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Have you ever tried a shade of lipstick or a foundation that makes your skin tone, eyes, and face come alive? How about another one that’s almost the same shade but makes you look tired, washed out, and just generally blah? This is so common – the shade that suits you in the store can look completely different when you come home. Why is that? The first color probably matched your skin’s surface tone and undertone perfectly, while the second may have a totally wrong skin undertone. So, how do you know if you have a cool or warm skin tone?
If you are not a makeup artist who learned to quickly detect someone’s undertone, you probably struggle to find a difference between your surface tone and undertone.
What is the difference between surface tone and undertone when it comes to skin color?
Our skin tone is the genetically endowed amount of melanin in our epidermis. Melanin is a complex polymer that is produced by cells called melanocytes. It refers to a group of naturally occurring dark brown or black pigments present in our human skin. Exposure to the sun can damage melanocytes, so they go into overdrive as a defense mechanism leading them to produce a big amount of melanin instead, which absorbs the sun rays.
Why is this important? …..
Well, determining your skin tone can vary whether you spend more or less time in the sun, even though genetics are mainly responsible for our skin tone, sometimes the climate where you live can affect and change it.
There are three categories of cool or warm skin tones:
- Ivory or Light – People with a light skin tone usually originate from places with lower sun exposure, such as northern Europe. Their light skin is prone to sunburns, so it is crucial to wear creams with high UV protection.
- Medium – Medium skin tone is usually more neutral, often referred to as olive. People with a medium skin tone often come from Northern Asia and Southern Europe. It is usually slightly easier to find a foundation for this skin tone.
- Dark or Tan – Dark skin tone is the result of high sun exposure. Regions like India, Africa, as well as the Middle East, are the most exposed to a high level of UV rays. People with dark skin are prone to hyperpigmentation, so they need to be extra careful when choosing both makeup and skincare.
A definition of skin undertone would be – the color from underneath the surface. Your skin’s undertone is the color underneath the surface of your skin that can affect your overall look and make shades look different on you. You can have the same skin color as someone, but a different undertone which would be why the same shade looks perfect on you and not so good on your best friend with the same skin tone. So if a product doesn’t blend perfectly with the natural shades of your skin, then it’s not right for you.
The three skin undertones are broken down into three classifications:
- Cool (pink, red, or bluish undertones)
- Warm (yellow, peachy, golden undertones)
- Neutral (a mix of warm and cool undertones)
Tests To Help You Find Out if You Have Cool or Warm Skin Tone
1. Check Your Wrist Veins
Push your sleeves up and look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. Are they blue, purple, or green? If they look more blue and purple, you likely have a cool undertone.
If the veins look greenish, you’re warm. It’s worth noting, warm girls, that your veins aren’t actually green—they look it because you’re seeing them through the yellow-toned skin (yellow + blue = green.)
Do you have trouble telling or you can’t really decide between any of these shades? then you probably have a neutral undertone.
2. The Old Jewelry Trick
Think about whether you look better in silver or gold jewelry. Not which you like more, but which actually makes you look more radiant, glowing, and awake.
Typically, girls with cool undertones look better in silver, rose gold, and platinum metals, and warm-toned women look better in gold. If you look good in both silver and gold, then it is a great possibility that your undertone is neutral.
3. The White Test
4. Eye and Hair Color
Your natural eye and hair color can help figure out your coloring. Customarily, cool people have blue, gray, or green eyes and blond, brown, or black hair with blue, silver, violet, and ash undertones.
Conversely, warm-toned women usually have brown, amber, or hazel eyes with strawberry blond, red, brown, or black hair. Their hair tends to have gold, red, orange, or yellow undertones.
5. Trick with Clothes
You can find out your undertone by simply comparing which colors suit you better. If you are a fan of yellow-orange, yellow-green, orange-red, brown, and ivory, then you have a warm undertone.
On the other hand, people with cool undertones look particularly good in blue, purple, jewel tones, pink, red, and black.
As always, people with neutral undertones can wear all these colors.
6. The Sun’s Effects
When you’re out in the sun, does your skin turn a golden brown, or does it burn and turn pink first? If you fit into the former category, you’re warm-toned, while cool tones tend to burn really fast. Girls with fair skin and a cool undertone will simply burn, while medium-skinned cool-toned girls will burn and then tan.
7. Olive Skin Wildcard
If it seems to you that your skin appears a bit ashen or grey, then you might be the lucky one with an olive skin tone. Olive skin is a combination of a neutral, warm yellow undertone, and an ashy green shade that is very typical and often seen. It looks perfect, though, you just need to find the right products.
There’s no denying that specific colors will make you look better regardless of your skin’s undertone. Warm-toned girls should lean toward yellows, oranges, browns, yellow-greens, ivories, and warm reds, while cool-toned girls should wear blues, greens, pinks, purples, blue-greens, magentas, and true “blue-based” reds.
Did you get different results for each test? then you probably have a neutral undertone. Don’t let this confuse you – a neutral undertone is much more versatile than a cool or warm one.
8. Identify with a Celeb
Sometimes it is easier to see your favorite actress, blogger, supermodel, or singer and to identify with their own undertone. These are some of our favorite celebrities and their undertones.
- Celebs who have cool undertones: Martha Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, Cara Delevingne, Jennifer Hudson, Amanda Seyfried, and Lupita Nyong’o.
- Celebs who have warm undertones: Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba, Rachel Bilson, Jennifer Aniston, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, and Shay Mitchell.
- Celebs who have neutral undertones: Adriana Lima, Emma Watson, Jessica Biel, Sandra Bullock
- Celebs who have olive undertones: Rihanna, Jessica Alba
If you were wondering how those Hollywood stars look great with a lot of makeup on, now you know. It is all about finding out your skin’s undertone and picking the right foundation that will complement everything.
Tips to Shop Makeup According to Your Undertone
Knowing your right undertone can make all the difference in finding your perfect red lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, or the clothes you wear.
So you need to find colors that match your undertone. For example, if you have a warm undertone, then a warmer shade of (coral, orangey) red will suit you better than the one with a blue-pink undertone.
It seems confusing at the beginning, but once you get a grasp on it, you will always look your best!
General Rules About Makeup
Once you have determined your right undertone, picking makeup should be an easy task. Always consult with somebody at the drugstore or with your dermatologist if you find yourself in doubt.
- Warm Undertones – Women with golden, yellow, and peachy undertones should pick makeup in neutral, brown, and beige shades. Lipstick should be in dark red hues, while your cheeks will look great with coral blush and highlighter.
- Cool Undertones – If you have determined your skin tone is a cool one, then you should search for grey or blue eyeshadows. Lips will look great with purple, pink, or red hues. The cheeks should be highlighted with a pink or rosy blush.
- Neutral Undertones – We have already mentioned that women with neutral undertones are the lucky ones. The fact is that you can wear all the shades and look great! Compliment makeup with your hair or eyes.
Find the Right Foundation for Your Undertone
- Cool Undertones – If you pick the wrong foundation, your skin will look too orange. You should choose a foundation that has a cool tone and does not look golden or orange.
- Warm Undertones – The wrong foundation will look too red, pink, or ruddy. That is why you should definitely pick foundations that have golden and yellow undertones.
- Neutral Undertones – If you pick the wrong shade of your foundation, it will look too white, pink, or ashy on the neural undertoned skin. Golden tones will look good on your skin. While you should definitely stay away from yellow, cool pink, and red tones.
- Olive Undertone – same as with neutral skin tone, if you pick the wrong foundation, it will look pink, white, or ashy. The rule about choosing the right shade is the same as for neutral undertones.
The best foundation for a warm undertone
The best foundation for a warm undertone
Always Try Before Buying
The foundation is a product that you can’t buy online if you have never tried that brand or shade before. You need to try it on your skin to see if it complements your skin tone as well as an undertone.
Color Can Vary By Season
Some women tend to change their foundations seasonally. In winter, our face is paler whether we have warm or cool undertones, so it might be necessary to buy a shade or two lighter than you usually use.
In the summer, when we all get some sun-kissed tan, you can choose the color darker foundation that can match your skin tone.
Don’t Correct Your Skin Complexion with Foundation
Yes, you can hide the imperfections but don’t try to change your skin complexion. If you have dry skin or red cheeks, just try to find a foundation that works well with these characteristics. You can always add a bit of concealer to hide all the things that bother you.
You Can’t Change Your Skin Tone
Your skin will look much better when you match it with your skin and undertone. Don’t try to change your skin tone. If you pick the wrong shade, it will be more than visible. Using a kabuki brush is a fantastic tool in your makeup arsenal. It’s essential for achieving that flawless finish while maintaining the integrity of your natural skin tone.
How to Choose a Classic Red Lipstick for Your Complexion
A bold red lip is such a classic look, and nothing makes us feel better than a red lip.
But we know the struggle of finding that perfect shade of crimson to flatter your complexion all too well. Have you ever spotted a red lipstick you loved on your friend, but when you tried it on yourself, the effect wasn’t quite right? It’s all down to finding the perfect red lipstick for YOU, not everyone can wear that dark, dreamy blood red or a bubbly bright, bold red.
We talked about how to identify undertones along with their importance but how does that relate to choosing the right shade of red?
If you have a pink/blue undertone you should go for a red that has the same undertone, so more cold reds for you. To ensure you don’t tread too far into the pink territory, try this layering trick: Outline and fill in your lips with a warm red liner first, then swipe your cold red-based lipstick on top.
If you have a warm undertone, opt for a more orangey red and apply the same trick. Fill in your lips with a blue-based liner first and then swipe your fiery red on top.
If you have a neutral skin tone, you’re a lucky girl – you will find many lipsticks that suit you well.
Tip for beginners:
- Try bold colors in sheer formulas and textures, like MAC Hot Tahiti or Lady Bug lipsticks. Create a stain effect by dabbing lipstick on with your finger and then blotting with a tissue.
- How to keep a glossy formula in place: “Make sure to moisturize first, because dry lips will absorb the emollients in lipsticks, compromising wearability. Follow with a lip primer and lip pencil as a base.” says Fatima.
- The trick to keeping matte lipstick from drying out your lips: It’s all in the prep work – exfoliate, hydrate, and blot! Lip care is just as important as skincare to ensure great-looking lips.
Discover Your Skin Undertone: Unlock the Secrets to Perfect Makeup and Flattering Colors
Hopefully, you will now remember the super easy and practical tricks for finding out your undertone. From jewels to the color of your veins – everything seems useful when you find your undertone.
After picking the right makeup, foundation, and lipstick, you will be amazed by the results. Your skin will glow, and you will feel beautiful with minimal makeup on.
In the world of makeup and beauty, understanding your skin’s undertone is like unlocking a secret code that brings out your natural radiance. Armed with the knowledge of whether you possess warm, cool, neutral, or even olive undertones, you’re equipped to make the right choices – from foundation and lipstick shades to clothing colors and jewelry. Happy beautifying!