The Revolutionary New Way to Find Your Best Foundation

We don’t have to tell you that realising your new foundation, lipstick, or blush is the wrong shade for your skin is a drag. But thanks to new facial-recognition software and skintone-matching devices, this is a problem of the past.

At a recent tech convention in Las Vegas, the facial-recognition software company ModiFace launched their 3D Augmented-Reality Makeup and Anti-Ageing Mirror. Basically, it’s a camera that allows you to “try on” different beauty products in real time. Similar to its 2D ancestors—software where you can upload a photo then add a new haircut, for example—you can see a variety of colours on your skin in real time, which means you can move and smile with the hue on, without actually testing it on your face. You’ll start to see the technology soon: ModiFace says they’ll be partnering with cosmetic brands later this year.

You don’t have to wait, however. Sephora’s Pantone Colour IQ technology has recently landed in every Sephora in the country. It’s the same idea used at hardware stores to scan a colour swatch and create a gallon of perfectly-matched paint, only Sephora’s version was created just for your face. The special gun captures three photos of your makeup-free skin—forehead, cheek, and chin, normally—then generates a custom number to find your exact matches from a database of dozens of brands and thousands of formulas. It even includes powder and mineral foundations.

Don’t have a Sephora in your town? Prescriptives has taken foundation matching online with their Custom Blend service. All you need is a webcam, a recent photo, and a few minutes. You’ll chat with an expert the same way you would at a department store, only via a Skype-like interface. Your expert selects your colour based on the photo you upload, and your formula based on a series of questions about your skin type and preferences. You can choose your finish—matte, dewy, or somewhere in-between—your coverage level, and more. Your unique recipe will be blended and sent to you to try at home.

Prefer the price of a drugstore formula? Until these new technologies hit your local CVS, try this trick that we learned from makeup artist Beau Nelson. Once you locate a shade of a prestige formula that suits your skin, like Nars or Make Up For Ever, plug it in a foundation matrix online to get the closest shades in a more-affordable brand, like Rimmel London or Maybelline New York. Thank you, technology.