I'm a natural blonde and the skin on my face has a reddish tone to it, while my neck is a very pale ivory. When I use an ivory-colored foundation (L'Oreal's Ideal Balance) to match my neck, it emphasizes the pores on and around my nose and my eye-area wrinkles. A darker shade of foundation makes my face look better, but then it doesn't match my lighter-colored neck. In the summer, I use a self-tanning product on my neck and chest to solve the problem, but I don't want to maintain it all year long. What color foundation should a woman with a mismatched face and neck use?
Suzanne, via email
This is a tricky but fairly common situation and the solution is relatively simple. Although the goal of selecting a foundation shade is to find one that matches your skin exactly, when the skin on your neck is a noticeably different color from your facial skin, you need to use a foundation in a shade that is between your face and neck, but more closely matches the skin on your neck. For you, that means using a foundation that is lighter than your facial skin tone, but that provides enough coverage to mask the redness. If you use a foundation that more closely matches your face color, you would probably look like you were wearing a "mask" because it would contrast so visibly with your neck color.
By the way, be sure the reddened skin tone you have is not from irritating skin-care products, unprotected sun exposure, or a skin condition such as rosacea. All of these can be addressed to the point of eliminating red tones, which will certainly make choosing your best shade of foundation much easier.
I am not a fan of heavier-coverage foundations because they tend to look ... well, heavy and mask-like. However, several new foundations deliver impeccable coverage while looking surprisingly natural (but, make no mistake, they won't make your skin look like you're not wearing makeup). Check out Prescriptives Flawless Skin Total Protection Makeup SPF 15 ($39.50), Clinique Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup SPF 15 ($28.50), and Cover Girl Outlast All Day Liquid Makeup SPF 15 ($8.99). Your summertime solution of using a self-tanner to create a uniform skin tone for your face and neck is also a suitable option, but, as you've discovered, it's not easy to maintain year-round.
Source: Paula Begoun