How To: Make a Complete Skin Tone Palette

A while back I showed you how to match your skin tone using a mere 4 components. Today, we're going to use that foundation color to create a collection of skin tones – from highlighter to blush to contouring.

Here's the coolest part: you're only going to need one additional pigment to make an entire palette of skin tone sculpting colors.

Shall we get started?

Going Lighter

Making a highlighter is the easiest thing on the planet (seriously). It is simply a question of adding more white to your foundation mix.

Depending on how much lighter you want your highlighter to be, the proportions are:
  • 1 part foundation pigment blend
  • 7-10 parts white (zinc oxide or titanium oxide)


Start with 7 parts white to 1 part color. Mix foundation pigment blend with white pigment thoroughly in your handy dandy whizzing apparatus, adjusting the color as you go.

My highlighter (pictured here) is 10 parts white to 1 part foundation mix.

Going Redder

Creating the perfect blush and lip color is the next easiest thing on the planet (seriously).
Here's where the additional pigment comes in.

I know you already know what's needed to go redder.....


There are many reds to choose from – depending on your preference and skin tone.

Here are 3 staple reds in my pigment collection: a  straightforward red (left), a deeper, wine-red, bordeaux (middle), and a brighter, pinkier, red (right).

For my blush-and-lip mixture, I used the red on the left.


Add to your whizzing apparatus

  • 9 parts foundation pigment blend
  • 1 part red pigment

Whiz until thoroughly mixed - adjusting the color as you go. When you're happy with the color, transfer to an airtight, dry container.

Tip about mica: if you add a mica to a whizzing apparatus, you may well discover it looses the inherently glittery quality mica offers. To retain the reflective quality of the mica, you're going to have to dump the whizzing apparatus and instead SIFT the colors together until thoroughly mixed. Be forewarned: this will take a bit of patience. Expect to sift everything between 15 and 20 times before the color is even.

Going Darker

Here's where you are can start experimenting and playing. You'll be adding brown oxide and/or sienna oxide to go darker – depending on how warm you want the color to be.

Start with
  • 5 parts foundation mix
  • 1 part brown oxide

Mix thoroughly in the whizzing machine, test the color and adjust until you have a tone that you like for sculpting. I use my darkest tone predominately for contouring the eye area.

Finishing Tips

When you're happy with your pigment mixtures, transfer them to clean, air-tight containers and label them with date.

If you've been good about keeping notes as you adjusted the colors, you might want to add that info to your label so you have a starting point for recreating the color.

Next Up

Next time we look at making make-up, we're going to create a pressed color skin tone palette.

Do Tell

Do you make your own foundation and eye shadows? How do you mix your skin tones?

Earlier on This Blog

Matching Skin Tone
Matt Powder Foundation
For more make-up making posts, please check the sidebar under TOPICS (not visible on phone view) or visit the How To page and scroll down to the Make-Up section


Signe said…
Hi, Lise - What kind of mixing aparat you have there? And where did you get it? I know Marie Reyma uses coffee grinder, but I haven't found any from here.
Bob & Angela said…
You can use a kitchen blender with a small container instead. Oster makes one that fits on most Osterizer blenders:^55532709250-device^c-plaid^18283950120-sku^004937@ADL4000@ADL4NP0-adType^PLA

You can also use one of the personal size blenders, like the magic bullet.

The basic idea is that you want to use a sharp blade, moving at high speed, in a small, dustproof container. Anything that fits the description can be used: coffee grinders, spice grinders, mini food processors, kitchen blenders, even miniature versions of professional equipment:
LisaLise said…
Thank you Bob for your reply! Signe - Bob is the right man to answer this :)
Rosa said…
Dear Lise, thank you for sharing your wonderful wealth of wisdom, I love your blog!
Can I mix in the mica using a mortar and pistel? Or is that essentially the same as blending it, do you know?
Good sunday to you!
LisaLise said…
HI Rosa - Thanks for your kind words! If you use a mortar and pestle with mica, you risk destroying the glitter effect of the mica. Mica should ideally be added by sifting everything together or stirring very very thoroughly-