How to Darken Foundation

How to Darken Foundation

Even the best makeup brands don’t come in the perfect shade to match every skin tone. And even when a liquid foundation comes in the perfect shade for you, your skin isn’t the exact same color all the time.

It’s natural for our skin tones to change with the seasons or normal hormone or lifestyle variations. Therefore, if your foundation is too light, there’s no need to toss it and shop for a new product. Instead, here are some ways to darken your foundation for a custom shade every time.

Can You Darken Foundation at Home?

Not only can you darken your own foundation, but thousands of women darken their foundation every day. It can often be disappointing for people with deeper skin tones to see the limited range of makeup options in darker tones, and you may need to darken your foundation to match.

It also often happens that a great foundation with the right wear and finish simply doesn’t match your skin; perhaps you have a summer tan, and your skin is darker than it is in other seasons. Whatever the reason, you can darken foundation at home to create a perfectly matched, custom shade every time.

Before You Begin

Before you begin mixing your foundation to darken it and create a custom shade, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Your Undertone

Believe it or not, matching your skin undertone is more important than matching your skin color. Makeup that doesn’t match your undertones does not look natural or healthy. If your foundation doesn’t match your skin shade, you can often get away with it by using contour, bronzer, powder, and other finishing steps. However, if your makeup doesn’t match your undertone, there’s nothing that can be done.

To match your undertone, look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they are blue/purple, and your skin turns red in the sun, you have cool undertones. If your veins are green/olive, and you tan in the sun, you have warm undertones.

Your Skin Color

While most women feel confident that they know their skin color, it’s worth making sure. The face tends to be slightly darker than the neck because it gets more sun but lighter than the upper chest due to more frequent exfoliation.

So even though all three of these body parts have a slightly different shade, the perfect makeup match will blend into the face, neck, and upper chest.

To match your skin color, draw a line from the lower jaw down the neck to the upper chest and look for a line that matches all three as closely as possible. Verify your makeup match in natural light or full-spectrum light and not in artificial light.

How to Darken Foundation

Use Shade Adjusting Drops

There are a large number of different drops and additives explicitly made for darkening liquid makeup. These products come in a wide range of shades, with a smooth serum-like texture, and are usually dispensed in droppers, allowing you to use a very small amount at once. These are the best way to darken foundation because they have pure, concentrated pigments and are designed to blend evenly without streaking or splotching.

In addition, these drops allow you to choose the liquid foundation you prefer for wear, texture, and finish, and customize your shade every day.

How to use shade adjusting drops:

  1. Apply your foundation to the back of your hand, or a small plate or bowl for mixing
  2. Add one drop of your shade adjusting drop
  3. Mix thoroughly and test the shade
  4. Add another drop of adjuster if needed
  5. Apply makeup as normal
How to Darken Foundation

Use Pure Pigments

Cosmetic-grade pigment powders are widely available but take a little bit of practice to use. They work best with oil-based foundations but can be mixed with water-based foundations, moisturizers, or primers to create custom shades.

First, look for deep brown hues of pure mica or even black charcoal pigments that deepen the color to darken your foundation. Then, add only a tiny amount at a time to perfect your shade.

Darken Liquid Foundation with Other Makeup Products

If you don’t have shade-adjusting drops, you can mix liquid foundation with almost any of your other makeup products to create a custom shade. Here are some options:

  • Mix two shades of foundation to find the perfect in-between shade for you
  • Mix liquid makeup with bronzer to make a deeper custom shade, which works best for warm undertones
  • Add a contouring powder to darken makeup
  • Blend foundation with a darker setting powder to create a darker shade
  • Mix liquid foundation with a cream blush, which works best for cool undertones
  • Combine liquid foundation with matte eye shadow in dark, black, or nude shades to darken foundation

How to Darken Foundation with Everyday Ingredients

Many people darken foundation with everyday items from their own kitchens. Here are a few things to try.


Anyone who has rubbed turmeric powder between their fingers knows that it’s a powerful golden pigment. Blending a small amount of turmeric with liquid makeup creates warm, golden tones.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is an incredibly popular way to darken your own makeup at home. Choose very high-quality, finely milled, pure cocoa powder with no other ingredients, and mix small amounts at a time into your foundation to customize your shade.


Warmer skin tones can also customize their shade with ingredients from the spice cupboard, including cinnamon or nutmeg. Choose very finely ground spices that have been evenly milled, and add a little bit at a time to liquid makeup.


Darkening your foundation allows you to choose the perfect foundation for feel and finish, and then add the necessary ingredients to make your own custom shade. No matter your skin color, learning how to blend and customize makeup helps you make the perfect match, every time, in any season.