Do you know your skin undertone? No, we’re not talking about your skin being fair, medium, or dark; that would be the color of your skin’s complexion. An undertone is different. For starters, it doesn’t change, unlike your complexion which changes with the season. You may find yourself darker in the summer because of suntan, and lighter in the winter. The truth is, many Indian women – just like you – do not know much about skin tones and the big role they play in determining the right clothes, makeup, and hair color for your skin tone.
In this post, you will learn answers to:
- What is a skin undertone?
- How to tell if you have a warm or cool skin tone?
- Why is it important to know your skin undertone?
- Is an olive complexion cool or warm?
- What undertone is ivory?
So, What is a Skin Undertone?
You may have heard the terms ‘warm’, ‘cool’ or ‘neutral’ used frequently by fashion and makeup gurus. Simply put, your skin undertone meaning is that it is the hue that comes through the skin from underneath its surface.
Those who are familiar with ‘skin undertone’ think that fair skin have cool undertones and dark skin have warm undertones. That’s not true. In fact, each complexion, be it dark, medium or light, can have warm, cool, and neutral skin undertones.
Cool skin undertone: If the overall complexion of a person has more blue, pink and red hues then the undertone is classified as ‘cool’.
Warm skin undertone: If there are more yellow, peach and golden hues, then the undertone is considered ‘warm’.
Neutral skin undertone: People who do not have cool or warm undertones are said to have neutral undertones.
How to Tell if You Have a Warm or Cool Skin Tone? Take These 4 Simple Tests
Determining the undertone of your skin can be easily done at home. You can try any one or more of these tests to know your skin undertone.
Test #1: The Wrist Test
Look at the underside of your wrists and closely examine the color of your veins.
- Cool: If your veins look purple or blue, then you have a cool undertone.
- Warm: If your veins appear greenish or olive veins, you have a warm undertone.
- Neutral: If you cannot determine which colour is dominant in your veins then you have a neutral undertone.
Test #2: The Jewellery Test
Take a piece of each of silver and gold jewellery and place it next to your skin.
- Cool: You have cool skin if silver jewellery tends to look flattering on your skin
- Warm: You are more likely to have a warm tone if gold looks good on your skin.
- Neutral: You may have neutral undertone if you look good in both gold and silver jewellery.
Pro Tip: Most people consider rose gold to be a cool-toned metal but do not use it for this test. Stick to silver and gold for results.
Test #3: The Sun Test
The way your skin reacts to the sun can help you find your skin undertone.
- Cool: If your skin starts to burns or turns red in the sun, it indicates a cool undertone.
- Warm: If your skin tans easily in the sun, you have a warm undertone.
Pro Tip: Even though cool skin tones are more prone to sunburn, it is extremely important to apply a good quality sunscreen irrespective of your skin undertone every time you go out.
Test #4: The Colour Test
This is a fun test since we are going to ask you to take out all your favourite clothes from your wardrobe and play with the colours to know your undertones. Take a mirror and stand in a well-lit room, preferably in daylight. Hold different garments next to your skin to see how the colours make you look.
- Cool: If ‘cool’ colors like blue, black, white, purple, etc. compliment you then you have cool undertones.
- Warm: If peach, yellow, brown, olive and other ‘warm’ colors suit you then you have warm undertones.
- Neutral: If you think you look good in every and any shade you wear, well then, lucky you! You have a neutral undertone.
Now that you know your skin undertone, read about everything you’ve been doing wrong – starting with your FOUNDATION!
Why is it Important to Know Your Skin Undertone?
Now that you have identified the undertone of your skin, here’s what you can do with that knowledge
Pick the right clothes
Once you know what your skin undertone is, you can start buying clothes in the shades that complement your skin tone. The rule of thumb for clothes is to pick warm colors for a warm undertone, and cool colors for cool-toned complexions. For instance, in the green color family, the olive would make a warm Indian skin tone glow, while turquoise will suit women with a cool skin undertone.
Pick the right makeup
The same rule applies to foundation shades, eyeshadow colors and lipstick shades. Choose warm shades in the colour tree you have warm undertones, and cool colors if you have cool undertones. This makes your makeup compliment your natural complexion. When it comes to foundations, use a skin tone chart to find the right type of foundation for yourself. A foundation for warm skin tone may look ashy on cool undertones. Stick to the shade that compliments your skin tone.
Pick the right hair color
The rule of thumb is reversed when it comes to choosing the right hair colour from the hair color chart. Warm skin tones should pick cool colors, while cool skin tones need to wear warm colors.
Last Words on Skin Undertones
To round things up, here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
What kind of undertones do I have?
You can have just one undertone – warm, cool or neutral. To find out what is your skin undertone, simply take the 4-level skin undertone test to find out: Check your wrists for the colour of your veins; check your general complexion in a sunlit room; check if gold or silver jewellery looks better on your skin; and finally, check if warm colours, like reds, yellows, and oranges, look better on you, or cool colours like, blues, greens, and purples.
Is an olive skin tone cool or warm?
Olive skin has a mix of golden and yellow undertones, but with an ashen hue that ‘cools’ down the warmth. So, contrary to popular belief, olive is NOT a neutral skin undertone. One would classify them as a cool skin tone.
How do I find the right foundation for my skin tone?
Select foundation shades closest to your skin tone, and apply swatches to your cheek. Choose the foundation color that is one shade color lighter than your natural skin tone. You want a shade that not only evens out your face color, but also brightens it overall. All foundation colors come clearly marked for warm skin tones as well as cool skin tones.
Now that you know have identified the your skin undertone, the next thing on your makeup agenda should be finding the right foundation type and shade. Read the next post in this series to learn more.