How to Find Out What is Your Skin’s Undertone14.12.2021
Ever wonder why one foundation shade works so well on you and another that doesn’t? The first shade will match your skin perfectly, and the undertone of your skin. However, the second shade may have an incorrect undertone that can cause your face to look dull, muddy or ashy. The best makeup for you is the one that matches your skin’s tone.
What is the difference between surface and undertone?
The color of your skin’s surface is what you can see. It is often called light, medium, dark, tan or deep.
The color underneath your skin’s surface is called the undertone. It is possible to have the same skin tone as someone else, but have a different undertone. You’ll need different shades of tinted moisturizers, foundation, blushes, concealer and eyeshadow.
There are three types undertones. These are what determine how you look in particular colors and which makeup colors are most flattering to you. All skin tones can have these three undertones.
- Cool undertones (pink, red or bluish)
- Warm undertones (yellow, or gold)
- Neutral (a mixture of warm and cold undertones)
While some consider olive to be a fourth category, most people think it neutral due to its mix of warm undertones and cool undertones.
Myths and Facts about Undertones
Undertones are often misunderstood and confused. These are the facts.
- Although pale skin is commonly thought to have pink undertones it can also be yellow. Palest skin tends to have more pink undertones while darker skin has more yellow.
- Bobbi Brown, a celebrity makeup artist, says most people have a yellowish complexion. Pink undertones are rare.
Although Asians are often assumed to be warm due to their yellowish skin, many can have cool undertones.
- Darker skin tends to have more red and yellow undertones. Yellow is on the lighter side and red-blue the darker.
Blue, red or olive undertones can be added to very dark skin. Both light olive and dark olive skin can be used.
This is just a generalization. There are many factors that can affect the undertone. Aliesh Pierce, a celebrity makeup artist, explains that the chromophores (or skin colors) are composed of melanin and hemoglobin (oxygenated or deoxygenated), diet carotene and collagens. This book is part of Milady’s Aesthetician Series educational books. “Our undertone can be affected by our diet and overall health.”
Skin’s surface color can be affected by factors such as sun exposure. This is why some people are darker in the spring and summer and lighter in the fall and winter. Although it may appear different, the undertone is still the same.
Pierce says that there is a balance each person has in their skin. However, when skin cells are exposed UV light, the veins and capillaries expand to accommodate immune cells for damage control. In these cases, it is possible to get a false reading of the undertone.
How to determine your undertone
There is no one way to know your undertone. The method that works best for you will depend on your individual. Here are some tests to help.
The color of your veins is a good way to determine the skin’s undertone. If your veins appear blue, then you have a cool tone. If your veins look green, you have a warm tone. If you don’t see it, they are neutral.
White fabric test: Pull your head back or cover your face with a towel. Wrap a towel or cloth around your neck, shoulders and neck. You should wash your face thoroughly. The true color will be revealed in the white (make sure it is ivory white). Your face will appear more yellow if it is warmer. Cool skin is defined by a more blue-toned complexion. Lighting can also affect the result, as fluorescent lights can make skin appear greener. You can test for undertones using either incandescent or natural light.
Test your clothing: If you have darker skin, this is a better test than using fabric or towels. Compare how you look in different colors, such as blue-green (cool), yellow-green or warm and blue-red(cool) or orange–red (warm). Your undertone will be determined by which color you are most comfortable in. You are likely neutral if you look great in all of them.
Test silver and gold: If you look great in silver, it is likely that you have a cool undertone. Warm people look warmer if they are more comfortable in gold. You’re likely neutral if you look great in either.
Sun test: Consider what happens to your skin if you don’t use sunscreen. You are cool if you don’t burn but you don’t tan. You are warm if you don’t tan but burn. You are likely neutral if your skin starts to burn or you get tanned but then you start to burn.
The compliment test: Keep track of all compliments you get about your hair, makeup, and clothing. You’ll know if you are on the right track if you get compliments about a particular look.
Wearing clothing in earth tones such as yellow, orange and yellow-green, browns, ivory, or orangey red is a good choice if you have a warm skin tone. You look great in jewel tones such as purple, green, blue-green and true red. You can probably wear any color and still feel good if you’re neutral.