Ever wonder why two lipstick shades that look nearly the same actually look very different on you. One makes you look like Taylor Swift, and the other makes you look like this:
Photo courtesy of nowmagazine.co.uk
It’s because their undertones are different. When you wear a lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, or even sweater that has different undertones than your skin, it can look off. Sometimes it won’t even look bad, but you’ll notice you don’t pop and stand out like you might in other colors.
So, what in the hell in an undertone? For all intents and purposes, there are three tones you can have in your skin: Warm, neutral, or cool.
Warm Skin Tones:
Warm means you have more yellow in your skin. This might mean you have olive-toned or darker skin, but it by no means is restricted to these shades. You can be pale and still be more on the warm side. Take a look at some examples of ladies with warmer skin tones. One trick I’ve read is to refer to the veins on your arm. Do they appear more green than blue? Then you might be a warm. See these celebs for reference:
[Disclaimer: Some photos of celebs will look 100% warm, and then you’ll see another that looks 100% cool. Makeup, lighting, and styling all can alter our perception of a person’s undertone. So take these pictures at face value. View them strictly as they are here, even if you’ve seen them look warmer, cooler, more neutral. This is just a guide to help you get a sense of what I mean. So chillax, breh].
Photos courtesy of wikipedia.org, makeupforlife.com, beautyclue,com, thehairstyler.com
Neutral Skin Tones:
Neutral means, as it implies, you don’t really exhibit obvious warm or cool undertones. You can get away with a lot more colors. I’m definitely more of a neutral, and sometimes this can get annoying, because I don’t really have a ton of guidance when I step into the aisles of a department store, it can be a little daunting. Almost no one is 100% neutral. Perhaps more warm colors work on you or maybe more cool colors. Neutral skin tones really have to try on a lot of shades to figure out which colors will really complement their super subtle undertones. Here are some examples of neutral skin tones.
Photos courtesy of peinados.soloparachicas.net, youbeauty.com, atlantablackstar.com, twitter.com
Cool Skin Tones:
Cool skin tones have more of an icy feel, but that doesn’t mean you have to be super pale. This type of undertone is more blue-based (think pink, not yellow). The old adage is that, if the veins in your arm look blue, you’re cool. If they look green, you’re warm. Sometimes it’s hard to find celebrities with cool skin tones, because this tone isn’t really embraced often. Many people use bronzer to warm up their skin. Cool skin tones can look orange pretty quickly, but celebs get fake tans and have legions of makeup artists and stylists on their side to make even the iciest of tones look warm and glowy. Damn them! Here are some examples of cool ladies – well, cool-toned ladies. I mean, I’m sure they’re “cool” too. I’ll shut up now.
Photo courtesy of eonline.com, allure.com, hedgy.com, nhaiku.wordpress.com
Now that we’ve got that down, let’s discuss what to DO with that information. To help aid you in the search for makeup that will make you look your best, it’s usually a good rule to match the undertones of your makeup to your skin’s natural undertones. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes you can bend this rule and look great! I’m just saying, if you can’t try that lipstick on before you buy it (like at the drug store) or if you feel overwhelmed by the huge number of shades available to you (everyone raise their hands), then make sure the colors you wear are the SAME undertone as your skin’s undertone. Good rule of thumb that works for all color cosmetics, including nail polish (and clothes!).
Colors for Warm Skin Tones:
Colors for Neutral Skin Tones (Almost anything! You lucky dog):
Colors for Cool Skin Tones:
Now you have a better sense of what undertones you could have and what colors might work better on you. So get shoppin’, girl!