Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sephora Color IQ - V1

Nothing to disclose.

I always question my foundation, even when I think I have a good match.  Since I tend to wear shades that are slightly too yellow or ever so slightly too dark to help conceal my rosacea, I figured the technology of the Color IQ would steer me in the right direction. 

Ok, so much to my embarrassment, here's a couple of photos of me before I left the house.  While I did put on minimal eye makeup, I didn't have on foundation, concealer, power, sunscreen, or even moisturizer.  I put on my prescription rosacea medication, Avar E LS cream, and away I went.  I took quick inside, no flash photos, one of each side of my face.  Sorry these are slightly blurry. 

Right side, you can see the redness in my cheeks, along my jaw, in front of my ear, and nose, particularly on the side by and under my nostril.  If you can see the skin under my bangs you can also see some redness there too, which only happens during flare ups, and I'd had one several days prior. There's some light freckles just at the top of my cheekbone, which start under my eye and go back to the hairline.

Left side, redness in all the same areas plus, but I get more of the rosacea bumps that look like acne.  You can see the redness on my forehead a bit better here, even through my brows.  The area around my nose is a bit worse, kinda looks like I've got a cold and have been blowing my nose a thousand times.  My chin is also a little more red on this side.  I have some freckles on this side, but they're a bit darker and harder to see with all the redness.  The reddest areas are very visible, almost in a triangular shape.  I was sure there was enough "good" skin outside of this triangle to get a decent match.

My Color IQ match began, after I explained to the sales associate / MUA my concerns with my rosacea.  The MUA took three 'photos' of my skin, using the little handheld gizmo.  The first was the reddest area on my left cheek, the second along my jawline near the corner of my mouth (also red), and the third on my forehead (blotchy).  I was hoping the MUA would get an area that wasn't red, like my neck or the hollow of my cheek.

The MUA told me that with rosacea, the machine would take the three areas and "average out" my skin shade.  I wasn't too sure about this because if I was having a flare up, it would be much more red than a calm day, which could easily mean different results.

MUA also told me that one should never, and I repeat, NEVER, try to match one's neck, because our necks don't tan.  I told the MUA that none of me tans.  MUA told me to simply sweep the foundation down my neck to avoid the dreaded line of demarcation, which is something I always do.

My color number was 2R07.   Here's Sephora's chart, red arrow shows my number.  I was flabbergasted.  Was I one of those assholes who insisted on wearing too light a shade?

The shades suggested for me were all over the place, but at least they gave me a lot of options.  (thanks to Phyrra for the help with this photo!)

I'll list them in alphabetical order by company. Clinique and NARS shades varied but Dior and Sheseido were the same regardless of formula.

Amazing Cosmetics Velvet Mineral Pressed Powder Foundation in Dark Tan
Boscia BB cream (no shade name)
Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen High Protection Tint in Medium
Clinique Even Better Makeup in Cream Chamois
Clinique Even Better Compact Makeup in 06 Ivory
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Foundation in Shade 03
Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup in Shade 10
Dior Airflash Spray Foundation in Light Beige
Dior Capture Totale Foundation in Light Beige 020
Dr. Brandt BB Matte w/Signature Shinerase in Light to Medium
Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm in Light to Medium
Dr. Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm (no shade name)
Guerlain Terracotta Skin Healthy Glow Foundation Second Skin Effect in Nude
Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer in Sand
Kat Von D Lock-It Powder Foundation in Light 48
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H in 160 Ivoire W
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Bare Radiance
NARS Powder Foundation in Barcelona
NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Vallauris
Shiseido the Makeup Dual Balancing Foundation in 140 Natural Fair Ivory
Shiseido Radiant Lifting Foundation in 140

I was disappointed that my beloved Illamasqua was not suggested for me, not even the wrong shade.

I'd used NARS previously, Sheer Glow in Siberia for a bit before deciding it wasn't right (slightly too yellow and a tad too dark)  and had once swatched Mont Blanc .   I knew immediately the darker shades would certainly not work for me.  Amazing Cosmetics Dark Tan actually made me laugh.  I have never had the word "tan" used to describe me, unless immediately preceeded by the words "lack of."

MUA applied MUFE's HD Microperfecting Primer in Green, which I'd used before.  The theory is the green will counteract the redness, but I often feel using a slightly darker concealer or foundation on those red areas works better than using green.

On the right side of my face the MUA used Clinique Superbalanced Foundation; MUA had two different shades and I'm not sure which was used.  I assume it was Cream Chamois since that's what was on the list.   I felt this side of my face looked heavier and more made up, and I immediately felt the shade was not a good match.  In the store it didn't look terrible, just wrong.  It was very dark on my red areas and didn't seem to be on my skin in other areas.  It was swept down my neck.

I have not altered the color in these photos. First is outside, no flash.

Inside no flash

The left side of my face the MUA used Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H in 160 Ivoire W, but said that I should purchase 220 Buff, which is a shade darker. 

First is outside, no flash.  If you're sitting down, stand up and walk a few feet away from your monitor and the difference between my face and my skin without makeup (chest, shoulder) is more obvious.  The MUA did sweep the foundation down my neck, in an attempt to blend and make it look natural.

Inside no flash. 

The MUA was so very nice, and I feel kinda bad about posting this, but I'm not blaming the MUA.   I think that anyone working in a store doing consults & giving shade advice needs be properly trained.  You can't always rely on technology, or what you think will work.  I expected the MUA to stop halfway through and say "you know, this isn't working. Let's try a different shade" but that didn't happen.

I feel the store's lighting is also part of the problem.  I could tell the colors weren't right in the store, but they didn't look nearly as bad as they did in natural light.  Sephora really needs to address this, IMO, but I'm not sure how to fix it, other than leaving the store & going outside with a mirror to check the shade before buying anything.   

So, as you can imagine, it was not the best experience.  I discussed my results with always lovely Phyrra, who had gone to her local Sephora for the color match the same day.  She'd also had disappointing results, although hers were a bit closer than mine.   Phyrra and I both have rosacea, and she'd also had a skin peel and was redder than usual.  We both felt our rosacea affected the results, and both decided to go for a second match at a later date.

Thanks for looking!


  1. Wow. That's just so very off. =/ Disappointing doesn't even begin to cover it.

    1. Yeah, but it'll get better with the next 2 posts!!

  2. i did this twice- the first time, i got a dark shade because the MUA removed my makeup and my skin was red. the second time, i made sure to go in bare-faced and was matched to 1y01, which was MUCH lighter/correct. i can only imagine that rosacea would have a great impact on your results :( your blog is excellent btw- it is sooo helpful seeing other people who are fair like me. people take it for granted that they can pop into a drug store and find a foundation that matches! most of the 'light' foundations even seem too dark, too pink, or too yellow :( (siberia and mufe 110!)

    1. thanks Meghan! I'm glad you find it helpful!