Beauty Q&A: I Bought The Wrong Foundation Shade — What Should I Do?

November 08, 2018
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
graphic with foundation swatches in different shades

Finding the correct shade of foundation can sometimes be a challenge, especially when you fall in between shades or are unsure of how to match foundation. What’s worse is heading home after a spree at Sephora only to realize that you chose the wrong foundation shade. Do you immediately turn around and return it, or should you add it to your makeup stash anyway?

We chatted with NYC based makeup artist Gabriel Almodovar for his tips and tricks on how to make the product work if it’s possible — keep reading for his best advice for the next time you grab the wrong foundation shade.

If You’re Unsure of Your Shade, Go Lighter

If the shade is a little lighter than what you usually wear, you might be ok. “It’s harder to lighten a foundation as there’s only really one trick to do so, so it’s best to buy a lighter shade if you’re unsure of your correct color,” says Almodovar. If you did buy a foundation that is a little dark, try mixing it with a lighter color concealer, he suggests.

Mix and Match the Same Formula

“The best and easiest way to rectify purchasing a wrong foundation is to mix a lighter or darker concealer, in the same formulation, with the foundation to make it match your skin tone,” he says. If the foundation is extremely light, Almodovar suggests to strategically use bronzer to help deepen the shade.

Contour to Your Advantage

The last tip from Almodovar is an important one: If you buy the wrong foundation shade, use your face structure to your advantage. “Since the face has natural contours to it, you can use that to your advantage when your foundation is slightly off from your skin tone,” he notes. “Highlighting and contouring in the right places will help conceal the foundation not matching your skin tone.” So next time, before you run back to repurchase, play with some mixing and give it a whirl.

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