In search of “The One” – Sephora + Pantone Color IQ Review

I’ve always had a difficult time finding a foundation to match my skin tone (read my foundation horror story here).  My mixed ethnic background has produced a shade that’s darker than medium, but lighter than olive. Even when I tan, I still find it hard to find a foundation that matches, which is why I tend to stick to tinted moisturizers. My quest for a perfect match foundation may be drawing to and end with SEPHORA + PANTONE COLOR IQ, a new technology that uses a device to scan the surface of the skin and reveal a foundation shade within Sephora that matches the skin precisely.

The exclusive color matching technology launched at Sephora on June 26th.

I practically ran to Sephora in Time Square, giddy with anticipation at the thought of finally meeting “the one.” I dreamt of how it would feel to look in the mirror at my flawless complexion, while holding the smooth surface of a bottle that held my liquid skin. I arrived amongst the bright neon light of Times Square, dashed into the store, and bee-lined for the SEPHORA + PANTONE COLOR IQ counter.

A helpful consultant held the Pantone’s CAPSURE™ up to my forehead, cheek and neck, and produced my unique PANTONE® SkinTone™ number. He then punched in the number into a fancy iPad® that houses SEPHORA’s Universal SkinTone Library, which was to reveal all my foundation matches. It took about 30 seconds, and during that wait time he explained that some people had hundreds of matches in a variety of coverage and formulas. We both eagerly leaned in close to the screen as my matches began to appear one by…one? One. Literally. I knew my skin was hard to match, so I wasn’t surprised to see that out of thousands of foundations that are sold by Sephora, only one shade from one brand is my perfect long-awaited skin mate. It turned out to be Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Lasting Foundation with SPF 15 in 410 Bisque W. Unfortunately, this product was out of stock at the Times Square location, so I was not able to test the match. I was able, however, to e-mail myself the foundation so I can order it online.

Unable to be discouraged, the Sephora consultant showed me that the SkinTone Library gives you the option to select shades that are darker or lighter than your natural hue. I chose darker since I tan a lot in the summer, and it produced Sephora Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer Medium 28 Camel SPF 20. This choice matched me very well, so it looks like I’m back to wearing tinted moisturizers – at least until the Lancôme foundation arrives in the mail for testing.

Foundations can be narrowed down by searching by brand, desired coverage, finish, skin type, formulation, ingredients and spf.

*I should note that my sister went into the store the day after me, and her PANTONE® SkinTone™ number produced several different perfect matches, so I think my skin tone really is “special.” They told my sister to ask me to return, since they are constantly updating the system.

** The exclusive SEPHORA foundation service is only available at SEPHORA 5 Times Square in Manhattan and SEPHORA Powell Street in San Francisco.

***The service is free of charge, and no purchase is necessary.

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