How To Find The Perfect Foundation Shade
Take the guesswork out of shade matching online with our expert guide.
How To Find The Perfect Foundation Shade
Take the guesswork out of shade matching online with our expert guide.

Are you sure you’re wearing your best possible shade of foundation? Tip: If you have to apply it all over your face for it to look even, chances are you’ve not yet found ‘the one’. Wearing the wrong tone of foundation makes it tricky to achieve that natural, ‘I woke up like this’ effect, but thankfully there are plenty of ways to ensure you get it right – even when you’re shopping online.

In store, you can swatch multiple shades and formulas and see how they look under different lights, but online is a little different. With so many shades to choose from, like the 40+ shades of Even Better Clinical™ Serum Foundation SPF20 and Even Better™ Makeup SPF15, it’s hard to know where to start, but our expert Consultants are here to help simplify the process. ‘It’s so important to find the right foundation match as it’ll really boost your confidence, knowing that you’ve got that beautiful finish that just enhances your natural skin,’ explains Skin School Consultant Sammy Andrews. ‘It can sometimes be hard to know what you want from your foundation, but Clinique has a few different tools that allow you to get your perfect match, wherever you are.’ Here, Sammy shares her expertise to help you find that flawless fit, from the comfort of your home.
Understand Your Undertones.
A great starting point is to identify your skin’s undertones, as this will steer you towards your foundation match. ‘To work out your undertones, take a look at the veins in your wrist. If they look bluer, you’re cooler-toned, and if they’re greener, you’re warmer-toned. Alternatively, you might find that you suit silver or gold jewellery better – silver suits cooler skin tones, whereas gold suits warmer tones,’ says Sammy. Essentially, you’re looking for a foundation shade that matches those undertones, and Clinique shade names provide a helpful guide here. ‘The letters WN and CN in our shade names refer to either a warm neutral or a cool neutral tone, as most skin tones stem from that neutral base. All our shades fall into these families, so once you’ve worked out your undertone you can then find the depth of shade to suit your complexion.’ If you aren’t sure on this or have any other questions about shade matching, you can always start a live chat with one of our Consultants via the button on the bottom right of your screen.
Try It On, Virtually.
Gone are the days where you need to go instore to try a foundation, thanks to our Virtual Try On tool. First choose your formula, scan the QR code, then select Find Your Shade. ‘This is a fantastic foundation shade finder tool you can use in the comfort of your home. It’ll help you determine the closest match, as well as giving you a few other options to virtually try on and see how they look against your skin,’ Sammy explains. Utilising Shade Match Science, it’s a quick and easy way to differentiate between the formulas and shades, so it’s ideal if you need to choose quickly. It’s currently available in six foundations, including our bestselling Even Better Clinical™ Serum Foundation SPF20 (Sammy’s personal favourite) and Even Better™ Makeup SPF15.
Get An Expert Opinion.
If you have a little more time, a free 1:1 virtual Skin School consultation is the ultimate way to find your ideal foundation shade. ‘With a consultation you can ask any questions you might have about your foundation. We’ll also be able to ask you a few questions to understand you and your skin a little bit better, so we can point you in the right direction,’ says Sammy. ‘From there, just by seeing your skin tone in a natural, clear light, we can determine which shade is best suited to you, like we do in store. Sometimes people find that they want to warm up their shade, whereas others will go a little lighter because they wear things like bronzer and blush, but by having a chat with us, we can help to make sure that you find the best foundation to suit you.’ The sessions take place on Zoom and last around 20-30 minutes, after which your Consultant will email you a list of all your personalised product and shade recommendations with an exclusive 15% offer code.
For The Truest Match, Go Makeup-Free.
Whether you choose a foundation shade finder tool like Virtual Try-On or book in for a consultation, turn up fresh-faced to get the most accurate result. ‘To prepare for a foundation match, the best think you can do is makeup-free so we can get a true look at your natural skin tone and texture,’ adds Sammy. It’s also worth taking a moment to find a spot with good lighting. ‘It’s best if you can go somewhere with natural lighting. For example, sit facing the window, looking out, so you have natural daylight on your face. This will give us the most accurate look at your skin tone, but if it’s later in the day or a darker room, just find something that’s as close to natural lighting as possible. A well-lit room is really helpful.’
Switch It Up Seasonally.
You may find that your idea of a perfect foundation changes throughout the year. Perhaps you prefer a lighter coverage in summer and fuller coverage in winter, or maybe you’d rather stick to the same formula but switch up the shades. ‘Personally, I like to have a wardrobe of foundations throughout the year, because in summer I get out in the sun a lot, whereas in the winter I’ll be a bit fairer, but it’s very much a personal preference,’ explains Sammy. ‘I do recommend having a new match in the summer and winter, just to make sure you’re happy with your shade and finish.’
So, there you have it: an expert’s guide to shade-matching online. Whatever help you need, our Consultants are on hand to make your shopping experience as seamless as possible, whether you start with a Skin School session or Virtual Try-On. Hopefully you’ll get it right first time, but if you do buy a shade, try it, and don’t love it, we also offer free returns on foundation, so you’ll never be stuck with something that doesn’t make you look and feel your best.

Need more help creating your Clinique makeup look? Book in for a complimentary bespoke Skin School consultation with one of our own beauty experts. Following your initial consultation, we'll also offer you 15% off* your next online order.

 

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Words by Shona Wallace
Updated 30th August 2023

Shop Clinique foundations:

Even Better Clinical™ Serum Foundation SPF20, Full Coverage - Satin Matte Finish

CN 28 Ivory

30ml
30ml
30ml
30ml
30ml
30ml
Even Better™ Makeup SPF15, Medium Coverage - Natural Finish

CN 08 Linen

30ml
30ml
30ml
30ml
30ml
30ml
Moisture Surge™ Sheertint Hydrator SPF 25, Sheer Coverage - Natural Finish

Universal Shade 2 - Light