This system has been driving me a little nuts. I was super excited about it, got there on the first day to try it out, and then was shocked and disappointed by the crazy suggestions. Okay, I'm rather fair and tend toward the cool side of neutral. I have surface redness that probably skews my results, so I can't totally blame the machine. But Color IQ put me in some really atrocious matches! I got R106, which is several shades darker than I have ever used -- in several brands.
For instance, I was directed to Rich Vanilla in Laura Mercier Mineral Foundation, when I wear Real Sand. I got Natural in Bobbi Brown, when I have always worn Sand. (The nearby Bobbi rep about laughed her head off.) In Urban Decay, I went from 2 to 3.5. None of these changes made me happy or felt right. I thought they all looked muddy and horrible. Trying a shade lighter, R105, I went home with a sample of a very ugly pinkish Korres foundation. Yikes! I don't go for heavy foundation, but I do think I need a bit of yellow to counteract my redness. I have gone on the website to plug in different foundations in hopes of figuring it all out, but without success.
And to make matters worse, many a foundation is described by the manufacturer in terms that do not seem to agree with the Color IQ number. For example, I have always avoided Laura Mercier Tender Rose because of the pink undertone, and have gone with the allegedly more neutral Real Sand. But I think I am correct in saying that Tender Rose and Real Sand are BOTH recommendations for R204.
Which is not to say that others won't get some insight from it, but it Color IQ does not seem to know how to diagnose your true colors if you have a problem with redness. And sometimes you just need a person with the guts to say, "Whoops!"
Bobbi Brown Sand is 5Y02! It doesn't "match" my skin at all, but it looks better on me than most any other foundation I've tried.
This just isn't right. I got many different codes by searching on sephora website for foundations i've used before. None of the codes are the same. Right now I still couldn't figure out the reasoning behind the color chart. At first i thought horizontally Y stands for yellow tone and R stands for red tone, vertically the numbers indicate the the shade of your skin from fair to dark. So for example a 2Y06 should be yellower than 1Y06. However, I was mistaken. When I searched for hourglass veil fluid makeup foundation. The shade nude (described as fair to medium with a neutral undertone on sephora website) was a match of 1Y06, while ivory (fair with pink undertone) was a match for 2Y06.
I was confused so i decided to do the test in store today. The sephora sales assistant took 3 pictures with the tool on my neck, jawline and forehead and the machine automatically took the median of all three. The result was 5Y07, which is absolutely not my shade!! And also very disappointing, there were only 5 products listed for 5Y07. I tried the Bobbi Brown skin foundation in warm honey 5.5 (a match for 5Y07), and it was much yellower and darker than my natural skin.
I usually don't buy foundations from looking at swatches online or just bring home a new foundation just by testing them in store. For me, It is always the best to ask for samples and try them several times before i make the decision! This way I would know the lasting power and to have the right shade under different lighting in different surroundings.
I have to agree with urazunbabygurl. This is a very useful tool. I went in to my local Sephora in JCPenney and the lovely MAs assisted me. I was without makeup, but had applied my normal mineral SPF which I think may have skewed the results a bit light. I am roughly NC25 because the MAC MAs like to counteract my red undertones, I am BB Sand/Warm Sand (for the same reason, I'm sure), and I found Urban Decay 3.5 is a great fall/winter/early spring match. My shade reading came back 1R05, but the foindation shades listed seemed too light. one touch of the "darker" button- 1R06 -and voila! My selections showed the Urban Decay Naked Skin in 3.5 and recommended the new Sephora 10 Hour foundation in #22 Light Natural which is a perfect match. I am very apply to have this on record. I like to sample foundations in the store before buying, but sometimes I like to see what shade to lean towards. Based on my 2 successes, I would be confident to use this to order online.
Unfortunately, this method did not work for me. Gave me a code which is about 4 times too dark (3y07). I'm MUFE HD fdt. color 117 (99% perfect). This doohicky said my color was 127. WHAT?! After doing my own research, I found out I'm more a 3y03, which makes much more sense (and it's the code for MUFE HD 117).
I wasn't really interested in trying it, but the SA (a friend of mine) was insistent and I didn't want to disappoint her. They say this should be tested on clean skin. I had MU on (and I was NOT going to remove it and redo it). And then, there's the lighting, which is always most unrealistic. Whichever the case, it did not work for me. I've been buying fdt for eons and doing quite well w/o gadgets. I will just keep my own counsel.
I know that this is not a product, but I think it may be helpful to add a review explaining the service from a customer's point of view.
For those who don't know about the Color IQ service, it claims to have better accuracy for foundation matching. The Sephora SA uses something that looks like a portable scanner, which takes 3 pictures from different areas of your skin (more on that in a little). I believe the scanner picks out your shade in a similar way that the Dropper tool is used in MS Paint. That isn't to diss the system, though. I'm actually pleased with my results.
Before you get matched, insist on getting scanned on wherever you want to match your foundation. That may sound intuitive, but the two SAs who helped me scanned areas on my face. I have problems with hyperpigmentation on all areas of my face, so I prefer to match my foundation to my neck and chest. The first time around, I was matched to 3R08 (I'm NC25ish, if that tells you anything). After I asked the SAs to match me on my neck and chest, I was matched to 4Y05. The two foundations that corresponded to my 'IQ number' matched me pretty well.
As for an explanation of the IQ numbers ... Sephora hasn't released a statement, nor am I 100% sure on this. However, I do have a theory. The first number determines the STRENGTH of your undertone. The scale goes from 1-5, from subtle to very strong. The letter determines your undertone. R is for red, Y is for yellow. The last two digits indicate the depth of your skintone. 01 is palest and 10 is the darkest.