This issue made me crazy when trying to choose a new Smashbox foundation color. Pink, Olive, Warm , Golden, Nuetral...ugh! I thought i knew what my skintone was until I read all of that. The more I looked up how to discern what I was, the more confused I became.
I think it is best to start with the basics; are you "warm" or "cool" toned. Cool tones are pink based in foundations. In things like lipstick, cool would be true pinks, fushia, mauves, plums ( think pink-blue). Do you wear Blue based reds,pinks, blues, purples? If you do and you look smashing- you are probably cool toned.
Warm tones have expanded, but you can see the difference right away. Some companies have more yellow based foundations ( you will read about them often). Lipticks are peaches, corals , peach-pink browns, orange reds. If you wear earthy tones, browns, yellows, greens, ivory and NEVER primary colors, you are probably warm toned.
This tactic is from decades ago, but it is still relevent today. A nuetral base doesn't look either pink or yellow.. If you have freckles, like I do- it can be tough finding a foundation that strikes a happy medium for how you want to look. For me, a foundation that matches my neck makes me look pastey. I almost always finsh with with a darker shade or a hint of bronzer ( using the "3" method- only adding a hint by making the number 3 starting at the forehead and ending at the chin) to keep the golden look of my freckles.
Another great tactic is the color of jewelry which looks best on you.. It can help give you a point of reference. If you look best in gold jewrly, you are probalby warm toned. If you look best in silver, you are probalby cool toned.
Bronzers that have red in them look horrid on warm toned skin, but they are striking on cool toned skin.
If you really don't know what looks good, then remebering those days when people told you how good something looked on you. Usually - people notice when we wear colrors that compliment our skin coloring.
I did get some great explanations from smashbox's live chat about some of their colors: If you go to their website- the color explanations will probably help you when looking at other foundations. Also, each brand in Sephora has excellent reviews that help and the question section relative to that brand is always helpful. WHen choosing colors- researching what others find out iso much help.
L1 is PEACH
L2 is YELLOW
L3 is NEUTURAL
L4 is YELLOW
M1 is neutural
M2 is PINK
M3 is YELLOW/ORANGE
MM4 is YELLOW/RED
The most important thing you must do is to figure out if you are pink, yellow, or neural. I hope this helps a little.