Sephora.com, Inc.

Jul 26, 2012

SEPHORA + PANTONE COLOR IQ advanced foundation matching solution


So my bf has been asking for me… oh like 3 years now if there is a way to scientifically find makeup colors for your skin using a computer.  Ever the artsy/creative soul, my answer has been NO! this whole time, but now Sephora is proving me wrong (though I probably will not tell him this information).  Sephora has again partnered with Pantone to come up with SEPHORA + PANTONE COLOR IQ, which matches you to one of over 1,000 foundation shades they carry in Sephora stores. 
My whole argument to the bf as to WHY you couldn’t make a machine to match your skin tone was that a machine can’t visually account for things like tones, undertones, and various other complexities of the skin, but it seems as though they’ve taken all that into consideration:
“Skin tones are comprised of many distinct shades so developing this particular application for our color measuring technology was an exciting challenge for us,” says Lisa Herbert, VP of consumer licensing at Pantone. “Even within the broader range of fairest ivory to deepest ebony, there are nuances that need to be calibrated correctly to determine the right match, and this solution eliminates many of the variables that can affect shade selection.”

So how does it work? 
Pantone’s CAPSURE™ is a hand-held spectro-colorimeter that takes an image of the skin and analyzes it.  (Anybody else have an image of Ghostbusters in their head?) using tri-directional image capture technology.  The device records  27 color-accurate images in 1.8 seconds using 8 different visible illuminations and 1 ultraviolet illumination.  It then creates a grid of 100x100 pixels across a skin sample, which then becomes one color composite, factoring in variables like skin texture. 
It’s a lot of science-y terms, but it really means that it should get a REALLY really accurate depiction of your actual skin tone regardless for the lighting in the store, ethnicity, freckles, sunburns, or other factors that normally make finding your foundation shade really difficult.     
Then it assigns an official Pantone SkinTone number that Sephora beauty experts reference against their Universal SkinTone Library, which is comprised of 110 skin tones, on an iPad to determine what products are a precise match for you.

What can you do to make the matching more precise?
-Do not work out for 30 minutes prior.
-No chemical or harsh peels 3-6 days prior.
-Drink more water and less caffeine prior; caffeine restricts blood flow, effecting flush of skin
-Disclose if you are wearing self-tanner to the Sephora artist for a better match.

This exclusive Sephora foundation service will be available at Sephora Times Square beginning July 26th and Sephora Powell Street August 2nd. 
Anybody else psyched to try it?  As someone who has a really hard time finding shades to match my skin because I don’t feel like most companies make my shade, I’m really excited to have this sort of access to a massive database that will tell me who does make my shade.  If you try it, let me know what you think!

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