The last time we saw the Pantone color system used to determine skin tone, it was in the service of a cool art project. This time, however, the “project” is your face and the “art” is the perfect foundation for it.
“Color IQ” is a joint effort between leading color authority Pantone and beauty retailer Sephora that uses X-Rite color-matching to determine which foundation users should be applying. Rather than merely looking for a shade that appears similar to a subject’s skin tone, Color IQ finds the scientifically precise foundation shade amongst Sephora’s 1,000 brands and formulas.
The handheld tool is based on technology developed for use in the design realm, and this is the first time it’s being applied to cosmology. It works by scanning the surface of the skin and cross-referencing the results against the library of “Sephora + Pantone” skin tones mapped out by the Pantone Color Institute. Now, if any friends recommend you a different shade of foundation, you can politely inform them that they’re scientifically wrong.
Color IQ is currently making appearances only at the Times Square Sephora in Manhattan, and the Powell Street Sephora in San Francisco.