How to Determine Your Skin Tone

All ethnic groups tend to include a variety of skin "tones" of light, medium and dark. Most makeup brands help you choose the right shades based on your "tone". Before you can choose the right shades, you have to find out what your skin tone is and if you're a cool or warm tone, to choose the right shade for you. If you have sensitive skin, natural mineral makeup works best. Just find the right shade and your healthy face will glow with natural beauty.

It can be hit and miss if you try to choose just based on what you see in the mirror. Even more confusing is learning the difference between hue, tint, shade, and tone. Below is an easy way makeup artists break it down for you.

Determining Your Skin Tone

Your skin's "undertone" or tone refers the the true color or hue of your skin. Most people can then be divided into warm or cool skintone. There is also the neutral tone, however, this can also fall into neutral warm (yellow based) and neutral cool (pink based).

To determine your skin tone, try either method below:

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and warm water.

Make sure you remove all makeup as well. Gently pat dry with a soft towel without rubbing your skin. Wait approximately 15 minutes. Take a white piece of paper and hold it next to your face with natural day light only. Looking in the mirror, if your skin looks yellow or golden, you have a warm color tone. If it looks pinkish, you have a cool tone.

If you are cool based, blues, greens, pink, purple and red-violet look better on you.

Warm based skin tone prefers or looks better with yellow, orange, red and warm browns.

Put on one of the colors in the cool color wheel and then a warm color. Which ever one doesn't look right, that is the opposite of your tone.

If the veins on your wrist appear blue, you are cool tone. If they appear green, you're warm.

Determining the Right Shade of Foundation

Now that you know if you have a warm or cool undertone, it should be easier to find the right shade of foundation, eyeshadow, etc.

For foundation, typically the following is a general rule:

  • Fair skin - pale, warm skin tones
  • Light skin - light, cool skin tones
  • Olive skin - medium warm tones
  • Dark skin - brown warm tones

But remember, within each light to dark complexions, there can be cool or warm tones. Pick based on your determined skin tone. Next dip a cotton-tipped applicator into the foundation and apply it to the center of your cheek. If the shade disappears and looks invisible, that is your correct shade.

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