Foundation is a makeup staple that quite literally sets the tone for any look. Finding the right foundation shade for your skin can feel like a never-ending fight. You can end up looking like a ghost, or even worse, looking like you have an orange mask on if you get it wrong (especially if you have fair skin).
However, selecting the right shade can be far less challenging once you know your skin's undertone. Your undertone is the color within the color, and if your products don't match it, your skin won't look natural.
We've gathered a few tips and tricks to finding your undertone that you can test out right away. We are going to go over the different undertones and how you can determine which one fits your skin.
Why Does Your Undertone Matter?
You may notice that your skin gives off a tint, like red or yellow. It's not the color on the top layer of skin but just below the surface of your skin. Even if you can't distinguish a noticeable undertone (like warm tones, neutral tones, or a mixture), you still have one.
Using cosmetics that fit your undertone is just as important as using the correct shade for your skin color. If one is correct, but the other is wrong, your makeup will look off. There are three main undertones that people fall into: cool, warm, and neutral.
You have a warm undertone if you have peach, golden, yellow, or olive undertones and hues to your skin. You should look for foundations and concealers with these colors. You can also look for other makeup with these hues like eyeshadow and lipstick.
You have a cool undertone if you see hints of red, pink, or blue tones to your skin. Some people with cool undertones have pale skin, but others have dark complexions. Your skin shade doesn't rule you out of having certain undertones. Typically, people with cool undertones have a hair color such as strawberry blonde or platinum. With sun exposure, you typically burn easily.
A neutral skin undertone is defined as a combination of warm and cool tones. This undertone is the one that's the easiest to shop for when it comes to makeup. You want products with a neutral undertone, but makeup that leans towards warm colors or the cool side will still work.
How To Figure Out Your Undertone
Once you have a good idea of what you're looking for, you can try an undertone test to uncover your undertone.
How Your Skin Reacts to the Sun
How your skin reacts to the sun can be very telling when it comes to your undertone. Next time you spend time in the sun, pay attention to how your skin looks. If your skin blushes or you burn easily, you probably have a cool undertone.
However, if you tan easily and don't usually get a sunburn, you most likely have a warm undertone. If you burn and tan, you may have a neutral undertone. No matter how your skin reacts to the sun, you should always protect it from overexposure. People with sensitive skin already should be especially careful.
White T-Shirt Test
Find a pure white t-shirt or piece of clothing and hold it up to your face. Make sure you're in bright, natural light. Does your skin look rosy or pink in comparison? If the answer is yes, you have a cool undertone. Does your skin look more yellow?
Yellow skin means you have a warm undertone. You can also tell you're on the warmer side if you look better in off-white than pure white. Meanwhile, you have neutral undertones if you look good in both.
Color of Your Veins
You can also examine the color of your veins to figure out your undertone. You can look at the inside of your wrist, the veins around your neck, or anywhere that they are visible.
Try to see what hues you can pick up on through your skin. If your veins look purple or blue-red, you have a cool undertone. If they look emerald green or olive, you have a warm undertone. You have a neutral undertone if you can't see a definite color.
Look at Your Jewelry
Although it's not the most reliable test because it's so subjective, you can also look at your jewelry. Gold and silver can look better on people with certain undertones. Warmer undertones and medium skin often look good in gold jewelry. Meanwhile, silver jewelry is flattering on people with cool undertones.
However, if you can't tell which jewel tones look better on you, you probably have a neutral undertone. You should try the jewelry test out with a few of the others since it's not foolproof.
Your Eye Color
The color of your eyes can also be telling when it comes to your undertone. People with blue, grey, green, or dark brown eyes may have cool undertones. In contrast, people with hazel or amber eyes could have warm undertones. People with green eyes could be any of the three undertone types.
If you've done these tests and still are confused, you may need to seek professional help. A makeup artist or a dermatologist could help you discover your undertone by looking at a color palette and experimenting with a few swipes of makeup.
Foundation and Undertones
Once you know your undertone, you can buy products that will match your skin. Foundation's on the market come in a variety of shades for each undertone.
HIDE Premium Foundation has a foundation color finder to help you find the right undertone for your skin. This foundation is weightless but still provides medium to full coverage to suit any makeup look.
Let's go over how to buy foundation for your undertone.
Cooler undertones generally gave a pinkish hue to the surface of their skin. This complexion color is most noticeable in the T-zone area. You want a foundation that will even out your skin tone, so stay away from one that's too pink. Instead, select a foundation with an ivory hue.
If you have really dark skin with a cool undertone, you may have a blueish hue to your skin. You won't want a red hue to your foundation, but one with the blue hues to match your undertone.
Those with warmth in their complexions should keep in mind that the color of the top layer of their skin will most likely differ from their undertone. If you struggle with skin redness, you may need a green or yellow color corrector to even out your complexion. You will have to go over the corrector with a foundation to create the perfect base.
People with neutral undertones are fortunate because their skin can look good with more than one shade. However, if you are neutral, you will want to avoid products with a strong red or yellow undertone.
If you have an olive skin complexion, you will want to stay away from foundations with a cool undertone. They will make olive skin tones look ashy. Olive skin looks good with peachy tones and can make almost any lipstick shade work.
How To Apply Your Makeup
Before you apply your foundation for a full makeup look, you should test it out first. You can apply a small amount on your jawline or lower neck and look at it under bright natural light. Does the foundation stand out on your skin? Or is it blending in, so you barely notice it's even there? Once you find one that is a match, it's time to apply it!
Prime Your Skin
Before you apply makeup, cleanse and moisturize your skin. Next, apply a primer as an extra-base layer between your skin and your foundation. It will help your skin look smooth and it can extend the life of your foundation.
You can get primers to fit your specific skin needs, like an anti-shine primer. You don't always need a primer if you feel good about your skin or if you're using HIDE foundation. HIDE products are formulated to last all day.
When applying foundation, start with less than you think you'll need. A little can go a long way. If you use too much at once, you may end up looking cakey. You can always add more, but it's harder to take it away after it's on your face.
Blend your foundation out in a thin layer from the center of your face outwards. If you see any areas that need a little extra coverage, use a concealer. HIDE Premium Concealer can cover any imperfection while blending perfectly with your skin tone.
Set Your Face
When you're happy with your coverage, it's time to set your face. If you feel like you applied a little too much product, or if you notice your makeup settling into your fine lines and wrinkles, you can blot it away. Using a blotting paper or a tissue, lightly press it into the creases to remove the excess makeup. Finally, use a setting spray or a translucent powder to set your makeup.
Finding the right makeup to match your skin's shade and undertone may take some work. However, once you know what you're looking for, it will be much easier. HIDE offers products with a variety of shades for each of the main undertones so that you can find your perfect match.