Warm, Cool & Neutral: How To Identify the Skin’s Undertones and Pick the Right Foundation

Warm, Cool & Neutral: How To Identify the Skin’s Undertones and Pick the Right Foundation

The right foundation can make us look great and flawless or overly made up. Knowing our undertone can help us find the perfect match.

Source: Getty Images | Photo by puhhha

What even is an undertone and why do we need to find it? The undertone is the natural colors under the surface of our skin and it holds the key to finding the right foundation as well as the color palette best suited for us. When we know our unique undertone it can help us enhance our natural beauty. The undertone isn't the same as your natural skin tone, as per Healthline.


Traditionally, there are three undertones: warm, cool, and neutral. People with dark skin can have cool undertones and those with fair skin can have warm ones. "Skin tone can change over time for a variety of reasons, but undertones remain constant (yes, even when you tan). Understanding your undertone is the difference between a flawless makeup application and looking too made-up," said Tiffany Torrence, licensed aesthetician, makeup artist, and founder of the Skin and Body Klinic, to Essence.


There are certain ways to find your undertone. You could try finding yours at home or visit an aesthetician or consult with a beauty expert. If you want to do it by yourself, here are some ways to find it.

1. The color of your veins test



"If your veins appear to be green, it’s safe to say that you have more warm undertones," suggested Kourtney Willis, aesthetician of Downtown Dermatology in Columbus, Ohio. "If they are bluish and purple in color, then you have more cool undertones."

To test for neutral undertone, your veins may appear colorless or they might match the color of your skin, as per Healthline.


2. The jewelry test 


Some people look good in silver jewelry while others look good in gold jewelry. That's because it suits your particular undertone. If traditional yellow gold looks good on you, then you are likely to have warm or olive undertones. Whereas silver, platinum, and rose gold usually look better on those with cooler undertones. However, if you look good in both then, then you may have neutral undertones.


3. The apparel test


One of the best ways to find out your undertone is to wear something neutral-colored like black or white. If true white looks good on you, then you are likely to have cooler undertones. However, off-white will look better on warm undertones. Similarly, black is more likely to look good on cooler tones while brown and tan would look better on warm tones. Someone with a neutral undertone will look good in all colors.


Now that you have a better idea of how to find your undertone, here are the different undertones and the right foundation that go with it: 

1. Cool undertone


If you have a cool undertone, then look for a foundation that looks slightly pink in the bottle. It is better to avoid yellowish foundations since it will make cool skin tones look sallower. Pro-tip: Hold a piece of white paper next to your face and look at yourself in the mirror, suggests Maybelline. Does your face seem to be a rosy blush? Then you should avoid yellowish foundations. 


2. Warm undertone


If you have a warm undertone, then look for a foundation that looks slightly yellow in the bottle. Make-up artist Lauren Gott told Allure a pro-tip to remember. "Skin tones can change with the season due to sun exposure," says Gott, "yet undertones generally remain the same." So, we might have to find a foundation one or two shades lighter or darker depending on the season.

3. Neutral undertone


Those with neutral undertones look better in foundation shades that are neither overly yellow nor pink. Instead, they should look for a combination of both. A peach foundation is likely to work best for neutral tones. Pro-tip: "Pick one shade that matches your skin tone from both the warm and cool undertones," Torrence told Essence. "The shade that disappears in the skin is a match. Just remember to test your foundation color on your lower neck and chest area."