I hate to break it to you, but chances are, you’re wearing the wrong foundation right now. Don’t freak, that doesn’t mean you’re completely clueless. Shopping for foundation—whether it’s liquid, powder, or cream—is really effing hard. Especially with a billion different finishes, formulas, and shades out there, who can be sure of which base to choose?! But one thing that can make foundation shopping waaay easier for you? Knowing what your undertone is. Seriously, this info will take you from a makeup newb to a complete boss who knows how to find their perfect match.
What is your skin undertone?
Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application.undertone is the underlying color that your skin tone casts, says makeup artist Tanya Deemer, Temptu global educator. Skin tones change depending on sun exposure, which is why a ton of people have a summer foundation and a winter foundation. But your undertone stays the same no matter what season it is.
Like I said above, knowing your undertone makes alllll the difference when picking the correct foundation shade. But first, you need to know the three different undertones you could have—warm, cool, and neutral.
- Warm skin undertone: The underlying colors of your skin are yellow, peach, and/or gold.
- Cool skin undertone: You’ve got hints of red and blue tones under your skin.
- Neutral skin undertone: There’s a mixture of both warm and cool tones.
If you have cool undertones, then you know to look for foundations with cool tones, and same goes for warm and neutral. Packaging on foundations usually also includes undertone letters—C, W, and N—with each shade number.
How do I find my skin undertone?
Now that you know what skin undertones are, here are a few hacks from Deemer to figure out your own.
Try on some jewelry
For this hack, pull out your silver and gold necklaces and bracelets. Which one looks better on you? If it’s the silver, congrats, you have cool undertones! If it’s the gold, you have a warm undertone. If you don’t really notice a difference, then you’ve got neutral undertones.
Grab a white dress
Go through your closet and pull out that white dress you wore to death during the summer. In natural light (aka next to a window), hold the dress up to your face. If your skin looks a bit rosy next to it, you’re cool-toned. If your face looks more yellow, your skin undertone is warm. If you don’t see a change, you have neutral skin undertones.
Cross your eyes
This one is a bit weird, but stay with me. The next time you’re in a store, grab three different foundations that match your skin tone but have different undertones. Swipe a little of each, side by side, on your cheek, look into a mirror, and cross your eyes. This blurs your vision, making the swatch that’s right for you disappear, like it’s already blended in. The shades that don’t match will stand right out.
Check out your veins
Look down at your wrists. If your veins are blue or purple, you’re a cool skin undertone. If the veins are more green, you’re a warm undertone. A mix of the two means that you’re neutral.
Pro tip: If you’re shopping for foundation online and you’re still confused about what shade to get, guess the best you can (and throw a few neutral tones in your cart—they have a mix of both warm and cool undertones). Sites like Ulta.com and Sephora.com actually let you return foundation—even if it’s been opened and (barely) used.
Whatever hack you choose, finding your skin undertone is all about taking the confusion out of foundation shopping and making you look flawless AF. Happy swatching!