Finding You The Perfect Foundation - Part 1 - Skin Undertones

By Robyn Dowsley - June 30, 2017


What is an undertone? Why is it important I know what my undertone is? Isn't it just my skin tone?

There is nothing worse than putting on a foundation only to find out that you’ve chosen the wrong colour!  It has happened to all of us I am sure.  Sometimes we get one that is a tad light while other times we can look more like an oompa loompa out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  No one wants this look!  

Even if we test foundation on the back of our hand we are not guaranteed to come up with a perfect colour match. Why is that exactly?  It is because the skin tones on our face are different than the skin tones on the back of our hand.  Make up you come across in the chemist or department store doesn’t really give you the full ability to test out your colour. The best thing you can do to pick the right foundation colour is go in armed with knowledge.

First step :  KNOW YOUR UNDERTONE Say what?  

Your undertone is the underlying colour underneath your skin.  It is not the colour you see when you look in the mirror.  That colour is your skin tone.  Your undertone, the colour underneath your skin can be either a warm colour, a cool colour or combination of both.   

If you know what undertone your skin is it is going to help you with a lot more than just foundation.  It can help you with clothing choices as well as other shades of makeup to wear such as lipstick and eyeshadow.  Not knowing your undertone leaves you playing a guessing game.  


So how do we find out the undertone colour of our skin?  

All of these tests are best performed in daylight.  Be sure you are not directly in the sun or under any artificial lighting as these light sources have their own unique colour temperatures which are going to affect the results of the test.

In daylight look at your wrists. What colour are your veins?  

Are they more blue or even purplish?  
If you answered yes it is likely you have a cool undertone to your skin

Are your veins more green coloured?  
If you answered yes it is likely you are warm toned

What if you couldn’t tell? Or you could see blue and a bit of green?
It is possible that you have a neutral undertone.

Do your burn in the sun?   Do you not tan?  
If you answered yes it is likely you are cool toned

Do you tan in the sun?
If you answered yes it is likely you are warm toned

What about if you burn sometimes and tan others?
Yes this can happen!  When I lived in Victoria - my skin would tan - I would sometimes burn and peel but mostly I would tan. However in Tasmania - I have never been able to tan. I burn so easily and I peel. I have no scientific proof for this one but I am gonna go ahead and guess this is because of my neutral undertone

What colours do you look best in?  

It is important to remember that whilst blue is a cool colour and red is a warm colour that there are many shades of blue and red and yellow etc.  And these can be warmer and cooler tones of said colour.  

Look at the examples below

See how the first one looks more cool and the second looks more warm?  This is a lot easier to tell the difference if you have ever studied art or photography or something else where the knowledge of colour is essential. For example in the grey colour down the bottom the cool grey has a lot more blue in it than the warm which has a lot more red in it. So if you were to try and get these colours by mixing paint you would clearly see just how much more blue paint would go into the first grey and how much red would go into the second.

So having said that - what colours do you look better in?  Warm colours or cool colours? (Remembering that we can have warm toned blue colours)

If you look good in the cooler toned  colours then it is mostly likey that your undertone is cool

If you look good in the warmer tones then that means you are more likely to have a warm undertone

For those lucky people that look good in all colours - it is most likely you have a neutral undertone to your skin

All you need for this test is a gold piece of jewellery and a silver piece of jewellery.  

Take each piece of jewellery and hold it up to your face.
Does the silver look better?  This means you most likey have cool undertones
Does gold look better?  This means you most likely have warm undertones
Do they both look good? Or you can pick which looks better?  Then you are most likely have neutral undertones

All you need for this test is a white piece of paper. It has to be white, not off white or a white with a slight grey or yellow tone to it. It needs to be white.

Again make sure your lighting is natural. No direct sunlight. No artificial light.  

Hold the paper up to your chest and look at how your skin colour compares to it.  Why are we test on our chest and not our face?  This is because you are going to get a truer reading from the skin on your chest.

So what does your skin look like against the paper?

Is it more pinkish? Or perhaps reddish?  
If you answered yes then it is more likely you have cool undertones

Do you see more yellow in your skin?  
If you answered yes then it is more likely that you have warm undertones.  

Again if you don’t know or just couldn’t tell it means that your skin is most likely neutral undertoned.

So now you the undertone of your skin colour. If you are still having trouble after all of those tests, message me and I may be able to help you find your undertone which can lead to you finding your perfect foundation.


The chart below gives you a visual of the different colours we have available and  for the skin tone and undertone of your skin.  Remember the skin tone is the complexion - very light, light, medium, dark etc.  And by now we all know what undertones are :)  


Now we go on to finding the perfect foundation for your SKIN TYPE - is it oily, dry etc - in my next blog I am going to tell you all about how to find the right one for you.  

REMEMBER if you need help finding your undertone or matching a colour to your skin just send me a message and I’ll help you :)

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