This Is How to Find Your Skin’s Undertone and Why You Need to Know

For makeup that makes you look glowy—not gray.
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated Aug, 2023
This Is How to Find Your Skin’s Undertone and Why You Need to Know

Imagine painting a picture of a landscape on white canvas, then painting the exact same picture on beige canvas. It will generally look the same, but also… not.

That’s undertones for you.

The biggest difference between your skin tone and undertone is that your skin tone can change due to sun exposure, but your skin undertone does not. Therefore, your undertone is consistently impacting how makeup and clothing look on you.

However, your skin tone and undertone matter when choosing the right makeup, jewelry, and clothing that looks the best on you. So how can you find your skin’s undertone, and why is it so important? Here’s how to know your undertone in just a few simple steps—and why it matters.

What Are the Three Skin Undertones?

Unlike the limitless shades that your actual skin tone could be, skin undertones are generally lumped into three different categories:

1. Cool Undertone

People with cool undertones tend to have a rosier complexion, meaning their skin will look more pink.

2. Warm Undertone

Warm undertones have skin that looks more golden or olive and generally has a more yellow or peach undertone.

3. Neutral Undertone

A neutral undertone will appear the same as your regular skin tone (and maybe a mix of both cool and warm undertones).

It’s important to remember that while your skin tone can influence your skin’s undertones, it will not determine it. You could have any undertone along with your regular skin tone. So it’s definitely possible to have fair skin and a warm undertone or dark skin and a cool undertone.

The Importance of Your Skin Undertone

While your surface tone—which contains melanin that will determine your unique tone—will certainly impact your appearance, your undertone can impact your choice of makeup, jewelry, and clothing even more.

But why? And how?

Since your undertone doesn’t change, it’s consistently influencing what looks good on you. It supports your skin tone in giving your look an underlying hue that can make certain colors look amazing on you and other ones clash.

For example, consider that:

  • Gold jewelry looks better on warm skin undertones, while silver tends to flatter cool ones.
  • Cool undertones look better in true whites, while warm undertones look better off-white.
  • Makeup with blue or purple undertones looks better on people with cool undertones, while warmer shades like red, orange, and peach undertones look better on warm ones.
  • Foundation shade with yellow undertones looks better on warm skin undertones, but foundation with pink undertones flatters cool ones.

As you can see, your undertone can impact pretty much anything you choose to put on your body or skin—so it’s important to understand how to know your undertone!

How to Know Your Undertone

Finding out your undertone isn’t complicated, but it does take some natural lighting and a bit of concentration. There are a few methods for how to know your undertone, so let’s get started to see if any of these will reveal your true undertone.

Look at Your Veins

Find good natural lighting and hold out your arms to examine your veins. If they look blue or purple to you, chances are you have a cool undertone. If they look almost green, you have a warm undertone. And if you can’t see your veins—you may have neutral undertones, meaning your undertone is the same as your regular skin tone.

See How Your Skin Looks With White

Look at your skin in natural lighting using a true white t-shirt (or even a piece of paper). If your skin looks pink, chances are you have a cool skin undertone. However, if your skin looks more yellow or peach, you have warm undertones. And if your skin doesn’t look either more pink or yellow—you’re neutral.

Use Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type

Although this method isn’t guaranteed to identify your undertone, it can point you in the right direction.

If you have a fair skin tone and tend to burn with any sun exposure, you’re more likely to have a cool undertone. And if you have medium or darker skin and tend to tan, you might have a warm undertone. (Neutral undertones are more likely to burn and then tan.)

To use this method in a different way, look at the color of your hair and eyes. Dark eyes and skin are more likely to have warm undertones, while light eyes and skin usually indicate a cool one.

Again, these aren’t surefire methods for finding your undertone, so you can use these methods in combination with the white t-shirt and vein test to confirm your undertone.

Have a Fashion Show

Have a Fashion Show to determine your skin undertone

You can use this method after you have a general idea of how to know your undertone and what your undertone is.

Try on some clothing, including true whites, off-whites, reds, yellows, blues, and purples. If true whites and colors in the blue family look better on you, you most likely have a cool undertone. However, if off-whites, reds, and yellows flatter you more, you’re probably a warm skin undertone.

Neutral undertones may find this method a bit confusing because they tend to look good in all skin colors. So if you truly don’t feel one color family flatters you more than another—don’t panic. Your skin undertone may just be the same as your regular skin tone.

Jewelry is also a great way to see if your undertone is more warm or cool. Remember, gold and rose gold tend to enhance the look of warm undertones, while silver looks better with cool ones.

Take Our Skin Undertone Quiz Now

Knowing YOUR undertone is going to be the cornerstone of finding the best beauty products (and even the right jewelry and clothes, too!). Still trying to figure out how to know your undertone? We’ve got you covered. Take our free skin undertone quiz now to find your skin undertone once and for all!

your skin undertone

Determining your skin undertone may help you choose a foundation or color palettes that best suit your hue.

take the 60-seconds quiz
Take Skin Undertone Quiz


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