Knowing Your Skin Undertone – Why is it Important?

So far, I’ve read a copious number of articles relating to skin undertone and tips on how to find yours. However, none of them seem to be explaining why it is important for you to know your undertone and in what ways it can be a real game changer.

The importance of knowing your undertone.

Have you ever bought a red lipstick that looks gorgeous on your friend only to find that it looks horrendous on you or bought a dress only to put it aside after a few futile attempts at wearing it? You can’t quite place it, but some colours simply don’t suit you. Well, not so fast. It’s not really the colour which is an issue. It is the undertone of a colour which you have to take into consideration.

What undertone you are, will determine what colours suit you well. Obviously, rules are made to be broken. But knowing what the rules actually are will help you a long way towards reaching a stage where you’re comfortable breaking them.

The difference between skintone and undertone.

Skin tone refers to the skin’s shade at the surface, so from ivory to ebony and everything in between.

Undertone, on the other hand, refers to the underlying hue of someone’s skin. There are 3 undertones; cool, warm and neutral. Regardless of what skin tone you are, you could be warm, cool or neutral. It is a MYTH that people with paler skin tones are cool and people with darker skin tones are warm.

Now, a cool undertone will usually have the a hue/tinge of red or blue coming through, whereas a warm undertone will usually have yellow, green or golden undertones coming through.

For example, you can be ebony with red undertones (cool) or golden undertones (warm).

You can also fall in the ‘neutral’ category – meaning that the skin is colour-balanced and can, therefore, get away with wearing both cool shades and warm shades.

So how do you figure out what undertone YOU are? You can read this quick guide to find out.

Why should you Know your Undertone? 

It’s not only you who has an undertone. ALL colours have an undertone too. They can be divided in 2 categories. Warm colours and cool colours.

Wearing the wrong undertone (be it in your makeup or in your clothes) will make you…not look your best. We all have those mornings where we’re just not happy with our outfits. More often than not, it’s got to do with wearing colours with the wrong undertone.

So ultimately, knowing what undertone you are, will help you buy the right clothes and wear the right clothes. This means less mindless spending, less wastage, less clutter and less bad looks. And whole lot more of confidence.

So what’s the rule? 

It’s pretty simple…until you make it complicated. But for now, let’s stick to simple. If your skin is of a warm undertone, gravitate towards the warm colours, especially when it comes to your face and the upper area of your body. If you’re cool, you guessed it, stick to cool colours.

Let’s make it Complicated 

Unfortunately, colour theory can get complicated.

Here we go.

You know how we said that ALL colours have an undertone. Well you can change any colour to make it warm or cool. So, theoretically, there isn’t a colour you can’t wear.

Let’s take blue. That’s cool, right? Let’s add a bit of yellow to it. It’s now a slightly warmer colour. It will become a blue-green colour. And if you’re warm, you can totally pull that off.

Let’s go to the yellows. Yellow is warm, but if you add a tinge of blue to it, it’s now cooler. The more blue you add, the more you’ll reach a green-blue colour.

This makes it complicated because it takes a trained eye to ascertain whether a colour has yellow in it or blue.

Undertones make Foundations Complicated

If you are pale (but warm), it is recommended that you choose foundations which have very subtle peach (pinkish-yellow) tones and if you are cool (and pale), choosing foundations with slightly pink tones might be a better option.

Usually, the darker the skin is, the deeper the warmth/coolness of your skin will be. So for a person of medium skin tone, they will either have yellow undertones (warm) or pink undertones (cool). A person of very deep, rich skin colour will have very yellow/golden undertones (warm) or red/blue undertones (cool).

Applying a neutral-toned foundation on a warm-toned person will usually result in the skin throwing off the red/blue/cool tones and looking slightly off-balanced.

When it comes to other forms of makeup, understanding the concept of undertones can be quite handy too. For example, if you are warm toned, a red lipstick with an orange hue might complement you better and if you are cool toned, a red lipstick with a blue base might be best suited.

While a cool toned nude with a very beigy-tone might look dead-dropping gorgeous on a cool-toned person, it gives me warm-toned) that corpse-look which I’m not really a fan of. If you are warm-toned, wearing a nude lipstick with a peachy hue can make a world of difference in my opinion!

Knowing if your undertone is yellow/golden or pink/red is not as easy as one might think. You can read part two of this article for tips on detecting your undertone!

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