How to Mix Foundation Shades Like a Makeup Artist (Pro Guide)

mixing foundation shades with three base shades and the primary colors using the theory of color for makeup

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How to Mix Foundation Shades Like a Makeup Artist (Pro Guide)

Finding the right foundation shade can be a REAL struggle!!

Even if you have a general idea of your skin tone, it’s pretty common to find that you got a foundation too dark or too light.

This is where the art of foundation mixing comes in.

Mixing two different foundations to create the perfect shade is a trick that many makeup artists use to achieve the perfect match for their clients.

Or maybe you are trying to build your makeup kit with more foundation colors, but don’t have the space for EVERY SKIN COLOR shade. Or well, this is something next to impossible to be honest.

For a makeup artist kit, it is important to use the color theory for makeup to custom the shade for each client!

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of mixing foundation shades like a pro to get 21 NEW shades with only 3 base foundations and provide tips and advice along the way.

Can You Mix Two Different Foundations Together?

Yes, you can mix two different foundations together!

Mixing two foundations allows you to customize the shade and coverage to your liking.

You can choose two foundations with different undertones, tones or two foundations with different coverage levels to create the perfect shade for your skin tone.

How to Mix Foundations like a pro

Mixing foundations is simple and straightforward.

You’ll only need 3 base foundation shades and a primary colors palette. I’m using this one I got from Amazon.

To get started, you’ll need a clean mixing palette like this one and a spatule to mix the foundations together.

If you don’t have a palette, you can use the back of your hand, but make sure it’s clean and free of any oils or products that could affect the outcome.

Choose foundations with different undertones. (for example, a yellow undertoned, pink undertone, neutral undertone)

Choose foundations with different tones or coverage. (for example, a light shade, a dark shade, and full coverage or sheer coverage)

I picked 3 base foundations.

foundations to mix together
  • One fair to medium shade with full coverage
  • One medium shade with full coverage
  • one medium to deep shade with also full coverage

Use a clean palette or the back of your hand to mix the foundations together.

How to Mix Foundation to Get the Right Shade

To get the right shade, you’ll need to determine your skin tone and choose the two closest shades.

Here’s how:

Determine your skin tone.

If you’re not sure what your skin tone is, try looking at the veins on the inside of your wrist.

If they’re blue or purple, you have a cool skin tone.

If they’re green, you have a warm skin tone.

If they’re a mix of both, you have a neutral skin tone.

Choose the two closest shades.

Once you’ve determined your skin tone, choose the two closest foundation shades. If one is too light and one is too dark, mix the two together to create the perfect shade.

Start with a small amount and gradually add more.

When mixing the two foundations, start with a small amount of each and gradually add more until you achieve the desired shade.

Apply the mixture to the face and evaluate the shade.

After you’ve mixed the two foundations together, apply the mixture to your face and evaluate the shade.

Make sure to blend the foundation well to ensure an even application.

How to Mix Foundation shades to make NEW shades

Foundation mixing pigments are a product used by makeup artists to adjust the shade of foundation.

They’re essentially color correctors that can be added to foundation to achieve the perfect shade.

To use foundation mixing pigments, simply add a small amount to your foundation and mix well.

Foundation mixing pigments come in a variety of shades,

green (to neutralize redness), yellow (to counteract blue or purple undertones),

and pink (to brighten pale skin).

When choosing a foundation mixing pigment, it’s important to consider your skin tone and the shade of foundation you’re using.

I’d like to share with you my step-by-step guide on how to create your own custom foundation shades.

Here’s what you need to get started:


  • Three different shades of foundation
  • color mixing palette (red (or pink for light foundation shades), blue (or light blue for light foundation shades), violet (or lilac for light foundation shades), white, black and yellow)

Step 1: Choose Your Foundation Shades

Before we begin, it’s important to choose the right foundation shades to work with.

You’ll want to select 3 different shades that represent the lightest, medium, and darkest skin tones.

This will give you a wide range of options when it comes to creating custom foundation shades.

Step 2: Prepare Your Mixing Palette

how to make your custom foundation with the primary colors

Next, prepare your secondary color mixing palette by squeezing out a small amount of each color (red, blue, violet, white, black and yellow) into the mixing palette.

Make sure the palette is clean to ensure a clean and accurate mix.

Step 3: Mix Your Foundation Shades with each color adjusment

Start by taking a small amount of each of your three foundation shades and mix the darkest with the lightest, the lightest with the medium, and the medium with the darkest to instantly make 3 new shades.

making three new foundation shades mixing foundations and primary colors

Then, using your spatula or brush, begin to mix in a small amount of the secondary colors to each dish until you achieve the desired shade.

It’s important to start with a small amount and gradually add more until you reach the desired shade.

This will allow you to fine-tune the color until it’s just right.

 same foundation light shade mixed with the color adjusters
First column of the same light shade mixed with the color adjusters

now repeat the process with the medium shade, and the deep shade.

Notes to keep in mind:

  • Red, blue and violet are DARK SHADES that will darken your shade if you mix them with lighter shades of foundation.
  • Depeding on the deepness of the foundation shade, it’s the tone you want to look for blue,red and violet.
  • For example, I used light blue and pink instead of dark blue and red for my lighter foundation shade (first column)
  • And for the deep shade, I used blue, red and violet instead of light blue, pink and lilac.
  • And this is the result:
making twenty one new foundation shades from three shades and mixing primary colors
Same 3 foundation shades, mixed with color adjustments to make new 21 shades.

Step 4: Experiment and Have Fun!

Now that you have your custom foundation shades, it’s time to have some fun and experiment!

Try different combinations of secondary colors to see what works best for your skin tone.

If a foundation shade comes out too light, add a small amount of black or brown.

If it’s too dark, add a small amount of white.

If you see a shade becoming grayish, add orange or red to add color.

Do you have a foundation shade that you want to fix? Here’s my guide on how to fix a wrong shade or wrong undertone foundation step by step

Hey! Let’s connect and be friends. Here’s an IG video I made with more details about this tutorial. Feel free to follow me there for more tips like these!

Step 5: Store Your Custom Foundation Shades

Finally, if you want you can even store your new shades in a safe place like this empty palette to use them later.

I recommend using a label maker or a permanent marker to label each dish with the date and the color mix.

This will make it easier for you to remember and recreate your favorite shades in the future.

In conclusion, creating custom foundation shades is a fun and easy way to achieve the perfect match for your skin tone or your clients.

Using a color mixing palette and following these steps, you can create a wide range of custom foundation shades in no time!

Foundation Mixing Palette

A foundation mixing palette is a flat surface with wells where you can mix your foundation shades.

They come in various sizes, and materials, but the one we recommend is this one here.

The benefits of using a foundation mixing palette are that it’s clean and easy to use, and it allows you to see the color of the mixture before applying it to your face.

A foundation mixing palette is also a great investment for makeup artists, as it allows them to mix and match shades on clients without having to use the back of their hand.

What to Mix Foundation to Make it Dewy?

If you want to make your foundation dewy, you can mix in a drop or two of face oil.

Face oils such as rosehip oil or jojoba are great options as they won’t change the color of the foundation and won’t make it too greasy.

Simply mix in a drop or two of face oil with your foundation and apply as usual.

You can also add a dewy finish primer to your foundation for an even more radiant look.

If you want to know how to make any matte foundation dewy, check this guide here!

Color Theory for Makeup

color theory for makeup wheel

When it comes to mixing foundations, it’s important to understand color theory.

Color theory is how colors interact and how they can be used to create harmonious color combinations.

In makeup, color theory is used to determine the best shades for a particular skin tone and how to mix those shades together.

A color wheel is a tool used in color theory that consists of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.

The secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors together and are green, orange, and purple.

Tertiary colors are created by mixing a primary and

a secondary color together and are yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, red-purple, red-orange, and yellow-orange.

In makeup, it’s important to understand the color wheel because it helps you determine the best shades for your skin tone.

You can go ahead and grab your “color wheel for makeup” cheatsheet in the form below to get a base when doing combinations, whether in creams or powders.

For example, if you have a warm skin tone, you should look for foundation shades with yellow or orange undertones.

If you have a cool skin tone, you should look for foundation shades with pink or blue undertones.

In conclusion, mixing foundation shades is a great way to achieve the perfect shade for your skin tone.

As a makeup artist, I’ve learned the importance of understanding color theory and how it affects the shade of foundation.

When I work with clients, I always take their skin tone into consideration and use the color theory to find the right shade for them for foundation, color correction and eyeshadow colors.

It’s not uncommon for me to mix two different foundation shades together to create the perfect color match.

My experience has taught me that it’s also important to consider the undertones of the skin when selecting a foundation shade.

Some people have warm undertones, while others have cool undertones.

Understanding these undertones is crucial to finding the right foundation shade.

In addition to color theory, I also use a foundation mixing palette when I work with clients.

This allows me to mix different foundation shades on the spot and get a quick visual of the result.

I highly recommend investing in a foundation mixing palette, an artistry palette like the one I showed you above, especially if you’re a makeup artist.

It will make your life a lot easier and help you achieve the perfect foundation shade every time.

When it comes to making foundation dewy, I usually add a drop or two of face oil to the foundation. This gives the skin a healthy and radiant glow. I find that using jojoba oil or rosehip oil works best, as they’re both lightweight and non-greasy.

More posts related to makeup and foundation:

Final thoughts on Mixing foundations with primary colors to make new shades

In conclusion, understanding color theory and how to mix foundation shades like a pro is an important skill for anyone who wants to achieve the perfect foundation shade.

Whether you’re a makeup artist or just someone who wants to look their best, these tips and tricks will help you achieve a flawless complexion.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and play with different foundation shades until you find the perfect match for your skin. Good luck!

Valeria H.

Don’t forget to get your free makeup guide for beginners by completing the quick form below!

How to Mix Foundation Shades Like a Makeup Artist (Pro Guide)

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