The What, Why, and How of Determining Your Skin Undertone and Choosing the Right Foundation

young woman applying foundation

In an ideal world, none of us girls would need a foundation because we all would have flawless and glowing skin. But, the reality is different. We often have to reach out for our foundation to cover age-spots, dark circles, and uneven tone, which make our skin look dull and unappealing.

Even though foundation is one of the most widely used makeup products, a lot of women struggle to get it right and end up with a visible layer on their face. This, according to makeup gurus, is the biggest makeup blunder. Your foundation should seamlessly blend into your skin and create a flawless, natural-looking base for makeup. We all know this, but somehow many of us can’t get it right, no matter what type of foundation or application technique we use.

Want to know the trick? It may come as a surprise to many, but in most cases, it happens because people use the wrong shade of foundation.

Yes, you read it right! A small mistake of picking the wrong shade of foundation can ruin your whole look. But, those who have been through it know that choosing the right shade of foundation isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s one of the biggest struggles for a lot of people.

Not anymore because we have it all figured out for you!

The trick to choosing the right shade of foundation that gives you the natural makeup look you have always wished for is to determine your skin undertone

Now, What is Your Skin Undertone?

While it is likely that you must have heard of skin undertones, if you have been struggling with choosing the right foundation, it means you don’t really understand the concept.

But, don’t worry; you are not alone! The concept is a little tricky, but you’ll get hold of it. Now, let’s get down to business without further ado and settle this debate once and for all!

Just like skin tone refers to the color of your skin, undertone refers to the color or hue that comes from beneath the skin’s surface.

Types of Skin Undertones

Experts have divided skin undertones into the following categories:

  • Warm undertones – if the underlying skin color appears to be yellow, golden, or peachy, then it’s called a warm undertone.
  • Cool undertones – if the base tone is a shade of red, pink, or blue, then it classifies as a cool undertone.
  • Neutral undertones – the undertones that are difficult to distinguish and appear to be similar to the skin color or a mix of warm and cool shades, then they are considered neutral.

A Common Misconception about Skin Undertones

When it comes to skin undertones, a lot of women assume that all fair-skinned ladies have cool undertones and dark-skinned ones have warm undertones. But, this is far from the truth. Your undertone isn’t related to your skin color; people with same skin color may have different undertones and vice versa.

Now that we know what skin undertones are, it’s time to learn how to figure them out.

How to Determine Your Skin Undertone

Identifying your skin’s undertone isn’t as simple as it is to tell what skin color you have. You can’t simply look at yourself in the mirror and tell which undertone category you belong to. This is why here we are giving a few simple and tried and tested techniques to help you figure out your skin undertone. Try them out before you go out buying foundation to completely change your makeup game.

Check Your Veins

Roll up your sleeves and take a look at your veins visible through your skin, on the inside of the wrist. Do they appear blue or green?

If they look bluish, you have a cool undertone and if they appear greenish, you belong to the warm undertone category.

Can’t figure out what color your veins are? Do they appear to be a mix of blue and green?

You have a neutral undertone!

Perform the Good Ol’ Jewelry Trick

Another way to determining your skin undertone is to find out what jewelry suits you more, gold or silver. If you look better in gold jewelry, you are warm-toned and if silver (and platinum) jewelry suits you more, you have a cool undertone.

An important thing to mention here is that when performing this test, you have to keep your likes and dislikes aside. It’s not about which jewelry you like more, rather the one that makes you look more, awake, glowing, and radiant.

However, if you look equally beautiful in both types of jewelry, you have a neutral undertone.

  • White or Off White-Which Neutral Shade of Clothes Flatter You Best?

    Try out a bright white and an off-white or ivory-colored shirt. Which one suits you more?

If white complements your tone more and makes you look rosy or pink, you have a cool undertone. But, if bright white makes you look yellow-ish, and you look better in creamy hues, you are warm-toned.

What if both suit you and you look equally radiant in all shades of white?

You have a neutral skin undertone!

How Does Your Skin React to The Sun?

You must have noticed that different people’s skin reacts differently when exposed to the sun. How does yours respond? Does it get tanned or burned?

If you get a beautiful golden-brown tan when you are out in the sun for a long time, then you have a warm skin undertone. But, if your skin turns pink and then gets burned, you are cool-toned.

People with warm skin undertones tan easily, but rarely get sunburn. On the other hand, those who have cool tones get sunburns quite easily, but tan only minimally.

What Colors Look Best on You?

While this is not a hard and fast rule, but typically women with cool undertones look more beautiful in shades of blue, green, blue-green, purple, magenta, and pink. On the other hand, shades of brown, orange, yellow, yellow-green, warm-red, and ivory complement warm undertones more than other colors.

If you look great in all these shades, you most probably have a neutral undertone.

How to Find the Right Foundation According to Your Skin Undertone

shades of foundationNow you know what your skin undertone is, it’s time to discuss how that can help you choose the right shade of foundation. However, before we do that, it is important to mention here that despite all this information, it might take you some time to master the art of foundation selection. This is why some women say that undertones make foundation selection even more difficult. But, take our word for it. Once you learn the trick, it’s going to completely change your makeup game and you will be amazed at how natural your makeup will look. So, don’t give up! We have tried our best to make things simple for you.

The Rule

Here are the general rules for choosing the foundation according to your undertone:

If you have a warm undertone, you should ideally go for a foundation shade that appears to have a subtle (very, very subtle) yellow or golden tinge when you look at it in the bottle.

If your skin undertone is cool, experts recommend opting for a shade that looks slightly pinkish. But, as they say, there is an exception to every rule. People with reddish undertone (a shade of cool tone) should go for a foundation with a brownish-red hint.

Test Before Buying

While it is common knowledge, it is worth emphasizing; you should never buy a foundation without trying it, even if it looks your perfect shade.

Apply the foundation on your face and see how it looks in the daylight. Another trick is to look at your jawline – if there’s a visible difference between your face and the neck, you are wearing the wrong foundation shade.

It is also a good idea to check your foundation in different lights to confirm if it perfectly matches your tone everywhere.

Take Your Time

Never go for foundation shopping when you are in a hurry and never rush through it, no matter what anyone says. Foundation shade is the most important thing; it has to match your color and undertone to give that flawless look you see the celebrities carrying.

Also, do not hesitate to try out a few different shades to find the one that perfectly blends into your skin.

Bonus Tip:

Makeup experts suggest wearing white clothes when you go for buying foundation. This is because different colors may reflect on your face and have an impact on how your foundation looks on your face.

Since this often seems like a lot of work, many women simply buy the foundations that are labeled for their respective undertones. However, makeup experts strongly advise against it. This is because some foundations make your skin look overly yellow (warm tones) or pink (cool tones).  Good foundations are typically expensive, so always try the foundation and take your time to confirm it is your right shade before spending your hard-earned money on it.

The Final Word

Getting a flawless makeup look depends on how smooth and well-blended your foundation is. This is why makeup experts place a huge emphasis on buying the right foundation and applying it the right way. While most women know the application techniques, they struggle to find the right foundation color. This blog post has specifically been written to make it easier for all the women out there to choose the right foundation shade. Remember the tips and tricks discussed above and use them to determine your undertone before you head out to buy foundation, the next time. And when you are at the store, don’t forget to try out a few shades to find your perfect match.

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