Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to know your Undertone?

Ever wonder why you look great on Beige on Brand A and look a bit different on Brand B?

Well, shade names like Beige, Fair, Medium Fair, etc... refers to your skin tone (the surface).  Have you ever thought of checking undertone?  But wait, under...what?   

Ahhh...I have been asked by this question so many times I've decided to put this up on a blog post so I don't have to retype my answers over and over again over email.  (Why in the world didn't I think of that in the first place?)  *laughs*  #SignsOfOldAge

Here are some simple tips on how to know your undertone, keep in mind that this is my very amateur-ish way of determining your undertone!  Nevertheless, it worked for me so I hope it helps YOU as well because picking the right shade of foundation will bring peace and harmony to the world!  *laughs*  Seriously, don't you love foundation shade that matched so well you don't get scared even when someone points a point-and-shoot camera WITH flash right in front of your cute face?  
To keep things simple, there are 3 undertones we should know of ---
  • Cool
  • Warm
  • Neutral
I'll share the usual techniques on determining your undertone and I'll be adding more tips from my brain :P

White Cloth Technique
  • Start by washing your face with facial cleanser and pat dry.
  • Pick a plain white cloth or paper and stand in front of window where you get natural sunlight and hold the white cloth beside your skin.
  • If your skin appears yellow/golden, you have WARM undertone.  If your skin appears "flushed" or pinkish, you have COOL undertone.  If you can't tell, you're probably a NEUTRAL.
Tip from AMW: Have someone check out the contrast of your skin against the white paper or cloth instead of looking at your own reflection, I tend to over analyze and not get a straight answer.

What Looks Good On You (Accessories)
  • If silver accessories look good on you, you have COOL undertone.
  • If gold accessories look great on you, you have WARM undertone.
  • If both look good on you, you have NEUTRAL undertone.  
Tip from AMW: I like to go to a watch store and try on both Silver and Gold watch, I usually ask the opinion of a Sales Lady (who doesn't have an idea on your preference and personality) and you'll get a straight to the point answer!   

What Looks Good On You (Clothing)

  • People with COOL undertone looks good on cool colors like white, black, blue, gray etc...  
  • If you have WARM undertone, you will look wonderful on shades like orange, yellow, dark green etc...  
  • NEUTRAL undertone?  You look great on almost all colors, if that's not the case, you're probably a gorgeous GODDESS or Victoria Secret model who just look good on EVERYTHING!  *laughs*
Tip from AMW:  Have a hard time knowing what are the "cool" colors from the "warm" colors?  I always think cool colors are colors that remind me of the cool water, sea and sky.  As for warm colors, I think of what keeps me warm, the SUN, you can also add up earth colors!

Your Veins
  • Blue colored veins are considered to have COOL undertone.
  • Green colored veins are considered to have WARM undertone.
  • If you can't tell, you're on NEUTRAL.
Tip from AMW:  This is my easiest and quickest way to determine my clients' skin undertone by checking out their veins in a discreet manner.  But, there will always be exceptions to the rule, there will always be people whom you can't seem to see the veins, never assume they are a NEUTRAL right away.  You can always interview them on check other factors to determine the undertone of their skin.

Now that you know your skin undertone...what's next?

Armed with your best foundation shade, you may now pick better foundation shade that matches your skin undertone!  
Photo taken during a Benefit Workshop
where Nikki helped Benefit's Aubrey Bautista pick the right Foundation Shade
AMW tips:  
  • Some brands label their foundation shades with terms like Cool Beige, Warm Beige, etc...
  • Ask the SA's to pull out foundation shades specifically for your undertone.  That will help trim down your choices from the wide array of shades especially from professional brands like MAC, Shu Uemura, NARS, etc...
  • Swatch at least 3 foundation shades from cheek down to the neck.  I try to create a long line (same as photo above) so you get to match your foundation not only on your face but down to your neck!
Aside from foundations, you can also get to pick the most natural looking blue for you if you know your skin undertone.

AMW tips:
  • Cool undertones will look good on pinks.
  • Warm undertones will find peach, corals or apricot blushes suits them better.
  • Check out my Shiseido Maquillage True Cheek blush review as I got to use both Pink and Peach colored blush.  I feel more comfortable and look better on Peach colored blush as I have warm undertone.  
  • This does not mean that warm undertone like me can't wear pinks, I still do but peach/corals blend well and looks more natural on me.
    As to eye makeup, certain colors look better on certain undertones.  Have you ever wondered why some shades appear gray-ish on you?  Well the answer is here, pick the right eyeshadow shades that complement your skin.

    AMW tips:
    • Warm undertone can wear eyeshadows that has golden hue such as browns, gold, certain pinks, greens etc...
    • Cool undertone can wear eyeshadows in silver, pinks, purples, blue etc...
    • Do you understand why I LOVE to wear green eyeliner for an instant pop of color?  (Check photo above).  
    Last but not the least, let's not forget our lips!  
    A photo on how to determine your undertone

    • Warm undertone would look good on brown, red lipsticks that have brown base, peach colored lipsticks etc...
    • Cool undertone may check out bright pinks, purples and certain reds with blue undertone.
    • How to tell if the lipstick is meant for warm or cool undertone individuals?  Test it by applying some on a sheet of white paper, you may then figure out if red, orange, pink, purple, blue, brown is more prevalent.
    • MAC Russian Red would look great on girls with Cool Undertone while MAC Ruby Woo would work well on ladies with Warm Undertone!  
    Overall, there are no hard rules on makeup application, at the end of the day, you can wear ANY shades you want as long as you feel confident and comfortable!  If you can't decide which shade or color looks good on you, always go for the "Compliment Test", if someone complimented you that day, note down the color of your clothes, your hair color, the eyeshadow, blush and lipstick shades you used and you'll definitely get to the bottom of it! 

    Whew!  This is such a lengthy post, I hope you did not doze of reading this!
    Please let me know by commenting below if you have other requests for our next Readers' Corner!  
    Fellow makeup junkies?  Feel free to share more tips on how to determine your skin undertone!

    Keep smilin'
    Stay happy!


    1. This is such a helpful post! Thanks, NIkki! :)

      1. I am glad you find this post helpful Krissy :) Hope to see you soon!

    2. I saw these tips on how to determine your right shade and undertone on Michelle Phan's youtube channel. But reading your post made me understand it well teehee! Thanks for sharing this. I like reading all your post about beauty and makeup.

      1. Thanks, I'm happy you find my post easier to understand! :)

    3. Nice post Ms. Nikki. :D It will be really helpful for beginners since this should be the main basis of foundation sorting. I even look at the undertone alone while picking my foundation since most brands' selection like the Maybelline BB creams have only two shades, which are warm and cool. But the clothing and accessories test always fails me since I love wearing silver despite the warm undertone. Anyway they don't notice naman, hee hee. As long as I'm wearing the right foundation, keri na yan. :D

      1. Thanks Cha! I know what you mean, I love Silver too and I still wear them! It really boils down to stuff that makes you feel confident and go for it!

    4. Such an awesome and informative post!!! SO helpful because I've always debated on what looks good on me or not and blue or purple eyeshadows don't seem to flatter me at all. Now I understand why! Thank you so much.
      I've been following your wonderful blog for a long time, just gathered the courage to leave a comment. I really enjoy the tips you give everyone and your explanations, I've learned a lot.

      1. aww, thank you so much for the sweet message, I am happy you finally commented and I'm happy to know you! :)

    5. Thanks for the tips. Also I love your blog.

    6. I still have problems with this, and its been like a decade lol
      But thank you for your tips! They do help :)

      The veins one is always hard for me cause I can't tell what colour my veins are, but in conjunction with the others, it leads me to think that I am cool...need a friend to help confirm that :D

      1. hahahah I know what you mean, but I'm lucky my veins are like GREEN and all visible! so even blood tests, nurses do not have issues finding my veins!

        Maybe you just ask a friend..hahahaha it is a tricky problem to be honest!

    7. The term "undertone" has been mentioned to many blog posts and only in this post I finally understood what it means. :)

      Thanks for posting this, I got a lot of tips!

    8. now I understand..I have a clear green vein , so now I know my undertone. Was always afraid of wearing yellow and orange, because I feel it dosn't suite morena skin. Also, thanks to this post, I'm more confident on choosing my make - up. BTW, I love red lipstick with blue undertone, makes my teeth more whiter. Cheers to your blog!


    I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment your questions, suggestions and just anything you may want to say! Keep smiling and stay happy!