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How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

I received my foundation as a gift when I first started doing makeup and it was way too light, i I am going to get shade matched tomorrow. Can someone who has gotten it done please help me to figure out the do’s and don’ts so I can do it right and not waste my money on a foundation that just won’t work for me

Re: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

I'd go with your gut, over the shade match in Sephora - seriously, you see your face every day (in different lighting), and probably have a better idea as to what will look good/match. If you follow the Sephora recommendation, I'd highly recommend getting samples before buying. I got "shade-matched" at Sephora once, and the shade was waaaaaayyyy too dark and yellow for my skin - I ended up exchanging for what my guess was, regarding what to buy, and my guess was a MUCH better match. So, do not be afraid to return/exchange if the shade isn't right, or the formulation does not work well.

If you truly want to go with shade-matching, I've honestly had better luck at department stores. I'm guessing it was partially due to better lighting there. Additionally, I could go over to windows in the store, and see what the shade looked like in daylight, to ensure it was a good match. They're usually really good about making up samples, so I could be sure I liked the color, and was comfortable with how it wore throughout the day (staying power, working on combo-oily skin, and not oxidizing). For reference - I went to Nordstrom.

Re: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

The accuracy often depends on the lighting in the store. I got a much better reading in a store where they did the test in an area with lots of natural light. That said, I had a better experience with a Chanel makeup rep. 

How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

Color IQ is iffy, especially if you have an uncommon skin tone (I'm neutral rose porcelain, the machine hates me). You do need to get matched in store. once you have an accurate color in one or two brands, you can get decent advice over the phone from that (I called yesterday about the Armani, which isn't sold in-store), but I wouldn't super trust Color ID if you're an uncommon tone.

Re: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

I agree on getting samples- always.  I don't think the BA are not paid on commission but often sales associates have sales goals and may push you to buy.  You need to see how it wears on your skin, if it oxidizes, if it's oily, etc. 

Another thing to note is that Sephora is using a company that keeps track of your returns and looks for patterns of abuse. I'm not sure the patterns they look for but I would caution that you could be put in a weird situation if you bought several bottles of foundation to "test out" and then had to return a lot.

The Color IQ is ok, as a starting point for undertones and general range.  But swatches are always the best... and you shouldn't have to rub it in a lot.   

Re: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

At Sephora, ask for samples of foundations. When I first started foundation shopping there, I forgot I could get samples and wound up buying bottles of foundation. Don’t do that. I went to a Sephora last weekend and got samples of 4 Too Faced Born This Way shades. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples! 


I’ve been color matched twice at Sephora by 2 different people. The first time, the Sephora worker used their Pantone tool on me. Unfortunately she sampled the darkest parts of my face (2 places—side of face and forehead—right next to my hairline) and my neck. That gave me... I don’t recall the code right now. I do remember the matching foundations she pulled. I bought one of them to try, even though I was 99% sure it’d be too red and dark. I was right. 


The second time, a Sephora worker matched me without the tool. She swatched my cheek, which is a better method for most folks. For me that’s still a bit problematic because I have surface tones plus hyperpigmentation on my cheeks. The foundation she chose seemed okay in the store lighting. But when I tried it at home, I realized it’s too yellow for my cheeks. Sigh. 


I never match my face to my neck. I have a short neck for starters, so it’s not like folks will see much of it anyway. I match to my chest: that’s where I swatch foundations and concealers. Even if you’ve already been color matched at Sephora, try swatching some foundations yourself. If you want to match your face to your neck, swatch your cheek down your jawbone to the middle of your neck. If you wanna match your chest, swatch there. And try to see your swatches in daylight if possible: if you’re in a Sephora that has windows and it’s sunny outside, take a mirror over to a window. 


And remember to ask for foundations samples! Cannot stress that enough. Don’t waste money like I did. Here’s how far off Sephora color matching can be. These were color matched to me by 2 different Sephora reps. Neither shade works.Here’s how far off Sephora color matching can be. These were color matched to me by 2 different Sephora reps. Neither shade works.

Re: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

I don't recommend the tool at all. I have cool blue/pink undertones, and it always reads me as yellow. It might give you a starting place idea, but honestly your eyeballs will do just as good a job. I'd try swatching a bunch on your own along your jaw to be sure.

Re: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

I haven't looked into this but I was once told not to have any caffeine prior to getting Color IQ.  Something about how caffeine in the bloodstream makes you flush a normally imperceptible amount but the tool catches it.  My matches are almost always a shade or two too dark for me so I use it more as a starting point.

Re: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

I've not had the best of luck with the shade match. I've got pretty fair skin with a good amount of redness in it. Occasionally the matches they give are too pale, mainly because it's the only fair shade in the range they are pushing. The other big problem is that they end up way too yellow. The employees tend to push the yellow/warm undertones because of all the redness I have, so they say it will counteract the red. Except I have cool-neutral undertones, so the warm undertones looks off.

Anonymous Insider

How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

mine was a tad too tan as well.... however when it oxidizes and I conceal it looks better hope this helps @Anonymous_

RE: How accurate is the Sephora shade match??

If your not using the color IQ thing sephora has in stores always try to match the foundation shade along your jaw line and try to blend it out to see. Most of the time your face will be a different shade than your neck, try to aim for the golden middle if you know what I mean
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  • Here’s how far off Sephora color matching can be. These were color matched to me by 2 different Sephora reps. Neither shade works.