With fall hitting us on the East coast like a ton of wonderful, orange & red, cozy, pumpkin-spice-scented bricks, the colors we’re wearing have never been more apparent. Our skin is looking paler, there’s less bright sun, and the dark, overcast days are casting a gray light on all of us.
It’s super important that we wear colors that complement and flatter our undertones, but it’s not as simple as “I have a warm undertone, so everything I have should be warm!” Rookie mistake, yo.
Kidding! We’ve all been there. Experimenting is how we find out what makes us look the way we prefer. Typically, we prefer to look awake, bright-eyed, healthy, even-toned, and vibrant. If you prefer to buck the trend and be a tad more off-the-beaten path, these tips may not be for you. Although… you could always do the OPPOSITE of what I say, and that could be good advice to get the aesthetic you want. Advice all around!
Here is a guide that I’ve created based on on my extensive (and often contradictory) reading from experts in the field as well as personal experience doing my makeup and that of others. Once again, beauty has been broken down for you:
When to go WITH your undertones:
You want to choose a product that has the same undertones as your skin color when it’s meant to look like a natural part of your face. Foundation and concealer are meant to be exactly the color of your skin and are just meant to even things out. So you definitely don’t want to put a cool-toned, pinky foundation all over warm, olive-y skin. You’ll look like a corpse. Vice versa if you’re cool and using a yellow-toned or more “tan” foundation. It’ll make you look like a tacky, orange, New Jersey Housewife. No no. Teresa Guidice you are not.
Same goes for blush. While blush is meant to stand out, it shouldn’t “compete”. Putting a cool blush on warm skin will look odd as the undertones try to compete. Trust me, your skin’s undertone will win and make the blush look like you maybe came down with a case of food poisoning. Ick.
When to go AGAINST your undertones:
So now that we know about matching our face makeup to our skin’s undertone, here’s where things get flipped on their head. And, yes, pun intended because we’re talking about hair.
You typically want your hair to be the opposite undertone that your skin is. I say typically because there are a lot of articles stating the opposite. I believe it’s different for different people because you have to take into account eye color as well. For example, my skin tone is neutral with a slightly cool undertone. My hair looks awesome in warm colors, ad my naturally ashy brown hair washes me out. I think that I desperately need a warm hair color, however, because my eye color is a warm mix of hazel and honey brown. My warm hair tone picks up the color in my eyes and it looks a helluvalot better.
So be sure to investigate both cool and warm colors, particularly if your skin’s undertone is more neutral an dnot obviously cool or warm. If the complementary method I’ve described work for you, then go with examples below:
- If you’re warm, get a cooler hair color like a platinum blonde, ash blonde, chestnut, espresso, mahogany red. These colors won’t compete with the warmth of your skin, which can make it look ruddy.
- If you’re cool, get a warmer color like a golden blonde, bronze, copper, chocolate brown, or amber. These colors will bring some life into your more porcelain complexion and won’t wash you out.
When to trial & error:
Honestly, I’ve read article after article, listicle after listicle, and taken quiz after quiz to see what lipsticks & shadows are my go-to’s. Hint: I’ve learned NOTHING.
I’ve discovered that warmer shades eyeshadows tend to look better with my warm eyes, warm hair, and neutral-cool skin. Meanwhile, on my lips, I have a little more leeway to try cooler shades.
TL;DR: Undertones are so much more than just matching or complementing. Your natural skin’s undertone, eye color, and choice of hair color all affect what colors look good on you. As far as I’ve seen, there are no quizzes or articles that take this level of detail into account (save maybe this one? HOLLA!). So you do need to experiment and really look at yourself. I know when I put on a cool gray shadow, my eyes look tired. When I put on to pink of a lip, I look like a sex-doll gone wrong (do they ever go right, though?).