Are You Cool Or Warm? How To Determine Your Skin’s Undertone

by Gio

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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:

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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:

1.Veins Test

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.

Neutral Undertones

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?

Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

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Jamilla February 24, 2012 - 2:16 pm

Thanks! I’m half Asian and I tan rapidly. However, both Musicalhouses and the SKII skin undertone scanner/analyzer say I’m neutral toned! I think that’s right, because very yellow-toned foundations don’t work for me – and I wear neutral toned foundations in Shu Uemura!

beautifulwithbrains February 24, 2012 - 9:27 pm

Jamilla, I think these simple tests can give a good indication of your undertone, but they are not 100% effective which can be quite confusing at times. But usually professional color analysis are pretty spot on. 🙂

Emi at Project Swatch February 24, 2012 - 5:55 pm

I was confused for a long time, but I’m pretty sure I’m neutral – my veins are sort of greenish blue, I look good in cool and warm red lipsticks, I prefer silver jewelery and cooler colors, but get compliments when I wear warm colors too. Then, I had one MAC artist mix NW and NC for my face, so I was like – hmmm, must be neutral!

beautifulwithbrains February 24, 2012 - 9:28 pm

Emi, I was confused for a long time too. Now I think that’s a good indication that you’re neutral toned lol. Most people actually have a neutral undertone. 🙂

Viv February 24, 2012 - 8:27 pm

I THINK I’m neutral, but could be any one of them! No problem – I just wear whatever I want! Must admit, the bronze colours that ‘should’ work because of my red hair/freckles actually really don’t – I do suit grey/pink colours to match my grey eyes.

beautifulwithbrains February 24, 2012 - 9:29 pm

Viv, I think knowing your undertones helps choose the colors that best suit you, but at the end of the day, you should just wear whatever you like and feel comfortable in. 🙂

Julie February 24, 2012 - 8:52 pm

I think I’m neutral, too, because I couldn’t decide if I was cold or warm:) Usually I don’t wear jewellery and makeup, so it’s not so important for me to know it exactly.

beautifulwithbrains February 24, 2012 - 9:31 pm

Julie, I think that’s a good indication that you’re neutral-toned too. 🙂

EyeGraffiti February 24, 2012 - 9:31 pm

What a great post! I really liked the break the rules, that’s my motto!

beautifulwithbrains February 24, 2012 - 10:22 pm

Eyegraffiti, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I like breaking the rules too. 🙂

Makeup Morsels February 25, 2012 - 6:53 am

hahahah I love that last tip! I didn’t know about the white paper/fabric test, but I am fairly certain that I’m neutral toned. It’s sometimes hard to be certain because I am so pale hahah, but warm foundations are usually TOO warm for me, and cool foundations also seem too cool. So I will assume I’m neutral!

beautifulwithbrains February 25, 2012 - 7:19 am

Makeup Morsels, if you’re getting mixed results are a confused, then I agree you’re very probably neutral. Most people are. 🙂

Vonvon February 25, 2012 - 8:58 am

I think I am a neutral, leaning slightly warm.

I like the last paragraph, break the rules!
I wear whatever color I like!!!

beautifulwithbrains February 25, 2012 - 5:17 pm

Vonvon, me too. It’s good to know what colors make us look our best, but that doesn’t mean that we all have to wear those. Wearing whatever we like is more fun! 🙂

Marie February 25, 2012 - 12:45 pm

Thanks. I was confused too and perhaps I’m neutral too. I’ve got blue-green veins; brown hair (with a little red hair reflect), dark eyes but pale skin that burn.
I don’t know if ti works woth, but for job I had an hour about colors and the 4 seasons relooking. They asked me if I had red hair’s persons in my family (and if my skin burned). I told them that there wasn’t but when I was baby I had blonde hair with red reflect (and as my father, it was like that, and quite red hair at 3, and brown hair after that become darker with the time (and at 60 he as black hair lol). Then they told me after wondering between spring and autumn that I am a “spring” person. I don’t know if it helps. They said that yellow suits me, and green, orange, coral, fair colors but also bright purple) and for make up to use coral, peach, etc…
But I’ve got ivory teeth… I care them of course, but I never couls be with the “hollywood smile” and I can’t whiten them. So I wonder if it will be well to have orangey lipstick (if it suits me only if I never open the mouth lol) (and on the other hand, dark pink lipstick (berry) don’t make my teeth looks more yellow, but it’s a little Morticia Adams’ look…)
What do you think about that?

beautifulwithbrains February 25, 2012 - 8:57 pm

Marie, I think you are neutral toned too, maybe leaning a bit more to warm. There are neutral toned people who can wear any shades but find it harder to pull off those at the opposite end of the spectrum (ie too warm and too cool).

And to make teeth look whiter, you need to use blue-based shades. Try one that’s not too cool nor too deep as that would not suit your pale skin. Hope this helps.

Amie December 6, 2016 - 1:03 pm

Wouldn’t blue base accentuate teeth leaning towards yellow, as opposite color wheel colors usually make the opposite color stand out more?

Marie February 25, 2012 - 9:14 pm


beautifulwithbrains February 25, 2012 - 10:31 pm

Marie, you’re welcome. 🙂

Virginia May 21, 2012 - 8:48 pm

I think I might be neutral or maybe neutral leaning towards warm. Don’t really know. I burn real easy the first time around then I peal then if I get in the sun again I get a tan. I can wear both gold and silver jewelry which is nice because I am allergic to all other metals so it seems.
My hair is very medium dark then I dyed it and it looked good it is like Dark brown magonomy which when you read up on it says it says it neutral have both warm and cool tones. Just how I managed that I don’t know.
I look good in bright colors both cool and warm like Coral and Salmon, look good but so does fuchsia and hot pink, and magenta. I look good in Reds I like teals; I think that is because my eyes are bluish green so I want to bring them out.
I tried to figure out my season the only one I have seen me tagged as yet is Summer, well with dark hair I don’t think you can be a summer.
My skin is light my foundation is fairly light made by bare minerals. I am very light but not ivory or porcelain. I am of northern European decent like a Gaelic and Scandinavian mix. I was blonde when I was little.
I was just wondering what you think

beautifulwithbrains May 22, 2012 - 3:22 pm

Virginia, I believe you are neutral too. Most people are and they’re lucky because they can wear any color they like. 🙂

Bekka January 22, 2013 - 7:51 am

BI am just ready to sob! LOL! I have just moved to an area of the USA with NOTHING as far as beauty counters go…no Sephora, no ulta, no department stores…you get the idea. I have worn Chanel foundation in the shade 20 claire or 20 beige for years (10 beige matches, yet washes me out terribly, as the 20 shades are yellow based…at least according to the SA at the Chanel boutique where I lived previously)
Wouldn’t ya know it, with the boredom of living in this part of the country, I have been ordering makeup online by the hoard, and desperately want to expand my foundation collection. Here’s my dilemma: obviously I need to determine my skin tone if I even want a hope of matching to a foundation that I can’t sample. (And there are sooooo many I want to try.). I have Irish skin that burns easily but then tans…tons of redness in my cheeks, tons of freckles, blond hair, and blue-green eyes. All signs point toward cool…yet the pink or rose based shades in the cool categories often leave my face looking uber pink and not at all matching my neck. The yellow toned shades like Chanel Claire20 and Shiseidos 120 (in perfect refining foundation…which was a lucky match that I ordered on a whim.) these shades are the only ones so far that make my face match my neck…as my face is naturally darker than my neck due to freckles, redness, exposure, etc.
Ill stop babbling and get to the point…does this mean I am warm? Or is the yellow simply counteracting my redness? Would more neutral shades wash me out if I am in fact warm? The tests for undertones usually appear that I am neutral, but I haven’t been brave enough to stray from the yellow toned foundations. Ugh, I know, what A hot mess I must sound like!! I know this may not be sufficient info to aid in a conclusion…but even a little direction would be soooooo helpful! I feel like such a bubble head right now!! Thank you so much and I love your blog!!

beautifulwithbrains January 22, 2013 - 12:25 pm

Bekka, I’m sorry there aren’t many counters where you live. At least there’s always online shopping, but unfortunately buying a foundation like that can be risky. From what you told me, it seems to me that you are neutral-toned. I know that we’re used to think that people with fair complexions and blonde hair must be cool-toned, but quite a lot of them have actually neutral undertones. And if yellow-based foundations work for you, then I’d keep using them. I also think you should look for good dupes of the two foundations that match your skintone well. has a feature called Foundation Matrix to find dupes of foundation shades, but you can also check out I hope this helps.

Bekka January 22, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Thank you so much! I just needed a bit of reassurance I think, because as you said, people tend to assume I’m cool toned, especially at first glance (I even had myself convinced I must be, due to hair/eyes, etc.). I am excited to try the foundation matrix at, and maybe even do some brave online shopping! Thanks again for your time, your reply was most helpful and very much appreciated!

beautifulwithbrains January 22, 2013 - 9:07 pm

You’re very welcome. I’m glad I could help. 🙂

Elizabeth January 26, 2013 - 3:09 am

I’m not really sure what I am. I know that I can’t wear red lipstick without looking odd. I don’t even look good with red nail polish. The polish has to be a burgundy red or a plum red. I color my brown hair red which everyone says looks good on me maybe because of my eyes which have a green, grey blue color to them. But my skin has a really reddish color to it. I am a mix of French, German, and Italian. I look wonderful wearing dark greens, darker pinks, and greys. I even have been told I look good wearing teal. So I think cool tones seem to work better. But I am a work in progress.

beautifulwithbrains January 27, 2013 - 10:01 pm

Elzabeth, from what you told me, I believe you are cool-toned too. 🙂

Moggy January 27, 2013 - 8:44 am

Gah! I’m so confused! I have dark hair, green eyes and fair/pinkish skin. I have always assumed I am cool toned and so theoretically should be able to wear pale eyeshadow’s, right? But they make me look totally washed out! Id also love to wear pink and purple eyeshadows to make my green eyes ‘pop’ as promised, but I just look bruised and like I’m on drugs :/ My go-to eyeshadow is a dark brown, which seems to suit me but is getting a bit boring. What am I doing wrong?

beautifulwithbrains January 27, 2013 - 10:04 pm

Moggy, your hair/eye/skin colours are only an indication of your undertones and, without further proof, can be a very deceiving one. As for pale eyeshadows, they could make you look washed out because of how fair your skin is. Have you tried taking the other tests I mentioned in this post? That will give you a better indication of what your undertones are and what colours you should use.

Kelly January 28, 2013 - 1:59 pm

I am still confused with myself. I have a skin condition called keratosis pilaris rubra faceii and it makes my cheeks flush look red at times so it’s confusing as people always told me I am cool toned because of the pink cheeks but I don’t really believe I am. I am on the fair side being nc15. I have dark brown hair and hazel eyes; my veins…I can’t really tell, sometimes they look blue sometimes green. I look a lot better in warm colors, orange and peaches especially. But I feel I look good in both silver and gold jewelry. And I have also been told by many I look good in purples and greys. If you take out the equation of my skin condition I actually look pretty yellow out in natural sunlight. I haven’t done the white fabric yet because strangely I can’t find any…I find that a little sad XD I have never had any trouble getting a tan and never really had an issue with burning unless when I was little and out in the sun for long periods of time without sunscreen. I am German Irish Spanish and Native American. Too me the way I describe it, it sounds like I would be warm toned but I still have doubts *sigh* frustrating.

beautifulwithbrains January 29, 2013 - 7:03 pm

Kelly, from what you told me, it seems to me that you neutral-toned, but leaning more towards the warm end of the spectrum. Hope this helps.

Alva February 1, 2013 - 3:16 pm

I have blue eyes and ashy hair, though it used to be almost white when I was a child. I don’t have a very fair complexion and I tan easily. I have no idea what undertones I have. I feel like I have some redness in my face, the veins around my eyes are blue and when I tan I get this bronze look. It does feel a little bit like I have warm undertones though because I have this tan skin and I can’t tell if the veins on my arms are blue or green. My family is from scandinavia if that helps. Also I never know what hair color suits me best, it feels like nothing works.

beautifulwithbrains February 1, 2013 - 10:52 pm

Alva, from what you tell me it seems to me that you are neutral-toned. Most people are and that’s why it’s so difficult to tell. We tend to believe that we have to be either warm or cool toned, but chances are that, if you can’t figure that out easily, you’ll have neutral undertones instead.

Viswadeep Das February 2, 2013 - 6:44 pm

My skin colour is so so brown..which colour suits me most..??

beautifulwithbrains February 3, 2013 - 9:45 pm

Viswadeep Das, it’s difficult to recommend the right shades knowing only what your skin colour is. But you should avoid anything too light and pastel as these colours tend to look ashy on dark skintones.

Bridgette February 6, 2013 - 5:17 pm

Ok so my hair is like a light brown and my eyes are like a brown with a hint of green. I like silver better though so I don’t know but I have a photoshoot soon and I need to know what color shirts I should wear also my skin is like white with a hint of well ok it’s not like a snow or pale or anything but it’s not like a tan or dark it’s I don’t know but please help and I love your website!!!

beautifulwithbrains February 6, 2013 - 10:45 pm

Bridgette, I’m glad that you like my website. And I would love to help you, but I need a bit more information. Your colouring is only one of the indicators of your undertone and, alone, not very reliable. Have you done the veins, jewellery and tan tests? If not, do them and let me know your answers so that I can help you determine your undertone. 🙂

Shelly March 22, 2013 - 8:40 pm

Hello 🙂
I’m very confused about the “science” behind the skin tone thing. I am very fair. I have rosacea, which gives me a slightly pink undertone in the face. However, many liquid foundations are too pink and don’t look right. I’ve been using a powder/foundation/sunscreen but it has been discontinued so now I have to start all over 🙁 The other issue is, that I’ve been trying on wedding dresses. If I wear an ivory dress, there is very little contrast between the dress and my skin (it almost makes me look yellow). So my question is – if I am a “light summer” or a “cool muted light” why does wearing a warm/ivory color make me look yellow? And if I do indeed have yellow undertones instead of pink (which explains why foundations look too pink) – then why doesn’t the ivory dress look right? I received an online color consultation and am a “light summer” or a “cool, muted light.” If it was a mistake and I’m a light spring/warm, then ivory should look ok on me. I personally don’t think warm colors look good on me at all. But if I am a cool, muted light – then why are the foundations too pink? Also, if ivory makes me look the same shade as the dress, then does that mean I have yellow undertones or am sallow? Can someone be sallow but still cool toned (which would make perfect sense if that actually happens). I’m so lost. Please help lol I don’t understand how the foundations can be too pink but I look yellow in ivory.

beautifulwithbrains March 24, 2013 - 12:12 am

Shelly, hello. I believe you may have cool undertones, and if pink foundations don’t look right is simply because of the rosacea. Instead than enhancing your skintone, the pink just enhances the rosacea, which is not a good look. When you have this condition, a foundation will yellow undertones may work best as it counteracts the redness. Also, a lot of pink foundations on the market have just too much pink in them and so don’t look very natural at all, which may be another reason why they don’t work well for you. Hope this helps.

Shelly March 24, 2013 - 5:57 am

Thank you! I was hoping you would say that. I actually went and purchased a yellow mineral foundation and placed it only on the rosacea and then used my regular mineral base on the rest of my face and this morning my sister said “wow, your skin looks really clear” and she had had no idea I had purchased new makeup to color correct. Everything you said makes perfect sense and it coordinates with the cool colors that look good on me and also with the results of my color analysis. Thanks so much for responding! I tried on gowns again today and one of them was a peach color (looked horrible on me) which further confirms my cool tone. I was worried that using the yellow based makeup would make me look too yellow and switch me to a warm tone, but this didn’t really happen. 🙂

beautifulwithbrains March 24, 2013 - 8:06 pm

Shelly, you’re very welcome. I’m glad I could help. 🙂

Sasha March 31, 2013 - 7:10 am

I’m in a strange place because as you mentioned, Asians don’t really apply to this warm or cool system. I believe I may be a strange form of olive. At my palest (still relatively tan), I have obvious yellow tones in my skin. If I wear neon green, it makes me look very sick. But when I’m very tan, red comes out in my skin very strongly. What does this sound like to you?

beautifulwithbrains April 1, 2013 - 7:12 pm

Sasha, I believe you may have cool undertones. You may want to check out this post about undertones for Asians too: I hope this helps.

Angie April 4, 2013 - 6:50 am

I love this post. Bt of course I’m still in between about my true undertone. I’m of mixed races (West Indian, Cuban, and creole) and my complexion is so hard to match so I don’t even try to wear anything but lip stain. I do tan easily and I can change from bronzy to red. If you have any suggestions on where to start I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

beautifulwithbrains April 4, 2013 - 8:54 pm

Angie, I’m glad you liked this post.Try applying cool-toned makeup on one side of your face and warm-toned makeup on the other to see which shades suit you better. If they are both flattering on you, then you are neutral-toned. Hope this helps.

Robyn April 7, 2013 - 4:36 am

I have been trying to find my undertone for weeks now. I am African american with a med/deep skin tone and I tan easy. I think I look best in cool colors but my family says they cannot tell the difference. I have pretty much bought every lip color I can find to seen what works on me but they all look pretty bad. I look horrible in yellows, reds, and purples. I cannot tell if my veins are blue or green. I person all believe I look best in silver jewelry.

beautifulwithbrains April 7, 2013 - 4:18 pm

Robyn, from what you told me, I believe that you may be neutral-toned, but leaning slightly more towards the cool end of the spectrum. Hope this helps.

Sequoia Legrone April 20, 2013 - 1:11 pm

Actually I have a yellow undertone and I have to get my makeup in cool. Yellow undertones are not warm they are cool, I know because I am a yellow bone. Yet your facts straight.

beautifulwithbrains April 20, 2013 - 9:33 pm

Sequoia, are you using MAC cosmetics? I’m asking because MAC classes products for pink/blue undertones as warm, and yellow and golden as cool, when in reality it should be the other way around. I’m not sure why they don’t follow the usual yellow=warm, pink=cool classification like everyone else. It makes things very confusing.

Inez April 22, 2013 - 5:59 am

I was under the impression you wore pink based make up for yellowish undertone. I have yellow undertones and When i wear yellow based make up I look sick. I can never find the right make up color.

beautifulwithbrains April 22, 2013 - 6:14 am

Inez, pink-based makeup can make yellow undertones look very unnatural. It’s strange that yellow-based makeup doesn’t work for you. Maybe the foundations you choose are too yellow for your skintone?

Rin April 26, 2013 - 1:24 am

I am still quite confused. Silver looks best on me, greys, black, purple, cool toned reds, blue. I look sick in orange, brown, and yellow. Orangey reds are a hideous too. However, I tan easily. Foundation? Yikes. The only colour that’s ever matched me is Nars Sheer Glow in Syracuse, which they describe as a brown undertone… brown?. I look much better in white than ivory. When wearing white I look greyish yellow, when wearing ivory I look greenish… ugh. Most ppl say I’m warm but I look horrid in most warm colours. When I try foundations I get colours everywhere! Too yellow, too pink, too orange, too peachy, too coppery, too bronze, too golden! Natural hair colour is a very dark brown/soft black and my eyes are termed hazel; a weird mixture of muted green, brown and amber with a greyish blue outer ring. some of my veins look green, some purple some blue.

This is driving me nuts! I don’t know how to describe myself! I know I look best in cool colours, jewel tones, and silver jewelry, but the rest of the descriptions would put me in warm catagory. I’m just not getting this.

beautifulwithbrains April 26, 2013 - 8:46 pm

Rin, no one is only warm or cool toned, but we all have both undertones in our skin, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which one stands out more. In a lot of people, neither stand out, and so they are called neutral-toned.

Because of this, it is normal when you take these tests to end up with some results that put you in a category, and others that put you in the opposite one. Also, genetics, contrary to what most people believe, are only one indicator, and not even the most important one. From what you told me, it seems to me that you lean more on the cooler side of the spectrum. 🙂

Shelly May 2, 2013 - 12:41 am

Hello, I am a cool skin tone. I am getting highlights tomorrow but am reading conflicting information. Most of what i read says cool skin tones should go for ash blonde, beige or platinum highlights because those are also cool colors. However, some sites say that I should do the opposite in order to “bring out the warmth” in my skin. I am unsure of which way to go?

beautifulwithbrains May 2, 2013 - 9:15 pm

Shelly, people with cool undertones usually look better with cool shades, so I would opt for ash blonde or platinum too. You want to bring out your natural undertones. The opposite would be kinda risky and you may not be so pleased with the result.

Hala May 5, 2013 - 12:28 pm

I still cant figure it out 🙁 it seems that I’m blind or so its been two months already:p.

I have green- blue veins , I usually buy #2 for concealer and foundation (dior) , I’m Mediterranean Im not tanned and not very fair in addition to that I have brown\black eyes and hair ( so up-till now I seem to be warm) but people tend to compliment me whenever I wear silver or rose gold jewelry. I look good in most colors ( especially bright green, blue, pink and red clothes ; pink/wine red/ light brown-rose lipsticks compliment my skin ) I look washed out in beige, grey and matte brown. I even did the silver/gold cloth test at the store and they all said both looked good.

Does that mean Im neutral ???

beautifulwithbrains May 5, 2013 - 3:27 pm

Hala, yes, I believe you are neutral indeed. Most people are and that’s a good thing as it means that you can wear most colours without problems. 🙂

Antonia May 6, 2013 - 10:53 am

Hi there, I am Eurasian and am quite fair for my race… I burn and go red in the sun but then tan after that… I have such difficulty telling if I’m neutral, or cool or warm! I seem to suit a titanium coloured watch and gold and rose gold, although its quite confusing… I’d really love to know what you think. My hair is black but in the sun it appears golden reddish brown, and my eyes are dark brown. My veins appear cyan.

Thanks in advance!

beautifulwithbrains May 6, 2013 - 7:19 pm

Antonia, from what you tell me, I think you may be neutral, but leaning slightly more towards the cool end of the spectrum. Hope this helps.

Kiki June 29, 2013 - 6:56 am

I think I am neutral leaning more towards cool because I got y colours done ages ago (my mums choice) and I was a winter but slightly summer to and I look horrible in gold but I wear all sorts of eye shadows – partially because my eyes aren’t always the same colour and I always look okay but I have green and blue veins!!!!:)

beautifulwithbrains June 29, 2013 - 4:16 pm

Kiki, I think you are neutral leaning towards cool too. And that’s so cool that your eyes change colour and you can wear any eyeshadow shade.

Rebecca August 4, 2013 - 3:35 am

I don’t know what I am… I think I have a pale neutral skin tone (veins look blue-green). I have dark blue eyes (with yellow around the pupil) and (dyed) light brown hair. My natural hair colour is natural dark blonde, with a slightly gold tone.

beautifulwithbrains August 4, 2013 - 5:39 am

Rebecca, have you done the other tests? People tend to put a lot of importance on genetics, but that’s one of the factors and not even a determining one. Judging from the little you said, though, I’d say you’re neutral.

Katherine August 7, 2013 - 7:23 pm

Hey, I have been trying to figure out my skin tone for a while. Naturally I have bright blue eyes, and dark blonde/light brown hair. When I was young I went through a stage of being strawberry blonde! My veins look greenish, and when doing the white fabric test it makes my skin look yellow. However, my cheeks are often described as ‘rosy’. I am thinking of dying my hair a light brown/bronze colour, but I’m not sure it will suit me with my pink cheeks! Help!! I’ve found that I can wear both gold and silver jewellery. Thanks!

beautifulwithbrains August 9, 2013 - 5:52 am

Katherine, from what you’ve told me, I think you are leaning a bit more towards the warm side of the spectrum. As for your hair colour, you could try using a temporary dye so that, even if you don’t like the result, you can easily wash it off. Hope this helps.

Bridget October 6, 2013 - 3:43 pm

I’ve always believed I was warm toned but lately have actually spent more time truly trying to see what works best on me. I have very dark hair and eyes but very pale skin. As a child a tanned but rarely burned, but as an adult I burn much easier. My veins clearly appear green. But I most definitely look better in silver and can’t wear gold at all. I personally think jewel tone clothes look best on me, and definitely need to stay away from oranges, yellows and warm reds. I’ve mostly been trying to find out my skin tone because I’ve read that ashy brown hair colors are flattering for cool skin, and I’ve always done warmer toned browns when coloring my hair. I’m interested in trying the ash brown to see how it goes but thought it could backfire and wash me out if I’m wrong. The vein test really throws me off because they definitely are not on the bluish side, but the silver/gold test is opposite. The only warm color that I can think of that looks good on me are browns.

beautifulwithbrains October 6, 2013 - 8:52 pm

Bridget, trying to figure out your skin’s undertone can be very confusing, can’t it? That’s because none of us is completely cool-toned or warm-toned, but we are a mix of the two. It’s just that often either the cool or the warm tones prevail. So, it’s normal when you do these tests to have one or two results fall in the opposite category.

From what you tell me, I believe you lean towards the cool side of the spectrum. As for your hair, try using a dye that can be washed off quickly, so even if you don’t like the results, you can revert back to your natural colour straight. Hope this helps.

Lorie Nalley October 9, 2013 - 7:24 pm

I am a natural redhead, like a dark strawberry blonde color. Blueish green eyes, fair skinned, blue veins but I actually have a light tan now and picky peach undertones. Im guessing im cool undertone and I look good in every hair color but black.

beautifulwithbrains October 9, 2013 - 9:31 pm

Lorie, from the little information you provided, I think you may be neutral-toned, but leaning a bit more towards the cool side of the spectrum. Have you done the other tests too?

Lorie Nalley October 10, 2013 - 1:11 am

Ok I see. I look better in silver jewelry. Teal, green, purple, white, and blue colors look best on me. I also think i’m cool toned or neutral. Definitely not warm toned.

beautifulwithbrains October 10, 2013 - 12:35 pm

Lorie, you definitely lean on the cool side of the spectrum.

Lorie Nalley October 10, 2013 - 1:25 am

My rosy pink and peach undertones and blue veins make me think cool tone.

beautifulwithbrains October 10, 2013 - 12:36 pm

Lorie, I believe you are right.

Gwen Bruce December 8, 2013 - 5:31 am

My ancestors were red heads on both sides. As a child I was strawberry blond to red. I have fare freckled skin . I like to wear gold jewellery , I think silver suits better . I wear MAC makeup face and body foundation I only apply one coat . I started wearing MAC C1 last winter I thought it might be a to yellow this summer I bought N2 and I am happier with it shade. Now my problem is lipstick, if I buy a colour I like it seems to change colour when I apply it . I wear aubergine with a greyish colour eyeshadow I fell comfortable with these colours. But the lipstick is proving difficult.

beautifulwithbrains December 8, 2013 - 8:32 pm

Gwen, what do you mean that the lipstick seems to change colour when you apply it? I’m not sure what to recommend if I don’t know what this happens.

Gwen Bruce December 9, 2013 - 12:27 am

I am using Loreal Berry Royale 505 on me it is more blue purple than pink. Could this be the wrong shade of pink for me. I’m not real comfortable in red shades.

beautifulwithbrains December 9, 2013 - 12:39 pm

Gwen, could it be that your lips are very pigmented and thus change the colour of the lipstick? In that case, applying a thin layer of concealer on the lips will provide a neutral canvas for the lipstick, allowing it to apply true to colour.

Gwen Bruce December 9, 2013 - 10:32 pm

Yes you could be right I have always had to protect my lips from the sun . I live in Queensland Australia . I use concealer on my face never thought to apply it to my lips ( a bit dumb) Thanks for your support and I will let you the results.

beautifulwithbrains December 10, 2013 - 9:40 pm

Gwen, you’re welcome. Let me know how it works for you. 🙂

Claire August 13, 2014 - 8:37 pm

I think I am neutral… My wrist veins are blue, but higher on my forearm or on my legs or many other places the veins are green. I don’t burn easily, but I do burn. Blue eyes and blonde hair, and silver or gold look fine. And I wear any color.

Gio August 13, 2014 - 9:04 pm

Claire, I agree. From what you told me, it seems to me you are neutral too.

Denise February 17, 2015 - 4:31 am

Am white, dishwater blonde hair with natural gold highlights. My eyes are med to dark blue.i can pull off gray clothing. I have green and blue veins. My neck gives off a pale yellow hue, my forehead more of a violet Hugh. Arm/legs a little pink/ red. Neutral right? All the neutral foundations wash me out. I’ve already purchased 3 different foundation in neutral, all too light, look like I am trying to be goth.2 of the foundations I cannot return because they have been opened (be) the third is arbonne, they will take return. Before I buy another I would like to get feedback on what color to try next. I fall in the med tone category. Would I be best to try a dark cool or dark warm shade?

Gio February 17, 2015 - 12:40 pm

Denise, I would have said neutral too, but I think you may be leaning more toward the cool end of the spectrum. So, I’d advise you to try a cool-tone foundation. You may want to ask for samples first though, so you have the chance to test them properly. 🙂

Denise February 18, 2015 - 12:41 am

Thank you, I will try a cool shade and let you know. I know I can’t go any darker in the neutral shades, there’s only 1 shade darker in each line I have tried. Frustrating.

Gio February 18, 2015 - 9:39 pm

Denise, you’re welcome. Unfortunately, a lot of foundation shades are poorly formulated and contain way too yellow or pink tones, so, even if you get your undertone right, there’s still a chance you won’t find a good match in a particular line. Very frustrating indeed.

Isis February 25, 2015 - 12:37 pm

Hi Gio,

I am a light skinned black person and I go by just black because it is easier than saying Irish, Scottish, Black and Native American on both sides. I should be warm but my veins are greenish blue with dark brown eyes dark brown natural hair. I love the look of silver and rose gold on me , but I look good in gold too. I can pull off many colors on each spectrum and am not sure what color to pick for my prom dress. I wanted silver metallic lace but for the underlay I was thinking a pale blue or a blush pink color. I do not wear heavy makeup just eyeliner in black or charcoal and colored lip gloss or liner usually in a burgundy color sometimes med pink, but bronze brown or dark purple-brown work too. I do tan easily but I do burn if I stay out too long without sunscreen. Am I a warm tone over thinking it?

Gio February 28, 2015 - 8:48 pm

Isis, from what you tell me, I think you may be neutral-toned, which is why you can pull off so many different colours (lucky you!). Hope this helps.

Beatrice Kinsey March 3, 2015 - 1:36 pm

I’m African American, and definitely have warm skintone and yellow undertones. I fit everything about warm but the eye & haircolor. My eyes are dark brown and my hair is black. I really don’t have to look at my wrist veins to see the color of my veins because I can see the green on the back of my hands & across my chest is a bright green vein. I tan easy but seldom burn. Does this analysis apply to African Americans? Some of my family members eyes are green or hazel. And they have warm skintones with red undertones. However their natural hair color is black. How do you explain the differences with the above analysis.

Gio March 3, 2015 - 3:41 pm

Beatrice, that’s normal. The methods mentioned above to help you figure out your undertones are just guidelines, not strict rules. That’s because everyone has a mixture of cool and warm undertones in them. It’s just that sometimes, either the cool or warm tones are more prominent. But even in that case, it is unlikely that when you do the tests above, all the results will neatly fall on that end of the spectrum. Some will give you a result, some another. It’s the column with the most results that wins. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

Shawn November 9, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Thank you for addressing this issue I have had the hardest time trying to research what concealer would work best for me because I am African American and I am warm with red undertones. Nobody addressed what colors would suit me it seems assumed that you’re Caucasian if your undertones are red, and yellow if your African American. My veins are green my skin is yellow-brownish but I have a red undertone. La girl pro fawn is too tan or orange for me and the warm honey dulled out my complexion. Do you think I should use a concealer with my undertones or does that work against me?

Gio November 14, 2015 - 7:17 pm

Shawn, you’re welcome. Figuring out your undertone is tricky, but can make such a difference! If you have red undertones, definitely go for an orange-based concealer. That’d work well with your undertones. Hope this helps.

kayte September 1, 2015 - 1:59 pm

I think it’s strange that this theory is still around. Red head here and have both.

Gio September 2, 2015 - 6:36 am

Kayte, we all have both. It’s just that in some people, one of them is more prominent. If that’s not the case for you, then you are neutral-toned. Most people are, actually. 🙂

Savannah March 4, 2016 - 2:12 am

Thank you for this! I have always assumed that I am cool toned because I am pale, blue eyes, burn easily. I struggle to pick makeup that I like that isn’t warm toned. But I am also a redhead, my veins are kinda blue-green looking at times, I don’t tan but I freckle a lot. And I think gold jewelry and yellow look good on me. But not oranges and reds, so maybe I am somewhat natural? I always struggle with makeup because I feel I am told to wear pink lipstick but then I don’t like how they look, I prefer browns but feel they are considered warm. And peachy colors look too orange. Same with blushes I prefer a pink with a peachy mix, but too peach looks orange. And I don’t like greys and blues on my eyes, drawn to browns golds etc, but then some just look orange on me. So I really don’t know which way to go or if I am cool or maybe neutral!

Gio March 5, 2016 - 8:54 pm

Savanna, yes, from what you say, I believe you may be neutral toned too. Most people are, which is why they find figuring out their undertones so tricky. They don’t fit neatly in either camp, but are somewhere in the middle.

Hannah April 26, 2016 - 7:37 am

OK so I’m very pale, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes with hints of green, burn very easily, blue veins, look good in silver. am I cool or neutral leaning towards cool? any kind of red lipstick looks bizarre on me, but then again I haven’t tried subtler reds. My mom was always smearing bright red on my lips like I was Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled. With my makeup, people always compliment me when I go more natural and use pinks and peaches on my face. Very minimal makeup. but sometimes I want a bit of color. I’m getting terribly bored. I want to do maybe a purple smoky sexy eye look for my BF, could that work? I try to figure out poppy-ier brighter colors for my eyes in the makeup department, but I get nervous and back out, though I imagine I’d be ok with pastels. I’m dying to try a blue-green too.

Gio April 27, 2016 - 10:58 pm

Hannah, it seems to me that you are cool-toned.

Also, I hear you when you say you want to try different shades. You totally can. You just have to find shades with cooler undertones, as these will suit you best. If you want to experiment, I’d recommend you start with subtler shades and slowly increase the pigmentation, or get a cheap palettes with lots of colourful shades, so you can figure out which ones work best for you without breaking the bank.

FMG May 22, 2016 - 9:11 pm

“People who are cool-toned instead, usually have pink undertones and a rosy look; blue or grey eyes; and blonde, brown or black hair”. Sorry, but I have hazel green eyes (steel blue with golden brown specks= hazel green), dark brown hair with a small speckling of white), fair skin, bluish undertone and I am a cool.
Colors that suit me are: jewel tones (purple, green-teal, dark red, green, sapphire), Navy, brown, plum, colonial blue, slate blue, dill green. Jewelry Silver. Favorite lipstick or stain: Mauve.
My skin burns easily and slowly tans, hate it. The so call suntan/bronze everyone wants is actually cooking your own skin (think of an oven roast), and is damaging to the skin cells and you wind up with a precancerous sunspot or mole.

Gio May 24, 2016 - 10:49 pm

FMG, that’s why I said “usually”. I know there are plenty of exceptions. I’m glad you’ve found out what your undertones are, so now can make the most out of makeup. And thank for warning us about the dangers of a tan. I agree. it does a lot of harm and no good.

Marthe August 7, 2016 - 5:10 pm

I think I’m neutral too, its difficult cause i get a tan easily on my legs and stomach, but not in my face or chest, and i got freckles in my face but not the rest of the body. I prefer gold jewelry, i think i look better in them. I usually use a selftanner, and my hair is dark brown with a greenish undertone i guess, and blue eyes. I have to use a lot of makeup to match the tan on my body, but i think its difficult to find a foundation that i like, cause my skin is pretty dry, i got wrinckles, and i like to cover up my freckle. With makeup im kinda warm, but i think without makeup and selfan and everything i might be cool.

Gio August 11, 2016 - 2:31 pm

Marthe, sounds to me like you could be neutral as well. Although I would lay off the makeup and self tan for a few days and then retake the tests, just to be sure.

Mackensie August 29, 2016 - 11:13 pm

Hi! Great tips, but I just for the life of me cannot figure out what my undertone is! I’ve read multiple sources and done all the tests and always seem to switch between answers and can’t come to an accurate consensus one way or the other! Maybe someone can help me out:
My hair is naturally a light brown that a lot of people have always called red (but I never considered it red, as my sister has true auburn hair and mine has always appeared much browner), but it definitely has natural red and blondish highlights and can pull very red in various lights.
I have very fair/pale skin with tons of freckles and I easily burn, which then either peels or fades into a light tan depending on the degree of the burn.
My eyes are primarily green but often go between a brighter green and more of a hazel color.
I have both blue and green veins on the inside of my arm.
My skin (especially in my face, shoulders, and forearms) has a tendency to look kind of pink/red-ish, but when I press on my skin the impression shows as a light yellowish/ white color.
I don’t notice that I look particularly better in true or off-whites (although I suppose I might have more off-white shades in my closet for no other reason than white against my skin serves as a comparison showing how pale I am!) I don’t tend to wear a lot of yellows, oranges, or any neon colors because of how pale I am. I do wear a lot of blues and teals, but I also like dark and earthy tones like dark greens, tans, blacks, and browns. Same thing for the jewelry test- I don’t think one looks substantially better than the other on me. I tend to prefer silvers and platinum but that’s just because I like the look of it better than gold just in general, but I can wear both and they look fine on me.
I much prefer bluish reds over orangey reds for my lips, but I usually wear browns, creams, and golds for my eyeshadows.
So would you think that I am a light cool or light warm skin color? Or am I possibly a neutral? Thanks for any help you might be able to give!

Gio August 30, 2016 - 10:25 pm

Mackensie, in my experience, when someone doesn’t fall neatly in one camp and looks good with any colour, then she’s definitely a neutral. I definitely think you are too.

Annan October 18, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Hey,I’m from South Asia.I’m medium-light toned..I can’t really tell by seeing my veins because in seems Bluish on one and another seems a combination of blue and eyes are Brown and Hair is Black.I can wear both Golden and silver jewellery but I look like the biggest cow wearing pure gold jewellery..Can u help me figuring out my undertone

Gio October 25, 2018 - 1:40 pm

Annan, I think you’re mostly neutral with a leaning to cool.

Annie December 8, 2018 - 12:02 pm

I’m neutral but although I am fair I always tend to go for gold jewellery. I think it looks better on me as I have green eyes with hint of yellow in them. My hair is pretty much dirty blonde/light brown in colour. I feel like too cool colours like greyish greens, bluish grey just wash me out completely. In the spring I like to start wearing more colours like coral, light lemon yellow and also deeper green colour. Royal blue just shines on me especially in the summer with a little tan.:) In the autumn I gravitate towards cranberry and burgundy and in the winter I wear lighter colours and navy. I live in Scandinavia and feel like the light in the nature also affects a lot what clothes look good. I also wear different makeup colours in the different seasons and some of the colours that look great in the winter, look horrible or dont show up much in the summer.

Gio December 9, 2018 - 9:33 am

Annie, thanks for your comment. It’s great that you figured out what colours look best on you. Makes a lot of difference, doesn’t it?

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