Ah, the age-old question: “Do I match my foundation to my neck, my jawline, my inner wrist, my…” Ok, stop right there.
There are many reasons why all of the above are less than ideal, so let’s go through some of them before we explore an even better way to match.
If you match to your…
Neck — Because of the shadow your face casts down upon your neck, it only makes sense that your neck is going to be one of the palest parts of your skin. It receives the least amount of sun, and contains much lower levels of pigment than many other parts of your skin. Match your foundation to your neck, and you run the risk of a washed-out, sickly looking face.
Jawline — Depending on your bone structure, your jawline may appear, which can cause unintentional highlights or shadows that are lighter or darker than the rest of your face. Although the difference may not be major, you might not be getting a true gauge of your actual skintone. If your face is ruddy or sallow and doesn’t have the same undertones as the rest of your body, you’re also looking at choosing the incorrect shade. For example, my face has a lot of red in it, but the rest of my skin doesn’t. I actually have yellow undertones, but if I matched to my jawline, I’d be apt to pick a foundation with pink or beige undertones.
Inner wrist — This one, I simply don’t get. Your inner wrist contains a lot of large veins (arteries? I was never good at biology…), and again, gets very little direct sun exposure. And since when is the inner wrist at all comparable to a face? This can lead you astray in the worst of ways; while the rest of my skin has yellowish undertones, if I were to match to my inner wrist, I’d definitely choose a foundation with more pinky undertones, which could lead me to look unnatural, ruddy, and older.
So, what’s the best place to match to your foundation?
Simple. Your chest. Think about it. You want your face to look relatively in tone with the rest of your skin. As long as you don’t live in the 18th century and have to endure having lace tickle your chin every waking moment, I’m assuming that you wear shirts that expose part of your dÃ©colletage from time to time. By matching your foundation to your chest, you are matching it to a part of your skin that receives relatively the same amount of sun as your face, has a much more even tone than many other parts of the body, and should age rather similarly to your face.
Look up any red carpet photo from the past where you might have thought, “Gosh, she looks off,” but you couldn’t figure out why. Check out her face in relation to her chest. It will usually be darker, which probably means that she or her makeup artist matched her foundation to her neck, or jawline, or, dare I say, her inner wrist.
For the one guy who might be reading this: match to your arms (the “outer” part). It is the second closest to your most natural looking face color after the chest (which, I’m assuming, you don’t bare as readily as most women).
Even if you think you have a good thing going matching to wherever you do now, humour me. Give your chest a try. I bet you’ll thank me if you do.