Makeup Made Easy: Sephora + Pantone Team Up To Find Your Best Shade

Even for true beauty lovers, finding your best foundation match can be a huge challenge. More often than not, we're stuck with a shade that's slightly too dark, slightly too light, or the wrong formula for our skin type. But seriously, who has the time or energy to sift through every shade, brand, and formula out there to find "the one"?
Ladies, it's all about to change. Sephora has partnered up with Pantone Universe (the undisputed authority of color) to develop Color IQ, a revolutionary device that analyzes your skin tone to give you your exact color match in every foundation formula and brand that is carried at Sephora. Once you have your perfect color, you can narrow down your matches by formula, finish, and skin type until you're left with your true foundation soul mate. We admit we were a bit skeptical when Sephora Pro Lead Artist Gilbert Soliz held the funny gizmo up to our face, but readers, make no mistake: This thing works. Read on to check out Gilbert's professional take on Color IQ (launching today, July 26th, at Sephora's 5 Times Square location!) and see how beauty is going even more high tech!
Every girl knows that foundation shopping is tough. There are so many shades, formulas, and finishes to choose from. Why is it so hard to find the one that's right for you?
"When picking foundation, it’s important to consider the type of skin you have, the type of coverage you need, and the type of finish you desire. As a professional makeup artist, it’s easy for me to identify these factors for my clients, but finding a foundation continues to be the most difficult beauty item for consumers to shop for on their own."
What was the inspiration behind using Pantone technology for beauty?
"With Sephora’s experience as the leading beauty retailer, and Pantone’s in the world of color, it was clear from the beginning that this marriage of powerhouse brands was developed to truly elevate the way we look, think, and feel about color, starting with color cosmetic collections like Color of the Year and the Alchemy of Color. Now, Sephora is taking this partnership and applying it to the in-store shopping experience as a way for us to navigate through the beauty aisles at Sephora, beginning with foundation."
"Sephora was inspired by Pantone’s CAPSURE™, a compact hand-held spectro-colorimeter that is currently used in the design world to match color to any surface, material, or fabric. We can match furniture surface materials with colors, so why can’t we match foundation colors to an important surface like our skin?"
Can you tell us a little bit about how Color IQ works? How long did it take to develop?
"The Sephora + Pantone Universe Color IQ is the first and only beauty device to scan the surface of the skin, assign an official Pantone skin-tone number, and find your scientifically selected foundation shade amongst Sephora’s 1,000 foundation brands, shades, and formulas. Since no one part of your skin is the same color, we capture skin in three different places so the Pantone SkinTone number is the median skin tone of all three."
"Once we have the Pantone SkinTone number, we then reference Sephora’s Universal SkinTone Library on an iPad, which holds over 1,000 foundation SKUs to determine what products are a precise match for each skin tone. Using these matches we can then sort by brand preference, formulation, coverage, finish, skin type, ingredients, and SPF. This program has been in development since Sephora and Pantone began their partnership last year."
Photos: Courtesy of Sephora + Pantone
What makes you excited about this device from a professional perspective?
"Wearing the right foundation is essential to achieving a great makeup look, so this is an amazing resource to have for my consultations with any client. At Sephora, we are always looking to guide our client in the right direction when they are looking for beauty products, and this is an incredible process that delivers a real benefit to our clients."
How, specifically, will this make things easier for the consumer?
"By utilizing such powerful technology, this device eliminates many of the variables that can affect shade selection, including pigment challenges, skin texture, and undertones. It allows both the makeup artist and client to pull the best matches across all of our brands, which makes it the utmost personalized and accurate experience."
How can the consumer know that this form of color-matching works, unlike all the previous "innovations" in matching we've seen before? What makes this special and advanced?
"The Sephora + Pantone Universe Color IQ device uses powerful tri-directional image technology that enables it to record 27 color-accurate images in 1.8 seconds using eight different visible illuminations and one ultraviolet illumination for unsurpassed accurate skin readings. By utilizing such powerful technology, this device eliminates many of the variables that can affect shade selection, including pigment challenges, skin texture, and undertones, which can often distort the client’s match. Additionally, Color IQ provides you with access to 110 different Color IQ skin tones."
What do you think might be the future of the Sephora + Pantone Universe partnership?
"While we are initially introducing Color IQ for foundation matching, we truly see this evolving and expanding throughout the world of color. When we began this partnership earlier in the year, we started with an extensive Color of the Year cosmetics collection in Tangerine Tango and have now introduced a revolutionary in-store technology to help our clients shop — the options are really endless, and we’re excited to see its full potential."
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora + Pantone

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