Beauty basics - what's your skin tone?

Choosing the right makeup shades can be a bit of a minefield, but finding out your skin tone can make a big difference. I'm not just talking in terms of whether you're pale as a ghost or sport a lovely looking tan, but referring to the undertone of your skin which plays a big part in how different colours look on you. 

Have you ever wondered why your friend looks fabulous wearing a certain shade of red lipstick that just washes you out? It all comes down to you having a different skin tone to her - you might be cool, whereas she could be warm.

We tend to refer to skin tones in two main camps - warm and cool. There are also neutral toned people who are lucky and can get away with wearing shades from both sides of the camp. I've put together a quick guide to help you workout whether you're warm, cool or neutral toned and some colour ideas that will work well for you. 

Warm - yellow, peachy golden undertones
Cool - pink, red or bluish undertones
Neutral - a mix of both warm and cool

How do I tell what tone I am?

Warm toned skins usually:
- Look better wearing gold jewellery
- Will look as though their veins are slighlty green (check on the underside of your arm)
- Usually tans in the sun
- Look good in ivory and off-white clothes
- Have golden brown, green or hazel eyes

Cool toned skins usually:
- Look better wearing silver jewellery
- Will look as though their veins are blue
- Usually go pink in the sun (you may also burn and then tan)
- Look good in pure white and black clothes
- Have blue, grey or green eyes

Neutral toned skins tend to have a mix of both traits and can get away with wearing colours from both spectrums!

What shades should I wear?

When it comes to picking makeup shades, don't be afraid to experiment. I have a mix of cool and neutral tone attributes, so while I normally stick to the blue based pink and red lipsticks I know that suit me, it doesn't mean I can't give something a little more orange toned a try once in a while.

Foundation is often the hardest, and yet most important thing to get right. If you're looking for the right shade, some brands, such as MAC, sort theirs into cool and warm shades (think NC and NW). Other brands aren't as helpful, but the general rule (not always!) is that cooler tones usually need a slightly pink toned foundation and warmer ones tend to have a slightly yellower shade. If in doubt, get colour matched by a professional. Just make sure you check the shade in natural light - you shouldn't be able to see it! If you can, it's not right for you.

What's your skin tone? Are there any products you recommend for warm or cool toned skin?



  1. I'm very warm. I have quite dark skin! :)
    This was very helpful, thank you!

    xxx | daisydaisyxxo

  2. Great article. I find it really difficult to determine if I'm warm or cool toned and the funny thing is that assistants on beauty counters have told me different things.... so confusing. My gut tells me that I've got a warm skin tone though and most of those things you listed seem to tick my boxes so I think I'll go with that :o) Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

  3. This is a really helpful post, alot of girls really dont have any idea of there skintone which is as you say why Mac foundations are really good as they basically do all the work for you, plus the girls are always willing to help colour match you, personally i am cool toned but seem to be able to wear both NC & NW shades which is a bonus :)

    Frankie Boo Blog

  4. I have pinked toned skin, I didn't know this for the longest time and I always got my foundation tones so wrong!


  5. I guess I am neutral, I have green-purple veins :D I wear silver and gold jewellery, my eyes are green, I never tan on sun.

  6. Great post. I am definitely a cool toned gal! xx

  7. I love this post but I don't fall into either category, I'm pale but neutral not quiet pink not quite yellow it's so hard to find a foundation pale enough but not yellow or pink toned but the plus side is I can have any colour hair/lipstick and it'll look fine lol! Great post :)

    Jamie-Lee|Glitter Infatuation Beauty Blog!

  8. I've struggled with trying to work out what tone I am for a while now but I think I've finally decided I'm cool toned, maybe leaning slightly towards neutral. In terms of lip colours I usually find I need bright shades to help warm up my complexion and that pale and nude shades wash me out x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty


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