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Not Fair: foundations - can you now create your perfect shade at home?

September 6th 2016 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Not Fair: foundations - can you now create your perfect shade at home?


The new Autograph Custom Colour range looks to make foundation faux pas a thing of the past. I put it to the test to see if I could cheat my way to colour match success

Whether it’s limited shade ranges or skin tone fluctuations throughout the year, finding a foundation that fits every complexion and season can often cost more money and energy than it really should. And, it’s a concern that spans the colour spectrum. According to Mintel’s Colour Cosmetics UK 2016 report, “Of women who have used a branded makeup product in the last 12 months, 32% say that one of their biggest makeup frustrations is when the colour doesn't match their skin tone, rising to 43% of women aged 16-24.”

While a wardrobe of different foundations would be just peachy, bank balances are simply not in the mood to entertain our base control fantasies because frankly, having a foundation that fits every tonal variation would bankrupt most. However, this is a problem that the new Autograph Custom Colour range from M&S is looking to rectify. At £12 a pop, they provide a much more affordable alternative to shelling out on a whole new foundation, so I put it to the test to see if it could give me a greater choice of pigment for my pennies.

What are Custom Colours?

Four coloured tints designed to be added to any liquid foundation and transform it into your perfect shade. Choose between Light (to lighten it), Dark (to darken it), Green (to reduce redness) and Purple (to reduce sallowness and increase brightness).

How do they work?

Simply add a small amount to your base of choice and mix in thoroughly before applying to skin. More can be added until the desired colour is achieved.

MORE GLOSS: Are darker foundation shades harder and costlier to make?

Do they really work?

To put them to the ultimate test, I applied each Custom Colour onto two foundations - one that was too light for me and one that was too dark in order to showcase their full effects.

On a lighter foundation

The effects on a lighter foundation were impressive - especially when using the Dark Custom Colour option. In order to obtain my go-to shade, three small drops were needed and it left the consistency and texture of the original foundation formulation pretty much unaffected. Applying one drop of the other Custom Colours to the rest of the foundation swatches also proved successful, with Light and the colour correcting-esque Green and Purple adding subtle variations to the original shade to help with both more targeted and wider coverage of areas of redness or sallowness too.


On a darker foundation

After seeing the difference on one end of the scale, I then applied all four to a darker tone of foundation. Adding Dark to my already dark base though didn't make a difference, showing that there is indeed a limit when it comes to its darkening abilities. The greatest contrast was seen when using the Light and Green options. I would say as a word of caution though, that there is the danger of making dark foundations look ashy in finish when using too much of the Light pigment, so do tread carefully. Used sparingly, I found it most effective in helping lighten the foundation by 1 to 2 shades, to come perhaps especially in handy in the winter months when a summer tan begins to fade.


The final verdict? Small but pretty mighty in their effects, they proved particularly potent when it came to lighter foundations and transforming them from light to dark and light to lighter. Although more limited in affecting darker foundations in the same way, seeing how they transformed fairer bases provides a valuable helping hand in alleviating some of the frustrations suffered from the more limited foundation shade ranges out there where darker skin tones are concerned. A very clever development in the coverage stakes if you ask me to help customise foundation to both tan and tone.

Autograph Custom Colour, £12 each and available to buy online here.

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Liked this? Click here to check out my pick of the 10 best concealers for darker skin tones.

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