Choosing the correct foundation or lipstick shade that will complement your tone can be quite tough and complicated if you don't have any idea about the skin undertone, especially yours. You must be wondering why the skin undertone is so important & how will you get to find the undertone of your skin, but, do not worry, we are there to guide you. The majority of us generally prefer to choose the shades of nail polishes or lipsticks on the basis of how the product color looks. But, we fail to realize that these shades which look great on others might not complement us. Understanding our own skin undertones can solve the maximum percentage of makeup woes. You need to read further to understand all the things related to skin undertones.
What do you mean by skin undertone?
The word undertone depicts the hue that is under your real or original color of skin or your skin's surface tone. It is also known as overtone.
When you see your face in a mirror, the skin might appear fair, ivory, medium, dark, or tan. This is the color of the surface of your skin. Whereas, the undertone is that color or hue that we perceive from the layer beneath the original or surface skin. While you might have a similar skin surface color as someone else, you might not have an exact similar skin undertone. This is what creates the overall difference.
Whether it is the foundation, clothing, or lipstick, the undertone of your skin is the key factor that will help you to decide exactly which shades or colors will complement you. But, why is it so crucial to understanding your skin undertone? Let us discuss.
How does the undertone of your skin matter?
When you get to know your skin undertone, you will be able to choose your makeup and clothes with ease that will complement your skin tone.
When you are selecting a brand new lipstick shade, dress, or foundation you are fundamentally attracted to the color. And most of the time you choose them on the basis of how they look, be it on the counter or applied to somebody else. For makeup enthusiasts, such first-sighted loves are very common. But, when you plan on trying it on yourself, you might find that it does not look great on you. So, many of us end up being confused that why this happens so often. This is actually due to the fact that it won't complement you unless it complements the undertone of your skin.
Thus, in these kinds of situations, knowing your skin undertone might come in handy. Now, let us find out about your undertone.
Which is your undertone?
On a traditional basis, skin undertones are classified into 3 categories:
- Warm skin undertone: If you fall under this category, then you will have a peach, golden, or yellow skin undertone.
- Cool skin undertone: If you fall under this category, then you have a pink, blue, or reddish skin undertone.
- Neutral skin undertone: If you fall under this category, then you surely have the best of the above two, that is, a blend of cool and warm undertones both.
However, many people might not belong to these 3 categories. Thus, they fall under the category of olive skin undertone. Many people often get confused between the olive and the neutral skin undertone. In reality, this olive shade undertone is way different & it also has its own specific characteristics. The olive undertone contains a tad bit of grayish-green and yellow hue, and that is why this undertone is so unique.
There is a misconception that people who are fair-skinned have cool skin undertones & similarly, people who are dark-skinned have warm skin undertones. Whereas, it can easily be the opposite of this as well. This is why it is crucial and you need to find your skin undertone before buying any products of makeup. Now, we will discuss how you can determine the undertone of your skin.
How will you be able to determine the undertone of your skin?
Determining the skin undertone is not rocket science. You can identify it with absolute ease sitting at your home by following these following points closely;
- You need to observe the veins: This is one of the quickest ways for determining the undertone of your skin. Observe if your veins can be seen on the wrist and if they are visible, try to understand the predominant hue. There is a possibility of multiple scenarios:
- If your veins appear green, then you have the undertone-warm.
- If your veins appear purple or blue, then you have the undertone-cool.
- If your veins appear neither like the above points and the veins instead match with the ski color, then it is probably the fact that you have olive or neutral skin undertones.
- The test is done with jewelry: You need to hold both silver and gold jewelry against the skin. You can even place the jewelry on the wrist.
- If after placing the gold jewelry, your skin tone pops up or glows then you have the undertone-warm.
- If after placing the silver jewelry, your skin tone pops up or glows then you have the undertone-cool.
- If after placing both the jewelry, your skin tone pops up or glows similarly and you cannot make out any difference then you have a neutral skin undertone.
Note- You can try this test by using silver ad yellow/golden colored foils as well. Just hold the foils one after the other against the skin and check for the reflection.
If after placing the gold foil, your skin tone pops up or glows then you have the undertone-warm or olive.
If after placing the silver foil, your skin tone pops up or glows then you have the undertone-cool.
If your skin tone pops up or glows after placing both the foils (one after the other), then you have the undertone-neutral.
- You can do the test of colors: You need to hold clothes of various colors against the skin. It will be even better if you stand before the mirror wearing them. You have;
- Warm skin undertone- when your skin tone will pop out in brown, orange, coral, olive green, yellow, amber, red, peach, or similar shades.
- Cool skin undertone- when your skin tone will pop out in black, purple, bright blue, emerald, pink, or lavender.
- Neutral skin undertone- when your skin tone will pop out in almost every shade of clothes you wear.
- Olive skin undertone- when your skin tone will pop out in purple, green, pink, & almost all the shades except the shades of pastel.
- You need to observe your skin in which way it behaves in the sun:
- If you tend to get sunburn easily, you probably have an undertone of cool. In these cases, your skin will often turn reddish or pinkish in the sun.
- If you do not tend to get sunburn easily, but you get tanned a lot, you probably have an undertone of warm. In these cases, your skin will appear yellowish if you are on the fairer side of skin tone and your skin will appear olive if you are on the darker side of skin tone.
- You need to check the area of delicate skin behind your ears:
- If the area behind the ears appears to be on the yellow side, then you have an undertone of warm.
- If the area behind the ears appears to be on the pinkish or rosy side, then you have an undertone of cool.
Do not get confused between the terminologies between undertone and overtone, as they are way different. But, when buying makeup or apparel, you need to keep both of them under consideration. So, let us discuss elaborately the key points that differentiate the undertone from the overtone.
Undertone vs Overtone
In the case of the undertone, the skin is latent (not superficial) thus, in general, the skin undertone isn't visible. Undertone is the hue that lies subtly underneath the skin surface layer (overtone). Whereas, the visible part is the overtone which appears or manifests that is the skin color known as the overtone. You can determine your skin color by just standing in front of the mirror.
Your overtone of the skin might change due to climatic conditions (tanning), but your undertone will remain constant.
How will you find your exact match of foundation according to your undertone?
- For warm skin undertone: If you are having a fair complexion, your skin might have a golden-beige to peach hue. Whereas, if you are having a darker complexion, it will appear more like a golden or honey hue. You can go for those foundations that contain a tad bit of yellow or golden undertone.
- For cool skin undertone: You might have a red or pink overtone around your T-zone. You need to choose a foundation for warming the tones up s little bit. But, if you are fair, go for any blend of yellow tinges with an ivory foundation. Do not get afraid of mixing the foundations. Yellow tins will help to balance the red or pink overtone.
- For olive skin undertone: If you have an olive skin undertone, then you will have a subtle green hue with warm and natural tones. You need to avoid any shade of foundation that might turn your skin yellow, pink, cool red, or golden. Instead, you must choose a shade that has an inclination towards golden.
- For neutral skin undertone: If you have a neutral skin undertone, then you will have to opt for a golden hue and avoid any hue that might make the skin appear golden, red, pink, or yellow.
Always use Q-tips for applying the foundations on the cheekbones, jawline, or around the nose while testing. Remember to check the foundation shade in natural light. The foundation will disappear or blend seamlessly into the skin if it is the perfect match.
Now, let us learn about eyeshadows and lipsticks.
What hues will work the best for your undertone?
- Cool: If you are having a fair complexion, you can experiment with pinks, any bright & bold colors, or muted mauves. But, ensure that the bold & bright colors do have a blue or purple undertone. Whereas, if you have a darker complexion, you can easily go bolder thus, try applying deep plum, poppy, or Fuschia pink. Do not forget to choose blue-toned hues.
- Warm: If you are having a fair complexion, you can experiment with warm & sandy neutrals or sun-kissed subtle pink in case of lighter shades. You can go with reds, berries, or wines in case of darker and bolder shades. Whereas, if you have a darker complexion, choose deep and warm burgundy, oranges, and tangerine pinks. Even bold and fiery red shades will pop out beautifully on the lips.
- Neutral: In this case, you will have all the liberty for wearing any shade you wish. You can add a bit of drama by donning golden and deep purple eyeshadows or reds and oranges as well. Do not stop to be creative.
- Olive: If you have an olive skin undertone, then add a hint of pop colors and it will help to make you look all glammed up. Colors like warm peach, rosy pink, deep plum, royal blue, sapphire, and burnt orange will make your skin glow. In the case of lipsticks, try picking cranberry, wine reds, or dark pinks. However, similar to neutral-skinned people, you too can pull off any color you wish to.
Getting to know the undertone of your skin is very important as it helps in determining what shade of lipstick, eyeshadow, or foundation will complement you. Check the color of your veins on the wrist (the fastest possible way) to determine your individual's undertone. You can utilize other ways like jewelry (silver or gold) or the apparel technique as well. And once you finally know what undertone it is, there will be no more confusion or dilemmas.
Can one change the tone of their skin?
Yes, one can as skin lightening (cosmetic procedures) and tanning can alter your skin tone.
Is burgundy shade a warm or cool hue?
Burgundy is a combination of red and purple, thus, it falls under the cool segment of shades.