Does Really Work? (Foundation Shade Matching Website) is a website that uses science, technology, and engineering math to determine foundation shade matches. But does it work? Let’s talk about it.

UPDATE, October 1, 2022: I no longer know how to feel about this website. Every time I’ve visited over the last several months my matches have been different. It seems that they may be having trouble ironing out the scientific method they are using.
Estee Lauder Double Wear 4W4 Hazel vs MAC Studio Fix Fluid C8 Swatches on medium deep skin warm olive skin
Estee Lauder 4W4 Hazel vs MAC C8

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We can all relate to having a hard time finding a foundation match, so I wanted to share this website that I discovered. It is similar to the shade match system that Sephora has on their website. You plug in a shade that you already feel matches, and they tell you what other shades you can try.

The way this website claims to be different from other shade matching tools is because they use science to evaluate the colors and then they are verified by a makeup artist. They list exact, ideal, and best possible matches. To demonstrate my experience I am just showing you an “exact match” result. Since I started wearing the MAC Studio Fix Fluid** back in the summer of 2020, I’ve been really happy with the shade match, so I used that as my starting point.

The website gave me the 4W4 Hazel shade in the Estee Lauder Double Wear** formula as an exact shade match. I love double wear and have been using shades 5W1 and 5W2 for a long time. I consider 5W1 to be my best match but not spot on and 5W2 always looks orange but works better for me in the summer. Since 5W1 was so close for me, I never imagined that I could get away with anything in the 4 range. I was very skeptical but gave it a shot, and it actually works nicely for me.

Estee Lauder Double Wear 4W4 Hazel Swatch and Application
Wearing Estee Lauder Double Wear shade 4W4 Hazel
Bare Face
MAC Studio Fix Fluid C8 Swatch and Application
Wearing MAC Studio Fix Fluid shade C8

The Swatches

I personally wouldn’t call these shades an exact match, but the website did help me find another color match (in Estee Lauder Double Wear**) that I never would have tried otherwise. As you can see from the pictures above, when applied all over my face Estee Lauder 4W4 and MAC C8 are pretty similar. MAC Studio Fix Fluid** in C8 is darker and I’m not sure it comes across in the picture, but in person, Estee Lauder 4W4 looks more yellow. But when you take a closer look at the swatches, you can see that they do have some differences. How those differences will work out for each person is definitely going to vary.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid C8 swatch (left) and Estee Lauder Double Wear 4W4 Hazel swatch (right) on medium deep skin warm olive undertone
MAC Studio Fix Fluid C8 (left) and Estee Lauder Double Wear 4W4 Hazel (right)

Estee Lauder Double Wear, $46.00**

  • Estee Lauder describes the shade 4W4 Hazel as a medium tan with warm golden-olive undertones

MAC Studio Fix Fluid, $36.00**

  • MAC describes the shade C8 as a deep olive with golden undertones for medium to dark skin

I have tried other results that the website gave me, but in my opinion, they should call all of the matches either ideal or best possible. None of my “exact matches” were exact in my opinion. However, once applied on my face, I could definitely have agreed with them being “ideal matches.” There weren’t any suggestions that didn’t work out at all. Nars Moorea** was also listed as an exact match to MAC C8, but I felt it was too dark. Nars Tahoe**, on the other hand, was listed as an “ideal match” and I really like how that shade looks on me. I consider Tahoe (in the Nars Natural Radiant Longwear formula**) to be one of my best shade matches. I also want to point out that C8 is deeper than my actual skin tone but because the undertone matches so well it isn’t obvious. So if you are darker than me, you may still be able to use C8.

UPDATE, March 16, 2022: The matchmymakeup website seems to have updated its match terminology. When I used the website today, the only options it listed were ideal and best possible matches. I have a tiny website, but I couldn’t help but wonder if they read my review 🤔. Maybe not, but that would be cool 😄.

They also have a quiz style function to help you find a shade if you are starting from scratch. It uses your phone camera and asks you some questions based on what you see. I personally didn’t find this tool helpful, I did not get a correct shade match from using it.

So there you have it. Does it work? Mostly, I think it does. But I would define their match terminology differently.

  • Exact match: closest match they could possibly find
  • Ideal match: either slightly lighter, slightly darker, slightly cooler, or slightly warmer but should still be workable
  • Best possible match: there is no match in this foundation, but you can give this shade a try if you insist on using this formula

Basically, this is a good reference point. At least for me, I found this tool to be incredibly valuable because I tend to always pick shades that are too dark. This website has definitely helped me get into the right depth range when I’m shopping for foundations. If you are struggling to pick out a color in a new foundation, and you already have a shade match that you love, could be worth looking into.

Do you have trouble picking out foundation shades? If not, what tips or tools do you use to help you get it right?

I hope you found this post to be helpful. If you did, please give this post a like down below. Thanks for reading!

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5 thoughts on “Does Really Work? (Foundation Shade Matching Website)

  1. There are certain foundations that I’ve been curious about and the items went on sale, but I still didn’t buy them because I couldn’t tell what shade would work for me. Several of those are on the list as having matches, so this is definitely useful. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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