Want to know a secret that will instantly up your makeup game? It’s all in the undertones. Your skin’s undertone, that is.
While your skin colour can change (it can tan or become red, for example), your undertone (the colour right beneath the surface) doesn’t. It always remains either cool, warm, or neutral.
Why take the time to figure out what yours is? Because then you can easily choose the shades that enhance your skintone. Say bye bye to colours that make you look sick and washed out, and hello to flattering hues that always make you look your best!
But how do you figure out what your skintone is, and what colours best suit it? Here are a few tips to help you:
How To Determine Your Skin’s Undertone
There isn’t one quick way to determine your skin’s undertone. The best way is to do a series of tests. Take pen and paper and divide the latter into two columns, cool and warm. Don’t worry about neutral for now. We’ll get to it later.
Here are the rules. Do one test at a time, and write down the outcome in the right column. For more precise results, do them in natural light and with a clean, bare face.
Ready? Lets’ get started:
Look at the veins on your inner wrist. Are they mostly blue? Then, you are cool-toned. Green? You are warm-toned.
2. Jewellery Test
Grab two pieces of jewellery, one gold and the other one silver (if you don’t have them, you can use gold and silver eyeliner instead). Wear first one, and then the other.
Which one suits you best? If gold makes you look glowy, you are warm-toned. Is silver more flattering on you? Then you are cool-toned.
3. White Fabric Test
Before doing this test, remove all your makeup. Now, take a piece of white fabric (it can be a scarf, a t-shirt, or a random piece of cloth) and wrap it around your face. If you don’t have one at hand, you can hold a white piece of paper near your bare face. It’ll do the trick too.
The white colour of the fabric (or piece of paper) will reflect the tone of your skin. Look at it carefully. Does your skin look more yellow? You have warm undertones. Does it look more blueish? You have cool undertones.
4. Tan Or Burn Test
Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the beach or a tanning salon to do this test. Just think about what happens when you get some sun exposure.
Does your skin tan easily? Then chances are, you have warm undertones. If, instead, you burn easily or are unable to tan at all, you probably have cool undertones.
5. Genetic Test
No, you don’t need to do any medical tests, don’t worry. Just look at yourself in the mirror. Your looks may help you figure out your undertone too.
Although there are many exceptions, people who are warm-toned usually have yellow undertones in their skin; brown, green and hazel eyes; and brown, red and black hair.
(If you’re Asian, the above statement doesn’t apply to you. It’s easy to think that, because you have surface yellowness in your skin you are warm-toned, but you may actually be neutral- or even cool-toned. Read this guide to find out for sure).
People who are cool-toned instead, usually have pink undertones and a rosy look; blue or grey eyes; and blonde, brown or black hair.
Still Confused? You May Be Neutral-Toned
If you’ve completed all the tests above, you’ve noticed that not all your results have neatly fallen into one column. One test says you are warm-toned, another cool-toned, and another one that you are both warm- and cool-toned! So confusing!
And perfectly normal. The same happened to me. I look good both in silver and gold jewelry and my veins are both green and blue. I tend to burn easily and that’s a cool trait, but then that could be because my skin is very fair? It’s totally possible to have fair skin that’s warm toned and dark skin that’s cool toned, after all… Are you still with me?
The thing is, no skintone is either cool or warm, but a blend of both. It’s just that in some people, the warm tones are more obvious, while in others, the cool ones prevail. If neither prevails, then you are neutral-toned.
What Colors Should You Use?
Now that you know what your skin’s undertone is, you can easily choose shades that best flatter it. Here’s a quick guide to help you.
If You Have Cool Undertones
For the lips, choose reds with blue undertones, cool pinks, mauve and burgundy. On the eyes, use silver, grey, white, pink and jewel tones (such as sapphire and emerald). On the cheeks, cool pinks and rosy blushes. What about foundation? Pick one that’s either neutral or pink-based.
If You Have Warm Undertones
Choose eyeshadows in earthy tones such as brown, olive, orange, yellow, bronze and copper. Gold is a great option too. For the lips, use orange-based reds and apricot, peachy shades. On the cheeks, use coral or peachy blushes. And your foundation should be either yellow-based or peach-based.
If you have neutral undertones, lucky you! You can wear every colour under the sun, and always look amazing.
Now Break The Rules!
What?! I’ve just written a super long post to help you determine your skin’s undertone, and what shades suit it best, and now I’m not telling you to forget about the whole thing? Sort of.
If you want to play it safe, play by the rules. But if, like me, you find them too limiting, and want to experiment with other shades, do so.
Let’s say that you are cool-toned and want to wear gold eyeshadow at a Christmas party. Shop around. There are so many gold shades available. Some lighter, some darker. Some warmer, some cooler. You’ll find one that suits you. It may not flatter you as much as silver or pink, but it’ll still look good on you.
Remember, you never know what suits you until you try it. So, go ahead and break the rules! But do stick to them when it comes to buying foundation, or you’ll look like you’re wearing a mask!
Are you cool-, warm- or neutral-toned?