Since we offer shades in every distinguishable human skin tone, you do have a lot of shades to choose from. This article is to help understand how to look at the shade finder so you can find your closest shade match.
Multiple dimensions to skin
First of all, we laid out the shade finder from warm to cool (undertone) and light to dark (depth). If you have particular brands you use, they may not be the exact same shade but they are likely to fall within a range. For example, if you use Deciem The Ordinary 1.0 NS (and know its a bit lighter than your skin tone) and also use Armani Luminous Silk 3.5 (and know its a bit darker than your skin tone) they’ll match with Shade #9 and Shade #42 respectively. Yep! Those numbers sound far away from each other. However, if you look at where these fall on the shade finder, you’ll notice both are 1 shade warmer than neutral (same undertone dimension). And if we follow your undertone, there are only three shades you’ll match: Shade #15, #22 and #32.
There’s another trick to matching your shade: coverage. Both The Ordinary and Luminous Silk are medium coverage foundations while our foundation is full coverage. When using a lighter coverage, its easier to play with shades and choose ones that don’t match your skin tone completely. Because ours is full coverage, we’d recommend trying to choose the shade closest to your actual skin tone. In the above example the best match is likely #22, as it falls right between the two shades.
How undertones effect depth
The undertones have a different effect on the perceived lightness/darkness of the color depending on what end of the spectrum you end up on.
Darker tones show cool (pink) undertones as darker than warm (yellow) undertones. This is exactly the opposite for the lightest skin tones, which show up lightest on the skin when the undertone is cool (pink) and darker when warm (yellow).
This means that Shade #110 is our darkest shade (as expected with the largest number) but Shade #11 is actually our lightest shade.
Colors that fall somewhere in the middle of depth, the undertones will have less effect to no effect on perceived lightness/darkness.
Why we built the shade finder
The way foundation shades are shown to customers is very unorganized. With other brands you can’t see how they are skipping an undertone or depth of color because they don’t lay it out on a grid system showing you where the shades fall on these dimensions.
That’s why we created 110 Shades: to offer shades in every distinguishable human skin tone. We are setting out to demystify where shades fall on the color spectrum. That’s why we’ve organized the colors using the Pantone system. Now all shades are properly standardized.
Why you might need a new shade
We are changing the game. Now that you have the ability to figure out your exact depth and undertone, you may end up with a new shade that’s a perfect match. Unlike the compromises you’ve been making in the past.
A note on cool vs warm
What’s pretty common about undertones are people’s confusion of what’s considered warm vs cool. In the industry, it’s colors with a pink undertone that are considered cool. Yellow undertones are considered warm. As a note, if you are unsure of your undertone we recommend choosing an undertone that’s a little warmer than cooler as warmer undertones tend to be more flattering with most skin tones.
Our grid has 10 columns where some columns are empty (because at certain depths the undertone is too strong to create a natural skin color). The 5 blocks to the left are the warm undertones. The 5 blocks to the right are cool undertones.