Why You Should Wear A Gray Shirt To Find Your Perfect Foundation Shade

Flesh arrived on the beauty scene last summer, featuring a stick foundation in 40 shades, primers, eye gloss, and more. The brand, which is sold at Ulta and via its own website, steadily added eyeshadow palettes and other items over time. Flesh just dropped Pure Flesh Liquid Foundation and it's described as a "skin-matching and skin-loving" formula. It also arrives in the same 40 shades and seven undertones as the beloved stick foundation. Luckily for Flesh enthusiasts, you can now buy your exact chubby stick shade in liquid form. It's much easier to shop for a liquid foundation when you already know your color and tone.

But what if you can't easily decipher your tone? Finding that elusive perfect match when it comes to foundation requires you to understand your undertone, which is the hue just below the skin's surface. Tones can be cool, like pink, rose, blue, and violet. They can also be warm, with hints of yellow, peach, gold, red, or orange. Neutral tones strike a balance between the two.

Flesh understood that discerning tones can be a real challenge for so many customers and set about making the process easier. The brand put the necessary time and effort into creating the formula and carefully considering undertones. It evaluated 70 formulas, 160 shade iterations, and then shade-matched 229 people in order to create this line. During the Pure Flesh development phase, the brand inadvertently found another way to pick your foundation shade and it involves gray shirts.

Flesh's senior brand manager Silvina Perez told Allure that undertones can look different or distorted due to external factors, like lighting or clothing color. Therefore, it's best to wear a gray shirt when foundation shopping "because it's more neutral compared to white, black, or a bright color that could alter your coloring," Perez explained to Allure.

Bustle reached out to Flesh and Perez for further elucidation about why, exactly, a gray shirt is such a useful tool when shade shopping. "We spoke to a number of experts outside of the beauty community to really understand color, color theory, and how the brain sees color to help debunk some of the shade-matching issues that we know face our community and consumers," Perez tells Bustle exclusively via email.

The brand consulted Tim O'Brien, an illustrator and portrait painter, who explained that your face reflects what you're wearing. For example, a red shirt can make skin look red or pink, while a white shirt is reflective and too bright. Since gray is neutral and has no color influence, shoppers can better judge foundation colors. O'Brien even recommend this shade of gray as the most neutral.

Courtesy of Flesh Beauty

Next time you head out to Ulta, Sephora, or your favorite makeup counter in search of a new foundation, throw on a gray shirt and see if that helps. It should eliminate some of the frustration and the guess work you likely experience when hunting for that "just right" shade.

Perez also offered Bustle some additional tips for shade shopping. You should never use your arm to shade-match. "If you put the inside of your wrist up to your face, you’re going to see that it's an entirely different shade and you will 100% have the incorrect foundation shade-match," Perez explains. Instead, measure by your cheekbone or your forehead.

Perez warns against judging undertones by the color under your eyes, too. While this theory has been popular on the internet, Perez shuts it down, saying, "The color of the under eye depends on the cause —swollen blood vessels, dehydration, etc. — not skin tone." Perez also suggests pulling your hair back when swatching shades since strands "can cast a shadow that can change the way your undertones look."

Another thing to consider is skin conditions and how those relate to undertones. "Too many people confuse face redness with cool undertones," Perez explains to Bustle. "Surface redness is caused by other factors, like allergies and rosacea, and warm-toned foundation shades can help cover those." Have freckles? Then you have two things to consider when picking a product shade. "Freckles themselves are typically warm-toned, yet people with freckles usually have cool-toned skin," Perez shares.

Lastly, it's always a good idea to have someone else, like a friend or a store associate, offer their opinion while you swatch shades.

Courtesy of Flesh Beauty

Pure Flesh Liquid Foundation costs $32 per bottle. Each undertone — cool pink, warm yellow, neutral, cool violet, warm golden, warm red, and warm peach — is listed below the shade name and description on the Flesh site. The formula offers medium coverage that is buildable and long-lasting. Pure Flesh also leaves you with a natural-looking, skin-mimicking finish. Flesh's formula, inclusive color range, and shade-matching tips should help make shopping for foundation a fun endeavor rather than a confusing chore.

Flesh basically create a face product that is easy to choose and use.