How to Find Your Foundation Shade Without Getting Matched

Findation Website Review

If you’re anything like me, then you probably have a hefty list of foundations you want to try (Too Faced’s Born This Way, I’m coming for you next). The only problem is that finding your right foundation shade is essential, and choosing wrongly can make the purchase a total waste of money.

The obvious thing that you’re mean to do is to get matched, whether that’s popping into Boots and swatching it on your skin yourself or going to a makeup counter and having the assistant match you. However, unless you live in one of the big cities, you probably don’t have every single makeup brand at your disposal. Here in the party town of Coventry, for example, I can find all of the classic brands like Estee Lauder, Clarins and YSL,  but if I want NARS, MAC or Too Faced then I’ll have to go further afield to places like Leamington or Birmingham. One word: FAFF.

The other option is to do your research online, and scour blog reviews for swatches and recommendations. This is perfect for lipsticks and blushers,  but as we know the range of foundation shades out there is so bloody massive that finding a blogger with your exact skin tone who’s reviewed your exact desired shade is pretty slim. A lot of bloggers give their MAC shade as a reference point, but if like me you’ve never been matched in MAC (NC-what now?) then this isn’t too useful either.


Are you excited? You should be.

A couple of months ago I came by a website called I wish I could remember how I heard of it, but as I can barely remember what day my bins go out most weeks the chances of recalling this are slim. Anyway, Findation claims to be able to help you find your foundation shade in one brand based on a shade you’ve used in the past with another. So if you know what shade you are in Rimmel 25 Hour Foundation then you can find your match in Benefit Hello Flawless.

Findation Blog ReviewI thought it sounded amazing but was a little sceptical, so as I was after NARS Sheer Glow at the time I made the journey over the Space NK in Leamington and got matched properly. A couple of weeks ago though, I was after a new foundation and had decided to try Estee Lauder’s Double Wear. I have an Estee Lauder counter in Coventry and so decided to put Findation to the test.

It’s really simple to use – you go to the website and input the details of previous foundations you’ve used and what shade you were in them. It will match you if you put in just one previous brand, but promises more accurate results if you list a few different shades. It then returns a HUGE list of foundations, suggesting what shade you will be in each and every one. I’m certainly no makeup expert, but it seems to include every brand I could possibly think of, from high-end Chanel, Laura Mercier and Illamasqua to drugstore favourites Bourjois, Sleek and L’Oreal. Findation 3

Findation 4Based on the information that I entered on my previous shades in NARS Sheer Glow and Clarins Everlasting Foundation, the site advised me that I would be 2N1 Desert Beige in Estee Lauder’s Double Wear. As I was forking out £30 for this foundation, I wasn’t just going to take that as gospel and so went along to my local counter. I mentioned that I thought I was Desert Beige but wasn’t sure, so the assistant got it out for me to try. And LO and BEHOLD, it was the perfect match.

I went back to Findation to find out how this sorcery works, and apparently they have just collected loads of data on the foundation shades that people wear, and then used an algorithm to work out which ones are similar across brands (I say ‘just’ as if I too could use an algorithm – I can’t even use rhythm). It does advise that if you can only provide your shades in sheer foundations then it might not be able to give you an accurate match in full coverage and vice versa, so that’s something to bear in  mind if you’re looking for a completely different formula.

The other handy thing is that as well as advising you of your shade, Findation then also links you to places online where you can buy it (which is how they make their money, I assume). Now that I’ve put it to the test, I think I’ll definitely put my full faith in the service next time I need to match myself quickly and easily.

By the way, I know that it’s quite unusual for me to rave about one thing like this so much – miserable Negative Nancy that I am – and so just in case anyone’s wondering if this post is sponsored or in any way influenced by Findation, I’d like to confirm that it is 100% NOT. I genuinely stumbled across it myself, was impressed and so decided to spread the word to help other people out. I know, I deserve an OBE really.

Have any of you used Findation before? Let me know in the comments!


33 Responses

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      Ahh I hadn’t realised some weren’t included – hopefully they’re adding to the database regularly and the new ones will pop up soon! xx

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      Glad it’s worked for you too 🙂 xx

  1. Pam January 11, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    thank YOU! ive always wanted to know what shade i am for makeup forever, will have to try now. Thanks again!!!

    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:51 pm

      Yay, happy I could help 🙂 So happy I discovered itself, but it does make me very tempted to keep buying new foundations now.. xx

  2. Emily January 11, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    I stumbled across Findation &, like you, got really excited. Unfortunately the foundation shade I’m currently using – Illamasqua Skin Base in 3.5, doesn’t exist on there and neither does the one I’m looking to try next (Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation! x

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:51 pm

      Boo, that’s rubbish! Hopefully they’ll keep adding xx

  3. Sabiha January 11, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    Some great tips and love the sound of the foundation matching website. I always find foundation matching such a chore and this sounds so fun and easy to use xx

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:52 pm

      It’s such a pain, isn’t it? I’ll definitely be turning to this more in the future 🙂 xx

  4. Alice Grace January 11, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    Living in a small city myself, I know the struggle of buying makeup products without being able to swatch or try them first! This app sounds amazing and I’ll definitely be giving it a try!

    Alice / Alice Grace Beauty


    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      It’s really annoying – I don’t mind trying them in Birmingham if I happen to be there anyway, but making a trip especially is a bit too much effort! xx

  5. Holly Ah-Thion January 12, 2016 / 9:16 am

    This sounds brilliant. I hate the fact that you can’t try on drugstore foundations on your whole face, so I’ll have to give this a go to find the perfect match!

    Holly |

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      So true, and trying to see it on your skin in those tiny mirrors isn’t easy either! Hope you find it works for you 🙂 xx

  6. May January 12, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    Gosh, this sounds fantastic! We don’t get huge brand counters here, too, so I’ve never actually dared to purchase any foundation that I WANT because I’m so afraid of purchasing the wrong shade. This seems to solve all the problem, though. Thanks for sharing, Claire!

    May | THE MAYDEN | bloglovin’

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:54 pm

      Exactly, it’s such a huge waste of money if you get it wrong so I was always too scared too. Hope this helps you in the future 🙂 xx

  7. Sophie January 12, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    I love using findation whenever I’m shopping for foundations online and so far it has never failed me! Especially when I have the perfect foundation shade and I want to find a similar shade but with a different formula.

    Sophie – eselle x

    • Claire January 12, 2016 / 8:55 pm

      Ahh glad you’ve found it so useful in the past, it’ll definitely be my new favourite tool I think 🙂 xx

  8. Aliona January 12, 2016 / 9:25 pm

    Very nice. Would love it if you could check out my new post on how to plan happiness in 2016!
    Kisses xo | From Aliona With Love 

  9. Lindsey Elyse January 12, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    Whaaat!? I wish I had known about this before I placed my order for the bourjois foundation! (luckily it suits me!) but I was super worried that it wouldn’t. Whoever came up with this is a genius and I can’t thank you enough for spreading the word! I am definitely going to take a look now!

    Lindsey Elyse | lindseyginge

    • Claire January 13, 2016 / 10:00 pm

      Lucky you getting such a good match with the Bourjois! But I’m glad you’ll find this useful too 🙂 xx

    • Claire January 13, 2016 / 10:00 pm

      Yay you’re welcome 🙂 xx

  10. Lowenna Stephenson January 13, 2016 / 11:54 am

    I am so grateful for this, finally found something to help find my shade! So glad, thank you so much!

    Lowenna Christine

  11. Sarah January 19, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    Claire I didn’t know your based in Coventry, (me too) I’ve been a reader of your blog for the past few months, and stumbled upon it by chance when I was looking for help on the internet on how to get grey/silver hair. Well done on your blog xx
    P.S Were not very spoilt for choice in terms of shops in Coventry are we

    • Claire January 19, 2016 / 10:34 pm

      Ooh yay I love heaing from fellow Cov girls aha. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you got there with the grey/silver 🙂 xx

  12. Georgina February 27, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    Would you mind letting me know what shade you are in the NARS sheer glow? I currently use Estée Lauder in 2N1 but looking to try the NARS foundation. I thought as you matched the same shade as me I would check if the results I get from this website are the same as what you are? xx

    • Claire February 28, 2017 / 2:09 pm

      Hi Georgina, I’m Santa Fe in NARS which is a great match for me! 🙂 xx

  13. Leah S March 5, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    I found findation just before I read this…. it is awesome but it doesnt have too faced born this way yet… so as you are the same shade as me in Estee Lauder was just wondering if you have been matched for Too Faced Born this way as I really want to try it but need to order online and hoping we will be the same shade 🙂 xx

  14. Amy June 10, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    This has changed my life. You are my hero.

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