What is your skin tone?

It is important to know skin tone when choosing makeup. But how do you actually find out what your skin tone is? What should you look out for? And what do you choose if you have a neutral skin tone with patches of colouration or red blotches? We will help you on your way.

Identifying your skin tone

The undertone of the skin is the warm, cool or neutral colour that shines through the skin on your face. Although the colour of your face changes through exposure to the sun or with skin problems, such as rosacea or acne, the undertone of your skin is always the same.

You can only choose the foundation that will be best for you when you know whether your undertone is warm, cool or neutral. The right one will give you a beautiful and natural appearance. If you use a foundation that does not suit your skin tone then your face could look (too) orange, pink, red or grey.

Knowing what skin tone you have is also important when choosing other makeup items such as concealer and blusher. Our how to choose and use the best concealer article contains more information about choosing and applying the right concealer for your skin.

Tips for identifying your undertone

  • If you tan easily and do not get burnt, then you naturally have a good amount of melanin (pigment) in your skin. You then probably have a yellowish or an olive brown, warm undertone. This applies to most women of Afro-American and Indian descent. Some Afro-American women have a deep brown tint, such as ebony, with a cool (blueish) undertone. Dark copper tones don’t look suit you then, but espresso tones do.
  • If you burn easily and don’t tan or hardly at all, then your skin clearly contains less pigment. Your skin then usually has a pink, blue-red, cool undertone. You can also see it by how your skin reacts. A pink skin reddens quickly and you blush easily. Neutral skin tones can also fall under this category, especially if you have rosacea. Experiment with cool to neutral tones.
  • An olive coloured skin looks somewhat dull or grey. That is due to the combination of the natural yellow undertone everyone has in their skin and the yellowy-green tone that olive coloured skins have. Neutral tones will suit you best, but you could also experiment with warm tones.
  • When you have a neutral skin tone, you do not have an obvious olive, pink or pale yellow sheen. It is quite easy to find a foundation, concealer or powder for this skin tone as a range of colours suit this skin type.

Handy tip: to identify your skin tone, you can also look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. Are they blue/purple? Then you have a cool (blueish) undertone. Are they green? Then you have a warm, yellowish undertone. If you cannot see clearly whether your veins look blue or green, then you have a neutral undertone.

Tips for choosing the right foundation

It is not always easy to choose a foundation that is well suited to your skin tone because the underlying skin tone is not the same as your visible skin tone. You could have a blushing (red) or ash-grey skin tone, while your underlying skin tone is actually pale yellow to beige.

  • Look for a foundation that neutralises the tone of the surface of your skin (making it less red or less grey) and one that that suits your skin’s undertone.
  • You should not be able to see that you are wearing foundation and it should not look like you are wearing a mask.

Tips for choosing the right colour makeup

  • Flip through a lifestyle magazine to see which colours suit your skin tone best.
  • People with red hair and a light to medium skin tone, such as Susan Sarandon, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore, for example, mainly wear coral red, salmon pink, brown, yellow-brown, orange, bronze or other earth tones.
  • Blonds with a light skin colour, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Paris Hilton and Kirsten Dunst, prefer wearing a range of pink tones.
  • Brunettes with a light to medium skin tone, such as Julia Roberts and Jennifer Garner, are often seen in pale pinks and soft reds.
  • Women with dark brown hair and a light to medium skin tone, such as Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock and Penelope Cruz, often wear bright colours such as pink and cherry red.
  • Women with black hair and a dark skin tone, such as Halle Berry, Zoë Saldana or Oprah Winfrey, wear soft, natural colours such as baby pink, light brown and coral red.

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