Pick Your Shade!

Having that summer glow is wonderful, and come the dead of winter I’m not one to wish away the clean glisten of my paler skin either—but it’s difficult to find the right shade of makeup for your skin type as well as for the time of year. This post is meant to help you utilize your foundation all year long as well as make sure it matches your skin tone to begin with.

            For some reason I have a terribly difficult skin tone to match. I’m an odd combination of Sicilian and Polish, which leads to me having ivory skin but with cool undertones—doesn’t make much sense. Here’s how I suggest the perfect shade of foundation and how to modify it to match for all shade of your glow year round.

My search for the perfect shade of foundation began when I became annoyed with my mother constantly telling me to rub in the makeup on my chin because I had a terrible makeup line. Here are my 5 steps to make your mother happy as well as yourself when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror:

  1. Skin Tone
  2. Undertone
  3. Application
  4. Blush and Bronzer
  5. Exfoliation

Skin Tone

While I’m a bit in denial about being a “fair” skin tone—it’s ok. The natural color of your completion should fall under a spectrum of fair to light. There are generally 7 universal terms for each spade spectrum: 1) fair, 2) fair, light 3) light, 4) light medium, 5) medium, 6) medium dark, 7) dark. The best spot to determine what your skin tone is right under your cheek bone and right above your jaw bone—this spot reveals your natural completion free of shadows and curves.


This is the hardest part, but also the most important! The undertone of your skin is either cool, warm, or neutral. Everyone has a completely different undertone; this will also determine which shades of foundation, bronzer, blush, eye shadow, etc. you should be wearing. If your skin tone looks better in browns, blues, greens, or orange your undertone is warm. If you look better in pink, blush, or pastels then your undertone is cool. If you don’t look better in either or if you look better in greys and blacks then your undertone is probably neutral (and you’re lucky because you can wear whatever you want to pick foundation made for either warm or cool toned people). I am personally a warm tone, which means I choose makeups that have more of a golds and browns. The best warm tone foundation I’ve found is Estee Lauder and Makeup Forever. Cool tones foundations that I like are Bare Minerals (their new liquid is fantastic and comes in the most variety of shades I’ve ever found) as well as Urban Decay.


When you apply your foundation make sure to be using a tight bristled brush—meaning that there are a lot of brush hairs packed tightly together (my favorite is the Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush). I never put the foundation right on my brush (if it’s liquid) I also put it on my hand and then dip my bursh into the foundation (ensuring to not put too much on at once). I then swirl on the foundation working it in in a circular motion always working up and never pulling down. The most important part is to make sure to brush makeup all the way past your jaw line and down your neck a little bit; doing this will ensure that you don’t have an obvious makeup line from your face to your neck (which shouldn’t happen anyways after reading this!).

Blush and Bronzer

This is an important step to making sure your one shade of foundation can last you all year! In the summer I typically wear more bronzer and here’s why. I live in Indiana so winter occupies most of the year seasonally—which means that I’m generally paler than I am tanner. It’s a better investment in makeup that matches my winter skin tone than my summer one. Plus if you have a lighter foundation, contouring is a lot easier! I use Urban Decay’s Baked bronzer on my temples down under my cheek bones, on my jaw line, and a tiny bit on my T-Zone. During the winter I use warmth by Bare Minerals—it’s not metallic at all and it’s a more flat tone—gives you the color without making it look unnatural.

When choosing your perfect shade of blush squeeze your hand tight for 10 seconds then let go. The shade of red the palm of your hand turns is your “natural blush” color. Choose a shade as close to that color as possible to ensure a natural look! (This is my absolute favorite makeup trick!)


This may seem unnecessary to say, but it’s a very important step. Make sure you exfoliate about every other day to ensure they your shin is its natural color and not ashy from dead skin cells or red from being dry. I have an exfoliating brush that I use every other day before bed and it keeps my skin glowing without drying it out too much.

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Tiffany Lorente

Hello Lovelies! My name is Tiffany Lorente and I am one of the Living Editors here at Smart Girls Group. I am a Miami native with Cuban parents. I attend Florida International University and aspire to graduate with a Degree in Public Relations to then enter law school. For the past year and a half I have been working with Smart Girls Group and each time I change positions I fall more and more in love with our cause and what we do to inspire young women each day. I am a firm believer that you need to expose yourself to the world and let them know you are capable of many things. You can do great things if you set your mind to it.