Why a Computer Can Match Your Foundation Better Than You Can

We'd like to believe there are still a few things humans can do better than computers, but with the invention of Le Teint Particulier by Lancôme, matching foundation to our skin tone isn’t one of them.


Lancome recently invited two of our Makeup.com beauty editors to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood for a private matching session to help them find their foundation soulmates once and for all. Praise: The search is over!
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Light: The Secret to Finding a Foundation That Matches Your Neck

KATE, Managing Editor: Who knew my inability to find the perfect foundation shade could be boiled down to a technological knowledge gap? Had I only known this back when … Letter to my ninth grade self: It gets better. Wait for it. Until later, Me. 


Painters and other artists have known for centuries that light is the secret to color theory. Now engineers and cosmetic scientists are catching on, too. Lancôme’s director of education, Larry Smith, kicked off our matching session by using a light meter to measure the pigmentation in my skin. It may sound intimidating, but it wasn’t. I just sat there and looked witty while Larry placed the meter on my chin, neck and cheek. The data collected was processed through a new, state-of-the-art algorithm that measures skin tone with extreme accuracy. And the calculations were used to determine just how much white, red, yellow and black pigment would be required to create a truly personalized formula.



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Shontel Meets Her Match

SHONTEL, Social Media Editor: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect face makeup — a matte, medium-to-full coverage, liquid foundation that matches my skin tone to a T. Super easy to find, right? If only!

While the range of makeup shades for women with darker skin tones is increasing, it wasn’t until Lancôme invited me to this private matching session that I was able to find a foundation that isn’t noticeably darker or lighter (or more red!) that my neck.

Before learning about Le Teint Particulier, I had resigned myself to a lifetime of playing chemist, mixing two to three different formulas in order to achieve a texture and shade that looked just good enough. But I’m not about good enough; I was in the market to meet my one and only (foundation) match!

Lancôme’s director of education helped me realize my woes were due, in part, to a lack of yellow pigment in the foundations available on the market today. Le Teint Particulier is the only formula that matches my skin’s golden undertones with precision, because it’s the only product that was made-to-order for me!


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Could this be love at first sight? 

KATE: Ta-da! That’s me in a bottle: a light and cool tone with sheer coverage for daily wear. My personalized foundation was then blended right in front of my eyes, and my Luddite ways were left behind forever more. According to science, seeing is believing!


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A Magic, Foundation-Making Machine

SHONTEL: After identifying and scanning the three areas of my face that I wanted color-matched (cheek, chin and neck), the algorithm generated my unique color profile, and the process began. My precise blend was distributed into a bottle and given a good shake by the foundation-making machine. It was hard not to ogle the industrious bot as it got to work, layering in shades, blending, shaking and dispensing.


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It's Time for a Close-Up

SHONTEL: At the end of the process, I received a shade of foundation that looked exactly like my skin, but 100x better! Once applied, the final look was virtually seamless, and the texture provided a lightweight, albeit medium coverage I can wear daily.

Lancôme will keep my exclusive shade number on file — Complexion ID: A070000119, if you want to get technical — which means I no longer have to play the role of alchemist and mix my foundation over the kitchen sink. But more importantly, it also means more time to perfect my strobing technique

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The Final Product 

Our personal shade numbers were printed on the bottles for easy reference upon refill. Le Teint Particulier is available exclusively at Nordstrom Del Amo Fashion Center in Southern California and Nordstrom Downtown Seattle. The future has arrived, don’t be late!

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    About the Author: Kate drives the day-to-day creation of content, aiming to inspire and inform Makeup.com readers by delivering the latest beauty tips, tricks and trends. As an employee of L’Oréal, Kate sources and tests the best beauty products from across the entire brand portfolio.