Help! My foundation is too dark!

by Gio
Β© Jen

Β© Jen

Have you ever got a foundation that’s too dark for you?

That happens to me all the time. My skin is so pale that most foundations, esp drugstore ones, are too dark for me. Finding a shade that matches my skin is so hard that sometimes I have no option but to purchase one that is slightly darker thanΒ  my skintone. *sighs*

But you don’t need to be pale to get the wrong foundation. The lights in the shops can be deceiving (always test foundation outside a shop in broad daylight) and you can end up buying the wrong shade or now that’s winter, the tan you had this summer has faded and your foundation doesn’t match your skin anymore.

But there’s no need to throw it in the bin. There are a few ways to put your dark foundation to good use:

Mix and match

If you have a foundation that’s too light for you lying around, you can darken it by mixing it with a few drops of the darker foundation. In alternative, you can also mix a foundation that’s too dark with your lotion to create a tinted moisturizer. It’s easy to do: just add a few drops at a time until you get a shade that matches your skintone.

Lighten it up with powder

Once you applied a foundation that’s too dark for you, you can apply a lighter pressed powder (a powder foundation will do the trick too) over it to lighten it up and even out the skintone. After all, you need to set the foundation with powder anyway, so why not use it to tone down the color so that it will match your skin as well?


If your foundation is one or two shades darker, you can use it to contour your face. Contouring with liquid products is easier than doing it with powders, lasts longer and looks very natural. Just apply the foundation on any part of the face you want to shape (nose, jawline, hollows of the cheeks, temples, around the hairline) and blend well to soften any harsh lines.

Swap it

If you really don’t want the foundation, you can always swap it with a friend or with some other beauty addicts online. There are many beauty forums on the internet where people can swap items that don’t suit them and get something they’re actually gonna use in return. But as I showed you above, a darker foundation can turn out to be very useful, so consider carefully how you can make it work for you before getting rid of it. πŸ˜‰

Have you got any more tips on how to use a foundation that’s too dark?

Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

Screenshot from 2017 04 30 11 51 35

Get access to the β€œPro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine β€œcheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams - even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.

Powered by ConvertKit



Simone February 15, 2010 - 4:25 pm

I rarely have this problem because, ever since I started wearing foundation, I’ve always deliberately gone a shade lighter than I probably should. It started with me disliking the natural colour of my skin and I suppose it just stuck. The one time I allowed the people at the make-up counter to pick out my ‘real’ colour, I ended up looking like I was wearing bad fake tan (to my eyes, anyway). Sometimes I wish I was just pale enough to wear the palest shade of any foundation =P
.-= Simone´s last blog ..Something for Valentine’s Day… =-.

beautifulwithbrains February 15, 2010 - 8:20 pm

Simone, I’m sure you look fine with a foundation that matches your skin, it’s just that you’re not used to see yourself wearing the right shade, that’s all. I’ve had the opposite problem. I hated my pale skin and wanted it to be darker so that I could find a foundation that matched. It took me years but I’ve finally embraced my natural skintone and I’m sure you’ll do too one day soon. πŸ˜‰

jojoba (My Makeup Reviews) February 16, 2010 - 1:26 am

Oh i love this post. it’s so helpful. i think that some foundation can be used one for the entire face but others don’t. But i can’t be bothered to mix two or three products together. i think that’s waste of money unless i really do like that foundation and can’t find an alternative. but then again, that never happens.

Nikki February 16, 2010 - 2:59 am

I do mix and match with my foundation, I do own a couple of dark foundation! This is a very good tip and the photo is awesome! Easier for us to understand the placing πŸ™‚

Ahleessa February 16, 2010 - 4:48 am

I can’t mix and match my BB cream. One thing bad about BB creams is that they don’t have many choices when it comes to colors *sigh*. I tend to apply a darker pressed powder on top of my BB cream. It matches my skin when I do that… wheee~ πŸ™‚
.-= Ahleessa´s last blog ..Noodles with Kim-chi(Kim-chi guk-su) =-.

beautifulwithbrains February 16, 2010 - 11:39 am

Jojoba, I’m glad you find it helpful. I only mix foundations when I get the wrong shade and once that’s run out I just try something else. I wouldn’t repurchase a foundation that’s the wrong shade, even if I liked it, just because once mixed it matches my skintone.That would be a waste of money, I agree with you. Unless you’re a makeup artist of course. In that case, you’d actually save money.

beautifulwithbrains February 16, 2010 - 11:46 am

Nikki, dark foundations are very useful tools esp for makeup artists like you. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found the pix useful. I thought it made placement clear and simple to understand. πŸ™‚

beautifulwithbrains February 16, 2010 - 11:48 am

Ahleessa, that’s a shame. BB creams are great products but they should definitely come in more shades. I’m glad applying powder on top solves the problem for you. πŸ™‚

Dao February 17, 2010 - 9:35 pm

I have a foundation that’s too light and another one that’s too dark. I use the dark one to contour around my face and apply the light one at the center of my face. Unless they expire, I always keep my foundations around for contouring purpose.
.-= Dao´s last blog ..Wonderful Wednesday =-.

beautifulwithbrains February 19, 2010 - 9:42 pm

Dao, that’s a technique I haven’t tried yet but I heard the results are great. Apparently quite a few makeup artists do that to sculpt and highlight the face while applying foundation. You should write
a tutorial about that. πŸ™‚

Vonvon February 20, 2010 - 5:43 pm

Great post! I don’t normally have problem with foundation shades but I found 1 compact powder foundation in my stash which is a shade too dark for my skin. Might use it for contouring.

I do encounter foundation which is lighter than my skin tone. In that case, I apply Guerlain Meteorites all over my face to give me that pink glow.
.-= Vonvon´s last blog ..Urban Decay Haul & GWP From [email protected] =-.

beautifulwithbrains February 21, 2010 - 9:03 pm

Vonvon, thanks. I think that powder foundation would be great for contouring πŸ™‚

I wouldn’t know what to fo if I came across a foundation that’s too light for me. It only happened once and that shade was white. Not pinkish white, just white, so you can see how pale I am. Thanks for the tip, I’m glad to hear it works well for you. πŸ™‚

Lynn July 7, 2010 - 8:55 am

wow,,thanx so much for the useful tips!
i have been searching for a way to mix my foundations (one is lighter and the other is darker) and how to contour my face with them.
finding a right shade for my face is quite a task since my under tone is a bit yellow, a bit olive, n sometimes a bit pink depending on the sun exposure! can u imagine that? lol
anyway,,this is some great tips, thanx πŸ˜€

beautifulwithbrains July 7, 2010 - 9:03 pm

Lynn, I feel your pain! It’s really hard for me to find a foundation that matches my pale skin, but it must be even harder for you. If you have a few foundations that don’t match you well, definitely try to mix them to create the perfect shade for you. πŸ™‚

Roxy December 29, 2010 - 5:25 am

there are numerous lines for golden, caramel and with more mahagony complexions availabe. Like Coverfx, Nars, and RCMA all sold @ Naimie’s Beauty Center.

beautifulwithbrains December 29, 2010 - 1:35 pm

Roxy, thank you for sharing! I’m surely women with those skintones will find it very helpful. πŸ™‚

C.D. February 8, 2012 - 1:17 am

@ Simone – I used to be dark, and actually though it was my natural color, untill i started homeschooling and didnt go outside for a few months in sunlight. n guess what!? im the whitest person i know!!! i use the WHITEST whitest foundations i can find, and some of them still arent light enough and i absolutely LOVVVEEE being white πŸ˜€ even tho americans like being tan, im obsessed with paleness. πŸ˜€ lucky me i guess

stefanny May 10, 2013 - 12:27 pm

hi Simone, i really love your post. i almost buy another 30$ lighter foundation because i have bought the darker one before. lucky i found your post. now i can use it to contour my face. thanks! πŸ™‚

beautifulwithbrains May 10, 2013 - 2:54 pm

Stefanny, glad the post helped you.

Makaela Mitchell May 15, 2015 - 4:37 pm

Hi I’ve been having problems with mine, I take of picture with my phone and flash on and my face is ghost pale, I take a picture using the front camera and I look flawless, also the same looking in the mirror, half my friends say my face is too light for my skin, and others say they can’t even tell, help

Gio May 15, 2015 - 7:16 pm

Makaela, sounds like your foundations contains ingredients, usually titanium dioxide or silica, that makes your face turn pale in photos. I’d suggest you either change foundation or don’t take them with flash. Hope this helps.

Nolly September 30, 2017 - 11:33 am

I have this problem so much! I have a fairly light skin tone; mind you its not *the fairest* ever to exist, but it still has much more of a cool/pink undertone than yellow or neutral. Most makeups have an extremely fair (too light) foundation, and the next shade is way too yellow for my tone πŸ™ BB/CC creams are usually not an option because they typically only have 2-3 shades (somewhere in the middle of the a skin-tone spectrum). I’m thinking of mixing my (too dark) foundations with highlighter… What do you think? Then again, I do not want to be glowing all over… I still want to contour. Also, I have hypoallergenic/non-comedogenic skin needs. Any ideas?

Gio October 6, 2017 - 9:33 pm

Nolly, I hear ya! I have pale skin too so I know the struggle. Personally, I would mix it with moisturiser. That’ll sheer it out without adding too much glow to your skin.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.