Where Should You Match Your Foundation?

by Gio
where to match foundation

How many times have you bought the wrong foundation shade?

If you’re anything like me,, too many to count. When I first started getting into makeup, I didn’t have much of a choice. I was a broke teen and none of the foundations at the drugstore were available in light shades that matched my skintone.

I always had to get a darker shade. It wasn’t a big problem in winter, when I wore high-neck sweaters. But in the summer? I’d have to go barefaced or look like I’m wearing a mask.

But even when I finally had more money to invest in a pricier foundation, I would still often end up purchasing the wrong pale shade.

Awful lights in the shops, had something to do with it, but it wasn’t the main reason… I was trying on foundation shades in all the wrong places…

Should You Match Your Foundation To Your Inner wrist

For years, I tried foundation shades on my inner wrist. It was what everyone else was doing. Heck, even the SAs I asked for help to would gently grab my wrist and test the foundation there. *shakes head* Must have been the right way, I thought. And yet, when you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense. Look at your inner wrist. Is it the same colour as your face? Nope. Mine is an even paler shade than my face and has stronger yellow undertones. That led me to choose foundations who had strong yellow undertones too, so no wonder they didn’t look good on me! Duh!

Should You Match Your Foundation To Your Jawline?

I next matched my foundation to my jawline. The reasoning behind this is simple. If you pick a shade that only matches your face, you’ll look like you’re wearing a mask that ends at your jawline. Ew! But while this advice has served me well in winter, it failed me in the summer. I still looked like I was wearing a mask because the rest of my body is a different colour than my face. And so, very likely, is yours. It may be darker, it may have sallower or pinker undertones, or you may have a skin condition that causes redness. By focusing on your jawline only, it’s easy to pick up the wrong shade.

Should You Match Your Foundation To Your Neck?

Did you know that your neck contains less melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin, which gives skin its colour)? Add to that that your face casts a shadow upon your neck, and it’s no wonder that this is one of the palest parts of your body. It’s often much paler than your chest. So, if you choose a foundation shade that only matches your neck, you may look ok when wearing a round collar top. But when you don a low cut top, or just slightly unbutton your shirt, you will look like you’re wearing a ghostly mask that ends at your neck! Argh! Why can’t our skin just be one colour all over?!

Should You Match Your Foundation To Your Chest?

If you live somewhere cold where you’re forced to wear turtle necks or round collar tops a lot, matching your foundation to your jawline may make sense. But even then, you’ll sometimes wear a low-cut dress, or even just a V-neck top or a blouse that’s not buttoned all the way up. Unless you want to apply your foundation to your chest, you’ll have to pick a shade that matches it. That way, your face and body will be the same colour.

The Bottom Line

When choosing a new foundation shade, try and match it to your chest. That’s usually the best place to ensure you pick a shade that won’t make you look like you’re wearing a mask. However, don’t forget that we are all different. We have different skintones, different undertones and live in different places, with different climates that affects our skin colours differently. If you find that matching  your foundation to your jawline works best for you, keep doing it. But if a shade picked that way has never satisfied you, try matching it to your chest next time. The result may surprise you. 🙂

Where do you match your foundation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



Monica P February 18, 2014 - 4:50 pm

I usually do jaw line ~ never thought about my chest which probably gets the same sun as my face and therefore, is probably a better match 😉


Gio February 18, 2014 - 10:06 pm

Monica, I used to do the jaw line too, but when I tried the chest I was surprised at how easier it was to find a good match. Try it too next time you go shopping for a foundation. 🙂

Trisha February 18, 2014 - 6:27 pm

I never even thought of matching it to my chest! What a good idea. I had a similar thing as you. When I was young, I did it on my wrist, then later on my jawline. Nowadays, if I’m at a makeup store where you can swatch, I usually do that on the back of my hand…

Gio February 18, 2014 - 10:19 pm

Trisha, the jawline is a much better place to test your foundation than the wrist, isn’t it? But I find the chest works even better. 🙁 I tried the back of my hand a couple of times too, but that has never worked out too well for me.

Janessa February 18, 2014 - 8:59 pm

What a cool picture, I really like it! I wouldn’t match my foundation to my wrist either because skin there is thinner and shows some vein colors which will not match my face! I match my foundation to my neck, chest. I don’t match to the jaw because I wouldn’t wear foundation without brining it down to my jaw and neck anyways. I’ll first find the shade that best matches my face, then go from there. The chest is often very cool, the neck warmer (like the face) due to blood flow. For someone with very fair skin and wants to minimize the appearance of tons of freckles, I’d match his or her foundation to a shade in-between the freckles and skin. I feel like matching it to the freckles won’t match the rest of the body like the underarm or chest where there may be less sun exposure, thus less freckles. :]

If I am testing a foundation in-stores, I’ll apply it to my jawline though, not my face and then let it sit for at least fifteen minutes before judging it under sun light.

Janessa February 18, 2014 - 9:01 pm

When I bronze up my face and do heavy contouring for another one of my all-out makeup looks, I always darken the neck and chest too, and make sure I get behind the ears as well. If I am doing a dramatic, yet more natural contour or bronzed look, I make sure to get my neck and chest as well, but with a lighter dusting.

Gio February 18, 2014 - 10:35 pm

Janessa, finding a good match is quite complicated, isn’t it? I find that matching foundation to the chest works better for me because that way, when I wear a low cut top or a vest, my skin is the same colour all over. But in some cases, matching it to a different body part can give better results. Oh, why can’t our skin be always the same colour all over? That would make things so much easier! lol

Janessa February 18, 2014 - 11:10 pm

That would be much easier! 😛

Gio February 19, 2014 - 9:00 pm


Regn February 18, 2014 - 9:16 pm

Amazing tip, thanks! However, I still can’t decide what my undertone is. I can’t say whether my veins are blue or green, they’re just veins. 😀 I prefer wearing silver, but that’s because it suits my style. I don’t know wheter it suits ME. I have very bad blue undereye circles and tend to get pink in my face. I’m extremely pale, but my body is neither pink, nor blue, nor yellow. I just can’t distinguish the colour.

Gio February 18, 2014 - 10:44 pm

Reign, to me, it sounds like you could be neutral-toned. Most people are, me included. To be sure, try to do these tests: http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2012/02/24/are-you-cool-or-warm-how-to-determine-your-skins-undertone/
If the majority of the test results don’t fit into one category, then you are neutral toned. 🙂

Mayette February 19, 2014 - 5:16 am

I am literally sitting here with foundations swatched on my chest now. This is such a good idea!

Gio February 19, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Mayette, it’s a much better place to test your foundation, isn’t it? I was amazed by the results too when I first tried it.

Pat August 12, 2017 - 6:26 pm

I apply it to jawline to match ears.

Gio August 19, 2017 - 9:13 pm

Pat, that’s a great place to match it in summer. 🙂

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