Back to Basics: What's Your Skin Tone?

Fact One: I'm a very fair complected person. 

My number one issue any time I walk up to a makeup counter and ask for assistance with any [makeup] face product is that they always put me in the wrong color. I am (as my fiance likes to tell me) VERY pale.

Fact Two: I have a warm skin tone. 

More times than not, people associate pale with pink undertones. I actually have a yellow undertone. But how did I figure this out? After constantly purchasing products that I thought were my color only to later find out that in bright sun I looked like I had put my face in a bucket of Pepto-Bismol, I decided to take action. What could I tell the makeup consultant to make sure I got a more accurate color? What would help me choose the color on my own? What I found out would not only help me select foundations best matching my skin, but it would also help me select lipsticks, eyeshadows and blushes that compliment my complexion. The key: determining your Skin Tone.

Note: It's ALWAYS a good idea to swatch a product before you purchase it. But knowing your skin tone  will always help insure you have a closer match...especially if you can't swatch a product before you buy it...like at a drugstore.

Different skin colors, referred to as Skin Tones, are determined by the supply of the pigment Melanin to the epidermis (the outer layer) of the skin. Melanin is the skin's defense against ultraviolet (UV) rays. When you're exposed to UV rays, your skin reacts and says "hey, I need more protection!" so your body produces more melanin. The longer you are exposed, the more melanin you produce. Result: a tan.

This does not mean you are fully protected from UV rays. It is VERY import to ALWAYS wear sunscreen. 

Fun Fact: Freckles and beauty marks are concentrated amounts of melanin.

While our skin can be altered by elements, such as sun exposure or skin pigmentation conditions, our skin undertone always remains the same. The genes in your body determine the kind of melanin pigment in your skin and the amount of melanin produced. When all of these elements work together, they create your skin tone.

Skin Tones Chart - Warm vs. Cool

Skin Tones Chart - Warm vs. Cool

There are three standard Skin Tones:

  • Warm - yellow or peach undertone to the skin
  • Cool - pink or reddish undertone to the skin
  • Neutral - no discernible distinction between yellow or red undertone

 

If your skin doesn't scream "Hey, I'm YELLOW!" or "Hey, I'm RED!" keep reading to find out some of the tips and tricks I used to determine my skin tone.

The first test is what I like to call the t-shirt test. Does your skin look better with a bright white t-shirt or a cream t-shirt?

Second is the vein test. Look at the veins on the underside of your wrist. Do they look purple/bluish? Do they have more of a green cast?  

And thirdly, the jewelry test. Do you look better in gold or silver jewelry? 


Warm Skin Tone

   T-shirt Test: If you look better in cream, you have a warm skin tone. 

   Vein Test: If they look more green, you have a warm skin tone. 

   Jewelry Test: If you look better in gold, you have a warm skin tone. 

Celebrities with a Warm Skin Tone: Nicole Kidman, Rachel Bilson, Miley Cyrus

Cool Skin Tone

   T-Shirt Test: If you look better in bright white, you have a cool skin tone.

   Vein Test: If they look more purple/bluish, you have a cool skin tone. 

   Jewelry Test: If you look better in silver jewelry, you have a cool skin tone. 

Celebrities with a Cool Skin Tone: Megan Fox, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet

Neutral Skin Tone

   T-Shirt Test: If both cream and bright white look great on you, you're lucky! You have a neutral skin tone.

   Vein Test: If it's hard to tell whether they look more blue or green, you have a neutral skin tone. 

   Jewelry Test: If you look good in both gold and silver, again, lucky you! You have a neutral skin tone. 

Celebrities with a Neutral Skin Tone:  Kelly Clarkson, Victoria Beckam, Drew Barrymore


Not one skin tone is better than the other, I rather like having a warm skin tone. What skin tone are you? Comment below and check back for more!