Anemia Update

When I was home last month, I (of course) went into a Sephora. I had to see the motherland of makeup; it had been so long. Usually, I’m happy to just visit, look around, swatch some things, and bask in the glow of all the beautiful products. But not this time. This time I had a mission: get properly color matched.

I’ve been struggling for several years trying to match my foundation and concealer properly. It seemed nothing looked right on me. It was either too fair, too dark, too red, too yellow, too everything. And then, anytime I got it remotely right, after a few months it would look off again. It was highly annoying.

About a year ago, I got a sample with one of my many Sephora shipments of foundation. I saw that it was labeled to have neutral undertones, and I figured there was no way it would work on my “fair skin with cool undertones.” (There’s a reason I put that in quotations, I’ll get to that in a minute.) I figured there would be no harm in trying it out anyway, though, so I swatched it on my jawbone. I was shocked. It blended into nothing.

Apparently, I had “fair skin with neutral undertones.” That was news to me.

Fast forward a year later, and I was having the same issue with my foundation and concealer choices. Everything was pulling so red on me; it looked like I was wearing a mask. Since I knew I was going home in August, I decided it was time for professional help. Enter Sephora’s color matching tools.

For anyone who’s never been color-matched before, it’s a pretty easy and (I think) interesting process. The associate takes a little tool and actually measures your skin in three different places for pigment. They also are trained makeup artists so they have a pretty good idea from simply looking at me what may work. The associate took my measurements after I had said, “I’m pretty sure I have neutral undertones, but nothing works on me…” and, kindly informed me, “you’re warm. I don’t see anything cool in you. Also, you’re not fair, I’d consider you in the light category.”

So. Apparently. I have LIGHT skin with WARM undertones.

Now, you’re probably thinking, wow Kristen, are you that bad at color that you couldn’t figure that out? The answer is, maybe, but I think something else is at play here. I guess my anemia is finally under control.

I think I was so sick my skin wasn’t as pigmented as it should be. I used to joke constantly that I was “see-through” or “ghostly,” but as my iron has come up and normalized, I think my skin color has as well. It’s quite validating to me that two years of religiously taking iron supplements – if for no other reason than to make the red notification of my phone reminder go away – is actually paying off. This is my real skin, and I’m happy to see it for the first time in, ever.

Obviously, I bought foundation and concealer on the spot. Gotta cover up that adult acne somehow. You can’t win all the skin battles all at once I’m afraid.


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