Knowing your skin undertone is key to determining which makeup products work best for your skin. Undertones are the natural colours under the surface of the skin. It also determines how well colours work with your skin. Understanding your undertone will help you avoid wasting money on products that don’t suit you.
The different skin undertones
The undertone gives your skin a specific tint. The undertones are golden, pink, olive, orange, blue, and red. Lighter skin has pink, olive, and red undertones. Whereas dark skin has red, olive, and blue undertones.
Neutral undertones mean your skin is the same colour as your skin tone. The skin tone is the natural colour of the skin without any product on it. Skin tone also changes while the undertone is constant.
Warm: Yellow and gold tones mean you have a warm undertone.
Cool: This is skin with blue, pink, or red.
Neutral: It also means your undertone has both cool and warm undertones.
The easiest way to confirm your undertone is to check your veins in natural lighting. If they are in the blue-purple range, you have a cool undertone. If they look green, your skin has a warm undertone. Having both means it’s neutral.
2. Use jewellery
Try putting on gold jewellery and see how it looks against your skin. If it blends, then you have warm undertones.
Silver or stainless jewellery shows if you have cool undertones. If both match your skin, you probably have neutral undertones.
3. Try a foundation swatch
Apply a range of foundations at a cosmetics store to sample multiple hues. Check using a mirror to see which swatches blend into your skin naturally. Some shades will look too orange or pink if you have warm undertones. If you have cool undertones, some foundations will look green or grey.
When you identify which foundation blends the best with your skin, you can learn the undertone of the product online.
Base colours like white, black, ivory, or brown can help you identify your undertone. You could be neutral or cool if you look better in black and white. If you look better with shades of brown, you could have warm undertones.
5. Use your hair and eye colour
Play with eyeshadow and hair dye colours. Silver, grey and white colours favour cool undertones. While blonde, brown, and golden dyes look better with warm undertones. This is great when choosing a new hair dye.
How does knowing your undertone change your makeup choices?
Cool undertones favour cool pink blushes, blue-toned lipsticks, and white-based highlighters. Pink or peach-based foundations will also suit your skin based. Use white or pink powders. Yellow foundations can make cool skin look sallow.
If you have warm undertones, use red-based lipsticks, brown eyeshadows, and golden highlighters. Yellow concealers are also a better option than white concealers.
If you have neutral undertones, try a white and gold shimmer highlighter. When choosing lipstick, pick a colour with more than one base tone. In addition, if you buy pink lipstick, buy one with red and purple undertones. Use earth-coloured eyeshadows.
This guide can help determine which makeup products best flatter your skin.
Gloria Mari is a culture writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. She writes on art, film, literature, health, and the environment. She has previously written for Kenya Buzz, People Daily, The Elephant, and Kalahari Review.