Finding the perfect shade match in a foundation can feel somewhat impossible, but one viral quiz claims it can solve that problem without seeing your face. Here’s what happened when we tried it.
Often referred to as “the beauty equivalent to buying jeans” among the Stylist beauty team, finding the right foundation can be irksome. Alongside considering the finish (matte, dewy, sheer), the formula (liquid, powder, gel, cream) and your skin type, there’s also the task of discovering the best shade match for your skin tone.
This in itself comes with a host of questions, such as the best foundation to suit your undertones and whether the formula will oxidise on your skin, which can change its appearance in colour.
So, the Stylist team were intrigued when a make-up quiz, created by US beauty brand Il Makiage, claimed it could find your perfect shade match… without even seeing your face.
The quiz takes only 90 seconds to complete and asks an array of questions, from your preference in coverage and how you like to apply your foundation to how you prep your skin before foundation and how often you wear it.
There is a flaw in the quiz, though. The quiz currently only caters to one foundation, Il Makiage’s Woke Up Like This Flawless Base Foundation, £36. So even though it asks about your skin type and preference in finish, unfortunately, the only suggestion you’ll get is a matte base, regardless of your answer.
Intrigued to see whether the quiz actually worked, the Stylist digital team gave it a go. Here’s how it went.
Lucy Robson, SEO executive
Lucy’s current foundation: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Make-up in 30 Beige, £37
Lucy’s suggested Il Makiage foundation: Woke Up Like This in shade 60
“The Il Makiage form was quick and easy to fill out, but I definitely did a lot of guessing when choosing the photos that I thought best reflected my skin type and tone. Not to mention my perception is already incredibly distorted by my fake tan use, so I was sceptical that I would get a shade that would actually be a good match when it did arrive.
“I’m really pleasantly surprised by the results. The colour seems like an almost perfect match for my skin, it’s lightweight and was next to no bother to blend in with a foundation brush. It had the added bonus (I thought) of making me look like I wasn’t wearing any make-up at all, which was a big selling point for me. When I did the rest of my usual make-up, it was easy to layer over other products, and it lasted all day which is no mean feat.
“The only thing quibble I might have had, is that I would have liked a slightly more dewy finish. So, I’ve just been adding a few drops of highlighter to achieve the effect.”
Jazmin Kopotsha, deputy digital editor
Jazmin’s current foundation: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Marquises medium/deep 5, £33.50
Jazmin’s suggested Il Makiage foundation: Woke Up Like This in shade 175
“I’m a fair-weather foundation fan. Some days, I can’t imagine leaving the house without my base make-up (I switch between NARS’ Sheer Glow and Estee Lauder’s Double Wear at the moment), and on other days the thought of wearing anything heavier than a moisturiser on my skin makes me feel a bit ill.
“That said, I was pleasantly surprised by how light and blendable Il Makiage’s foundation is – especially as when I first pumped the product on to my face, I was immediately apprehensive about the texture. My stress subsided as I blended it out, though.
“I’m not sure if it’s because my skin is still a deeper, richer colour after a summer in the sun, or the Il Makiage quiz didn’t quite register my undertone as I would have liked it to, but on first application, I think I looked a bit chalky. My skin tone is quite uneven in places and my yellow undertones more visible around my cheeks than my forehead, so I found that the foundation was perhaps a bit too pale for me to use on its own without some blush/bronzer/contour. But when I let it sit for a while, drew on my eyebrows and gave myself a swipe of mascara, the foundation seemed to have warmed against my skin to a more natural finish.”
Lauren Geall, junior digital writer
Lauren’s suggested Il Makiage foundation: Woke Up Like This in shade 40
“When I first heard of Il Makiage, I was sceptical. I have always struggled to find foundation shades that don’t look orange on my skin, so didn’t hold out much hope that Il Makiage would be any different. But in the end, it surprised me.
“The Il Makiage matched perfectly with my summer skin tone. When I get paler in the winter (and trust me, I get very pale) I’ll probably have to mix it with a bit of my other foundations, but for now, I love the effect it has on my skin. You don’t need much to achieve a good amount of coverage, and once on, the formula feels really light and makes my skin look really glowy and even.
“As someone who deals with breakouts quite regularly, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the foundation covered my spots – in some cases, I didn’t even go back in with concealer.”
Hanna Ibraheem, senior beauty writer
Hanna’s current foundation: MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation in NC44.5, £27
Hanna’s suggested Il Makiage foundation: Woke Up Like This in shade 140
“Finding the perfect foundation is a big struggle for me. My yellow undertones make it easy for a foundation to leave my complexion with a greyish tinge and the process becomes somewhat of a chore, having to ask make-up counter staff for mini sample pots before I can fully commit. So, I was somewhat sceptical that a 90-second quiz could end those problems.
“When I pumped the foundation onto the back of my hand, I initially thought the colour looked far too orange for my skin. But the leaflet that comes with foundation advises that you don’t compare your foundation shade to your hand as they aren’t actually the same colour. Once I started blending the foundation onto my face with a beauty sponge, the formula showed up with a very slight orange tint but as I continued to blend it out with a beauty sponge, the foundation completely disappeared and smoothed out my skin. After a few hours, I was happy to see it hadn’t oxidised either.
“As well as the impressive shade match, the formula itself is right up my street. Matte without caking up or feeling heavy. I’m won over.”
Megan Murray, senior digital writer
Megan’s current foundation: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1P Fair, £5.50
Megan’s suggested Il Makiage foundation: Woke Up Like This in shade 10
“I’d seen videos of women trying Il Makiage’s foundation all over Instagram and had presumed that the digital colour match quiz was simply too good to be true, but it genuinely works. When I did the quiz I was surprised how many different examples of skin tone it gave me to choose from, showing groups of women with very similar skin to mine that I could keep narrowing down until I found a trio of images which each represented me accurately.
“When it arrived, the big moment I was waiting for, of course, was the colour match… and it was spot on. I have pale skin and the worst thing for me is when a foundation looks super obvious and creates those ‘tidemark’ orange lines on my neck, but this foundation glided on really naturally and the tone was light enough for me without looking chalky white or washing me out.
“If you like a relatively high level of coverage and a ‘make up-y’ finish you might really like this foundation. It definitely made my skin look better but, for me, a glowy, natural, sheer finish is what I prefer. Even though I selected low coverage, moisturising properties and a luminous finish the foundation I was given was described as matte, and I found the coverage to be too full-on.
“An hour or so after applying I would find that it had drawn out any dryness in my skin and particularly along my forehead little patches seemed to gather and get stuck. In the words of my boyfriend: ‘You can really see that foundation on your skin.’
“Everyone’s preferences are different and many women like a foundation which is present, but I did feel a bit disappointed that I asked for something glowy and received the opposite, so personally, I wouldn’t wear it again.”
Felicity Thistlethwaite Awan, executive editor digital
Felicity’s current foundation: Sephora 10hr Wear Perfection Foundation in Clair/Light 18.5, €8.49 (around £7.36)
Felicity’s suggested Il Makiage foundation: Woke Up Like This in shade 35
“Foundation is important to me because it’s the one thing I wear (almost) every day. I’m not a mascara girl, I rarely wear lipstick but foundation is my everyday go-to. I’ve tried the lot, from the latest serum-based products to matte powder replacements. The one thing I always struggle with is finding the correct shade: too pale and I am washed out and grey, the other end of the scale leaves me orange with a tide mark around my jawline.
“I took the Il Makiage quiz online and was posted Woke Up Like This, shade 35. Was I dubious? Yes. But I tell you what, from the first swipe of my foundation brush I knew this was going to be a winner. On top of a Laura Mercier primer, the foundation soaked into my skin perfectly, creating a really natural look. I like a light coverage – enough to even out my skintone, but nothing too cakey – and this ticked all the boxes. The shade was about right, it looked natural in daylight and there was enough coverage to feel special for a (socially distanced) night out too. Now, if only Il Makiage could sort out my hair woes…”
Images: the Stylist team
Originally published 3 September 2020.