Figuring Out Your True Shade: Finding Your Undertone

Without a doubt, figuring out which shade to buy in your foundation or concealer is the hardest part of makeup shopping. Especially now that most makeup brands offer a wide variety of shades, it’s easy to get a little confused because there’s not really that much different between a few of the shades, right? Wrong. It all comes down to undertones.

If you’ve ever heard a makeup artist, or even just a friend with makeup skills of the gods, tell you something about undertone, and you were incredibly confused, have no fair, XX is here. We get it, it’s confusing. Figuring out your skin tone is one thing, and thank goodness, we have that down pact. But undertone plays just as big of a part (if not more) when it comes to determining which makeup shades look best on you. So if you’re not sure of whether you’re warm, cool, or neutral, we’ve made a guide just for you.


Before we begin, let’s cover all of the basics. Like.. what the hell does it even mean to be cool, neutral or warm? So we’re going to break it all down for you. If you’re cool, you likely have pink, red or bluish undertones. If you’re warm, chances are you have yellow, peachy or golden undertones. If you’re the lucky neutral, you’re in the middle with a good mix of both war and cool undertones.

A big misconception is that pale girls can’t be warm-toned, or dark-skinned girls can’t be cool-toned, and that’s definitely not true. In fact, there are many fair girls with warm undertones, and dark girls with cool undertones.


Before we start, take all of your makeup off and pull your hair back, off your face and into a ponytail, so that your hair colour can’t skew your assessment. This one is simple. Grab two pieces of clothing: a pure-white one, and an off-white one. Standing in front of a mirror, hold them up to your face one at a time. If you find that you look better in the white piece, your undertones are warm. If you’re looking washed out in pure white and the off-white better suits you, then you probably have cool undertones. Look great in both colours? You’re a neutral undertone – smack dab in the middle.


How does your skin react to the sun? Do you tan easily? If you tend to tan under the sun and not burn, then you may have a warm undertone. If you burn pretty easily, and don’t usually get tanned, then you’re likely to be cool-toned. If you’re an even mix between burn and tan, then you could have neutral undertones.


When picking out a piece of jewellery, do you gravitate more towards silver or gold? We’re not talking about which you like more, we’re asking which looks best on your skin tone, and makes you look more radiant and glowing. Typically, girls who look better in silver tend to have cool undertones. Those who find gold more flattering most likely have a warm undertone. If both looks suit you, then you’re probably neutrally-toned.


Perhaps the most ‘scientific’ test of the lot, we’re taking a look at your literal undertones – what’s under your skin tone: your veins. In natural lighting, push your sleeves up and look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. Are they blue or green? If your veins appear to be bluish or even purple, you have cool undertones. If your veins look slightly green, you’re warm toned. (Don’t worry, you don’t actually have green veins, they just appear green because you’re seeing them through yellow-toned skin). If you feel like your veins are an in-between, bluish-green colour, then it seems you have neutral-toned skin.


This one goes strictly based on what colours make you look better. Warm-toned girls tend to look better in yellows, oranges, browns, yellow-greens, ivorys and warm reds, while cool-toned girls should wear blues, greens, pinks, purples, blue-greens, magentas and blue-based reds. Neutral girls, the lucky ladies, can pull off just about everything. But remember: these are just suggestions, not science.


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