What Are Skin Undertones and Why Do They Matter?

To get the best looks and effects from your makeup, you need to choose the products you use with care, so make sure to select the right foundation, lipstick, and so on to match your skin. Still, many people make the mistake of focusing only on their skin's tone, failing to understand the importance of their undertone. If you're not sure about what undertones are and how to determine skin undertone, read on for all the information you need.

If you've ever found a beautiful color of makeup in the store and then been disappointed when you got home and tried it on, it might be because you picked a product that wasn't quite right for your particular undertone, but what exactly is an undertone?

While your skin tone is all about the outer color of your skin, your skin undertone is actually the color that essentially comes from beneath the surface and influences the overall look and hue of your skin, giving it a certain warm glow or coolness.

This matters a great deal because certain skin undertones go much better with certain makeup products, like lipsticks and foundations, and if you want to get your very best look, you'll need to pick products that match just right with your precise undertone.

Skin Undertones

What Are the Different Skin Undertones?

Skin undertones are generally divided into three main categories:

  • Cool - Cool undertones are those which give off hints of pink or blue. People with this kind of skin undertone tend to burn more easily in the sun or find it hard to tan.
  • Warm - Warm undertones are at the other end of the spectrum from cool undertones. People with warm undertones tan easily, rarely burn, and have hues of gold or red in their skin. They may be described as having a natural glow.
  • Neutral - Neutral undertones are the halfway point between cool and warm. If you don't quite fit into either of the above categories, you probably have neutral undertones without any distinct warmth or coolness to your skin.

How to Find My Undertone

How to Find My Undertone

There are several different techniques you can use to figure out precisely what your undertone is:

  • Sun Reactions - As stated above, if you tan easily and never burn, you probably have warm undertones, but if you burn easily and find it hard to tan, your skin is most likely cool.
  • Neutral Tones - Put on a plain white T-shirt. If you feel like your skin looks yellowish, you may have warm undertones. If your skin seems rosy next to the white, you probably have cool undertones. Otherwise, you're probably neutral.
  • Veins - Look at your veins closely in natural light. Green veins are associated with warm undertones, while blue or purple veins are linked with cool undertones.
  • Jewelry - Cool undertone people tend to look best in silver jewelry, while those with warm undertones are well-suited to gold jewelry.

Undertone Makeup Matching Chart

As stated earlier, different colors of makeup work best with different undertones, so you need to think both about your skin's tone and its undertone in order to pick the perfect products. The following chart makes it easy to select the right colors for you.

Type of Makeup Cool Undertones Warm Undertones Neutral Undertones
Foundation Choose pink foundations and avoid yellowish products Yellow foundations work well on warm undertones Peach is a good choice for neutral people
Lipstick Use rose red, purple, and pink Opt for orange, brown, or coral-color lipsticks Bright red, cherry, or berry lipsticks are best
Eyeshadow Blue-colored eyeshadows will work best for you Earthy-colored eyeshadows like browns and greens go great with your undertone Almost any kind of eyeshadow can work for you, so try to pick something that suits your eye and hair color
Blush Opt for rosy pink and plum blush to balance out the coolness Peach and brown blush works best on warm undertones Peach or burgundy blush tends to work best