketed by confectioners a...

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Recently I had the pleasure of buying some foundation make up. While I felt a sense of joy, the experience was somewhat awkward when I needed help.

As a woman of color, I find that many make up counter consultants are not verse in skintone and shading. Especially for darker skin tone women. Because my complexion is a mocha chocolate, im often consider as a dark chocolate shade for foundation make up. It’s very annoying that many make up counter consultants aren’t well-educated in variations of ethnic skintones. They rather group a women with the darkest shade instead of studying the art of color blending.

In this century, women of color are more fortunate than their grandmothers’ era. I recall seeing old pics of my grandmother’s youth and noticed her skintone was a shade of a powdery white. It look like she unintentionally dipped her face in porcelain powder. She was a chocolate complexion and that did not show through her pictures. The belief considered back then, was one shade fits all. Later in the century, women were granted more options for color shading, thanks to brands like Fashion Fair and Flori Roberts. Women were now match with the right shade and their picture moments show better results. 

Now back to my department store visit. I asked the sales woman about a new foundation product. I wanted something like my M.A.C foundation. Well the woman applied a shade on one side of my face. When I looked in the mirror the shade was too dark, yes too dark!

Luckily I had prior knowledge of make up and skintone techniques. Otherwise I would have walked out with a foundation that would have made me look like an unbalance clown.

The key to selecting the right shade for your complexion is to find three shades that fit the closet to your skintone. Shade 1 will be the lighter tone, shade 2 will be your exact shade and shade 3 will be a slightly darker tone.


Now here’s the key to a flawless look. Wear shade 1 and 2 during the spring and fall. During this time your natural complexion is apparent during these seasons. During the summer you can wear shade 1 and 2. As your skin gets tan by the summer sun, it’s best to wear those shades for natural look. Shade 3 is preferable during the winter months when your skintone gets naturally lighter due to the lack of sun. If you see no changes in your complexion tone opt for shade 2. If you’re really savvy use shade 3 as a contour shade. The key is to not to look too light or too dark in your make up color.


My recommendation is to go to a M.A.C comestic counter/store and have a professional make up artist match a shade for you.  I had success at M.A.C but there have been moments where I was fitted for a shade that was too dark for me. Another brand I recommend is Make Up Forever which is sold at Sephora. They have a large selection of color template and you will definitely find your match. This will be the beginning methods of color matching yourself. Once you find a brand that you prefer the color choices will be easier to select.

If you follow these steps you will have succesful results and a flawless complexion to show for it.


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