Part of finding the perfect foundation is finding the brands (and products) that have the right color range for your skin tone. Certain lines can lean heavily toward rosier or cooler tones, or keep things more neutral—but what if you have yellow undertones?
We tapped beauty experts to find the best foundations for our warm-visaged friends; these not only will match better with your skin, but are excellent products from trusted beauty brands (and makeup artist approved!).
Not sure what your undertones are just yet? Color theory educator, makeup artist, and hair stylist Courtney Resch, founder of Ashen Salon in La Jolla, CA, suggests taking a peek at any visible veins, if you can. “When trying to determine what tone or shade to pick for your foundation, take a look at your veins,” she explains. “Those with warm skin tone (with yellow, golden, and peach undertones) tend to have veins that appear green or olive,” she says. (And if you’ve got a combo of blue and green, you’re ‘neutral,’ while if your veins skew more purple and blue, you’re ‘cool.’)
Can’t see your veins? Try standing in front of a white background to see which colors and tones jump out—or see if you look best with gold jewelry (warm), silver (cool), or a combo (neutral).
Resch also says it’s not just about matching your skin, but adding balance of color. “Those with pink undertones want to use something to add warmth (or gold) to their skin; when you look at a color wheel, pink is across from yellow.” As such, the inverse is true for golden or yellow toned skin. “Those with more yellow or warmer undertones may want to use something more neutral to prevent your face from looking too yellow, orange, warm, etc. You want to complement your skin color with your foundation tone, and contrast your skin tone with your bronzer and blush color.”
“For those with natural warm undertones, be sure to find a line that [skews] neutral and has a nice selection of tones,” advises Resch. “Honey and golden tones are complementary for foundations for yellow undertone skin, while olive and coral hues make excellent eyeshadow and blush colors, as they’re contrasting for those with that complexion.”
Here are some makeup artist-approved foundations for those with yellow undertones
While Hourglass has something for most undertones, there’s a plethora of options for those with warm, golden, and olive hued complexions. “I like Hourglass because their whole line has a nice selection of shades, and the color doesn’t change once it settles into your skin throughout the day,” says Resch. “Their foundation sticks are all buildable, and not too matte or heavy.”
When it comes to color matching, NARS is unparalleled for golden-tinged goddesses. “The NARS color names can be a little confusing (Oslo, Patagonia, and Manaus for example), but when you color match in person, they’ve got an excellent selection for warmer undertones, whether your skin looks more yellow, honey/golden, or a warmer olive,” says Resch. With 34 shades to choose from and a velvety finish, this under-$50, 16-hour-wear foundation is a makeup artist favorite.
San Diego makeup artist Taylor Haupt reaches for this foundation for her clients with more yellow complexions. This product from Giorgio Armani offers “a wide range of foundation colors, and doesn’t just stick with the classic ‘warm or cool’ tones,” she says. “They have many golden- and olive-specific options.”
If you’re looking for a bit less coverage in your foundation, try this. “This lightweight tinted sunscreen is great for yellow/warm undertones, and it’s sheer enough that it’s easy to find a good match even if you’re between shades or undertones,” says Haupt. “Ilia also provides good descriptions of how their foundation colors run, specifying whether it’s for a golden, neutral warm, or warm olive skin tone.”
A favorite for makeup artists and laypeople alike, IT Cosmetics takes SPF 50 and makes it magical. “While they don’t have as many options to choose from,” Haupt says, “The majority of their shades tend to be on the warmer side and have a yellow undertone,” meaning that if you’re in this section of the color wheel, you’ll have an easier time finding a match—and you’ll get some killer sun protection and creamy coverage while you’re at it.
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