Love the idea of this technology, but in practice it didn't really work for me.
It probably has something to do with the fact that my skin is blotchy and different colors in different places, but the results weren't even close. My skin is very pale and very pink, and it matched me to foundations that were too warm and too dark. It did the same thing to my sister who has similar coloring.
My guess is that if you could actually look at their database of colors it might be helpful, because I know what shades work well in various lines and I'd be able to find sister foundations. I think it is the limitations of the matching technology that cause it to call up poor matches.
Good idea that needs some refinement.
I've used this service on 3 different days at 2 different Sephora's and have gotten widely variable results. The first time, when Color IQ first came out I got the most perfect color match I have ever found. Unfortunately, there was only 1 foundation match and it was for a formula that didn't work with my skin type (Lancome teint idole ultra). Color (buff something) was lovely but texture was hideous on my skin. I took a sample and they did not save my Color IQ number, unfortunately. After trying it a few times, I decided to stick with what I was already using (Laura Mercier silk creme in cream ivory which their website calls 2Y04).
I tried it again at a different time of year, in the dead of winter, when I would have expected to be matched to a lighter shade, but it matched me WAY darker and much warmer than my skin tone at a 2Y05, which was mystifying. I am pretty neutral, very slightly towards warm and very fair. The particular foundations I tried, actually looked fine (Lorac Breakthrough in SMS4 and Cover FX Oil-Free in G30) once applied but looked pretty oompah loompah going on. I decided to go back and get rematched a few days later and got a different result, even warmer 3Y05, and still too dark. After multiple attempts by the SA and then by the manager, getting different results on the same day (and all of us laughing at how ridiculous they were), they gave up and decided to do it by eye instead. I do have some uneven skin tone but even when they sampled from areas of even pigmentation, they seemed to get weird results that showed me much darker and seriously warmer than I am.
The one very useful feature related to this service is the reverse lookup feature on the Sephora website, which allows you to input a foundation that you like and it will pull up the IQ number and other matches for you. This gave me some ideas about products to check out next time I'm in the store. I will say, however, that there appear to be some errors in the coding of foundations as some I KNOW are lighter (in Laura Mercier, for example) and warmer are coded as cooler and/or darker. Either someone is making typos inputting the data, or their database is not accurate. This could explain a lot of the horrendous "match" results, accuracy of the actual device aside.
Great concept, but technology and database are not quite there yet. Still, I am open to trying it again on my neck only next time (as suggested by another reviewer here) and seeing what I get. It does help narrow the field but does not take the place of sampling the foundations, IMO. Luckily, I have 3 Sephora's close by! :-D If you don't have that luxury, I would recommend looking up swatches of ones you are considering and not going 100% by the Color IQ match data on the website due to some inaccuracies in the color coding.
My face is lighter than the rest of my body and I alwaysssss have trouble being colormatched in store. I always end up having to exchange colors a couple of times until I get something close to my skin tone. I told the girl who was prepping the color IQ machine that I wanted my foundation to match my body and not my face so she scanned my forehead (which is normally darker than the rest of your face), my neck and on my chest. I ended up with 4y08 and although there weren't very many choices for my color, I did end up leaving Sephora with the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Bisque which happens to match very well on me. So if your face is lighter than the rest of your body, I would recommend having them scan your forehead, neck and chest to get a good reading!
I really like the idea of this service, but the in-store version did not work for me at all.
I am fair skinned with peach and olive undertones, and most fair products are way too pink for me. Benefit's Hello Flawless powder in "Me Vain? Champagne" is the best match I've ever had, so I color matched myself on the website based on that, and I got 3Y04. That sounded about right, and it was nice to find more yellow based foundations that could work for me. I wanted to confirm, though, so I went into the store to check.
When I went in store, they sampled my face in three places and I got 3R06. That is darker than my skin normally is and way too pink. I do not have any red undertones at all, but I have a lot of redness in my cheeks. I am sure I got the wrong color because they sampled my cheeks. I want to cover that redness, not blend it in to the rest of my face!
The MUA did not seem to like the shades this pulled up for me, so she decided to recommend a totally different product, Tarte BB/Primer in Light. I did like it and ended up getting it, and when I checked it on the Sephora site, this foundation pulled up as 1Y05. I'm not sure if that's exactly right, either, but at least it's the yellow undertone and not the red.
So just a heads up: if your skintone is uneven, don't even bother with the in store process. Just try to match via the website based on a foundation color you already know.
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. UPDATE: Now Tender Rose is a suggestion for 1R03. Either they fixed that, or maybe I was hallucinating?
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.