Understanding Skin Undertones: How To Find The Perfect Makeup

Lisa Kovner

Posted on October 16 2020

Understanding Skin Undertones: How To Find The Perfect Makeup

For far too many years, women tried and failed to find a makeup that properly matched their natural complexion, going off skin tone as a point of reference — but the time-old makeup-matching problem may have been with the method and not with the beauty product itself.

What is skin undertone?

And how can you determine which of the three primary undertone categories you fall into? We’ve got you covered better than your favorite concealer. Read on in this beauty guide from Viola Rouge to find out your undertone, and be sure to take our quiz to Pick Your Perfect Shade here. Once you do, you’ll never have to worry about picking the wrong lipstick shade again!

Understanding Your Skin's Undertone: Know The Main Types

Contrary to popular belief, your skin’s undertone matters much more than its surface-level hue when it comes to accurately picking a flattering shade of makeup.

As the name suggests, a skin undertone refers to the color of one’s complexion underneath the top-most layers of skin. Much like the color wheels you may have studied in elementary school, skin undertones come in three different classes of “temperature” intensity: warm, cool, and neutral.

Warm Undertones

Skin types with warm undertones appear in a spectrum of sun-kissed hues including peach, pastel orange, and coral, all the way to yellow, reddish bronze, and gold. 

Cool Undertones

These chill undertones usually present themselves as pinkish and bluish colors, which also includes intermediary shades such as purple, navy, and maroon. 

Neutral Undertones

If you consider yourself to be one of those enviable people who can wear virtually anything and look great, then you may be a neutral undertone, which means that your undertone is the same or virtually indistinguishable from your surface-level skin color.

If none of the above seem to fully describe your skin tone, you’re likely an olive. What exactly does this mean? Basically, if your skin has elements of neutral, warm, and cool elements, or if your veins have a general grayish-steel color to them, then you’re probably an olive undertone. This means you can wear certain colors and shades from every category across the spectrum!  Lucky!

How To Find Your Skin Undertone

There are a number of ways to determine which of the three undertone categories you fall into. One of the best ways to do so is simply by looking at your veins, which most people can find and see relatively easily in their hands, feet, wrists, and/or inner arms. Your undertone, depending on whether it’s cool, neutral, or warm, acts sort of like a colored photo filter or a piece of stained glass — so the color of your veins, when looked at from the surface, can give you an indication of what your below-the-surface coloring might be. Pretty cool, right?

  • Cool undertones tend to have a bluish or purplish vein appearance. 
  • Neutral undertones may have virtually invisible veins or veins that appear to match the color of their outermost skin.
  • Warm undertones are generally characterized by greenish to yellow-greenish veins.

Still not sure you know your undertone? No worries. There’s a few more ways to tell.

Assess Your Accessories

We’re not talking about judging your jewelry — well, not quite. The type of metal accessories you tend to look best in can give you a great indication of what your undertone might be. If you find yourself attracted most to gold, you may be either a warm or a neutral. If your jewelry box is full of a variety of mixed metals including silver, platinum, and rose gold, then you’re probably in the cooler undertone category. 

Compare Clothing With Complexion

Everyone has colors of clothing they prefer to wear and shades that people say they look best in, so take a peek in your wardrobe and note which items you wear the most — or the ensembles that get you the most compliments! Stick to neutral colors for simplicity’s sake, and start comparing your complexion to black, nude, and white garments.

If that traditional white tee comes to mind as a closet staple, you might have a cool undertone. But if beige and off-white are your go-to neutrals, then you’re probably somewhere on the warmer side. Black also tends to play well off cooler tones, whereas brown and dark earth tones are more flattering for warm undertones. And as you might expect, those with a neutral skin undertone can wear all of the above with little to no worry of a fashion faux pas. 

Choose The Makeup That Matches Your Undertone

Now that you know what skin undertone is and how to identify yours, it’s time for the fun part: picking your perfect shade of Viola Rouge lipstick! Simply click one of the following links below to find the makeup collection that suits you best. If you’re still not sure which one is right for you, take our skin undertone quiz to get some fast feedback!

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