Imagine this: you're standing in the makeup aisle, squinting intensely at the dozens of foundation shades, all lined up. You hold them up to your wrist, one by one — maybe even open a few, just to get a better look. Then when you think you've finally found the perfect shade to match your skin tone, what happens? You bring it home only to find that you were horribly wrong.
Sound familiar? It happens to the best of us, but picking out the wrong shade doesn't have to mean a trip back to the store. There are actually plenty of easy ways to make your foundation darker or lighter.
How to Make Foundation Darker
Maybe you purchased the wrong shade at the drugstore, or maybe you've got a glowing summer tan that doesn't work with your winter foundation. Here are some great tips for how to darken foundation that's too light.
1. Blend or Layer it With a Loose Face Powder
If you are looking for an at-home foundation adjuster, an easy fix is right in front of you. Try blending some darker loose powder into your too-light foundation. The pigmentation will help to alter the shade and create a foundation that is darker and closer to your own skin tone. Alternatively, you can wear the foundation as normal, and simply layer a dark powder on top.
2. Add in Our Signature Foundation Shade Adjuster
Physicians Formula’s Foundation Shade Adjuster is a set of two liquid color drops made specifically to help transform your foundation into the perfect shade to match your unique skin tone. Enriched with a Vitamin C & E brightening antioxidant blend, these color adjusters darken foundation while staying true to its natural depth. Just add a few drops to pump up your foundation to a darker shade, without changing the finish.
3. Mix Your Foundation With Bronzer
If your skin tone is deep and warm or tan and golden, bronzer might be the perfect fix for foundation that's too light. Bronzers are meant to add a warm sun-kissed tone to your skin, so adding bronzer to your foundation is a great way to darken up the shade while adding natural warmth and sometimes a bit of shimmer for a dewy, glowing complexion.
4. Blend Foundation with Concealer
If you have a face concealer on hand that matches your skin tone, try adding a few drops to your foundation. Be sure to add just a little bit at a time until you reach the desired color. This method will use up your concealer fast, so use it in a pinch, then switch to more pigmented foundation color drops when you have a chance to get to the drugstore.
5. Blend With a Darker Shade of Foundation
Have another foundation that's a touch too dark? Try blending some of it with the too-light foundation to create your own custom foundation shade. Mix the light & dark foundation shades on the back of your palm until you've created a custom foundation shade that perfectly matches both your face and neck.
How to Make Foundation Lighter
When it's the heart of January and your summer glow has faded, it's all too common to be left with a big tube of foundation that's too dark. Well, instead of letting perfectly good product go to waste, easily lighten foundation with these simple methods.
1. Layer Foundation With a Finishing Powder
Try applying a finishing powder over your too-dark foundation. Since finishing powder is often lighter in color, it can help to lighten the foundation and get you closer to your natural skin tone.
2. Add in Shade-Adjusting Foundation Color Drops
Just like with too-light foundation, Physicians Formula Foundation Adjusters can also make your dark foundation lighter. To create a custom shade, apply foundation to the back of your hand, then add the Shade Adjuster one drop at a time until the dark foundation is eased down to a lighter shade, Enriched with a Vitamin C & E brightening antioxidant blend, these color adjusters lighten foundation while adding natural vibrance to your skin.
3. Dilute Foundation With a Face Moisturizer or Primer
By adding a light-colored moisturizer or face primer, you can easily lighten the pigmentation of the foundation, as well as add a unique finish when you apply it to your face. This will make your foundation a bit more sheer, so if you need full-coverage, opt for foundation color drops instead.
4. Blend With a Lighter Shade of Foundation
If you have a shade of foundation that's a little too light, try blending it with your dark foundation. Add a little at a time to lighten the shade and create a custom color just for you.
Quick Fixes for the Perfect Foundation Undertone
If your foundation is coming out with too much gray in it, or if you're having trouble getting one of the above methods to work, it may be because you need to adjust the undertone of your foundation. This is a fairly easy fix, but first you need to figure out whether your undertone is cool, warm, or neutral.
Cool undertones look pink, red, or blue and are more common with fair skin. If the veins in your arms look purple or blue through your skin and you tend to sunburn easily, you have cool undertones. Warm undertones look yellow, gold, or olive. The veins in your arms look green and your skin tans easily. Neutral undertones are a mix of cool and warm. Your veins look green, blue, and purple and your skin tans slightly.
1. Add Warmth with Bronzer
For those with neutral or warm dark skin, adding a bit more bronzer to your foundation can help to create a better undertone that makes your skin look beautiful and natural. If you prefer a matte foundation, just make sure you use a matte bronzer. For all over glow, try a shimmer bronzer, but ensure you use a light touch.
2. Create Cool Undertones with Blush
Those with cool, fair skin tones will want to try adding some blush to their foundation. This will help achieve some natural color that complements pink undertones. Use a silky, vitamin-rich formula like murumuru butter blush for a healthy, dewy finish.
3. Add Warmth with Tumeric
That's right - for this one you can turn away from the mirror and straight to your kitchen cabinet! Anyone with natural yellow undertones can add a small pinch of turmeric to their foundation. This will help to make the foundation look more natural on warm skin, but be sure to use just a little bit.
Alternate Uses for Foundation That's Too Light
Why not try some other makeup hacks? If the shade is off even after learning how to make foundation darker, there are plenty of other ways you can use a too-light foundation.
1. Use Foundation as a Highlighter
There's no hard and fast rule about using makeup as intended. If your foundation is too light, it can actually make a really great highlighter. Apply it to your cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin for a bold contoured look.
2. Save it for the Winter
During the summer, we often spend so much time in the sun that our skin tone naturally darkens. The opposite is true for the winter, making it the perfect time to break out that too-light foundation. You may find the foundation shade that's giving you trouble is a perfect match for the winter months.
3. Use it to Lighten Up Too-Dark Makeup
Maybe you bought another product that was just a little too dark. Use your light foundation to lighten up any too-dark cosmetic you have. Mix powders with powders and liquid foundation with liquid products. Be sure to add just a little at a time to ensure you don't overdo it.
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