Remember how tricky it was to find your perfect shade of foundation? Did you take a brave plunge in the beauty section of your local drugstore, or did you seek expertise by getting professionally matched?
There’s nothing more satisfying than a perfectly matched foundation – not only does it boost our confidence, it’s an essential part of wearing complexion products. A matching foundation that flatters our skin type, coverage preference, and suits our lifestyle can be like spotting a rainbow – a rare, beautiful sight.
Reasons to Search for a New Shade
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – skin is complicated, and a foundation that’s worked for you for years might all of a sudden look less than lovely. Perhaps you just got back from a divine tropical vacation with tanner skin, or your foundation is simply looking a bit lacklustre lately. It might be time to switch up your foundation shade!
What’s the best way to select a foundation specifically for your skin tone? We find it helpful to use a skin tone chart when possible, to help visualise your shade. You can also employ a few classic tricks for determining skin tone, undertone, and matching our foundation.
Read ahead for some easy ways to determine your skin tone, and perfect the match of your complexion products!
The Importance of Tone and Undertone
How do you determine your skin’s undertone, and why is it important? An undertone essentially determines the temperature of your skin. We’ll break it down: your skin tone determines the depth of your complexion, but your undertone is what makes your overall skin tone uniquely you.
Undertones are often categorised as warm, cool, and neutral or olive. For example, undertones can give your skin a subtle pink or yellow glow, or a mix of both if you have a neutral skin tone. In many ways, we actually think the undertone is even more important than our overall skin tone.
So why is an undertone more important than your overall tone? Well, a foundation that’s a bit too light can be deepened with a great bronzer. A concealer that’s a single shade too dark might be brightened up by your under-eye setting powder. But we’ve found that most often when a complexion product looks off, it’s because the undertone doesn’t quite match.
Decoding Your Undertone in 2 Steps
We think we owe you an apology: we may have made undertones sound like something intimidating, when they aren’t! It can be relatively easy to figure out your skin’s undertones once you know a few simple tricks!
Before we begin, it’s important to understand that your undertone can appear as one of six different shades. In the warm family there’s yellow, peach, and gold. On the cool side, skin might appear slightly pink, blue, or red. Below we’ll share a few easy tricks for determining where you fall in terms of skin undertone.
#1: The Jewellery Test
What finish do you prefer in jewellery between silver and gold? Is there a particular metal that always gets you compliments when you wear it? It isn’t just a taste thing – silver tends to flatter cooler undertones, while gold looks heavenly on warm tones. If you’re really lucky, you might be able to pull off both: meaning you’ve fallen in the neutral undertone category.
#2: The Vein Test
This one is even easier than the jewellery test, and doesn’t require a chart. Simply find some bright natural lighting, and look at the veins in your wrist. Through the skin, do your veins appear greener or do they have more of a blue cast?
Green means that the undertones in your skin are warm or golden, while blue means that you definitely have a cool skin temperature. Olive and neutral complexions may not be able to determine a clear winner, instead seeing a mix of blue, green, and purple.
When All Else Fails – Get Colour Matched
While these two tricks are definitely handy, that doesn’t mean they’re foolproof. Sometimes in poor lighting, or if you have a close to neutral skin tone, it may still be difficult to determine your exact undertone. In this case, a second opinion would be wise; most beauty stores can help you determine your undertone. Simply ask a makeup artist or beauty professional to match you in-store!
Skin Tone Zone
Now that we’ve got a handle on our undertone, we’ve got to take the next step into overall skin tone territory. This is where we find skin tone charts especially helpful, as they divide skin tone into different categories like fair, light, medium, and dark that make it much easier to find our foundation and concealer shades.
The good news is that as long as you have your undertone or skin temperature correct, your skin tone’s depth is usually within a 2-3 shade window.
Think of your undertone as the colour family that your skin belongs to: your skin tone would be how saturated or light you fall in that colour’s spectrum. Most skin tone categories use phrases like fair, light-medium, medium, dark, and dark-deep to help us determine our complexion match.
Other brands might use a number system to help us find our shade; for example, the Fruit Pigmented® Full Coverage Water Foundation. Not only do we take the guesswork out of undertones, we offer an epic shade range of almost 20 unique shades. If you consider yourself to have light or fair skin, you’d have a lower number. In this system, your skin tone should become richer as the foundation shade number grows.
PRO TIP: If you have oily or combination skin, you’re more prone to foundation oxidizing during wear. Make sure to prep the skin with a primer and set with a lightweight powder to avoid your complexion products changing colour on you throughout the day.