Are You Cool or Warm? How to Determine Your Skins Undertone

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

It’s all in the undertones. Your skin’s undertone, that is.

While your skin colour can change (it can tan or become red, for example), your undertone (the colour right beneath the surface) doesn’t. It always remains either cool, warm, or neutral.

Why take the time to figure out what yours is?

When you know your undertone, you can easily choose the shades that enhance your skintone. Say bye bye to colours that make you look sick and washed out, and hello to flattering hues that always make you look your best!

But how do you figure out what your undertone is and what colours best suit it? Here are a few tips to help you:

How To Determine Your Skin’s Undertone

There isn’t one quick way to determine your skin’s undertone. The best way is to do a series of tests. Take pen and paper and create two columns, one cool and one warm. Don’t worry about neutral for now. We’ll get to it later.

Here are the rules. Do one test at a time, and write down the outcome in the right column. For more precise results, do them in natural light and with a clean, bare face.

Ready? Lets’ get started:

1.Veins Test

Look at the veins on your inner wrist. What colour are they?

  • Mostly blue: You’re cool-toned.
  • Mostly green: You’re warm-toned.

Don’t worry if you can’t tell. That’s why you need to take more than one test to make sure what your undertone is.

2. Jewellery Test

Grab two pieces of jewellery, one gold and the other one silver. If you don’t have them, use gold and silver eyeliner. Works just as well.

Wear first one and then the other. Which one suits you best?

  • Gold makes you look glowy: You are warm-toned.
  • Silver is more flattering on you: You’re cool-toned.
3. White Fabric Test

Before doing this test, remove all your makeup. Now, take a piece of white fabric (it can be a scarf, a t-shirt, or a random piece of cloth) and wrap it around your face.

If you don’t have one at hand, you can hold a white piece of paper near your bare face. It’ll do the trick too.

The white colour of the fabric (or piece of paper) will reflect the tone of your skin. Look at it carefully.

  • If your skin looks more yellow: You have warm undertones.
  • If your skin looks more blueish: You have cool undertones.
4. Tan Or Burn Test

Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the beach or a tanning salon to do this test. Just think about what happens when you get some sun exposure.

  • If your skin tan easily: Chances are, you have warm undertones.
  • If you burn easily or are unable to tan at all: You probably have cool undertones.
5. Genetic Test

No, you don’t need to do any medical tests, don’t worry. Just look at yourself in the mirror. Your looks may help you figure out your undertone too.

There are many exceptions, here. But, people who are warm-toned usually have yellow undertones in their skin; brown, green and hazel eyes; and brown, red and black hair.

(If you’re Asian, the above statement doesn’t apply to you. It’s easy to think that, because you have surface yellowness in your skin you are warm-toned, but you may actually be neutral- or even cool-toned. Read this guide to find out for sure).

People who are cool-toned instead, usually have pink undertones and a rosy look; blue or grey eyes; and blonde, brown or black hair.

Still Confused? You May Be Neutral-Toned

If you’ve completed all the tests above, you’ve noticed that not all your results have neatly fallen into one column. One test says you are warm-toned, another cool-toned, and another one that you are both warm- and cool-toned! So confusing!

And perfectly normal. The same happened to me. I look good both in silver and gold jewelry and my veins are both green and blue. I tend to burn easily and that’s a cool trait, but then that could be because my skin is very fair? It’s totally possible to have fair skin that’s warm toned and dark skin that’s cool toned, after all… Are you still with me?

The thing is, no skintone is either cool or warm, but a blend of both. It’s just that in some people, the warm tones are more obvious, while in others, the cool ones prevail.

If neither prevails, you are neutral-toned.

What Makeup Colors Best Suit Your Skin Undertone?

Now that you know what your skin’s undertone is, you can easily choose shades that best flatter it. Here’s a quick guide to help you:

Best Makeup Colours For Cool Undertones

For the lips, choose reds with blue undertones, cool pinks, mauve and burgundy. On the eyes, use silver, grey, white, pink and jewel tones (such as sapphire and emerald). On the cheeks, cool pinks and rosy blushes. What about foundation? Pick one that’s either neutral or pink-based.

Best Makeup Colours For Warm Undertones

Choose eyeshadows in earthy tones such as brown, olive, orange, yellow, bronze and copper. Gold is a great option too. For the lips, use orange-based reds and apricot, peachy shades. On the cheeks, use coral or peachy blushes. And your foundation should be either yellow-based or peach-based.

Best Makeup Colours For Neutral Undertones

If you have neutral undertones, lucky you! You can wear every colour under the sun, and always look amazing.

Are you cool-, warm- or neutral-toned? Let me know in the comments below.

Read more on: skin


Start your journey to healthy skin in 2 minutes

You May Like