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I stayed at home most of the time during the Circuit Breaker and even as we are now many months into Phase 2 of re-opening, I also haven’t been heading out as much as before because we’re still working from home. A couple of weeks ago, I notice that none of my foundations match my skin tone anymore.

Get Shade Match Without Testers

I tried every one of them: three liquid foundations and two cushions and none of them matched. I am now about two shades lighter than before.

And it looks like I’m not the only one who have the same problem. Seven out of ten people I spoke to said that their skin tone became lighter during this period too.

A few of them, like me, noticed that their foundation shades don’t match anymore. My Business Development colleague Peiying, said that her lightened skin tone was so obvious that her mum and friends pointed it out to her.

What could have caused the lightening of our skin tone?

Work From Home Make Skin Tone Lighter

Staying at home more and being less exposed to direct sunlight are definitely the top reasons why we’re lighter than before.

Our intern, Cassie, told me that it could be because she stopped doing outdoor sports, and our other intern Gwen echoed the thoughts, saying that she was home 24/7 during Circuit Breaker and found her skin tone got lighter.

A few that I spoken to attributed it to spending more time on skincare. As they stay home more, they spend less time on makeup, which gives them more time for skincare.

I think I fall into this category too because without wearing makeup on a daily basis, I find it easier to reapply my sunscreen. While I find it hard even to reapply my sunscreen once in a day in the past, I am now able to reapply it twice a day (once at noon, and another time at 4pm).

How to get your foundation matched during the pandemic?

Now, all these changes pose a bit of a problem. While many of us may be seeing lighter skin tones and need to get new foundations that match our current skin tones better, we may find it challenging to do so because counters no longer offer testers.

I reached out to beauty retail giant Sephora to share tips on how we can find our foundation shade safely and accurately without using testers.

A spokesperson from Sephora told Daily Vanity that customers can use the Sephora Virtual Artist in-app to do a shade match using their current foundation. The feature will generate the closest match for any new foundation you are looking to try, which will help with making an online purchase.

“This (also) helps them gauge what shades to look at when they visit our stores,” the spokesperson says.

Alternatively, Sephora has introduced a safe and easy way for customers to do shade matching in-stores, without actual swatching or touching of testers.

Try Foundation Without Using Testers

“Our Beauty Advisers (BA) will be able to do a shade matching by picking out three shades closest to your skin tone. Following that, clear plastic sheets and disposable tools will be sanitised and used to do the colour swatching. The BAs will be wearing gloves and will have to sanitise every single product before handing them over to the customer. Customers can then hold up the clear sheet with the foundation swatches to their face to match the shades easily and with this clear sheet, it gives an almost accurate representation of the foundation colour,” says the Sephora spokesperson.

Note that you’ll be reminded not to touch the swatches nor remove your mask at all times when you’re shopping in stores, to make sure everyone strictly adheres to its current no-touch policy.

A similar method is also practised at the counters of K-beauty brand HERA, according to Brand General Manager, Doreen Chia.

“A clean transparent sheet and disposable tools will be used for swatching to mitigate any risks of contamination. The transparent sheet will then be hovered over the customer’s skin for colour matching, without any contact,” says Chia.

Apart from shade matching for foundations, this same method is also used for finding the right cushion and lip shades at HERA.

Best Cushion Foundation For Singapore Weather Hera Black Cushion

“In addition, take-home samples of the Black Foundation and Glow Foundation will be available in varying shades at HERA ION boutique. Customers may also request for sachets of preferred skincare products to test in the comfort of their homes,” adds Chia.

I tried the colour swatching method when I visited Sephora and found that it was able to help me ascertain my foundation shade.

Of course, unlike applying testers directly onto my skin, like how we did it in the past, I wasn’t able to see how the foundation really looked like when it is blended onto my skin or to feel its texture, it gave a much better visual representation than trying to figure out if the colour seen on the bottle is the same as my skin tone.

What to do with a foundation that’s too dark for you?

If you now have foundations in your stash that are too dark for you, here are what you can do to save them:

  1. “Dilute” your foundation: Add moisturiser or primer to your foundation to try to lighten it. This method will also give you a more dewy-looking finish.
  2. Apply with a wet sponge: If you usually use your fingers or brush to apply foundation, consider switching to using a damp sponge instead and with a light hand.
  3. Use it as for contouring: If you’ve already gone and buy a lighter foundation that matches your current skin tone, don’t be too quick to throw out the old one. This may be able to work well for contour purposes.