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.
The good news is that you don’t need to shell out the big bucks for all three if you know what undertones your skin has. The right cosmetics can help enhance your best features while toning down any problem areas.
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 with your skin. But it’s not just limited to a 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 this 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 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 affects your complexion in different ways.
Contrary to popular belief, having yellow undertones in your skin does not automatically make you a warm tone (and the same goes for people who appear olive and have golden-red undertones in their complexions).
More likely to toast under the sun than tan? You just might have cool undertones. This category includes women with ash undertones in their skin, which makes them naturally paler.
Anyone who’s naturally fair should consider themselves to be cool-toned (even if they experience slight discoloration or flush easily).
- 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.
This category includes a gradient of warm skin tones including olive, golden, and ruddy undertones. But warmer complexions aren’t always limited to these three shades.
If your skin effortlessly turns a beautiful golden brown, you may be in the warm undertone skin color category.
Your face emits a natural yellow pigment. This makes warm-toned gals more prone to freckles and dark spots, so it’s important to use sunscreen regularly.
- 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 green 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.
People with this type of skin often cannot pinpoint their undertone (although they may believe themselves to be somewhere in between).
Your face emits a natural hue that’s somewhere between pink and yellow. Consequently, neutral skin doesn’t favor any specific jewelry category and can pull off silver and gold equally well.
- Your skin enjoys a slight peach, beige, or olive glow. Equipped with blue and green 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.
Do you have Olive skin tones?
Olive skin tones typically fall into the neutral category – and sometimes into a category all their own.
Your natural skin tone has a yellow-olive undertone and falls somewhere in between cool and warm.
You look amazing in earthy browns, forest greens, sky blues, and sunlit yellow colors. Add interesting pieces with an olive hue to your wardrobe for a chic twist.
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.
Be sure to test the cosmetics on your skin before you buy.
This can be done by swiping samples of foundation across your jawline. Wait 10 minutes for the color to blend in, and see if it looks natural next to your neck. If not, move on to another shade. If you’re still unsure about which undertones you have, refer to the points above and compare your skin to examples in each category.