Estée Lauder Foundation Colours Explained

Find the best Estee Lauder foundations for your skin tone and type.

This guide contains Global Shades products! These are available in a wide range of inclusive shades and undertones. Look out for the Global Shades icon or visit to find out more.

If you’re after an airbrushed complexion, look no further than the legendary Estée Lauder. Crafting stunning foundations that perfect your skin from morning to night, this iconic beauty brand is a master at delivering a seamless makeup base to every skin type and skin concern.

Available in a large variety of shades for all skin tones, Estée Lauder foundation colours can be a little confusing with their unique coding system.

Now, it’s time to decode the Lauder method so you can find the right shade of foundation for your skin.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup - multiple foundation bottles in various shades against a soft pink background -  594 x 348Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup - multiple foundation bottles in various shades against a soft pink background -  594 x 348

Estée Lauder Foundation Colours Explained

Estée Lauder is known for its extensive shade range for its foundations, with plenty of options available for the lightest and darkest of complexions and everyone in between. Our Estée Lauder foundation colour guide helps explain the foundation-naming system so you can find the right shade for you.

Estée Lauder foundations are divided into three categories; cool (C), neutral (N), and warm (W)—dependent on your undertone.

  • If you have cool undertones, your skin has a rosy pink tone and probably burns in the sun.

  • If you have warm undertones, your skin has a golden, olive, or yellow tint and tans easily.

  • If you have neutral undertones, your skin sits somewhere in between and is neither too pink nor noticeably golden.

Once you’ve determined your undertone, the number relates to the value of your skin, with the larger numbers representing deeper skin tones.

If you want to do an Estée Lauder foundation colour match against another foundation, you can use the Findation tool to find your perfect match.

So now that you’ve got the correct shade, it’s time to discover the best foundation for your skin type.

If you want to effortlessly camouflage even the most noticeable imperfections, we recommend Estée Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup. Inspired by the iconic original Double Wear foundation, this extreme version has been developed to cover tattoos, birthmarks, and surgical scars with maximum coverage on all skin tones. Providing 12-hour staying power, this long-lasting foundation applies to the skin without feeling cakey or dry throughout the day.

How to Apply Estée Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Foundation: This highly pigmented Estée Lauder full coverage foundation cream requires a little extra attention when applying to keep it from feeling heavy on the skin.

Start with an Estée Lauder foundation primer, such as Estée Lauder Perfecting Primer The Smoother, to smooth and hydrate the skin, ensuring even coverage.

Then, simply apply a small amount directly to the area of concern and blend with a foundation brush.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup will transform dull skin with instant luminosity for a healthy and youthful glow. This innovative stick foundation combines liquid makeup with an applicator in one—perfect for touch-ups throughout the day and for travel use. Providing natural, sheer to medium coverage, this stunning foundation lasts for up to 8 hours and is the best makeup for a perfected complexion.

The best Estée Lauder foundation for dry skin is Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF 25. This intensely hydrating formula is perfect for dry and dehydrated complexions. The water-light fluid foundation blends seamlessly into the skin for the ultimate ‘no-makeup’ feel while camouflaging imperfections for a fresh and natural finish. Infused with a moisture complex that includes Watermelon, Lychee Seed, and Apple, this replenishing foundation also contains antioxidants and SPF 30 to protect skin from environmental aggressors, preventing further dehydration.

Control excess shine and oily complexions with mattifying Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Soft Matte Hydra Makeup SPF 10. Imparting a soft, matte finish without looking dry, this lightweight and oil-free foundation helps balance sebum production while infusing skin with concentrated Hyaluronic Acid. Blurring imperfections and minimising enlarged pores, this light to medium coverage foundation is the perfect makeup base for oily skin.

Blurring the boundaries between makeup and skincare, Estée Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup SPF 25 has been expertly designed with ageing and mature skin in mind. Instantly brightening the skin and providing a youthful luminosity, this hydrating foundation works to minimise dehydration-induced fine lines while protecting the skin with broad-spectrum SPF 25. Skin looks radiant, smoother, and perfected, and benefits from a long-wearing finish.

Find out more about the importance of sunscreen and how SPF ratings work in our Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen

For an everyday classic, we recommend iconic Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup, a bestselling foundation known and loved for its versatility and long-wearing formula. Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation delivers a full-coverage, semi-matte finish along with impressive 24-hour staying power through even the harshest of weather conditions. This oil-free and non-comedogenic foundation has gained cult status in the beauty world, as it suits all skin types and skin tones while creating a natural, skin-like finish.

  • Finish: Natural, Semi-Matte Finish with Medium buildable coverage

  • Benefits: For All-Skin-types, Long wear 24-hours, Medium coverage, Oil free, Fragrance free, Won't clog pores, Transfer resistant

  • Hack: Mix with a serum to create a lighter finish

Is Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Foundation waterproof?

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Foundation is thankfully a transfer-resistant, fade-resistant, smudge-proof and waterproof foundation!

Perfect for those with oily skin who tend to have their makeup slip and slide, this one will lock it in place.

Once you've matched your foundation shade, complete the look with the perfect concealer and brows with tips from our Beauty IQ articles How to Find the Right Eyebrow Colour and If You Love The Double Wear Foundation, I’ve Got A Concealer For You or check out the video below!

How to Choose and Apply Concealer with a Pro Makeup Artist

Get more of the best makeup tips and product recommendations in the guides below...

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