18   177
10   191
8   228
8   209
8   157
17   181
6   177
6   165
11   200
7   243

Sephora Color IQ Experience & How It Works

If you’ve been following my blog for over a year you might remember that I visited Washington D.C. at the end of April in 2015 (check out my USA beauty hauls if you’re interested). 

I can’t believe it’s been that long!

While I was in the US I had to visit Sephora multiple times and ended up trying their Color IQ foundation matching service. Now you might be wondering why on earth would I write a post about something that happened over a year ago but I’ve literally been working on this post the whole time! Well not exactly but almost…

As soon as I got back to Finland from Washington I wrote down everything that happened, all the numbers and where I could find more information if needed. But I just couldn’t make the post as informative as I wanted so I decided to let it be, improve it overtime and post it when I think it was ready.

Well, the time has come!

What’s the process

If you’re wearing any face makeup you’re asked to take it off (or they’ll do it for you) so if you’re planning on going to Sephora specifically for this then I’d recommend not wearing any face makeup! Then the MUA will take 3 pictures of your skin (face and neck) with a small machine – it’s basically like a weirdly shaped camera (see what it looks like on Sephora’s website) – which tells the Color IQ number that should be the shade of your skin.

The number combination will be typed onto the iPad and it will show you which foundation shades you should go for. You’re able to adjust the shade and go lighter, darker, more yellow or more red. You can also choose what kind of foundation you’re looking for so it’s very similar to Sephora’s own site. After you tell the MUA which foundation you’d like to go for they will then grab the shade and apply it on your face.

How the shades work

My results were 2Y05. Now let me tell you a little about this “code”. The first part aka 2Y can be anything from 5R to 5Y and this will tell you how pink or yellow you are. Since I got 2Y it would mean that I’m quite neutral but a tad on the yellow side.
The second part aka 05 means how dark I am. This can range from 1 to 15 number 15 being the darkest.

Also there isn’t as many undertones for every level of darkness as you can see from the chart below.


The results

Now like I said above I got the shade 2Y05 as a result from the Color IQ. I was looking to get matched to a shade from NARS Sheer Glow and this result showed that Fiji would be the perfect shade for me. They tried it on me and it looked great so I decided to purchase it.

Now after I got home all the way to Finland and tried the foundation I realised it wasn’t the right shade for me after all. It wasn’t that bad, I could’ve worked with it but as the foundation was quite expensive and I’m really fussy about my foundation matching perfectly I knew I needed to get a new shade.

I then ended up ordering two shades from NARS directly and the shade Ceylan was the perfect match! With Ceylan I should have got the shade 3Y03 on the Color IQ so my result was a little off (a bit too dark and 1 shade too neutral).

On the other hand, when my mother tried the Color IQ her match was perfect! So keep in mind that even if your friend’s match was far from perfect you might still be able to find the exact foundation shade for you.

Should you try it?

If you’re about to buy your first high end foundation then I think it’s definitely worth a shot! But just remember to use it as a guideline and even if the MUA tells this is the right shade for you ask them to do it again if you think it doesn’t looks right or just go outside with a mirror and see for yourself. If I would’ve done that after I got matched I would’ve been able to tell the shade was a bit off but I just thought I’d trust the MUA.

Check out Sephora’s video if you’d like to quickly see how it all happens!

Have you ever tried the Pantone Color IQ at Sephora? How do you like to choose the right shade of foundation for you?


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