Warm, Cool or Neutral: How to Figure Out the Undertone of Your Skin

These celebrity examples should help.
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Q: Any tips on how to figure out whether you have warm- or cool-toned skin? I have no idea which one I am. — Dani 

A: Dani, I am sure many women wonder this very same thing. It's hard for me to know without seeing a picture of you. 

However, I find that 80 percent of people tend to have a warmer, yellow undertone. 

Here are some guidelines that should help.

Warm Undertones 

If your skin has a warm undertone, you probably identify with most or all of the following:

  • Your skin tends to look more yellow/olive
  • You can tan easily
  • The veins on the inside of your wrist look greenish
  • You look best in gold jewellery

Examples of a warm skin tone include Jessica Alba: 

Jessica Alba at the 2015 March of Dimes Celebration of Babies.

Blake Lively:

Blake Lively at the 2014 Golden Heart Awards.

Scarlett Johansson:

Scarlett Johansson at the 2014 London premiere of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'.

And Beyoncé:

Beyoncé at the 2014 Billboard Women in Music Luncheon.

They vary in the darkness of their skin tone, but all have a warmer undertone. 

Cool Undertones

If your skin has a cool undertone, you probably identify with most or all of the following:

  • Your skin tends to look more pink
  • You tend to burn up as soon as the sun touches your skin
  • The veins on the inside of your wrist look blue
  • You look best in silver jewellery

Examples of a cool skin tone include Kate Winslet:

Kate Winslet at the 2015 New York Film Festival.

Nicole Kidman:

Nicole Kidman at the 2015 Sundance premiere of' Strangerland'.

Liv Tyler: 

Liv Tyler at the 2014 New York premiere of 'The Leftovers'.

And Lupita Nyong'o:

Lupita Nyong'o at the 2016 Marie Claire Image Maker Awards.

Neutral Undertones

There are some people who can be considered "neutral" because their skin, eyes and hair have a mix of warm and cool undertones. 

If you can't figure out whether you're warm or cool, then chances are, you're probably neutral. 

  • Your skin is not obviously pink or yellow
  • You may burn or tan
  • The veins on the inside of your wrist can look both green and blue
  • You look equally good in gold and silver jewellery

Examples of a neutral include Jessica Biel:

Jessica Biel at the 2015 Baby2Baby Gala.

Drew Barrymore:

Drew Barrymore at the 2014 Women's Leadership Award Honouring Stella McCartney.

Julia Roberts:

Julia Roberts at the 2015 premiere of 'Secret in Their Eyes'.

Kerry Washington:

Kerry Washington at the 2016 NAACP Image Awards.

And Jennifer Aniston:

Jennifer Aniston at the 2015 premiere of 'Cake'.

Conclusion

Your skin tone will always help to dictate what kinds of colours work for you. So it's important to know what your undertones are before choosing eye or lip shades (or hair colours or clothing, for that matter!). 

If you're still not sure, I would suggest going to a makeup counter and having someone assess your skin. They should also be able to recommend you products and colours that work with your specific undertones.

Sabrina Rinaldi is a Toronto- and Montreal-based hair and makeup artist.

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