Color IQ You Right

You know how there's a crazy contraption at Home Depot that can scan any item—a piece of fabric, a flower, a box from Tiffany & Co.—and computerize the color measurements to produce the exact shade of paint?

Ladies, that technology now exists for your face.

Sephora has teamed up with Pantone, the world's color authority, to launch a futuristic beauty service called Color IQ. A hand-held device scans your skin, assigns it a number, and then identifies your most precisely matched foundation from more than 1,500 options.


Sephora at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bear St., Ste. 213, Costa Mesa, (714) 435-1001;

It's a brilliant breakthrough over the old routine: An employee at the beauty counter surveys your skin under artificial lighting, then dabs a few different colors on her hand before brushing each one onto your jawbone to determine the closest match. It's hardly a perfect science, but it beats doing the guesswork yourself. There have been too many times in my life when I've glanced in the mirror and thought, "Oh, my God, why didn't anyone tell me my face is a different color from my neck?!"

I tried Color IQ, and the process was quick and simple. A beauty consultant had me sit down and wipe my face clean. (They also note that chemical peels, drinking a lot of caffeine and working out right before your scan may affect the results.) She then lifted the device, which kind of looks like a digital camcorder, and touched it against my neck, my lower cheek and my forehead. "It's detecting the undertones," she explained.

A moment later, the results were in. "I'm getting a reading of 4Y07," she said. She entered the code onto an iPad screen, and six different foundations appeared—my perfect matches. It felt a bit like online dating. My list, which was also emailed to me, included a tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier, a concealer from Stila and a light-reflecting formula from Lancôme. I had the ability to expand or narrow the options based on coverage level, ingredients, skin type and other preferences.  

I picked one from the list: a BB cream by Bobbi Brown in "fair." The consultant applied it to my face with a brush.

"The color is pretty dead-on," she said.

It really was.

Mismatched jaw lines, be gone!


Follow me on Twitter: @michellewoo.


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