3 Undertone Skin Color Categories: Which One Are You?

undertone skin color: woman examining face

Shopping for cosmetics can be downright frustrating, if not ridiculously expensive.

You want a foundation that will blend evenly into a flawless complexion, a lip color that will bring out your flirtiest smile, and a concealer that will enhance the contours of your face – not detract from your appearance.

Beyond Foundation: The Magic Behind Skin Undertones

Understanding undertone skin color categories can help you do just that – find the right shades that blend naturally into your skin. But it’s not just limited to foundation.

  • Sleeveless red cocktail dress or green short-sleeve blouse? Your skin’s undertones can simplify this decision, helping you unlock the most flattering colors for your complexion.
  • Shimmery tropical teal or warm pink? From baked eyeshadow to color-rich lipstick, your undertone skin color can narrow down the most attractive makeup hues for your face.
  • Yellow-gold carnelian earrings or platinum cubic zirconia studs? Knowing your undertone skin color, you can choose the best jewelry to light up your complexion.

How does it work? In the last article, we talked about what skin undertones are and why every foundation purchase should start by understanding the undertones in your skin. If you’re still not sure what the heck skin undertones are, read more about them in the link above.

All set? Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

Cool, Warm, or Neutral: What’s Your Undertone Skin Color Category?

Skin undertones can take on cool or warm hues – or even a mixture of both (neutral). And each of these categories affect your complexion in different ways.

Graphic overview of three undertone skin color categories

Let’s break them down. If you’re more of a visual learner, we even developed a detailed infographic comparison to help you out.

Cool-Toned Skin

More likely to toast under the sun than tan? You just might have cool undertones.

  • Your face emits a natural pink and ruddy pigment. With underlying blue and purple undertones, cool-toned gals tend to flush easily. Try subtle, pale, or rosy pink and plum blush.
  • Luminous silver jewelry brightens your complexion. Cool-toned skin looks stunning in sterling-silver, white-gold, titanium, and platinum jewelry – especially embellished with emerald, sapphire, aquamarine, amethyst, turquoise, ruby, or cool-colored stones.
  • You lean towards the cool end of the color wheel. Rich plums, pale mauves, navy or icy blues, deep teals, bluish reds, smoky grays, and other blue-based eyeshadow and clothing shades look flattering with rose red, soft pink, or trendy purple lip colors.

Under natural light, you’ll probably notice blue or purple veins along your wrist. This is a good indicator that you’re cool toned!

Warm-Toned Skin

Burning not a concern? If your skin effortlessly turns a beautiful golden brown, you may be in the warm undertone skin color category.

  • Your face has a slight yellow or bronze glow. Highlight warm-toned cheeks with a light coral, deep peach, or warm brown blush to enhance your natural yellow undertone skin color.
  • Your complexion warms up to brilliant gold. Warm-toned skin favors yellow-gold, gold-filled, copper, and brass jewelry. Try nature-inspired pieces with amber, carnelian, coral, citrine, red jasper, alexandrite, peridot, fireopal, garnet, or warm-colored stones.
  • Your skin looks gorgeous in earthy hues. Accentuate warm features with golden yellows, moss greens, rich coppers, pale ivories, and other earth-toned eyeshadow and clothing shades. Pair with orange-based red, coral, peach, or brown lip colors to complete your look!

Under direct sunlight, wrist veins might appear tinted green as your skin gives off a healthy golden radiance – characteristics of warm-toned skin!

Neutral-Toned Skin

Does your skin radiate pink and yellow hues? Your undertone skin color may be smack in the middle of cool and warm.

  • Your skin enjoys a slight peach, beige, or olive glow. Equipped with blue and yellow undertones, neutral-toned skin looks lovely in soft peach, deep apricot, or rich burgundy blush.
  • You look your best in both silver and gold jewelry. While lucky neutral-toned ladies can mix and match fine silver jewelry with delicate gold, you may sway more towards a certain group (cool or warm) depending on other visual characteristics (blue eyes versus hazel or blond hair versus red). Wear what complements your unique appearance.
  • Your complexion rocks warm and cool shades. Try golden browns, emerald greens, rich purples, soft creams, or eyeshadow and clothing shades that flatter your eyes and hair. When you’re done, add a splash of lip color with flirty corals, eye-catching berries, and vibrant reds.

If the veins on your wrist appear blue and green under natural sunlight – or you can’t tell – you probably have neutral undertones.

Have an olive complexion? Olive skin tones typically fall into the neutral category – and sometimes into a category all their own. In later tutorials, you’ll get the inside scoop on which cosmetics work best, how to apply the right makeup shades, and the most effective ways to care for olive skin.

So, we’ve walked through characteristics of each of the three undertone skin color categories.

Now What?

Which undertone skin color category do you fall into? We’ll help you determine your skin’s undertones in the next article.

In the meantime…

Keep skin undertones in mind, especially at the cosmetics counter! While a cool-toned beauty with the exact same shade of light brown skin might find the perfect foundation match, you could run into trouble if you’re warm-toned.

What are your thoughts? Do you have warm or cool undertones? Tell us in the comments below!

Author: Christina Crowe

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