You may have suffered the last time you went to purchase foundation due to one nagging problem- determining your skin tone. Or maybe you can't decide which BB, CC cream, eye shadow, blush, or lipsticks to buy.
If you have hyperpigmentation or discoloration, the dilemma is even worse.
It gets even more complex. Manufacturers are creating more shades to help match a wider variety of skin tones as closely as possible.
Knowing your skin tone benefits your appearance, even when it comes to choosing clothes that agree with your pigment.
Determining your skin tone comes in two parts:
The surface color is what you see at a glance in the mirror. This can be either light, medium, or dark. Pigmentation is what determines this.
The surface color varies depending on several factors. For instance, light skin usually tans in summer and lightens in the winter. Surface color can also be affected by redness, dryness, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and dullness.
If you have a warm skin tone, you most likely tan easily and rarely burn. You look good when you wear earth tones such as orange, red or yellow, and you look better in gold jewelry than you do in silver.
In contrast, if you need to use sunscreen to avoid burning, you look better in jewel colors such as blues, purples and emerald green, then your skin tone is cool.
If these descriptions don't seem to fit you, you probably have a neutral skin tone. Warm skin tones have a yellow overtone, cool skin tones have a pink overtone, while neutral skin tones carry no obvious overtone at all. People with neutral skin tone usually can find the right foundation with ease.
This can be tricky if your skin changes often. Try this:
The jawline usually stays unaffected by skin color changes in comparison to the rest of your face. Look at the skin here and try to determine if it's fair, light, medium, or dark.
If they describe you as very “fair,” that’s probably the skin tone. If you get lots of comments on how tan you look, you're likely medium. If your skin gets pale in the winter but tans in summer, you may be light.
“Undertone” describes that subtle color that lies underneath the top layer of the skin. It stays the same, unlike surface color.
Since undertones don't change, you should use them to understand your skin tone. Most beauty gurus recommend using undertone, rather than surface color, when picking foundation. Foundations and eye shadows that don’t match your undertone will often look “off”—either too orange, pink, red, or ashen.
Note: The surface color of your skin may appear reddish, while your undertone may be golden/yellow.
There are three undertone categories:
There are several ways to figure out your undertone. It's best if you try each one, and get an average.
This is the most common method. Look at your wrists. Bluish-purple veins indicate you’re on the cool side. Green means a warm tone. If the veins are bluish-green, you're neutral.
If you tan in the sun, you're warm-toned, whereas if you turn red instead your tone is cool. African-Americans, for example, are often warm-toned.
If so, you’re cool-toned.
Warm-toned skin glows in earth tones like red, yellow, orange, and olive-green. Cool tones are flattered by deep colors, such as blue, purple, and emerald-green. If both types of shades look good on you, you have neutral undertones.
Hold a plain piece of white paper beside your face, without makeup. Is your complexion dull, or bright? If it's the former, you’re warm. If it's “good,” you’re cool. If there isn't much difference, you’re neutral. Besides, if your skin appears yellowish, you’re warm. Pink or rosy: cool. Gray means a neutral undertone.
Place a gold and silver chain next to each other on your hand. Cool tones look best in silver, while warms tones look fabulous in gold.
Most times, people with golden brown, green, hazel with gold flecks, and blue eyes are warm-toned. If your eyes are grey, black or deep brown, steel blue, hazel with gray or blue dots, your tone is cool.
Look at the skin behind your ear using two mirrors. Yellowish color means warm, pink means cool, and if it's not clear, you're likely to be neutral.
Compare your skin against basic colors like black and white, and tan and brown. Stark black and white make cool shades look good, while warm tones benefit from off-whites. Also, warms will prefer softer tans while cools will like deep brown colors.
Look at celebrities. Jennifer Hudson, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, and Lucy Liu have cool undertones. Beyoncé, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, and Jessica Alba have warm undertones.
Still not sure that you’ve mastered your skin colors? Consider the general categories below:
Finally ready to try out foundations? Remember:
If you don’t get your correct shade the first time, remember that the fun is in experimenting!
The Sole Toscana Skincare Team