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Becoming more aware of the shade in base and skin is the first step in developing a discerning eye for base and skin tone matching.

Observe the overall skin shade of people. Is the face lighter or darker than the neck, arms or legs? Notice that not everyone’s face is all one color. There may be subtle or major differences in the color of a person’s face.

Consider where to place them on the gray scale. Observe the undertone color. Is it ruddy or olive? How much ruddiness is there? How much olive is there? Matching skin tones is a combination of both shade (light to dark) and undertone (ruddy to olive).

Remember, the majority of the world’s population has some amount of olive undertone in the skin.

When observing the true undertone of the skin, one may become distracted by the variety of shade colors in the face. Which one of the colors in the face should be matched?

When examining the color of the skin one may find redness caused by blemishes, irritation, blood vessels, or blueness around the eyes or veins close to the surface of the skin. These colors are distractions that may divert the artist’s attention from the true undertone color of the skin.

The face may also have subtle differences of the shade and undertone from one facial area to another. Notice that there may be a strong difference between the face and neck, especially if one wears base with a sunscreen. (In the summer this may become quite noticeable.

A good base match will reduce or eliminate this problem.) For the majority of people, the most effective area for an accurate skin match is just below and in front of the ear. In this location, the undertone is more clear. The neck joins the face in this area, allowing the artist to see the undertone and the shade of the face and neck