Help choosing your mineral foundation shade

January 14, 2011

Our customer services team love to help you choose your mineral foundation shade – but just before you pick up the phone try following our step by step guide to help you make the decision on your own. After all, it can be very difficult recommending a shade for you when we can’t actually see you.

Step 1

Time to determine the undertone of your natural skin tone. Our mineral foundations are suitable for all skin tones, and are available with either warm, cool or neutral undertones. Baffled? Don’t worry, we’ll explain.

mineral foundationWarm undertones are generalised by a skin tone with a more yellowy tone to it. It’s not an obvious yellow, but the tones are warmer. So for example if you have an olive complexion or have an Asian complexion you’re likely to have the warm undertones we’ve described.

Cool undertones can be generalised by a more pinky tint within the skin. You’re more likely to have the ‘English Rose’ type complexion.

If you’re not sure and think you sit in-between the two try neutral foundation shades – some of these are our top sellers, as they suit most skin tones irrelevant of the subtle undertone.

Step 2

Check against the veins in your wrists – it might sound funny, but in people with warmer skin tones the veins in the wrists show more green, and in people with cooler skin tones the veins show as more blue in colour.

Step 3

Select your category. Our foundations are split into the following categories – pale (for the very palest of them all our Porcelain has been described as one of the palest foundations available on the cosmetics market). Light – for the fairly pale group, you’ll find some of our best sellers like Blondie and Barely Buff in this category. Light –medium – you’re likely to be naturally quite light skinned, but tan easily. Medium – you’re likely to tan easily and hold the colour for most of the year, or have an olive or Asian complexion. And finally, our tan category caters for the deeper skin tones, up to our richest shades of Cinnamon and Hot Chocolate.

Step 4

Sample! Our samples are inexpensive and are there to make your buying decision easier. We always recommend trying a minimum of three samples – always try to select a shade lighter and darker than the one you think you might be.

Good luck!

442 Responses to “Help choosing your mineral foundation shade”

  1. Debbie Says:

    Hi there
    What shades would you recommend in your mineral powder equivalent to
    Medium beige in bare minerals (Matt powder)


  2. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello we recommend In the Buff as a match, but make sure to order a sample size first, that way you can be certain it is the shade for you! LLx

  3. Taz Says:

    Hello, I have two questions:
    1) I got a “Mineral Starter Collection” to test a couple of different shades and there is one called “Flawless Silk” in there, however, I did not find that on your color chart. Was it renamed?
    2) The colors that seem to work best for me are “Popcorn” and “Cookie” but “Popcorn” is slightly too light and makes me look a bit pale. The darker shade in the same column is “Warm Honey” but that does not work for me either, it looks too yellow/orange.
    “Cookie” is a bit too dark so I have been mixing it with “Popcorn” but I was wondering if there are other shades you’d suggest.
    Thank you! 🙂

  4. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello, the flawless silk is actually a finishing powder, we do this in a translucent shade or tinted like the one you have.
    Hmm seems you have tried a few, it may be that you do have to mix two shades, but lets see if there are any others you could try first. Would you say you have a cool, warm or balanced undertone to your skin? LLx

  5. Tania Says:

    Hi, I use Bare minerals N10 Fairly light which is a great match for me, what colours would you suggest I order samples in?

  6. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello, our match for this would be Barely Buff, this is a neutral shade. If you are looking for a few more samples, maybe try Blondie, which again is a neutral shade. If you have a warm undertone, Warm Peach could work, or if you have a pinky undertone, Candy Cane would be a good match. However for the shade you have mentioned the closest we have is Barely Buff. Hope this helps! LLx

  7. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Tania, our closest match is Barely Buff, this is a neutral shade. If you are wanting to try other shades, Bloindie, is also neutral but slightly lighter. Candy Cane is suited for light skin but with a pink undertone and Warm Peach is for light skin with a peachy undertone. However if N10 is perfect for you Barely Buff will be the best. LLx

  8. Priyanka Says:

    Hi, what shade would you suggest for an Indian medium brown yellow undertone skintone

  9. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello, without seeing your skin it is hard to say, do you have a brand and shade you currently use? In our tan shades we have Saffron and Cinnamon with yellow undertones. We would always suggest purchasing sample size pots first before a full size one, that way you can get your perfect match! LLx

  10. anita Says:

    Which colour would match best to Young blood ‘neutral’?

  11. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Anita, our closest matches would be either Barely Buff or Candy Cane, we recommend you purchase sample sizes first to make sure you get the best match LLx

  12. Hana Says:

    I bought 4 samples of you’re lightest shades as I normally wear light from other brands. All were too light and barely buff was the best match but still a bit too light. Blondie made me look white. What would you suggest I try now as barely buff is still a bit light? I am blonde but tan very easily. I wish I had of realised your lightest shades are extremely light. Thank you.

  13. Roberta Says:

    What shades would you recommend in your mineral powder equivalent to MAC Studio Fix Fluid – NC25 (a great match for me)? I bought “In the Buff” but it was not perfectly suited for my skin color…
    Thank you for the answer 😉

  14. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Roberta, was “in the buff” too light or was the tone not correct, do you have a cool pink tone to your skin? LLx

  15. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Hana, if Barely Buff was too light you need to try some of our light-medium shades, we have In the buff with neutral undertones, popsicle with pink undertones and popcorn with a peach undertone. If you then find In The Buff is too dark it may be that you need to mix In the Buff and Barely Buff LLx

  16. Kate Says:

    Hi there,

    I have a lot of redness around my nose, chin and jawbone so can’t tell if I’m cool or warm.
    I have the blush away which is fantastic but when I’ve tried barely buff and in the buff samples over the top of the corrector they don’t seem to make any difference to my skin, it’s like the foundation disappears.

    Ive been colour matched to both Bareminerals N10 in summer, and boots No7 calico in winter.

    Please could you give me some advice as to what to do next as I want to order more blush away and some samples at the same time.

    Thanks in advance, love your products

  17. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Kate, matching to BM Barely Buff is the correct shade for you. When you apply your blush away make sure you really buff it into the skin. Then when you apply the foundation, tap some into the lid, swirl your kabuki brush into the powder, tap off any extra and start to buff it onto the skin in circular motions, it may be for the coverage that you want you need to build up the layers. Using our flocked sponge also gives a heavier coverage. You say the foundation disappears, do you mean after you have applied the foundation it disappears after a few hours? LLx

  18. Kate Says:

    Hi, thanks for the advice. I wondered if I needed a light shade in winter as boots no7 seems lighter than bare minerals and im not sure if barely buff is too dark/pink for me.

    When I say it disappears, I mean I can’t see a difference after I’ve applied it. I didn’t want to add layers as I felt the tone was too dark/pink for me.


  19. Kate Says:

    Hi, thanks for the advice. I wondered if I needed a light shade in winter as boots no7 seems lighter than bare minerals and im not sure if barely buff is too dark/pink for me.

    When I say it disappears, I mean I can’t see a difference after I’ve applied it. I didn’t want to add layers as I felt the tone was too dark/pink for me.


  20. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello, Barely Buff does not have any pink undertones it has a balanced undertone, so its might be that it’s too dark for you then pink. If you think the foundation is looking too dark, have you tried a sample of Blondie? This has a balanced undertone and is lighter then Barely Buff, but is quite a big step away from In the Buff. You will need to build it up on the face to get the required look you are after 🙂 LLx

  21. Roula Says:

    Hello. I’d really appreciate some suggestions for foundation shades . I have dark hair with NO warm undertones but my skin is light. If you are familiar with color analysis, I’m a winter type. However I tan easily and do not burn. I was thinking of trying in the buff since summer is coming. Any tips? Thanks.

  22. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Roula, is there a brand of foundation and shade you currently use? LLx

  23. Natalie Says:


    I’m matched to MAC mineralise moisture spf15 foundation NW20 (asian skin) – could you please advise on a mineral foundation shade? Thank you.

  24. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Natalie, getting a few different shade swatches up when I search this one, the product listing on mac looks different to the customer photos on google. From the listing on mac it looks like it is around the shade Cookie, could you have a look at this shade and let me know if they look similar, then we’ll be able to help you better! LLx

  25. Sabrina Says:

    I am currently using Jane Iredales Golden Glow. It not an exact match. I am mixed race with a strong yellow undertone, silmilar to East Asians. Please help me choose a colour.

  26. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Sabrina, How is the JI one not an exact match for you? Is it not yellow enough? too peachy etc? Our foundation with a strong yellow undertone is Butterscotch, which is a medium shade, have a look at this and let me know if you think thats around your shade or if it will be too dark and we’ll take it from there! LLx

  27. Sarah Says:


    I’m struggling to find the right shade! I have slightly warm tones, and quite light skin but I do tan fairly easily (although less so the older I get!) I have dark blonde hair with a red tint so my colouring is all over the place!

    I wear Bobbi Brown’s warm sand at the moment.

    I’ve tried a few samples and still haven’t found the right shade. Wearing In The Buff today and I look a bit washed out.

    Please help!

  28. Lluise Says:

    Hi, I am fair and blonde with skin that flushes easily. I also have blue veins. Which colours would suit me best? I’m currently using candy cane. Thanks Zoe

  29. Mandy Says:


    I am currently using BareMinerals Original in ‘Light’. which is your closest shade?

    Thank you

  30. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello, our nearest match is Popcorn, make sure to order a sample size first to make sure :|) LLx

  31. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hi Zoe, are you looking for another foundation shade? What is wrong with Candy Cane? LLx

  32. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hi Sarah, does in the buff match your neck and chest area, or is it too light? A good match and coverage will always make your look slightly washed out as you are evening and making your skin all one tone, and that is the perfect base to work with. It may be that you need to add a little contour, bronzer etc to perk up your complexion. However let me know about in the buff and we can go from there 🙂 LLx

  33. Kerstin Says:

    what color is good for me if I am using Mac NC25?

  34. Sabrina Says:


    I’m currently using Laura Mercier mineral powder “Natural Beige”.
    Which color do you think will suits me best?

    Thank you,

  35. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hi Kerstin

    We would suggest you try Blondie, we also do sample sizes


  36. Daniela Says:

    Hello, I have been using your warm peach and popcorn shades, but I do know I have cool undertones. It has been working quite well for me, but I’m thinking that maybe I should choose a foundation with cool undertones. Am I right? The skin on my neck is quite yellow though, only my face skin is light with redness. Would a foundation with cool undertones help more with my redness? What would you recommend?
    Thank you very much!

  37. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Sabrina, this looks like a neutral undertone. We would recommend Barely Buff or In the Buff. Make sure to order in sample size first to make sure its a good match! LLx

  38. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Daniela, as a rule you shouldn’t use your foundation to combat the redness on your face, you should use a colour corrector like Blush Away to even the tone, then apply your foundation, we don’t want to be matching to your redness.
    Also as your neck is quite yellow, it’s important to try to make sure your face matches. I would recommend trying some samples in neutral shades, In the Buff and Barely Buff. If you’d like to try one with a cool undertone go for popsicle LLx

  39. Annie Says:

    I can suffer from bouts of acne and I think this is due to using foundation that is too heavy and clogs my pores when I don’t necessarily need full coverage. I have now been makeup free for 3 weeks and my skin is back to being flawless – my problem is that I am quite pale and would like to have something to add colour to my skin without clogging my pores, going cakey and causing spots. Someone suggested the Lily Lolo mineral foundation.
    I have been wearing maybelline fit me matte and poreless in shade ivory – can you suggest a shade for me?

  40. Janette Says:

    I currently use bare minerals medium tan foundation and I also use their completion rescue in “spice 08” for the summer months when I want lighter coverage. Could you recommend equivalents for these and maybe even a BB cream option?
    Thank you!

  41. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello, the equivalent to BM is Cool Caramel, we always recommend purchasing a sample shade first to make sure it is right for you. For BB you will be our darkest shade Medium. Hope this helps! LLx

  42. Lily Lolo Says:

    Hello Annie, swapping to mineral foundation will really help with your skin, as it will still allow your skin to breathe and not clog the pores leading to spots. The ingredients also are great for calming the skin and not aggravating any spots.
    When trying to add colour to your face, you always want your foundation to match your skin tone, meaning it will create a flat one tone effect on the face, creating the perfect base. Adding colour and perking the face up comes from adding blush or the use of a contour kit like Sculpt and Glow. Again all of these should be okay for your skin.
    Our nearest matches to Mfm foundations are – China Doll, Blondie and Candy Cane. We always recommend purchasing 3 sample sizes to make sure you get your right match! LLx

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