I came late to the cosmetics game, so it's no surprise that I've had a challenging time finding. Other than experimenting with lipstick when I was young, I never made much of an effort to figure it all out. Sometime in my early 20s, a friend — and a fellow Black woman — gave me a makeover. Since then, I’ve been curious. Today, I still have to figure out contouring and highlighting, but I can handle my own makeup basics.


And one of my favorite staple products — besides a bomb lip color — is a well-matched foundation. But finding one is easier said than done.

I don’t live near a Sephora, and local stores don’t always have testers. In the past I’ve resorted to guessing, but it’s been risky. The last time I took a chance with a foundation shade, I was way off-base (no pun intended). Recently, I’ve taken to Googling makeup dupes. That’s how I found, the website that promises to use the info you provide about your current foundation to match you with dupes from other brands. Findation offers a tool to help you color match different foundations to your skin, based on formulas and shades that you've already used. The process is pretty straightforward.

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First, you select a brand of foundation that you’ve used before. Then, you choose a specific product from that brand. I started with L'Oreal. For the third and final step, you choose a shade that you’ve worn. You can add more than one brand's product, too.

Findation Findation.com Foundation Color Matching For Machine

In addition to L'Oreal, I added and in 340, aka Cappuccino. When I last saw my results, it listed over 100 recommended foundations that I potentially matched with (all based on what I was already using), both drugstore and high-end. The concept is great, but it only matters if the results are accurate. That's why I decided to put Findation's findings (HA) to the test. I’ve had my eye onfor awhile now, as I’d heard great things about its buildable coverage.

It was a perfect opportunity to use Findation to find my correct shade in that brand. According to the site, my NYX Total Control Drop Foundation match is Mahogany. I bought it and swatched it, only to be immediately disappointed: It wasn't a match.

Mac Foundation Color Chart

Compare foundation colors

However, looking at the shade compared to the others I've already been wearing, I had an epiphany: By matching me with Mahogany, Findation did exactly what it was meant to: Find dupes in other lines for your current foundation shade(s) — not your actual skin. The Findation tool made me realize that none of the shades I was previously using were actually a match. If there’s a foundation out there that’s a better match for my complexion, I need to find it! And once I do, I can use Findation to show me some dynamic duplicates. Of course, the Findation system isn’t totally perfect. In Maybelline’s new SuperStay 24-Hour Full Coverage Foundation, I was matched to 355 Coconut. Having seen that shade online and in person, I know it’s not right for me.

Findation Findation.com Foundation Color Matching For Machine Learning

I can only assume Findation selected it because in Maybelline’s range of darker shades, that color’s the closest to the one I currently use — this is an important thing for WOC to take into consideration, as our skin tone is often much harder to match. So what’s my verdict? Ultimately I think Findation’s useful. It made me realize that I wasn't wearing the right shade to begin with — no wonder none of my foundations have ever felt quite right. For makeup newbies, Findation is a great starting point, especially when approaching drugstore brands that come in a ton of shades.

If you give the site info for one foundation you already use, it will (at the very least) give you suggestions for a few more. When it comes time to hit the drugstore aisle, that information is more than valuable.