What Are Skin Undertones?

a woman arm showing different shades of liquid foundation

There is a big possibility that you're not wearing the proper foundation shade. You may never notice this or not see it until you're looking back at pictures. The problem could be that while you picked the correct shade, you didn't get the right undertone. 

Your skin tone is a major factor when selecting makeup that fits you. However, it can be difficult to determine your exact undertone. There are makeup artists and professionals that can help you figure it out. There are also tips and tricks you can do at home to discover your skin’s undertone. 

We are going to go over what the main undertones are and how you can figure which one is yours. 

The Traditional Undertones

There is a large variety of skin shades, but there are only three different undertones. The undertone is the hue that shows through the skin's outer layer. 

The undertones are warm, cool, and neutral. People with different complexions (fair, medium, dark) can fall into any of these three categories. You can have the exact same skin shade as someone else but have completely different undertones. Similarly, you can have fair skin and have the same undertone as people with deeper skin tones. 

Cool Undertones: People with cool undertones have more red, pink, and blue hues below the surface of their skin.  

Warm Undertones: People with warm undertones have more yellow, gold, and peach hues in their overall complexion. 

Neutral Undertones: Some people are not cool or warm. They fall somewhere in the middle and have neutral undertones. It is a mixture of cool and warm. 

Your undertone isn't supposed to be obvious. It is a subtle natural color to your skin. 

Undertones are the subtle natural color below the surface of your skin. While the shade of your skin can change, depending on how much time you spend in the sun, your undertone never changes. So even if you are several shades darker after a beach vacation, your undertone hasn't changed at all. 

You may start to notice these blue or yellow hues to your skin now that you know what they're there. 

Why You Should Figure Out Your Undertone

While trying to decide which of the three undertones you have, it will be worth it in the long run. There are several beneficial reasons you should want to know your undertone. 

Selecting the Right Foundation

As we touched on earlier, you need to know your undertone to select the perfect foundation shade.

Foundations are split into different categories based on skin shades and then divided into subcategories based on skin undertone. You'll need to know your shade and undertone to choose the ideal foundation that closely resembles your actual skin. You may need to use a different formula depending on your skin type. 

If you only know your shade but not your undertone, it will be a guessing game. People often guess wrong and end up with a face of makeup that doesn't look as good as it could. Plus, you don't want to spend your money on a product only to realize later that it isn't a match. 

Avoid Harsh Makeup Lines

You may end up with a harsh makeup line if you use a foundation that doesn't match. You want your foundation to blend with your natural skin seamlessly. You've probably noticed a foundation line on someone's jaw or neck before, and that's no good. 

The line makes your makeup look like a mask on your face. If you choose the right foundation shade and undertone, you won't run the risk of having a harsh line. 

A Natural Look

A foundation and concealer with your undertone are crucial to achieving the no-makeup makeup look. When you have a foundation that doesn't match your skin, it isn't going to look natural and is going to stand out.

If you want to achieve a natural look, you need a foundation that closely matches your skin. Understanding your undertone will also help you pick the best eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick shades that pair best with your skin tone. 

Tips and Tricks To Discover Your Undertone

There are several tips and tricks you can try to discover your undertone

Here is a list of things you can try: 

Look at Your Tan

The way your skin reacts to the sun can be a good indicator of your undertone. People with cooler undertones often burn easily or develop a rosy-looking tan rather than a golden tan. 

On the contrary, warmer undertones tans look more golden, caramel, or have an olive skin hue. If your skin doesn't have a specific hue after sun exposure and it burns and tans equally, you most likely have a neutral undertone. 

When looking at the color of your skin, you can also use jewelry to determine undertones. Does gold jewelry or silver jewelry look better with your color palette? Those with cool skin tones typically look better with silver, while those with warm skin tones (or yellow undertones or olive undertones) look better with gold. 

White Paper Test

Another tip is to compare your skin to a white piece of paper. You can hold up the white paper next to your skin in bright natural light and look in the mirror. 

You have cooler undertones if you feel like your skin has a pinkish hue compared to the paper. However, if your skin looks yellow, you have warmer undertones. If you don't see a noticeable tint, you may have neutral undertones. 

Look at Your Veins

You can also take a close look at your veins to determine your undertone. People with purple and bluish-looking veins have cool tones. Look at the inside of your wrist to determine the vein color. 

People with greenish-looking veins generally have warmer undertones. You may be thinking, "There's no way my veins are green!" But take a closer look. It's not going to be a bold, emerald green, just a very subtle green hue. 

If you can't see a noticeable color in your veins, you may have neutral undertones. 

Use Your Hair and Eye Color

While it's not a foolproof method of determining your skin tone, your eye and hair color may help you make a close approximation. People that have lighter hair and eyes have a cool or neutral undertone usually. In comparison, people with darker hair and eyes have a warm undertone. 

There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, some people with light skin have warm undertones, and others with darker skin can have cool undertones. You can combine this test as an extra step when using other options to determine your undertone. 

Foundation To Match Your Undertone

Once you know what your undertone is, it's time to find a foundation with that hue. 

Most makeup companies have a variety of shades under each undertone. At HIDE, we list our undertones as golden (warm), rosy (cool), and neutral. We have 20 different shades that pair with these three undertones. You will find the perfect combination for your skin! 

HIDE Premium Foundation is oil-free, and you can achieve medium to full coverage. The liquid formulation allows you to easily blend it with your skin. 

However, there are some tell-tale signs if you select the wrong undertone.  

When you get your foundation, do a test patch on your neck or jawline. Allow the foundation to dry completely and look at it under natural light. 

If the foundation seems yellow, you probably have a cool undertone and are using a foundation for people with warm colors. If your skin seems pale and white, you may have warm undertones and are using a foundation for people with cool colors. If you're using a foundation for neutral skin tones and it leaves you with a greyish hue, you have a warm undertone. 

You can sample a few different shades in a color pallet by swatching them side by side to compare how they look on your skin. 

How To Apply Your Foundation

Once your foundation is tested, it's time to apply it to your skin. 

Before you put any makeup on, though, make sure you're starting with a clean and hydrated base. Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser and apply a moisturizer to prepare your skin for makeup. It will ensure you have a smooth surface to apply your makeup. 

Next, grab the right tools for applying the foundation. A liquid foundation can be applied with a brush or a damp makeup sponge. You always want your sponge to be wet, so it's soft and doesn't absorb a bunch of product. 

Apply your foundation and either use a brush to blend it out or a sponge by dabbing it over your face. Make sure you are blending your foundation past your jawline and onto your neck. This step will ensure there isn't even a hint of a makeup line.

 If you feel like you need extra coverage, reach for a concealer. You may need a few different shades, one lighter one for your under-eyes and one that's your exact shade for covering blemishes. Blend out the concealer by pressing it into your skin with your makeup sponge. 

Finally, set your makeup with translucent powder or setting spray, and you're done with your base!

In Summary

Knowing what your undertone is will be very beneficial. If you are unsure what yours is, you can try some of the helpful tips and tricks we went over. 

Once you know you're undertone, you will be able to select the perfect foundation. HIDE offers many different combinations of shades and tones so that you can find the right one for you!



Skin Undertones Guide: Is Your Skin Warm, Cool, or Neutral? | Byrdie

How to Identify Your Skin's Undertone With 4 Quick Methods - 2021 | Master Class

Skin Undertones Chart: Warm, Cool, Neutral, Pink, Yellow, and More | Healthline

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