Saturday, September 10, 2011

Determining your SkinTONE.....

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.


  1. that was really helpfull!!!
    i tried looking at my veins (which seem to be blue) and i tried the paper method (where my skin seems to be more yellow) but i think blue looks pretty good on me too (i don't have an orange shirt for comparison) and my tan looks more brown than gold - so am i kind of neutral-yellow???
    greets juicynade

  2. Yeah, probably more neutral but i couldn't be sure without seeing you! xx

  3. This is both helpful and not at the same time. :/

    I'm beginning to think that my torso has yellow undertones and my lower body and neck/face area has pink. Any foundation that matches perfectly on my hand looks too yellow on my face.

    I hate silver to begin with but I think gold looks so much better on me. Also, I look better in earthy tones (browns and dull greens). Blue and purple look great, too, but I wear mostly black. Also, bright colors like orange, red, and yellow don't look very good at all. (I think)

    As for tanning, I burn before I can even say the word 'tan.' I even burnt once while I was in total shade outside.

    Got any ideas?

  4. Thank you for posting this! It was very useful! I think i'm yellow undertone, very pale and it's difficult to find a good (but not too expencive) foundation :( :(

  5. Hi Sabi, from what I can tell from your profile pic and the info above I'd say your more or less warm. Loads of people are a mix so it's quite common.

  6. This was very helpful but I'm still confused. I feel like I'm a warm because when I wear white my skin looks yellowish. My veins are green AND blue/purple. I really don't tan whatsoever, but I don't completely burn. My cheeks have a natural light pink blush but my hair and eyes are warm colours naturally (gold in them). Gold seems to suit me quite well, but silver necklaces make my neck area look pretty and palish. I've been complimented in red and especially yellow, but I've been told I look good in blue. Help?

  7. Foundations looks to yellow or to dark on my skin. I'm don't have a pale skin like the asian model and I tan but have itches and some parts of my body goes red. Is there a way to mix foundations for a better result?

    Sorry, english is not my native language

    1. Yes, most makeup artists mix foundations to get the perfect match for their clients so there's no reason why more people shouldn't do so for themselves! If foundations look too yellow on you try the pink toned ones or neutral, if you're not as fair as the first model then it shouldn't be too difficult to match you up. If your skin is very sensitive try a mineral powder foundation! x

  8. hi am very confused wat my skin tone is?,,i know am more on whitish side and have uneven skin. I have green vein but blue looks much better on me instead on orange and yellow too looks gud so wat kind of foundations should i use

  9. and i also wanted to say that my hand skin is similar to mix of centre shade and the lightest shade of olive displayed in the picture

  10. I love this! Most people don’t even know what skin tone they are… they just assume they are warm in they’re tan and cool if they’re pale, but that’s not true. I actually wrote a blog article that has some great tricks and tips. Check it out and let me know what you think!
    xoxo, WearToStandOut


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