Trying to choose the perfect makeup shades can be overwhelming (especially if you’re shopping online). But there’s a secret to choosing the right colors: learning more about skin’s undertones and how to identify yours can help you easily find your match.
According to the famous makeup artist Yolonda Frederick, the color of the outer surface of the skin can vary, such as a darkening of a shade or two from sun exposure, or redness from irritation or chronic conditions like rosacea. But your undertone, the undertone just below the surface of your skin, never changes.
Frederick tells SELF that people often confuse the two and end up applying makeup with the right color but the wrong shade, which can make skin look ashy, yellowish, green or even orange.
No matter where your skin is on the light to dark spectrum, when shopping for foundations, concealers and even lip, cheek and eye tints, the key is to match the undertones of your skin. skin, which fall into four main categories: warm, neutral, cool and olive. (More on the differences between these soon.)
« Without a good shade match, makeup will never look quite right, because a mismatched shade will go against the natural skin tone instead of complementing it. » Connor Newmanan Atlanta-based beautician and makeup artist, says SELF.
For example, if your skin has a cool undertone and you buy a warm-toned foundation, it will only accentuate the natural redness instead of concealing it. The same principle applies to concealers, which « are designed to undo the color of acne, dark circles under the eyes, hyperpigmentation, and other issues, » says Newman.
« The concealer should not only match your skin’s undertone, but also the undertone of the foundation that covers it, » says Newman. « Staying within the same family of color tones is essential for smooth application and an even look. »
Here, makeup pros explain the four types of undertones, how to find your skin tone, and their tips for choosing the best shade of foundation and other makeup to complement your unique skin tone.
What are the four skin tones?
Skin undertones fall into four basic categories: warm, neutral, cool, and olive, although some experts consider olive to be a subset of neutral-undertone skin.
As Frederick explains, people with warm complexions have peachy, yellow, and golden undertones, while cool-toned skin appears reddish or pink below the surface (although redness may be harder to see on darker skin tones). . Neutral skin tones have a mix of cool and warm types, and olive skin tones fall somewhere between warm and neutral, featuring creamy, beige, and light pink undertones.
The biggest mistake people make when trying to figure out if they have warm or cool undertones? Assuming everyone with fair skin has a cool undertone and everyone with dark skin has a warm one, Frederick says.
Take « a dark-skinned person like Gabourey Sidibe, who has a bluish undertone, » Frederick says. « Putting a warm rouge-based foundation on her would be a mistake. » Just like putting a cool colored foundation on Claire Danes fair but warm skin.
How can I determine the undertone of my skin?
If all this talk about color matching has you more confused than when you started reading this article, don’t worry: there are a few simple things you can do to determine your skin’s undertone.