How Your Undertones Should Affect Your Makeup Selections


Hey beauties!  It’s come to my attention that when it comes to undertones, I’ve been a bit vague. The eyeshadow, blush, and lipcolor shades that you choose should be DIRECTLY reflected by which undertones you have.. warm or cool (or neutral).  I am one of those people who firmly believe that you should be able to wear ANY color, anywhere on your face, no matter your skin tone – everything will flatter you, as long as you use corresponding undertones.  So with this post I hope to debunk the mystery of “what colors look best with my skin”.

Foundation, Concealer & Powder

Whenever I discuss undertones, I usually refer to foundation colors.  Your undertones, whether they are more pink or yellow, most directly relate to the color of your skin, making them essential for finding the proper face makeup shade.

For reference – if you have a cool complexion, your undertones will be pink, red, or blue.  If you have a warm complexion, your undertones will be yellow, golden, or peach.

Undertones play a big part in the name of the foundation, especially when browsing through higher-end foundations.  Shades are often arranged by numbers for lightest to darkest, and then use letters to describe the undertone (For instance, NW is used to describe cool toned skin at MAC, and NC is for warm toned skin).  At these stores, there will normally be sales associates to help you find the right match.  At the drugstore it’s a bit harder.


L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup, L-R: w3 (warm), n3 (neutral), c3 (cool)

However I must stress the importance of always selecting a foundation that is pink-toned instead of yellow-toned.  Even if you have a cool complexion with pink undertones, foundations that are pink based will never blend into the skin.  They will always create foundation lines and tend to oxidize much more than yellow based foundations, making you look orange.  At the high end side of the spectrum, you won’t find as many pink based foundations.. instead they will be peach toned, or neutral… but many drugstore brands are pink based and will end up looking quite fake on the skin.

How to Contour Every Different Kind of Face Shape?

Lipstick, Lip Stain, and Gloss

What lipcolors will look best on which skin tones?  Many of you don’t believe me when I say that you can pull off ANY color, as long as you have the confidence to wear them!  However it is the tone that you have to worry about.

Lipcolors with yellow undertones will compliment those of you who have warm complexions.  These will emphasize the golden tones in your skin and make your skin look bright and beautiful.

Lipcolors with blue or pink undertones are better for those of you with cool skin tones.  They won’t clash or look garish on your skin, and will once again make your skin look glowing.

With powder it is also important to pick one with warm tones.  Powder will oxidize before anything else, and it will also warm up your complexion and make your skin look brighter.  For instance, when hiding dark circles, apply your concealer in a right triangle on your cheeks (down your nose, across your under eye, and then connect), and set this with a yellow based powder.  This will highlight your skin and give you an instant face lift.

Blushes, Bronzers and Highlights

When it comes to cheek color, one of the most important things to worry about when you’re applying is exactly how MUCH you’re applying.  Not many people know that as the day goes on, your cheek color will actually intensify due to your body heat and the oils from your skin.  So the lighter your skin tone, the less blush you’ll want to apply… the darker your skin tone, the more saturated and heavily you should apply.

Your undertones still play a part, however, and just as with any other type of makeup, each shade will have a different tone.  Usually when it comes to blush, yellow toned colors will dominate, with only a few purpley mauves or truely light or blue toned pinks.  This is why your method of application is so important. you pale girls can still wear bright pink blush, just make sure you tap any excess off your brush and use a light hand.  Dark skinned girls can still use the same shades, just make sure they’re not too powdery.  Try cream blushes instead!

When it comes to bronzers, your main guideline is to make sure that your product is not too orange toned.  Most, if not all, bronzers will have yellow or golden undertones, but that’s the whole point… but you don’t want one that will make you look like an oompa loompa, especially for contouring.

Highlighters, contrary to popular belief, come in many different shades.  Some are pink, some are golden, and some are pure cream.  If you’ve been learning, you should be able to figure out that pink highlighters will compliment cool undertones, golden highlighters will compliment warm undertones, and those cream highlighters will work for everyone.

Eyeshadow and Eyeliner

For this, it may be easier to look at a color wheel first, so that you can see how many different shades and tones there are for each color:


Let us observe the green quarter… the 9:00 – 12:00 portion on the clock.  Notice how at the 12:00 and 6:00 positions are your cool and warm points.. blue/cool at the bottom, yellow/warm at the top.  As you go through the green shades, you can see how they gradually turn from blue-toned to yellow-toned… essentially from cool to warm.  So when applying your eyeshadow, no matter what color you’re going for, pick a corresponding warm or cool tone for your complexion.

I hope these tips will help you out in the long run!  Knowing your undertones, and how to use that knowledge, is very important in the world of cosmetic artistry.  So take these tips into consideration the next time you put together a look!


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