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Sephora and Pantone's New Color Matching Service
Most women, especially African American and other women of color, spend a lot more than they want or need to on makeup foundation. Partly this is because of the difficulty of properly matching skin tones to the correct shade of foundation. To ease this quandary, cosmetics retail giant Sephora has teamed with color expert Pantone to creat Color IQ, a system of scanning the color tones in various parts of a consumer's face, and calculating Pantone color values of those skin tones. Those values are matched to a few optimal choices of the thousands Sephora has on offer.
Excerpt: "The technology behind Color IQ is advanced, but the concept is simple: a handheld device allows Sephora makeup artists to digitally scan various spots on a customer's face, resulting in 27 images in less than two seconds. The color capture technology then assigns each person a Pantone skin-tone number, which when entered into the coinciding iPad app, brings up a list of foundations — of the more than 1,000 Sephora sells — that are the closest match for the customer's skin tone.
Around 10-20 results typically show up, and customers can then narrow down foundations by their preferences for formula weight, coverage, SPF availability or eco-friendly ingredients.
'Foundation matching is the hardest because you are dealing with pigmentation, undertones, ambient lighting and the season of the year,' says Margarita Arriagada, senior vice president of merchandising at Sephora. 'And for a client to navigate through all the shades in our store is a huge task. Color IQ gives you a precision on your skin tone — a universal code — instead of digging through all the formulas.' "