Whether you swirl and tap Priori Perfecting Minerals, or you prefer to pump and buff Jane Iredale Liquid Minerals and Pressed Powder, to create that perfect makeup look, you first need to be an expert in…. your own skin!
There are three main types of undertones: warm, cool and neutral. It is important to remember: skin undertone is not the same as your skin tone. Undertone is the color of the shadow that is being cast underneath your skin tone. Your skin will change from time to time depending on your exposure to the sun, but the undertone of your skin stays pretty much the same throughout your life. Determining your undertone is a tricky business. But fret not as there are a few basic ways to finding out what is yours. Bear in mind that these methods are neither foolproof nor scientifically proven, but this is a great first step in helping you to get to know your skin better so that you can guarantee a near perfection finish every time you get made up.
1. The Vein Method
The easiest and fastest method of them all: just go under natural light (day light is the most natural) and have a look at the colour of the veins on the underside of your wrist. If they appear greenish, you have warm undertone. If your skin undertone is cool, they should either be blue-ish or have a purple tint to them. Having blue-green hued veins (think turquoise or aqua) means your undertone is neutral.
2. The Jewelery Test
Try on a piece of yellow gold and white gold or silver accessory for this test. They can be earrings or necklaces. Decide which colour brings out your features more. If the yellow gold accessory makes you look more radiant, this indicates a warm undertone. People with this undertone usually have ivory, peachy, golden brown or golden beige skin colour. If your skin looks instantly brightened in white gold or silver, your undertone is cool. Your skin tone is either rosy pink, rosy beige, dark brown or dark olive. If you can pull off both colours equally as good, then you might just be the lucky one with the neutral undertone!
3. The Pony Tail Test
This test is called the “Pony Tail” test because it requires to pull all your hair to the back, so the easiest way to do so is by tying your hair into a – you guess it – ponytail. But doing it up in a bun or pulling your hair behind your ears with a headband does the trick too, just as long as your hair is no longer framing your face. Then with a thoroughly cleansed face and under as natural light as possible, place a white towel, paper or cloth around your neck and shoulders. The whiteness of the item you’re using will help reflect the hue of your undertone. If you have warm undertone, you face will appear yellowish next to the white. If you find your face looks blue-ish, then your undertone is cool.
4. White or Ivory?
Also known as ‘The Wedding Dress Test’, this requires you to look at different photos of yourself wearing those two colors. Do you find you look tired-looking in cream tops but fabulous in pure white? Then you are most probably cool toned. If you have warm undertone, colors in the ivory family will flatter you more than when you are in white. A neutral undertone is a lucky great thing to have, as you don’t have to worry about looking washed out in your wedding photos; all colors work on you!
You can do either test but it best to do all four. People confuse skin tone and skin undertone all the time which is not surprising. Think of your skin tone as the ‘overtone’ which lies on top of the ‘undertone’. Just like the yellow overtoned people, those with pink overtone always assume they have a cool undertone, which is not always correct, but you can be assured that even professionals get it wrong with their clients all the time.
Another option is to understand which color suit which undertone better. If you always look better and get more compliments when you use warm colours, then it’s safe to say you have a warm undertone. If you find yourself constantly reaching for the cool colors when you’re putting makeup on, then you probably have a cool undertone.
So that brings us to another dilemma: what colors are warm and which are cool? Contrary to some people’s belief, one color isn’t just cool or warm. Generally speaking, all colors have warm hues and cool hues. Red lipsticks are a good example: red lipsticks with blue tints in them are cooler so they would suit those who have a cool undertone. Warm hued reds have an orange tint and look better on the warm undertoned.
- People with cool skin tones like Scarlett Johanson usually have eyes that are blue, gray, greenish-blue with gray flecks, or a deep brown that borders on black.
- Your skin looks healthiest in pure white shirts.
- Pink or blue-based red lipsticks are more flattering than corals, terracotta reds, and chocolate browns.
- The veins on your wrist have a blue tint.
- Silver jewelry looks best on you.
- Other celebrities with a cool undertone: Alek Wek, Michelle Trachtenberg, Keira Knightley
- Warm skin tones like Leona Lewis‘s are usually accompanied by green, hazel, amber, or warm brown eyes.
- Your skin looks healthiest in off-white or beige shirts.
- Coral, terracotta red, and chocolate brown lipsticks are more flattering than pinks or blue-based reds.
- The veins on your wrist have a greenish tint.
- Gold jewelry looks best on you.
- Other celebrities with a warm undertone are: Nicole Kidman, Chelsea Clinton, Gillian Anderson, Leona Lewis
- This is where it gets a bit complicated! If you are a neutral this means you either have a mix of cool and warm undertones or no distinguishable undertones at all, like Victoria Beckham.
- Neutral tones are rare, and the lucky people who have them look good wearing all colors.
- The veins on your wrist wil appear green and blue.
- Other celebrities with a neutral undertone: Dita Von Teese, Alyssa Milano, Kelly Clarkson
So to summarize, if you have a cool undertone you should go for a pink based foundation. If you have a warm undertone you would choose a more yellow based foundation. Neutral people are the luckiest and could opt for either a cool or warm foundation and pair it with the opposing powder or you could go for a foundation that has more balanced undertones.
…and a couple more tips for choosing the right shade:
- Match foundation to the color of your neck to avoid a makeup line at the jaw line
- If you have some redness on your face, it can appear as if you have a pink undertone. Pink will only accentuate the redness while yellow can actually help to neutralize it.
Visit SkinMedix.com and look for our detailed descriptions to help you find your best shade! If you still aren’t sure what your skin undertone is or if you have questions about colors from any of our makeup lines, email me at Gina@SkinMedix.com!
Talk soon! XO,