How To Find Out If Your Skin Has Warm, Neutral, Or Cool Undertones

How To Find Out If Your Skin Has Warm, Neutral, Or Cool Undertones
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

This is too easy.
For SELF, by Alexis Bennett

Jocelyn Runice

Finding the perfect makeup shades can sometimes seem like an endless battle. Get it wrong and your skin can end up with a pasty, sallow, greenish, or even orange-y appearance. But once you've found your skin's undertones, choosing the best beauty products becomes so much easier. You'll be able to easily score the perfect red lipstick and find foundations that blend flawlessly once you discover if you have warm, neutral, or cool undertones.

Your undertone is the hint of color that peeks through your skin, and it can seriously effect your skin's overall shade. It's important to know the difference between the color of the outer layer of skin and the tones beneath the surface. Mixing the two up is a common mistake that can instantly make your makeup look off. Celebrity makeup artist Yolonda Frederick tells SELF that the major difference between the two is that surface color varies as the seasons change--it can get darker or lighter with a tan, for example. And skin conditions like rosacea can also cause the surface color to appear red or pink. But no matter what, you still have the same undertone.

"The surface of your skin can give off a red tint, but your undertones can have a yellow cast," says Frederick. When you're shopping for foundation don't try to match the colors on the surface, instead refer to your undertones. Once you know which category you fall into, you'll be able to use makeup to complement your complexion. And to really get the perfect match, it's critical to try foundation on in daylight. That way you don't get any distortion from fluorescent lighting that changes the way you look. You have to find a foundation color that mimics the warmth or coolness of your skin tone.

There are a few tricks you can use to discover what undertone category you fall into. We've gathered a few of them above in an easy-to-follow quiz. The most popular method is checking the veins on the inside of your wrists. If they appear to be blue, you're in the cool range. Green veins will put you on the warm spectrum. And if you feel like you can't decipher whether they are blue or green, you're in the neutral family. After taking our quiz, scroll down to get the best beauty tips for your undertones.

If You've Got Cool Undertones...
Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty

"Some people with cooler skin have pink surface tones," says Frederick. "This primarily shows through the T-zone areas of the face." You'll need to shop for a foundation that can balance out your complexion. "You don't want to put on foundation that is too pink," says Frederick. "You're going to want to warm it up a little bit. So it needs to be a nice mixture of ivory foundation with slightly bit of yellow to it." The yellow will help minimize the red surface tones.

People with really dark skin can also fall into the cool category. "An ebony-colored person like Gabourey Sidibe has a blue cast undertone," says Frederick. "Putting a red-based foundation on her would be wrong." Opting for a cool foundation with blue undertones is the key to achieving a natural finish if you're in this group.

When it comes to the other makeup in your kit, a rose-gold blush works wonders on fair skin in this category. And a vibrant plum is a winner for those with deep skin and cool undertones. If you're looking for the perfect red lipstick, blue-based hues will complement your cool undertones.

If You've Got Neutral Undertones...
Photo: Denise Truscello/Getty

If you fall into this category, then you're pretty lucky. "People with neutral undertones can easily wear more than one shade," says Frederick. "Both light and dark complexions should stick with colors that aren't too drastically on the red or yellow spectrum." Frederick also explained that people with olive skin tones tend to live in the neutral world more. Olive neutral skin should avoid cool foundations as they can make the skin look ashy.

Peach and apricot blushes give olive neutral complexions a natural flush, but when it comes to lipsticks your options are endless. Don't be afraid to experiment. Your neutral tones allow you to easily flow between blue or orange-based tubes. So, it's important to test out shades to find your favorite color.

If You've Got Warm Undertones...
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

"Warm complexions should remember, that you can have a surface color that's slightly different from your true undertones," says Frederick. "The warmer foundations (peach, yellow, or golden undertones) will balance out any excessive redness," says Frederick. "If you have a lot of redness on your skin's surface, try a color corrector first. Green or yellow color concealers will fix really red splotches on the face. Follow up with a layer of the foundation that matches your undertones for the perfect look."

If your skin is fair with warm undertones, copper picks create a natural flush on cheeks. And a vibrant tangerine blush adds a nice pop of color to deep warm skin. Remember orange-based lipsticks will always be a hit with warm undertones.

More from SELF:


Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds