How To Choose Foundation Color Online [Editor’s Guide]

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Finding the perfect foundation in stores can be tricky, but it can be trickier if you want to choose a foundation color online.

If you are into shopping online for anything than in retail stores, this is a pendulum you would often want to sway to buying at a store, especially if you’ve been burnt countless times when trying to get your unique shade.

What’s more, you can’t test the shade out on your skin like you would in a physical store under the guidance of an attendant. This would make makeup shopping hard.

Well, you do not have to be so afraid to buy cosmetic products like foundation online. If you are trying to choose foundation color online suited just for your skin, you can learn to pick the perfect one just for you by reading this article.

How to choose foundation color online

1. Identify skin characteristics

Skin characteristics include skin type, issues, and complexities. First, you need to find out where you fall under skin type; that is, dry, oily, combination, or normal.

Dry skin is characterized by closed pores, which makes the skin feel tight and dry. It is also always flaky and cracked. If you have this skin type, you would need hydrating foundation that would allow your skin to breathe and absorb moisture. Therefore, something dewy.

Oily skin, on the other hand, is characterized by large pores that also produce excess sebum (natural oil). This excess sebum gives the face a sheen. Therefore, a foundation that would feel dry and natural on the skin is best. A mineral-based foundation is best for this skin type.

Meanwhile, combination skin is characterized by an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) while the cheeks are dry. This type of skin should go for mattifying products with either mineral or water-based formula that wouldn’t feel too dry when applied.

Normal skin types can go for products according to the seasons and present characteristics. For instance, use a dewy foundation in the fall and winter and a mattifying foundation in the spring and summer.

2. Know your undertone

For undertone, you can either be cool, warm, or neutral. Knowing your skin undertone (the hue under the skin surface) would help decide how the foundation matches your overall shade.

Cool tone is usually characterized by blue hues (the veins are tell-tale). Meanwhile, warm has a greenish vein color or olive surface. Neutral fall between the two depending on the contrast it is against.

Consequently, before you pick a foundation, note your undertone, then match it with the product offered.

3. Go for brands with wider inclusive shades

If you are going to choose a foundation online, start with inclusive brands. That’s because the wider the color range, the better it is to find a shade closer to your skin tone.

Brands are making their foundation more inclusive, adding diverse shades of brown, dark skin, and fair tones. Some of these brands also include undertones for a better match.

Therefore, when you want to pick, don’t limit yourself to the basic shades offered; go broader to find the in-between shade that fits you.

4. Choose a coverage

Having figured out your skin type and undertone, you need to find a foundation with the right coverage for you.

You can choose light, medium, or full-coverage foundations depending on what you want to achieve with your makeup.

For instance, if you want to hide hyperpigmentation, blemishes, redness, or acne, you would need full coverage to conceal these imperfections. If you want a natural finish, you can opt for a medium to sheer coverage foundation.

5. Don’t be afraid to mix

If you fall in-between shades, it’s always hard to find the exact color for your skin tone. What do you do? Pick two shades and mix them to create a close pigment.

Picking and mixing two shades is the best way to get a foundation suitable for you. Moreover, your skin tone changes over the year as the seasons change. You will find yourself changing the ratio of the foundations depending on the season.

For example, you have a tan tone in the summer compared to the pale tone of your skin in the colder months.

6. Read the product description

This goes without saying. Reading the product description online, including the ingredients used to make the foundation is necessary. You have to figure out if there are allergens or if the core ingredients are compatible with your skin.

Reading the ingredients list will also help you figure out if the product is providing contradictory information. For instance, calling the foundation a matte finish when it’s an oil-based foundation is contradictory and would not help oily skin tones.

7. See a virtual makeup expert

You can also seek the help of a virtual beauty expert if you do not know how to choose foundations.

Some digital advisors and consultants are ready to guide you through brands, formulas, and products if you do not know how to get your unique makeup needs.

8. Buy reliable brands

Sticking to reliable brands known to provide good foundation formulas also helps when choosing foundation colors online.

They have been tested and trusted, therefore, it becomes easier to rely on their color wheel when choosing foundation because you know you are getting exactly what you picked.

9. Buy from stores that allow exchange and returns

If you end up buying foundation from an online store, be sure they have a favorable return policy when things do get mixed up. It makes it a safety net for when you get it wrong.

10. Use online tools to choose a foundation

There are digital tools that help calculate and identify your skin type, undertone, and other characteristics. These tools, like findnation., help find the most suitable foundation match efficiently among several brands.

11. Read reviews of the product

If you found a foundation but are still in doubt, ask Google and search for reviews on the product. You will discover reaction videos from beauty influencers, reviews from users, and discussion threads about the product.

Someone would have asked the same questions nibbling at you when trying to get information about a particular type of foundation. You are not alone, do not worry.


how to choose foundation online

Should you go for a lighter or darker shade when picking foundation?

Go for a lighter foundation.

Choose a lighter foundation, then blend it down or mix it with another product to make it darker. Additionally, you can opt for sheer coverage with a light foundation.

Should you change foundations in the summer?

Yes, you should.

However, this is not necessary. The skin often tans in the summer months. That’s why it’s advised you switch to a darker foundation. But this is not necessary. A few shading of the skin with highlighter or concealer will give you a matched darker tone.

How do you spot fake foundations online?

One of the dangers of buying online from an unregistered store is buying fake. This can also happen with registered retailers.

You can spot a fake when the packaging is different from what is marketed. If there is no consumer protection or the price difference margin is too wide, you may be falling into a trap.


If you want to choose the perfect foundation color online, you would have to know your skin type, your undertone, and what coverage you want. Then check if the brand is reliable with a wide range of shades.

While you can’t swatch to test the product, you can see what people have said about it, especially influencers. This helps in making a definitive decision.

Shopping for a foundation online doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience if you have all these tips handy.

Thanks for reading.

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