beauty lessons:

foundation 101

Everything you need to know about finding your undertone and, in turn, the foundation that best fits your face.

Written By JAYME CYK


There are few makeup genres as riddled with peril as that of foundation. Pick the right one and you’ll look luminous—an ideal version of yourself. Choose unwisely, and you could appear orange, gray, flushed, dull, cakey...need we say more? 

By way of a solution,  The Violet Files consulted with the experts (makeup artists Georgie Eisdell, Rachel Goodwin, Carola Gonzalez, Fiona Stiles, Christopher Miles, Kira Nasrat, Lauren Andersen, Vera Steimberg, and Autumn Moultrie) to compile this handy set of cheat sheets on everything you need to find your true color (or colors), no matter what your skin tone. Here’s to a flawless finish. 


In foundation, coverage refers to the opactity of the makeup and the extent to which it covers skin. Those contending with blemishes or pigmentation issues may desire a higher degree of coverage (heavier foundation), while those with relatively problem-free skin might prefer a sheer finish (lighter coverage). 


Texture is the physical structure of a product; i.e., its composition and the way it feels to the touch. The most common textures for foundations include liquid or powder, but they may also come in gel and cream compact formulas.


The hue beneath your skin is the undertone, a critical factor when determining which shade of foundation is right for you. While your complexion can change in response to environmental elements, the undertone never does.


The finish refers to the quality of the final look, be it matte or dewy, satin or velvet. You should select your foundation finish based on skin type as well as preference. For example, if you have a oily complexion, a matte foundation will help absorb any moisture.

FOR FAIR SKIN TONES...find your hue here.

Rachel Goodwin, who tends to the radiant visage of Emma Stone, and Georgie Eisdell, a favorite of British beauty Sophie Turner, explain how to find your ideal shade. 

FOR MEDIUM SKIN TONES...find your hue here

Fiona Stiles, one of Chrissy Teigen’s mainstay artists; Kira Nasrat, a favorite of Jamie Chung; and Lauren Andersen, who works with the radiant Jessica Alba, explain how to find your ideal shade.

FOR DEEPER SKIN TONES...find your hue here

Vera Steimberg, who works with the stunning Zoe Saldana; Carola Gonzalez, who keeps Kerry Washington looking luminous; Autumn Moultrie, a favorite of Viola Davis; and Christopher Miles of VIOLET GREY’s flagship explain how to find your ideal shade.

perfect the
rosy cheek

Now that you’ve nailed foundation, makeup artist Mary Phillips advises on how to finish with the perfect flush of color.