7 surefire ways to determine your skin undertone

Are you warm or cool? When it comes to finding the perfect lipstick, foundation and hair colour for your skin tone, it’s important to determine your undertone. Yes, they are completely different. The surface (skin) tone is what you see when you look in the mirror; fair, light medium, dark. Your undertone is the subtle, more muted tone that lies underneath the skin. This will affect which colours suit you. After all, the main objective is to enhance your features. Try these few hacks to help determine your skin undertone!

Note: There are three general undertones

* Cool: think yellow, peachy, and golden.
* Warm: think red, pink, and bluish
* Neutral: think olive or a mix of those above.

Start fresh

Remove your make-up and wash your face completely.

Get lit

Make sure you have proper lighting. Try to choose a room with a large window, or one that offers a lot of natural lighting.

Do a colour test

Hold a blue or green shirt up to your face. Next, hold a yellow or red shirt up next to your face. If your skin looks better against the blue shirt, you probably have a cool skin tone. If it looks better against the red shirt, you probably have a warm skin tone. Cool-toned people usually have hints of pink, blue and olive undertones or a ruddy complexion, while warm-toned skin has yellow, gold, or peachy undertones and a more sallow complexion.

Get vein

Look at the veins in your wrists. People with cool skin tones tend to have blue or purple coloured veins, while people with warm skin tones will have greenish looking veins.

Tan much?

How does your skin react to the sun? If you tan easily you have a warm skin tone. If your skin burns but you don’t tan very well, you have a cool skin tone.

Do the jewellery test

Use jewellery to help you determine your skin tone. Gold accessories work well with warm skin tones and silver works best for cooler skin tones.

It’s in the eyes

Blue and green specks in your eyes can also indicate a cool skin tone, while golden specks in your eyes indicate warmer skin tones.

If can’t decide and you feel you fall in the middle of the spectrum – you’re neutral and you’re lucky because all colours look great on you and you can rock any look you want!

16 Responses

  1. Thank you for this informative article. I never realized that I have a cool skin tone. I tend to wear foundation only on very special occasions because I don’t like to look plastered. Thank you again.

  2. I’m still not sure, though I like silver jewellery better, it could a preference not that it looks better than gold. I guess I have to practise?

  3. Nice! I will definitely be using these tips. It becomes really awkward when you apply your makeup in your room, walk out into the sun and realise that the edges didn’t blend in properly. LIGHTING IS KEY!

    1. Hey Wafiqa! Congrats on the rosy cheeks – that’s super lucky to have naturally! This doesn’t necessarily mean you have a warm tone. You can have a very cool tone and have rosy cheeks like a lot of people from Scandinavian countries. This seems like a problem stemming from the way we’re using cold and warmth in this post. It’s useful to think of skin tone as something that shapes the rest of the colour on your face, rather than itself looking cold (traditionally blue) or warm (traditionally red). Although warmth is often associated with the colour red, when we talk about skin tone, warmth actually refers to gold/yellow. And while blue is often what we think of when we say ‘cold’, when we talk about skin tone, blue is actually represented by pink/red.

      The test that helps me the most, and gives a fairly straightforward answer is the ‘vein test’ mentioned above: ‘Look at the veins in your wrists. People with cool skin tones tend to have blue or purple coloured veins, while people with warm skin tones will have greenish looking veins.’

      My veins appear green. This means that even though I’m quite pale, my undertones are warm. So my makeup will have a yellow rather than red/pink undertone. Hope that helps!


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