Undertones

Quiz:Choose the Correct Foundation for Your Skin Tone

Knowing your skin's undertone is the first step in choosing the right shades and colors for your eyes, lips and hair.

Discover Your Undertone

Makeup experts break undertones into three distinct categories: cool, warm and neutral.

  • A pale, rosy, ebony, or dark-red cast to skin usually indicates that you have a cool tone.
  • Warm, yellow, golden, and honey tones usually lend themselves to a warm undertone.
  • If you have a blend of both, or are more olive toned, then you have a neutral undertone to your skin.

Still having trouble deciding what your tone is? Then take a look at your eye color. If you have blue or green eyes, then there's a good chance you have a cool tone to your skin. Do you have warm brown eyes, or hazel? Then it's more likely you have a warm tone.

Another good indicator of tone is how easily one tans. If you tan easily, chances are you have a warm tone. If you are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, unable to tan at all, then you more than likely have a cool tone.

Lipsticks

Now that you've decided on your skin's undertone, it is time to start thinking about what colors work best on you. Since lipstick changes are not permanent, it is the perfect way to begin exploring your best color choices.

  • Cool toned gals look best in lip colors that have a bluish cast or sheen. These are your blue reds, and cool pinks. Colors like burgundy, mauve, and tulip would work well.
  • If you are warm toned, try Bobbi Brown's Redwood, Warm Apricot or Putty.
  • And if neutral shades work best on your coloring, try Bobbi Brown's Toasted Pink, or Rose. Laura Mercier's Pomegranate, is a shade that works very well with a neutral tone.

Hair

Hair color is a fast, easy, and non-evasive way of updating your look. Further, changing your hair color is a relatively inexpensive way of expressing your current personality, or style.

  • Cool blond tones like champagne or light ash blonde may work well. If you're trying to go darker, think about colors like light brown and dark brown to compliment your skin tone.
  • If on the warmer end of the spectrum, try shades like medium golden blonde, or medium golden brown to enhance your honey coloring.
  • Consider yourself lucky if you're neutral in color. You can easily experiment with blonde, red or brown shades. The best way to proceed is look for packages that actually say whether the color inside the box is neutral, warm, etc. If you're going to the salon, then simply tell your stylist that you are only interested in neutral shades.

Eye Shadows

Nothing makes your eyes look better than a skillful application of eye shadow. Quality eye shadows should last throughout the day, and are a good alternative to eyeliners, which can sometimes appear harsh on tired eyes. The right eye shadow will lend itself to a soft, pretty look.

The Eye Shadow For You
Skin Tone Eye Shadow
Cool Try azure colors with names like deep sea blue. Think about using a blue mint in the crease of the eyelid, and bone on the brow bone.
Warm The best bet here are colors like bamboo or apricot. For a more dramatic look, try violet shades like purple. If adventurous, try shades like moss.
Neutral Try Laura Mercier's Burgundy and shades of espresso and cement.

Putting It All Together

There is no doubt we all want to dress, feel, and look our best. The first step in that direction is to figure out your undertone. Once you have that knowledge in hand, you can easily begin to pull shades from particular color families together to enhance, not detract, from your look. The key is to stick with your particular tone. For example, if you have a cool tone, stay away from the warmer colors like honey brown and deep green. Instead, think of picking a cool navy blue to compliment your coloring. This same vein of logic applies to the warm and neutral skin tones. Sticking to your particular color family can yield equally beautiful results.

Undertones