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The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Determining One’s Skin Tone

Whether to choose the right lipstick shade or to pick the hair color that will suit you the most, you NEED to know your skin tone. Knowing your skin tone will also help you figure out which colors you should don to turn heads your way. This guide will help you with how to determine your skin tone  and make the most of it.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

Suggested read: 12 Superb Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Uneven Skin Tone

Begin by ascertaining your undertones

1. First, we need to know what skin tone means and how it is different from complexion

Our skin tone/undertone is not our complexion. While the complexion is the shade of our skin (i.e. light, medium and dark, and the shades in between), the skin tone depends on the amount of melanin in our skin. Our skin tone, unlike our complexion, does not change with increase or decrease in sun exposure. The skin tone also does not change due to conditions such as acne or even rosacea.

You may have noticed that people turn a little pale during the winter season, while their complexion turns rich brown during the summers. However, regardless of the season, the skin tone remains the same.

While complexion can be light, medium, dark, and a few shades in between, the skin tones are cool, warm and neutral.

The skin tone does not have to match with the complexion. For example, someone with light pink complexion can have yellow skin tone.

In the next steps we will help you with determining your skin tone. However, before attempting them, you need to clean your face, get rid of any kind of makeup or even cream/lotion. Those of you who have just washed their faces, you will have to wait about 15 minutes before proceeding, as it may hinder the process of determining the right skin tone.

Note: When examining your skin to determine the skin tone, always use natural lighting as different light bulbs and tubes can give your skin a yellow/green cast, which will make it difficult for you to find out your skin tone.

2. Check the color of the veins that run through inside your wrist

This is the quickest way to determine your skin undertones. Stand near a window, and in natural light examine your veins. Make sure your hands are washed and free of any lotion or other beauty product.

Now, if you see that the veins appear bluish or purplish, then your skin tone is cool. If your veins look green, then you have a warm skin tone. However, if it is difficult to determine if your skin tone is greenish or bluish, then your skin tone is neutral. People with an olive complexion usually have neutral skin undertones.

Suggested read: The Guide On How To Choose Blush That Flatters Your Skin Tone

3. How does your skin normally react to sunlight?

In other words, do you get tanned easily? Or do you get sunburnt fast? This reaction of the skin to sunlight depends on the amount of melanin your skin contains. This will help you determine your skin tone.

Those who tan quickly but do not burn have more melanin pigment in their skin. The skin tone of these people is likely to be warm or neutral.

Though who do not tan but their skin gets sunburnt easily have very less melanin in their skin. These people are likely to have cool skin tone.

However, there are people who have ebony dark skin that does not burn easily and yet have a cool skin tone. That’s why, you need to try the following tests too, to be sure.

4. Take a white piece of paper and hold to up to your face

You need to see how your skin tone contrasts to a piece of white paper in the mirror. Does it give a yellow cast or a blue one or a rosy one or one that bluish-red?

If your skin looks yellow or sallow, then your skin tone is warm.

If your skin looks rosy, red, pink or bluish-red, then your skin tone is cool.

If your skin looks gray, then your complexion is olive and your undertone is neutral.

Also, if you cannot determine the color your skin casts on the paper, then you have a neutral skin tone.

5. Take a piece of jewelry or silver foil to determine your skin tone

The next test requires a sheet of gold foil. Hold it in front of your face. This will allow the foil to reflect light on your face. Notice if, in the reflected light, your face looks washed out/ grayish or if the light enhances your skin. Next, hold a silver foil in front of your face and note how it makes your skin look.

If the light reflected from the gold foil makes your skin look great, then your skin tone is warm.

If the silver foil makes your face glow, then your skin tone is cool.

If both the foils flatter your skin, then you have a neutral skin tone.

Those of you who do not have foils at home, can use a piece of gold and silver jewelry to examine your skin and determine your skin tone.

6. Take help from a friend

If you don’t know how to determine your skin tone, ask your friend to help you. For this test, ask your friend to have a look at the skin behind your ear.

If the skin looks yellowish, then you have warm skin tone.

If your skin looks pinkish or rose-like, then you have cool skin tone.

If he or she is having difficulty in determining, then then can hold a piece of white paper near the skin behind your ear and then determine its color.

Choosing your colors by using your skin tone

Now that you know whether your skin tone is cool, warm or neutral, you can use that knowledge to choose the right shades and colors for yourself.

1. Determine your complexion

To know your complexion, you need to examine your skin under natural light. Our complexion is the shade of our skin. It is either fair or medium or olive or tan or dark. Also, complexion is not fixed and can change. While your complexion might look pale-ish in the winters, it might look darker in summer.

You need to look at your jawline to determine your complexion.

Before examining your skin, make sure it is clean and free of any products. Make sure you have gotten rid of foundation, powder and/or lotion.

If you see that your jawline looks white or even translucent, then you have a fair skin. You might have freckles too and a little redness. Your skin gets brunt easily when exposed to the sun for a long time. You can have either cool or warm undertones.

If your jawline looks pale and burns quickly in the sun, which deepens your tan, then your skin is light-colored.  Your undertones may be warm or cool.

If your skin tans quickly, but does not burn then your skin tone is medium, while your undertones are golden. This is the most common complexion in the world.

If your sin looks olive in color and tans even in winter, your complexion is tan. Your skin tone can be either warm or neutral.

If your skin is brown, then your complexion is warm. Your skin will quickly darken when exposed to the sun, but rarely will it burn. Your undertones are likely to be warm.

If your skin is dark or ebony, then your complexion is deep. Your skin will hardly burn. Your skin tone can be either warm or cool.

2. Once you have determined your skin tone, choose the right hues for your clothing

Before we get into this, I should make it clear that these are only suggestions. You need not follow them as a rule. You can wear whatever color that you think flatters your skin color the best. You should also branch out and experiment more often to create your own style rather than following fashion blindly.

Those with a warm undertone, look best in neutral hues like beige or cream or orangey-coral. You can also try clothes that are off-white, yellow, mustard, brown, warm red, orange, and yellow-greens.

Those with undertones that are cooler should go for blue-reds, blue, purple, pinks plumb, greens, navy, magenta, and blue-green.

People with neutral undertones rock the colors of both the group as most shades look flattering on them.

Determining your skin tone is important to understand what will look best on you. You will need it while picking up a lipstick, nail polish, hair color, and even the clothes that you wear. Knowing your skin tone is also key to fining the correct foundation shade, which is the first step to creating a perfect makeup look. Once you figure out your skin tone with this skin tone guide, you can pick the right foundation for yourself and go about creating a flawless look.

Suggested read: How To Choose The Right Lipstick For Your Skin Tone

That is a wrap on today’s post: ‘Do You Know How To Determine Your Skin Tone?’ Did you find this useful? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

Article Name
Do You Know How To Determine Your Skin Tone? Let This Guide Help You
This guide will help you with how to determine your skin tone, which in turn will help you choose the right foundation shade & the best hair color for you.
Ruth Russell

Ruth Russell

‘To be or not to be’ if that’s the question, I would always want to be who I am – a lover, who binges on ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ every Christmas; that is, if she decides not to wallow in bed with ‘Wuthering Heights’! The other thing that I absolutely love is weddings! Well, who doesn’t like being in a room full of love stories, eh?!