With so many brands and shades to choose from, picking the right foundation shade can be incredibly tricky. Fortunately, a good foundation match app (for ios and Android) can cut down on the guesswork and help you find the perfect foundation shade.
Apps we tested
- RedmondMom Find Your Foundation Shade
- Temptalia Foundation Matrix
- Sephora Find My Shade
Use this if: you want a shade-matching app with an easy-to-use web interface.
Summary: Findation comes highly recommended, but during our tests, we found it limited. It did not provide the shade info for the product we were seeking. It did, however, provide the shade info for another foundation made by the same brand.
Is it accurate: Somewhat accurate, but Findation’s limited database may not have the foundation you are seeking.
Test 1: We used L’Oreal Tru Match foundation in shade W2 as our guide to see if Findation could find a match for the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream. It did not find a shade for the CC+ Cream but it did provide a shade match for another IT Cosmetics foundation (Celebration Foundation) in Light.
Test 2: Using the same L’Oreal foundation, we tried to find a shade equivalent for the Shiseido Sun Protection Compact. Unfortunately, Findation did not have the product we were seeking. The only Shiseido foundation listed on the site was Shiseido’s Perfect Refining Foundation, which had a different shade range and naming convention. Ultimately, it was not useful to us at all.
Flaws: you may not find the shade info for the product you are seeking.
Use this if: you know your MAC foundation shade and want to find shade equivalents for other foundations and concealers quickly.
Summary: RedmondMom’s Find Your Foundation Match database is listed by MAC foundation shades. The foundation types and shade matches are displayed in tables, along with reviews of the product by makeup bloggers.
Is it accurate: we found correct shades for the foundations we were searching for.
Test 1: Our tester’s shade is MAC NC15, and on the NC15 page, we entered “L’Oreal” into the table search bar and found that it was the correct shade (W2). On the same table, we also found the correct IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream shade (Light).
Test 2: We entered “Shiseido” into the table search box and found that it contained the correct shade info for the foundation we wanted (Shiseido Sun Protection Compact).
Flaws: you’ll need to know your MAC foundation shade before using the site.
Use this if: you need images and swatches to help you pick the right shade.
Summary: At first glance, Temptalia Foundation Matrix looks like a full-featured site with an extensive database of foundation shades and swatches. After testing the site however, we found it bloated with useless info and impossible to pin down the correct shade.
Is it accurate: Not really; results were ambiguous and unhelpful.
Test 1: We used the same L’Oreal Tru Match foundation shade as a guide and searched for a match for IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream. Temptalia provided 3 different shades (Fair, Light and Neutral Medium), which wasn’t useful at all since we were after a definitive shade match.
Test 2: Using the same L’Oreal foundation, we searched for a shade match for Shiseido Sun Protection Compact. Again, it listed 3 different shade options (SP20, SP30 and SP40) as our best matches, which was not helpful.
Flaws: the website is cluttered and bloated. Instead of providing a definitive shade, it provides multiple shade options which isn’t helpful if you are trying to find the right shade.
Use this if: you are shopping for foundation on Sephora and want a quick way to verify that you have selected the correct shade.
Summary: Sephora’s foundation shade finder is a stand in for the times when you can’t get to the Sephora store in person to get shade-matched. Like other shade apps, you select the foundation brand and shade you already use, and it matches you to the foundations sold on Sephora.
Is it accurate: Not really.
Test 1: We used L’Oreal TruMatch in W2 to find a shade equivalent for IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream, and Sephora was unable to find a match for us.
Test 2: Sephora does not carry Shiseido Sun Compact and we were not able to perform a shade match for that product.
Flaws: your shade matches are limited to what’s sold on Sephora.com. In other words, if you are looking to get shade-matched to brands like Maybelline, Revlon or The Ordinary, you won’t find what you need.
Use this if: you want to experiment with using selfies to find personalized makeup products.
Is it accurate: No. It’s a great concept using selfies to determine one’s foundation match, but ultimately it did not accurately match our tester’s skin tone to the correct foundation shade.
Test 1: After downloading and installing the Slapp app, we signed up for a Slapp account to access the app. Our tester took a selfie and tried to use the app to find foundation matches. We filtered the search results for IT Cosmetics and the app did not find the product (IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream) we were after. The only IT Cosmetics foundation available is the IT Cosmetics Foundation and the app matched our tester to Tan Neutral 42. Unfortunately, this is many shades darker than our tester’s skin tone.
Test 2: Next, we filtered the search results for “Shiseido” and found only a sunblock product.
Flaws: The app did not find an accurate foundation match for our tester.
We performed 2 tests on every app to check the accuracy of the foundation match apps.
Test 1: using L’Oreal TruMatch in shade W2, Light Ivory, we searched for a shade equivalent for IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream (the correct shade for our tester is Light).
Test 2: Next, using the same L’Oreal foundation shade, we searched for another shade equivalent for Shiseido Sun Protection Compact (the correct shade for our tester is SP 30).
Note: we used these 3 different foundations because we know how the shade looks like on our tester’s skin (MAC NC15) and because it comes in both liquid and powder forms.