When talking about skin tone we are referring to the undertone which isn't necessarily the obvious colouring you first see on a persons face, but rather the overall base colour that is there under the flushing & blushing.
Regardless of race, there will always be light, medium & dark skin colouring. And regardless of shade & race, most people fall into either a cool or warm skintone.
(Of course there is neutral also which falls somewhere roughly in the middle of the spectrum)
*Very pale people can literally be almost white, basically neutral but most lighter people will have either a little (or a lot) pink (particularly people of celtic heritage. ie. Irish, scottish etc) in their skin or a little yellow. This will read more creamy in very light skin.
*Korean model (Let me know if ye know her name); NEUTRAL pale skin
Evan Rachel Wood; PINK undertone
Scarlet Johansson; YELLOW undertone
*I find that it's easier to distinguish between the skin-tones that are more medium as there's more pigment in the skin to read from.
Katie Perry; PINK undertone
Hayden Panettiere; YELLOW undertone
Darker colourings also fall into warm & cool, but not only yellow & pink. Some like Native Americans can have more red in their skin, Mediterranean people can often have olive skin tones which can have an actual olive(greenish) tinge to the yellow in their skin. And some of the darkest African skins can have an almost blue undertone.
Jada Pinkett Smith; PINK/RED undertone
Halle Berry; YELLOW/GOLD undertone
Alex Wek; Very dark/cool undertone & Iman; Neutral undertone
The majority fall into pink & yellow however.
MAC Cosmetics break their foundations into cool & warm shade groups, NC & NW.
NC = Neutral Cool = Yellow based
NW = Neutral Warm = Pink based
*(The Pro range also have Neutral, Cool (slightly more olive), and Warm (more pink beige))
This often confused most people as all other makeup companies etc say the exact opposite when referring to cool & warm. ie.
Cool = Pink
Warm = Yellow
So to try and avoid confusion I will just refer to the 2 main tones as pink & yellow.
* Tends to suit pure white better than Ivory.
* Silver jewelry compliments this tone more than gold.
* Suits Jewel tones; Blues, greens, pink, purple, ruby etc
* Very pale of this tone often don't tan, but those who do tend to turn a bronze/brown shade.
* Suits Ivory more than white.
* Looks better in Gold jewelry than silver.
* Suits earth tones; Yellows, Oranges, warm browns, warm reds etc
* Those with a yellow undertone tan to a golden shade.
Testing for your skin-tone.....
1. Check the veins on the underside of your arms. If they appear a greenish colour, it's because of yellow in your skin. Other wise you're probably more pink.
*However.... this isn't accurate in very pale people who don't have enough pigment in their skin, or in very dark skin.
2. Hands are often a dead giveaway as to what your skin tone is as we have more sun exposure to here & skin is thicker (holds more colour).
3. Hold a white sheet of paper up against your face in natural day light and look in a mirror. The contrast against the pure white should make the yellow/pink in your skin more obvious.
4. Wear a blue shirt, and then try on an orange shirt. Whichever one looks 'wrong' on is probably the opposite of your tone. The blue will suit people with a pink undertone better & the orange will suit the yellow skin better.
5. And if all else fails.... Go to a makeup counter, get professional advise which is free and available from almost any counter in department stores.