How To Custom Mix Your Foundation


Finding the perfect match to your foundation can sometimes be a real hassle. And many times it’s not as easy as just going to the store and picking out one out. Sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect shade and finish of foundation for your skin. Whether it’s to light, dark, to yellow or pink a lot of us have a hard time finding a color that’s ideal for our skintone.

You may wonder what the benefits are for custom mixing your foundation. The benefits of blending two colors of foundation are actually three-fold:

  1. To get the right color – make the foundation cooler or warmer. There are 3 colors you can generally be, warm, cool, or neutral.  Sometimes a foundation may look a little to pink, tan or yellow.  Because of this finding the right shade can sometimes be somewhat tricky especially when it comes to lightness and darkness.
  2. To get the right shade – make the foundation lighter or darker. This may be especially necessary at times when you are spray tanning, or in the summer months when you are outdoors more. At those times you want to have a couple of foundations on hand to mix and match to get the right shade.
  3. To get the right finish – make the foundation more matte or dewy. Sometimes your foundation can be to matte or flat looking. On the other hand there are times it can be to shiny, so you want to find something that falls right in the middle.

To show you how to mix your foundations, I am going to be mixing the ones I use on a regular basis. I am going to be using the Revlon Colorstay in #360 Golden Carmel; this has a matte finish and can look to flat. Right now this is slightly darker than what I need so to lighten it up and make it not appear so matte so I am going to mix it with Lancome Teint Idole #320 Bisque. This foundation is not as matte finish as the Revlon Colorstay so mixing the two will give me a sort of satiny finish, not to flat, not to shiny finish.

How To:

  • Begin by making sure your hands are clean to avoid transferring any germs onto your face.  Next, place small dots of the first foundation around your face onto the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. If you are working on a client you can mix the foundation on the back of your hand but for yourself this way is easier and quicker.
  • Do the same thing with the second foundation as well. I know this seems like a lot of foundation but I want full coverage. You don’t have to use this much, you can use as much or as little as you want for your desired amount of coverage.
  • Next, take your stippling brush (which I am using here) a Beauty Blender or your preferred method of blending and gently begin to blend the color into the skin. Work from the middle of the skin out toward the hairline to keep the majority of the product in the middle of the face. This will also help keep you from forming a foundation ring around your hairline.

And that’s really all there is to it to mix your foundations. You just need to experiment a little to find out which foundations work best for you and what kind of finish you want on your skin. Check out my top 10 video on foundations, “Top 10: Best Foundations” for a list of my favorite foundations and the finish they have along with the price range.


Revlon ColorStay #310 & 360 – Matte Finish (Amazon) (eBay)

Lancome Teint Idole – Satin Finish (Amazon) (eBay)


MUG Foundation Stippling Brush (Makeup Geek Store)

Profile photo of Marlena

CEO of Makeup Geek and Makeup Educator


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hiii, am lulita from kingdo saudi arabia,,, ^^
i love u so much (H)
i have a Q,,, my skin like brazil girl ,,, i dont know what color fundation use,,, like my skin or what ???
plzzzzzz help me **

hi lulita, im from oman, ur neighboring country.. i hope my answer can be some help to you.. you can go down to any cosmetic store, like MAC and they will be able to help you find the most suitable kind of a foundation for your skin tone, not only that they have a variety of foundations like cake ones, and liquid also the ones with SPF.. if you find that u are not able to invest as much on MAC because it is expensive you can try INGLOT too.. they have good products as well..i hope that was helpful

Oooo! Where is this Top Ten Foundations article you mention? I can’t find it by searching : / Thanks for the fabulous videos!!

hey… so i really want to know what you can use on skin that irritates from foundation or make up in general???…. primers?? moisturizers?? i love makeup and how it helps bring womens confidence up with just a little make up on and i want to start my freelance MUA career I have been watching your videos and of others but i cant find one that helps me with clients who want to look beautiful at their wedding for example but cant wear makeup because it irritates their skin and causes break out?? HELP! &:) thank you marlena youre aswesome i hope i get a response soon!

Marlena, only you can still look pretty with foundation dots. My BF always says I look diseased when I use the same method of mixing.

Hi, I have really dark lips but love to wear pink lipsticks….but most pink colors don’t look good on me as the color of the lipstick is very different once on my lip. For the same reason I can’t wear most lip glosses as well :(

Can you suggest some way that I can wear pinks and look good. Thanks

I had the same problem last year because I went sunbaking and my lips got really dark due to being exposed to the sun. I found that using your foundation, and then applying it onto your lips lightens them up a bit. It doesn’t affect the lipstick you use on your lips. By using foundation to lighten up your lips you’ll be able to wear watever pink colored lipstick you like. Hope I helped :)

Hey…… The best thing I have found is Lip Spackle by Laura Geller.–(the newer formula that’s in its own little pot. ) It is flesh colored and so it cancels out any pigmentation that your lips have and not only that but it’s a lip primer so it keeps your l/s from feathering and keeps it on a long time too ! One little pot is a bit pricey but I’ve had mine way over a year and have only put a small dip in it. Well worth the $$$. I won’t be without it ! HTH

Hi, I have quite dark skin. But I can never find any foundation that actually goes with it. What brands or names of foundation could you recomend for me to use?

Revlon has the widest range of colors that I know of- also the new Maybelline Fit one has pretty good range. I know also that Iman has a cosmetic line aimed for darker skin- I’ve looked at her lipsticks and blushes, but not sure if she has foundation? I’ll have to look for you :)

Hi, love your videos!! did you ever try BB creams instead of foundation? they are great, specially for the summer time!! if you didn’t, you should :)

No, BB Cream means either Blemish Balm or Beblesh Balm. Originally worn in Germany, but they are really popula in Asia. They come in compacts or squeeze bottles and range in coverage, but the point of them is to be light and moisturizing. :•}

You must try it Marlena, there are several brands you can try. The most popular ones are Missha and Skin79.. they are not only makeup but also treatment (anti-wrinkle, spf etc) and it looks like if you are not wearing any makeup but it covers all imperfections. Google BB cream :)

It’s the next video :) Forgot that I mentioned the top 10 vid in this one- whoops! It’ll post on Friday or Saturday :)

I tired using BB Creams and they broke my skin out. I tried SEVERAL brands, and I was so disappointed because I had heard such amazing things.

Hey Marlena,

You look as beautiful as ever :-) Thanks for all the tutorials. I have a request; can you please do a tuto. on dermablend foundation? I am planning on buying a new good foundation and can’t seem to decide whether to go with Nars Sheer Glow or Dermablend. It would be great to hear your thoughts on dermablend since you haven’t reviewed it yet. Waiting anxiously, thanks!

Those 2 foundations are very different from what I remember- dermablend is a very heavy coverage that is satin/matte finish, where the NARS sheer glow is a dewy finish that is medium coverage. It depends on what you’re looking for :)

Thank you for the prompt reply :-) I guess I’ll go with dermablend since summer is on the way and I do have combination/oily skin.

Hey,how neat,i have a cousin in CA who’s name is also Sana.Just thought i’d put that in,where are you from?To put my 2 cents in,you should get the NARS sheer glow if you want a dewy look and the dermablend for a matte finish,good luck!!

Hi Mandy,

Thanks for your input :-) I am from Florida :-) but recently got married and moved to MI. I know, a drastic change right!

omg I was just getting ready to post a quesiton like this in the forum!! I did not know you could mix brands, etc. so good to know! I got Revlon photo ready and I’m going to mix it with Dior nude. great video – thanks sooo much!!

Hey I cant watch your videos, Im from Germany. :( I think because they are linked to youtube.

Marlena, Love your work. Wanted to know have ever tried the Booth No. 7 foundation? Heard alot of good things about it and that alot of girls like it more than the colorstay foundation. Alot you mentioned in the video about having a top 10 foundation. Cant seem to find that tutorial or article. Thanks for the input.

Hi Marlena, i was wondering what tip can you give me for foundation for dry skin, when im applying my foundation i see the little scals from the dryness can you please help me. Thanks Amy

Hi, incase that she doesn’t respond –
You can try exfoliating. If you don’t have one you can look up home made recipes on the internet or youtube. Also make sure to use a moisturizer before you apply your foundation. I also find that buffing out my foundation with a brush helps.

I just got the Clarisonic Brush that cleans your skin. I love it but its pricey. I got it because I heard nothing but good things about it and I had a 20% off coupon for the place I got it at. It was originally $150. Probably not helpful for tomorrow but maybe for the future. Happy Birthday by the way. Another option if you want to take a risk is I actually use hair conditioner on my face when in the shower to get off all my makeup then I use my facial soap to take all the access oil off. I started doing it because the amount of soap I had to use to break down my makeup dried my face out too much so I figure if the lady at Sephora’s told me to clean my makeup brushes with it then it may take off the makeup on my face too. It made my skin so much softer. Unfortunately I have combination skin parts get real dry while other parts break out….thats why I ended up getting the Clarisonic brush. Anyway, something to think about. Good luck!

This might be too late (and I’m sorry I’m not Marlena!!!) but I just wanted to throw in a tip that has helped me SO much recently.

What I’d suggest is using an exfoliating scrub, I like using St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and mixing it with a little bit of soap (I use a glycerine bar soap). Lather the soap in your hands, then take a small amount of the scrub and mix it in with the soap, and then scrub all over your face focusing on problem areas like the forehead along the hair line, nose and chin. Since using an exfoliating scrub on a daily basis, even in a small amount, can irritate your skin, I use Witch Hazel afterwards because it balances out the Ph in your skin and helps even and smooth everything out, and it does all that even if you have really sensitive skin. What I do after that is I apply a bit of moisturizer and then proceed with my daily makeup routine. Witch Hazel is key, it has honestly done wonders for me :)

Finding what works for you and your skin type is hard, haha, trust me I know all about it, so I hope that this helps in some way!

I just wanted to say how much I love this your site! I have to say that I am a little bit challenged when it comes to make up but now I am obsessed! I love all of the tutorials and videos and I feel much more confident in my make up skills. I am glad there is finally a website like this. Now if only I could find a “Hairgeek” website, haha. Thank you for the great site!
– Jasmine :)

Hey, does anybody know where to find really pale foundations>?< I can never find anything that is pale enough for me, as I am like literally as white as the guys from twilight and most ivory colours look quite orange on me.

Coastal Scents has the lightest color range and darkest color range I have seen in a line. I have all of them and I am SO SO pale in the winter, I always have to use a white corrector mixed in with my foundations. However, I found the Coastal Scents HD foundation and I was in bliss! I use the lightest shade to lighten the other foundations I want to use also…it is great for doing that also:) Love Love Love them and they come with a pump:) I hope it was helpful! I am going to be doing another video strictly about them on my channel! Take care.

hi, I’m very pale and have a hard time finding a foundation that is light enough for my skin what should i do?

Illamasqua makes some very fair shades (you’ll have to order from their own site, though; Sephora doesn’t carry all their products). NARS Sheer Glow and Sheer Matte in Siberia is pretty light (but quite yellow), there’s Bobbi Brown’s foundations in either Alabaster or Porcelain. Maybelline Fit Me in their lightest shade (110) is quite fair and neutral-based, and another commenter above us mentioned the Coastal Scents HD foundation.

If you already have a foundation you like that’s too dark, you’ll need to lift it with a white foundation like MAC Face and Body in White (Pro product), Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in Zero Minus (silicone-based), OCC has a white mixing medium/color corrector, and Coastal Scents sells a white mixing medium, too.

Hi Marlena,

Can you do a video on skin tones, like warm or cool or neutral, and how to tell which one we are, i have a difficult time finding a good foundation because i tried the foundations with pink in them and they make me look orange and then i tried the yellow based ones and they make me look to yellow orange, its horrible, so i can’t tell what i am, I tried the jewelry test and i look good with gold but i like silver too, i’m so lost in the foundation testing. Can you help?

Some of them may end up looking orange because of oxidation (Revlon Colorstay oxidizes big time, for example). Try going a shade lighter than you normally would, if you can (or mix it with a white foundation if you can’t). It may help. :)

good tip shelly, youre right about that. I found that out about a few liquid color products. sometimes its about trial and error, and revlon is affordable to make a good match

Hey Marlena, Im a massive fan. I go onto your website every day, Even when it’s a school night and Im supose to be doing homework and studying hahhah :) Thank you for inspiring me to be out there and not affraid of going for what I want to do in the future :) Luv ya :p

Hi Marlena! I am really hoping you will answer my question! PLEASE!!

I have been using Revlon Colorstay Foundation for the past 4 years and I love it! It’s hard to find a good shade though, which is why I combine #310 and #320. #310 appears to be too light and #320 too dark. So when I combine them, it seems like it matches my neck greatly, BUT when I take pictures my face looks more white than my neck! Should I go with a darker shade? I’m scared the darker shade will be too noticeable by other people in person! Any suggestions?????? Thanks in advance if you or anyone replies! I appreciate it! :]

Currently I use Clinique foundation do u have any experience with these? Also I have a problem with getting the right concealer cause some ppl say 2 shades lighter others say 2 shades darker idk which one?? Thanx for all the tips love ur vids u r a true inspiration.
Xo yari

ok this is what I don’t get yeah I know about mixing foundation to get the right color but how can you mix foundation for your undertones? like for example I’m a yellow base You had mention the revlon colorstay 310 was more yellow but lets say I mix it with a lighter foundation with pink undertone wont it look weird.? how does it work help? I put Lorac highlight in gold first then my vichy dermablend and it almost gives me the right yellow base.

~never seen that technique before but a BIG fan of custom blending foundations, usually adding spf for myself! Going to try your technique right away – thanks and please continue to post. I love to see what’s new and hip in the world of make-up ;D Great Job <3

Good Morning,

What is the best way to match foundation when your neck and face are lighter than the rest of your body?

Seriously Marlena, I don’t know what you do but you’re more beautiful each day. I envy you, really!!
You’re really beautiful, even without makeup. You really are!
And I loved the tips because actually that’s what I always do when I use foundation…I have to mix to shades.
And I loved the egg beauty blender!

Now I would love to see what’s the routine of your skin. Not makeup but treating it, you know, cleaning, moisturising…

Bye *

Hi marlena
Right now I’m using Revlon Colorstay but my foundation doesn’t look smooth enough.I even use the stippling brush and have tried
different techniques but it’s not doing it. For some reason on my upper cheeks and nose it is getting dry and with the foundation it looks awful!! I also use a primer underneath help!!! I so want flawless skin…

If your cheeks are getting dry it might be a problem with moisturizing. What kind of moisturizer are you using?

– Jasmine

Hey Marlena!!
I don’t know if you are familiar with or if you have any sigma makeup brushes. I have the most recent professional makeup brush roll/set and I was wondering which brush would be best and would give me the best coverage for applying and blending cream/liquid foundations ??

hello, my shiny Marlena!
love all of your tutorials!

but i have a great question: why there is nothing about eyebrows?
it’s a very important thing for any make-up.
my eyebrows – is a disaster.
i can’t make them look divine or shaped at all.

so, what is your basics to make that godness eyebrows???

thank you, anyway, beauty.)

Hi Marlena

First let me say…kudos to you! I love all your tutorials…i’ve learnt so much!

I just have a question about MAC powder foundations… can you do tutorial for the proper application of it. Thanks!


I finally found the color that i like and the finish in the Maybelline fit me. It has been such a long struggle to find the perfect color. I’ve tried everything from Revlon ColorStay to PhotoReady Finish, to Dream Matte Mouse, to Este Lauder, to True Match. The only gripe that I have is that it doesn’t last as long as the ColorStay and I’m not so fond of the way it feels when I touch my face. It’s kind of oily, but i don’t look oily. Is there anything that I can do to remedy this?

I always have wondered about mixing products, I thought that the ingredients would clash. Ever see that happen?

Why are none of your videos available in Germany anymore? This is starting to get beyond disappointing and into frustrating.

So glad you’re back and looking wonderful! I love these tutorials!! Thanks for posting and can’t wait to watch the newest one that was posted today next!

Hello Marlena, I would love to see your last two vids about foundations. I’m still struggeling with that because of my oily skin. Could you please upload this and the other video with this other videoprogram that you use? That would be awesome! Thanks!

Hi Marlena!
I would like to know which spray tan do you use?

And how is your French? :) I often want to write you but my English is so bad that I can’t say all I want and it’s frustrating! :)

JoSie from Québec, Canada

Before I saw this video I used 2 shades of Chanel Vitalumière, a light and a dark one, to get the right color summer and winter. I have dry/combination skin but I thought this foundation was to runny and it didn’t? provide enough coverage on it’s own.

After seeing this video I did some research and I actually love the effect of Chanel Vitalumière mixed with maybeline’s dream satin liquid!

So thanks a lot for making this video, I have finally ‘found’ the perfect foundation for my skin now!

I feel like I always miss these videos and then I check up on the MUG site and see the news feed. GRR! I hate missing vids lol, they really do brighten my day :)


hey hi u are doing a great job, i love ur sense of style!!

Can u please let me know how long a eyeshadow stay good? i have had a few for an year or more. so what are the rules to know that the thing has expired or is bad for the skin now?


Eyeshadows have a VERY long shelf life! I know that some can last up to 8 years. Cream shadows are more likely to go bad a lot quicker than baked or powder shadows. So your eyeshadows are perfectly fine! :)

I wanted to try the MUG stippling foundation brush but I dont know which one to get. Should I get the new one (Deluxe) or the regular old one? I want to know which one works best with liquid foundation. I see you use that brush all the time, but have you tried the new one? Thanks.

The deluxe one has softer fibers I’d say. I like the Deluxe Foundation Stippling brush better than the regular one. The flat top on it is great for blending the liquid around the face without it looking blotchy.

Hey Marlena,

I bought the MUG Foundation Stippling Brush and it is leaving a lot of litle fibers on my face?AM i using it right?
Sorry, I1m from Brazil, my english is not that good!

Hi Daniele,
Did you wash the brush before you used it? If not, go ahead and wash it. If you have any type of pigment/color on the brush go ahead and get some regular olive oil and wipe the brush in it and wipe it off on a paper towel. Do this until the brush doesn’t leave anymore color on the towel. Then wash with regular baby shampoo. If the brush still sheds after all of this, go ahead and contact our customer service department. ( or contact the shipping department directly at We will help you out with your problem for sure!

Great tip! I have the same problem with fundations, but my skin is waaaaay too pale and even the Ivory colors look off on me! now I know what to do!

I have very dark under eye circles:-(… i try ro cover it using foundation then power, but after i finish the circles appear to be an ash color which is not same like the face …its like they stand out even more … i cannot use any colour shadow since they look bad! …Pls help!