Five Days of Foundation: Undertones

Part of finding your perfect match in foundation comes in understanding your skin’s undertone. Your undertone is the color beneath the surface.

This means your skin tone, and undertone are two different colors and tones. For example, two people can have the same skin tone, but different undertones, and visa versa. Knowing your skin tone and undertone will help you find the best match in a foundation and other base products.

Undertones are classified in three main categories: Warm, cool, and neutral.

Warm undertones are distinguished by having green or olive veins under the skin on your wrist. Gold jewelry will tend to be the most flattering on your skin. People with warm undertones also tend to tan easily, be yellow in tone in the sun, and have very little pink or redness. Specific warm undertones are identified as being yellow, golden or peach.

Cool undertones are distinguished by having blue or purple colored veins under the skin on your wrists. People with cool undertones will find that silver jewelry is the most flattering, and tend to burn in the sun more easily. Your skin will have a general pinky to red hue and you will tend to show redness, especially around the nose and eyes. Specific cool undertones are identified as being pink, red, or blue.

Neutral undertones are distinguished by having the veins under skin on the wrist that are both blue and green. Both gold and silver jewelry are flattering on the skin, and there are no distinguishable yellow or pink tones.

If you are still having trouble determining your undertone, POPSUGAR has a great quiz to help you out.

To use undertones to determine you foundation shade, find something within your skin tone that also has your undertone.

For example, I have fair skin with cool/pink undertones, so when I am looking for a foundation I look for something that is very light in color and has pink undertones. A foundation that works for my skin tone and undertone is the Urban Decay All Nighter liquid foundation in shade 0.5 which is described as fair porcelain with subtle pink undertones.

If a foundation doesn’t have an undertone described on the packaging, try swatching different foundations in your skin tone range next to each other on the back of your hand. By doing this you should be able to distinguish which foundations have more pink/red or more yellow/golden in them.

What’s your perfect foundation shade? Let me know in the comments below.

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