Monthly Messages

In-Person Color Matching 101

July 02, 2019

Color matching is what makes Maskcara come alive. It can be difficult trying to sell it at first because you may be unfamiliar with the colors and matching it to different skin tones, but once you get the hang of it you will start to see more success in your sales.

When you first sign up as an artist, it is important to only stick to color matching customers you see in person. Better yet: Cara advises color matching people who are close to you (friends, family, etc.) so you can be sure to take as much time as you need without stressing. The more people you can color match in the beginning, the better off you’ll be.

Grace Period

This time in the beginning of being a new artist is what Cara calls the “grace” period - once you have put in the necessary time to feel comfortable color matching your close friends and family, you can move on to color matching potential customers. The reason Cara puts so much emphasis on color matching people you already know is because it will be easier to make mistakes - you won’t be as afraid to start over completely because you weren’t liking the way the makeup was looking, and trying multiple shades to get the perfect match won’t be dependent on a time crunch.

To start in-person color matches, Cara advises to pick the very darkest color you think they could be. Actually, pick a color that you know is going to be too dark for their skin tone, then work backward. Unless you know what color is going to be too dark for their skin, you’ll never be able to find that “sweet spot” where the color just blends into the skin perfectly. The reason Cara advises to start with a darker shade is that most people color match their customers too light.

After you have found a shade that you think matches, go ahead and blend it out. You might start to notice that their skin tone isn’t completely even - they might be a little red in the cheeks or nose, or the makeup will sit weird on their skin and make their pores more visible. If this is happening, it means you have the wrong color.

Color Correcting

For matters of color correcting, Cara cautions about putting non-flesh toned colors on the face. The idea behind color correcting with green, purple, and blue concealer isn’t always the best solution - this is why Cara suggests that you never put a non-flesh tone color on the face to try and color correct (at best, these colors are an over-compensation that lead to texture issues). The best way to color correct would be by using a different shade on problem areas (dark spots, redness, etc.). What it really comes down to is taking the time to experiment with different shades to find the one that helps tone the skin the best.


After going through and finding the perfect shade, the next step would be to focus on the areas you want to highlight: forehead, nose, around the mouth, etc. For picking the right highlight shade, it’s important to take into account the person you are applying the makeup on. Do they like to look tan? Do they like a more subtle look? Taking these factors into consideration will help you pick the best highlight. The key to knowing whether or not you have picked the correct shades is by looking for texture on the skin. That’s the number one indicator that you either have the color match perfect, or you need to try some different shades out.

99% of the time when you think there is a texture issue, it is almost always due to the wrong shade, not the skin. It’s important to note that when there are visible signs of texture on the skin before applying makeup (like acne), that you remember to use a “stippling” motion to blend the makeup, rather than just wiping it across the skin. The reason stippling works so well is because it’s not creating more texture on the skin - you can’t cover up texture by creating more texture. By trying to create a new texture, you just enhance what’s already there rather than blending it into the skin.


When picking a contour shade, you have a little more room to try different shades out. What it comes down to is what you are looking to not see - something that looks like a natural shadow. Here’s how to know if you have the wrong contour color: 1) If it’s really hard to blend or if it clings to certain spots on the face (this means the color has too much pigment for the skin tone, which is something you don’t want). 2) Does it look orange? Does it look more like a stripe than a shadow? If so, you’ve got the wrong color. 3) Does it look ashy? Is it making them look sick, less vibrant, or is there a visible silver shine? If the answer is yes to any of the above, you’ve got the wrong color. The appearance of ashy makeup is a good indicator that the shade is too light, so try the next shade up (or even the one after that!) and see if it fixes your problem.

When contouring skin with melasma (dark spots), acne, etc., Cara advises to go with a lighter contour shade. This will require less blending, and will create a subtle, soft shadow while still creating dimension. Once again, remember to stipple the contour in and use a super light hand.


For blush, the only time to try and persuade someone to go in a specific direction is if they are extremely fair or extremely dark. Darker skin tones might look better with color that have darker pigments, and lighter skin tones might do better with less pigmented blushes. Otherwise, it’s kind of up to the customer on what blush shade they might prefer.

What are the best techniques for covering dark circles?

Not all dark circles are created equal. Some are greenish, some are more of an eggplant color, and some don’t really have color at all - they’re just gray. Each case has to be treated a little bit differently - you have to look at the color, and you have to look at the depth of color. You might have to try several different colors to find the best one that works - be sure to “dab” it in first before you pass judgment.

How do you color match someone who has redness in the face as well as everywhere else?

This is a case where shading up is going to help a lot. Going a shade darker will provide some toning and make things easier to blend. Using a lighter contour and darker highlight is a good rule to follow with these certain cases.

What do you do when someone’s face is way lighter than their chest?

For the people who have a dark chest and light face, Cara advises utilizing Bella bronzer to help even out the shade. Strategic placement of the bronzer is key: down the center of the neck and a little bit on the chest (basically focusing on the areas where light hits).

If they have a light neck, Cara suggests trying one spritz of self tanner - it’s such a simple and quick step that will become a natural step in your makeup routine.