Creating the Right Makeup Looks for Your Skin Undertone

how undertone affects your style
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When you’re trying to create makeup looks suited to your preferences, you have to take a lot of factors into account. Obviously, certain aspects will have to do with your specific tastes and preferences. Someone with a more natural, understated look will want to try different makeup than someone who prefers to really wow people with their makeup.

However, if you’re not very well-versed in makeup, you might not know all the things you need to take into account. Your skin undertone is an important part of creating the right makeup look. How do you keep it in mind when you create your everyday makeup routine?

Determining Your Skin Undertone

First off, you need to determine your skin undertone. No matter your skin shade, which refers to how light or dark your skin is, you’ll also have an undertone, which describes the tint of your skin. Typically, you’ll find three skin undertones: warm, cool and neutral. Most people will fall into either warm or cool.

A tried and true way of determining your undertone is to look at the veins on your wrists. Veins transport deoxygenated blood, which means the blood is almost purplish. If it’s filtered through skin with a warm undertone, it’ll look green; if filtered through skin with a cool undertone, it’ll look blue or purple. Neutral tones will often showcase a mix of the two or a color somewhere in the middle.

Understanding the Impact of Your Skin Undertone

Now that you know your skin undertone, why does it matter? In general, your skin undertone matters because many products offer different shades for different undertones. If you have a warm undertone and you use a product for cool undertones, you’ll probably look washed-out and even sickly because it doesn’t match the rest of your skin.

Your skin undertone may also play a part in the colors you choose for the rest of your makeup. As you might expect, people with cool undertones tend to take more to blue and purple colors, while people with warm undertones tend to take more to red and yellow colors. Cool undertones also tend toward preferring silver accents, while warm undertones tend to prefer gold accents.

Discovering the Right Makeup for Your Shade and Undertone

When determining the right makeup for you, it’s important that you take into account both your shade and undertone. Any skin shade can rock any sort of makeup, but you may need to adjust certain products to make sure they show up properly. For example, certain types of sunscreen may lend an ashy tint to darker skin, so it’s important to find the right sunscreen.

This is especially important when it comes to your foundation and concealer. Most foundations nowadays come in a variety of both shades and undertones. Two people can have the same skin shade but have different undertones, which will make a big difference when it comes to choosing a product. You need to make sure you’re using one for your specific undertone.

Playing With Tertiary Colors and Styles

If you want to play around with something new, consider tertiary colors, a concept that has to do with color theory. These colors are mixes between certain primary and secondary colors. People with warm tones who want to try out a cooler concept, for example, may benefit strongly from the tertiary color red-purple, which keeps elements of warm red while introducing a bit of cool blue.

Choosing a different style may also help. After all, many stylists spend years in graphic design school to understand how best to combine different colors. If you choose a piece with matching warm and cool colors, you may be able to rock both, regardless of your skin tone.


Determining your skin undertone
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Remember that most recommendations for different undertones are just that: recommendations. You don’t have to stick to these recommendations like gospel. If you have a cool undertone, but you think you look great in red, go for it. It’s all about taking advantage of whatever gives you confidence personally.

If you’ve always been the go-to for your friends to understand these color theory concepts, you might have what it takes to turn that knowledge into a career. Consider looking into the cosmetology program at Ogle School. You may just be naturally inclined to pursuing this color matching skill as a full-time job.

About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.