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How to Identify your Skin's Undertone

Have you ever purchased a foundation that you were super impressed with at the retail store only to find out when you use it later that night for a special event, it makes your face look ashy and masked? It’s the worst feeling in the world and for the real beauty addicts you may even get a little emotional especially if your eye makeup game is popping! Foundation is one of those beauty purchases that can be a hit or miss. Many women avoid the foundation isle all together because they seem to not be able to get it right. The foundation finish can be too light, too dark, ashy and/or gray which makes you appear as if you are wearing a mask. Don’t be discouraged, at some point in every woman’s life she has been on the same side of the foundation table. I can remember it like it was yesterday when this repeatedly would happen to me. Even when I would go to the beauty counter and get matched by a professional the foundation was never right. I felt so discouraged which made me step my skincare game up because after all the foundation route was just not working. So, what do you do when you’re consistently getting bad results from matching your foundation with your natural skin tone? The correct answer is start with your skin’s undertone. This is the answer to all of your foundation woes. First, you have to understand the difference between your skin’s surface tone and your skin’s undertones. They’re completely different and many times you will match your foundation with your skin surface tone which may blend perfect temporarily, however once it settles your skin tone now looks as if it’s completely different from your neck. Foundation is meant to even out your skin tone and not to give your skin a different complexion all together.

Let’s talk about your skin surface tone. The surface tone is the actual tone or color you can see visually if you were to look in the mirror or how you would describe your skin’s color to someone. If you were to go to the beach or sit in the sun, it’s the color everyone could see. If your cheeks look flushed it would produce a color and if you were to tan your skin would appear darker in tone. This is identified as your surface tone. Your skin’s undertone is the tone that is underneath your skin’s surface tone.

Undertones can fall into 3 different categories:

  • Cool (pink, red, bluish undertones)

  • Warm (yellow, peachy, golden undertones)

  • Neutral (mixture of warm and cool undertones)

You can have the same surface tone as someone but you both could have completely different undertones which would make your foundation choices different. The key to matching your foundation is to identify your skin’s undertone.

There are several ways that you can discover your skin’s undertone:

1. Check your veins. This is the oldest trick in the book. Flip your arm over and look at the veins in your inner arm. You will notice one of three things. First, you may discover your veins are purple/blue which means you are a cool undertone. If your veins appear green then you are a warm undertone. If you can’t tell if it’s blue or green then you’re neutral.

2. The jewelry test. Does gold or silver compliments you the most? If gold compliments you then you’re considered to have a warm undertone. If silver compliments you then you’re considered to have a cool undertone. If both compliments you then you’re neutral.

3. Eye and Hair Color. Your eye color can help you with determining your skin’s undertone. If you have dark brown, amber, or hazel eyes with black, strawberry blonde and brown hair you are a warm undertone. Whereas, people with blue, gray and green eyes with blonde, brown, and black hair tend to be in the cool undertone family.

4. Skin effects in the sun. Are you a person that burns easily? If you burn easily in the sun it’s safe to say that you’re in the cool undertone family. Whereas, if you burn slightly and it turns into a tan you’re in the warm undertone family.

5. What colors look good on you? Warm undertones look amazing in browns, green, bright yellow, tan, and warm reds. Cool undertones look good in blue’s, pink, magneta and purple.

The next time you visit the beauty department store walk down the foundation isle with confidence and choose the color that marries your skin and becomes seamless with your neck. There’s no need to be overwhelmed when you go to the beauty counter take it one step at a time. Try three foundations that agrees with your undertone and choose the one that disappears into your skin. You want to try three because you must keep in mind that there are a variety of shades that each could fall in with one undertone.

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