Sephora’s New Foundation Matching Technology Goes Beyond Finding Your Perfect Shade

It’s changing the game.

Originally Published: 
Beautiful woman with tone cream lines on her face. Photo of smiling brunette woman with healthy skin...

Foundation shade matching is tricky territory. Aside from the fact that one too many brands still don’t carry a wide enough range, there are so many factors that go into finding your perfect match. The process often goes beyond what meets the eye. Factors including how the product looks in natural light, or after it’s oxidized on the skin, and whether or not it fits your undertone, contribute to the confusion and difficulty of finding that just-right shade. To address the inevitable limitations of color-matching, (even in-store), Sephora is launching a new shade matching technology that seeks to make the experience more accurate and inclusive than ever before.

Sephora’s new Color iQ technology helps match you with your perfect foundation, concealer, pressed powder, or tinted moisturizer. It takes into account three attributes of color: depth, undertone, and saturation — versus the industry standard, which currently only consists of depth and undertone, not saturation. “Adding saturation as a dimension in matching helps us match clients who normally have a hard time finding a foundation that looks good on them,” Nelly Mensah, Senior Director of Store Experience & Digital Product at Sephora tells TZR. “A client with a more muted complexion might find that foundations often look too garish on their skin, while someone with a more saturated will look ashy/grey if a foundation is not matched perfectly.”

So, how does this seemingly magical technology work? First, the Sephora Beauty Advisor scans the client’s skin in several areas on the face and neck using a highly accurate device. Based on the result of the scan, Color iQ will then recommend the best product based not only on color match, but any preferences the client has expressed.

Courtesy of Sephora

Clients are able to get the most accurate match yet due to Sephora’s new system that spans beyond the retailer’s current foundation assortment. The lab-grade devices also measure Sephora’s full library of foundations after they have dried down and oxidized — so you won’t be surprised later when you realize your “perfect” shade is actually way too deep.

“Thinking ahead, as brands continue to improve their products, Sephora’s Color IQ system has five times the number of skin tone colors than it had before,” the brand said in a press email. “With this, Sephora is able to match an infinite number of skin tones due to the level of accuracy of the proprietary scanning technology.”

Courtesy of Sephora

If your ideal foundation happens to fall outside of Sephora’s current assortment, don’t worry. “The app recommends the closest possible foundations we have on assortment and our BAs use their expertise to find the client the best option for them,” Mensah explains.

Sephora plans to rollout Color iQ across its stores in late September, which is right around the time you’ll want to stock up on all your winter complexion favorites.

While you wait, here are a few TZR’s favorite complexion products to get a few ideas of which brand you may want to look to for your perfect match.

We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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