How to Determine your Skin's Undertone
Updated: Sep 28
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There are 3 color concepts you need to learn in order to confidently incorporate color into your wardrobe, choose the right makeup, and mix and match items in your wardrobe effortlessly.
When you master all 3 you will be able to find your Power Colors, the colors that bring out your features best.
In this post, I'm going to walk you through finding your undertone in 4 steps.
01. Take a look at the underside of your wrists
Cool undertones will have slightly blue-purple sometimes even reddish-pink veins due to the subtle pink-red undertones in the skin.
Neutral undertones will have blue-gray veins.
Warm undertones will have blue-green veins due to the golden undertones in the skin.
02. Which color metal POPs against your skin?
Silver stands out against cool undertoned skin.
Rose-Gold pops against neutral undertoned skin.
Gold stands out against warm undertoned skin.
03. The White Test
It's very important to know which white-variation you look best in because simply put white does not suit everyone.
If you have a cool undertone; bright stark blue-white will look clean, crisp and neutralize your cool-pink undertones.
If you have a neutral undertone you can wear bright white as well it just wont make your skin pop as much as a white with some added red or warmth.
If you have a warm undertone warmer whites will pull your golden undertone through giving you a more sun-kissed glow.
04. Skins reaction to the sun
Your skin's *unfiltered* reaction to the sun can help you determine what your undertone is. NOTE *UNFILTERED.
If you wear SPF 30 and get tan well that's technically not really your skins unfiltered reaction.
Note that this doesn't work with all skin tones since darker skin tones will tan due to higher melanin content in the skin.
Whether you tan or burn is helpful if you're still not sure about whether you have a neutral or cool undertoned. Cool undertones ALWAYS burn.
Related Read: Find your Contrast
So what is knowing your undertone useful for?
01. Undertone can help you identify which colors will complement you best
Let's be clear...
You CAN wear whatever color your heart desires and look good..
BUT, it's incredibly useful to know which variation of the same color will look best on you.
Let's use nail polish as an example;
There are around 400 reds in your nail salon.
Fiery red, orange-red, berry red, passion red... the list goes on and on.
These are all variations within the same color family of REDS.
So which variation of red complements your undertone best?
If you're WARM toned you want to go for the yellow-reds like Rock the Runway.
If you're COOL toned you want to go for the blue-reds like Forever Yummy.
If you're NEUTRAL toned you can go either way and your contrast will be more helpful in determining the colors you look best in.
Full list of cool, warm and neutral nail colors here.
02. Undertone helps you correctly identify your exact foundation shade
How? We usually focus on skin tone when choosing our foundation and while that is a very important consideration it's only half of the equation.
That's because our skin tone is dynamic throughout the year.
Changes in skin tone can depend on sun exposure, physiologic conditions, redness or pigmentation issues.
On the other hand, our skin undertone remains the same.
Nowadays, most brands have come up with a ton of tones (about time) PLUS multiple undertones (warm, cool, and neutral shades).
Choosing the right undertone will allow you to continue using the same foundation through the dynamic changes our skin tone endures even if it's a little off.
Because I, for one, cannot truly buy a different foundation for every season.
Check out my favorite foundations for neutral, cool and warm undertones here.
03. Undertones guide you in choosing the right blush
Blush is supposed to stand out against your complexion and contrast your undertone.
If you have a cool skin undertone avoid pinks and reds and go for peach, orange, or terracotta shades like Nars - Luster.
Best Blush for Cool Undertones
Best Blush for Warm Undertones
Universally Flattering and Neutral Option
The soft golden tones in this blush make it universally flattering and one of the best selling blush palettes in beauty history!
04. Undertone helps you choose the correct Bronzer
Bronzers are mainly used for contouring and creating depth and definition. The key here is SUBTLE, you want your contour to blend easily, so keep your bronzer complementary to your undertone. This will keep you from looking streaky and help you create depth in a more natural way.
If you have a cool skin undertone go for cooler bronzers like Nyx - Matte Bronzer.
If you have a warm skin undertone go for more warmer bronzers like Rimmel Natural Sun Dance Bronzer.