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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 seems to be explaining why it is crucial for you to know your undertone and how it can be a real game-changer when it comes to your wardrobe and your makeup routine.

The importance of knowing your undertone

Have you ever bought a red lipstick that looks incredible on your friend only to find that it looks awful on you? Or purchased 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 that is an issue.

It is the undertone of a colour which you have to take into consideration.

You might be thinking ‘colour’/’colour undertone’ — potato/potahto, right?

Absolutely not!

Your undertone will determine what colour hues suit you.

Ultimately, this will help you build a wardrobe that works. Imagine finally being able to get dressed in the morning within 2-3 minutes and actually liking your outfit before leaving the house.  

So, today, we’re talking about the rules of colour undertone. 

I know, rules are made to be broken. But you can’t break them if you don’t know what they are.

On that note, let’s delve into colour undertones.

The difference between skintone and undertone.

Skin tone refers to the skin’s shade at surface level, 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’s a MYTH that people with paler skin tones are cool, and people with darker skin tones are warm.

Now, a cool undertone will usually contain a tinge of red or blue, whereas a warm undertone will usually have yellow, green or golden undertones.

For example, you can have an ebony skin tone 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.

Lucky you!

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 colour undertones will mean…not looking your best.  

So ultimately, knowing what undertone you are, will help you buy the right clothes and wear the right clothes. So, less mindless spending, less wastage, less clutter and less bad OOTDs.

Do you still need convincing, or are you ready to learn the rules of colour undertones and adapt it to your wardrobe and makeup drawer?

I’m leaning towards the latter.

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 a warm undertone, stick to warm colours, especially when it comes to your face and the upper area of your body.

If you’re cool, you guessed it, go for cool colours.

Let’s make it Complicated 

Unfortunately, colour undertones can get complicated.

Here we go.

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

I know, that sounds strange, but stick with me here.

Let’s take blue. That’s cool, right? Let’s add a bit of yellow to it. It’s now a slightly warmer blue shade. It’s a blue-green. 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 when you’re shopping, it takes a trained eye to ascertain whether a colour contains more of blue or yellow.

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 pale (but cool), 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.

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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