Online shade matching: Does it work?

I did a makeup declutter about a month ago, and I realized I don’t have many products from Bobbi Brown except for a couple of shimmer bricks I bought from a sale and a gel liner I got about 2 years ago.

The same day I was checking for foundation shades for me (that I already have) because my Lancôme foundation was starting to look too light since I’ve tanned a bit in the past few weeks. I’ve always heard good reviews about Bobbi Brown’s foundation, so I thought I’d give it a try.

We don’t have Bobbi Brown readily available in Sri Lanka, and I don’t have any travel plans soon, but luckily an Instagram page that I contacted said they can bring these for me in 2 weeks. I immediately checked for foundation matches, but the match I got from looked too dark in the swatches. It was midnight here in Colombo, and while checking Bobbi Brown’s website for a possible match, I noticed I could do a live chat with an artist.

This was the first time I spoke to an artist online to get my shade matched. I usually wait till I travel so I can go to the counter and do a physical match. She asked for a picture and asked a few more questions (answers in Italic)

  • Any skin concerns such as allergies, sensitivity, rashes, breakouts, etc… (none)
  • What kind of coverage I’m looking for (medium)
  • What is my skin type (normal to dry)

The first thing she recommended was their primer, but I skipped that because while I know primers help the foundation perform better, I don’t want to add one more step to my already long makeup routine everyday. In fact, I wanted to get some Bobbi Brown because I love how simple, elegant and effortless their makeup looks are.

For foundation she recommended this:


So for today’s post I wanted to talk with you about online shade matching. This is a huge issue for us Sri Lankans because we have no Sephora or any reliable makeup stores here (except for The Body Shop, YSL & Givenchy- but the latter two don’t carry most of the tan/deep shades here so it’s a total bummer) One of the most frequently asked questions from me is also how to match their foundation shade. So I did a small research on top of the whole BB haul.

I asked on my IG (@nmstylefolder) stories:


Even though we have to solely rely on online ordering (unless we or someone we know flies out of the country and get us these things) majority had not ordered foundation/concealer online.

I also asked if it was a “yes”, how did they find the shade:


Surprisingly enough, 97 out of 202 guessed their shade (48%) . Only 36 already knew and were repurchasing (17%) and 69 had got it matched online (34%).

And when asked if the shade match was good:


So let’s see if mine was a good match…

I was matched to Warm Natural 4.5

My match was perfect and I’m over the moon about that! I don’t know about the 37% of not getting a match in the above poll, but at least I can say that the BB Pro artist match is perfect. Make sure you send a picture that was taken in natural lighting, no makeup and no filters on.

What about your experience in online shade matching? Do comment below…


Neth Mi

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