8000 Shades of Beige …

- July 11, 2012 2 MIN READ


Melbourne tech startup Findation is using crowdsourcing to solve a key problem for online makeup shoppers: finding their matching foundation colour across different brands, without having to visit a store.

Online beauty sales are soaring, but foundations have been a difficult category for e-commerce. With no standardised naming or numbering conventions to help distinguish between 8,000 shades of beige, users wanting to try a new product are forced to go into a store to try and find the correct colour.

Findation solves this problem by inviting users to enter the products and shades they have found to match their skin previously. The site then uses an algorithm to recommend similar shades in other brands and products, based on the matches entered by other foundation users.

The result? A tool that can tell a consumer what shade she should purchase, in any foundation in the world, without her having to visit a counter.

Co-founder Kate Morris, who also founded Australian cosmetics e-tailer Adorebeauty.com.au in 1999, said the idea came about from trying to help her customers buy the right shade of foundation online:

“Every single day we have customers saying, ‘I want to buy this new foundation but I don’t know what colour I need’. On-screen swatches look different on every monitor. Online foundation sales therefore tend to be limited to repurchases.There are dozens of makeup forum threads dedicated to matching foundation shades. There is a massive need for a service like this – it’s going to be an incredible resource for both consumers and the industry.”

Findation.com officially launched yesterday in public beta, while collecting sufficient data to provide accurate shade recommendations between the hundreds of foundations on the global market (there are 192 brands, 988 products and 8256 shades in Findation.com’s database so far).

I have to say I absolutely LOVE this concept and think it will experience MASSIVE growth – Especially once the digital and physical women’s magazines pick it up etc.