Makeup Basics: How to Determine Your Skin's Undertone

Friday, June 01, 2012

Hi guys! I'm doing another makeup basics post today, this time of the ever elusive 'How to determine the undertone of your skin'.

I'm not going to go too far into details because it is unnecessary as far as makeup goes. This post is simply for you to find out what kind of makeup you should purchase, and what will complement your skin tone best!

First off, here is what you will need:
  1. A mirror/camera (I find that cameras work best because you can look at the pictures side by side to compare them.
  2. Bright natural light
  3. A white towel or shirt
  4. A hair tie
  5. Two pieces of paper with the following prints:

      6.   One piece of silver aluminium foil
      7.   One piece of golden foil

This is the easiest way to find out your skin's undertone. Pull all your hair back and cover your clothes with a white towel, or simply put on a white shirt.

Then, hold one of the pieces of paper up against your face, and take a picture of yourself. Here, I am using a blanket because I happened to have a very cool-toned and a very warm-toned blanket (how convenient!)  :)

As you can see in the picture above, my face overall looks more healthy and glowing in the second picture, indicating a warm undertone.

This isn't conclusive, because you still want to find how warm-toned you are, because that will then tell you what kinds of makeup colours will suit your face the best.

Now, use the gold and silver pieces of foil.

As you can see in the pictures above, my face doesn't show any difference in overall health and radiance, no matter which foil I hold up against my face.

This means that my skin has an overall warm undertone, but leaning towards a neutral undertone. This means that I can wear cool-toned makeup (but not overly cool! Think high-shimmer pastels) as well as warm-toned makeup.

Foundation and Concealer
It is very important to choose a foundation that matches your undertone, because a mismatching foundation can look extremely weird on the skin. Concealer is a different story altogether, because depending on what you are trying to conceal, you might need different colours to offset your flaws.

As far as eyeshadows go, I don't believe that there are any rules as to what colours you should or shouldn't wear. However, sometimes eyeshadow that is too cool-toned can make warm-toned skin look washed out and vice versa, so a great way to counteract that is to run a warm or cool-toned brown eyeshadow (warm if you're warm-toned, and cool if you're cool-toned) into your crease. This ties the whole eye look together and helps the makeup blend into your skin.

There are no rules when it comes to blush either, but I have to say that a good blush can do wonders for your skin! Jennifer Aniston is the perfect example of the perfect blush!

Jennifer Aniston is warm-toned. Her blush always has dark, plum/mauve undertones, or terracotta/coral undertones to suit her skin, and it always complements her skin and makes her face look absolutely radiant.
If you are cool-toned, look for blushes with bluish pink undertones, or cool lavender undertones.

I think with lipstick, it is important to use a lipstick that complements your natural undertone when you are at extreme ends of the spectrum. When choosing red/dark lipsticks, follow your undertone. Cool undertones should choose lipsticks that have a blue/purple undertone, and warm undertones should pick red lipsticks with more of an orange/coral hue. The same goes with choosing nude lipsticks. Here are some very rough examples of warm vs. cool lipstick colours:

Warm hues on the left, and cool hues on the right.

Medium shades are usually pretty easy to wear no matter what the undertone, so again, it is just a matter of preference and experimenting. Don't be afraid to try out diffferent colours and break the 'rules'.

There are no strict rules when it comes to makeup, but choosing the right colours can help complement your skintone and boost your radiance. But always, always keep in mind that you are meant to have fun with makeup! There are to strict rules and sometimes the 'wrong' colour could look absolutely amazing on you!

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