For a Make Up Artist, having a good eye for skin undertones and the ability to identify whether it is warm , cool or neutral is critical to the overall make up look, from getting the right shade of foundation, through to selecting colours for lips, eyes and cheeks.
Despite the infinite varieties of skin undertones, in general there are three categories - warm, cool and neutral.
What is skin undertone?
An "undertone" is very different to your "skin tone"
Your "skin tone" - or your 'complexion'- is the surface colour, the shade you see at a glance, which simply comes down to the amount of melanin in the skin and are usually placed into four catagories - fair, light, medium, dark.
Things start to get a little more complex with undertones. An 'undertone' is the subtle muted colour beneath the surface of the skin which doesn't change with lighting, tanning, hair colour, or any other external factor.
To the untrained eye, it can seem ludicrous that a face is made up of blues, yellows, reds and greens, but undertones truly are a spectrum of colour. Whats more, an undertone has nothing to do with how light or dark the skin appears on the surface - so the same rule applies for all skin tones.
Finding out your undertone.
Despite the infinite varieties of skin undertones, in general there are three categories - warm, cool. neutral.
Warm undertones are yellow, peach and gold with green toned veins. Cool undertones are red and pink with blue toned veins and neutral undertones are predominantly olive or a combination of warm & cool hues.
There are a number of basic tests you can carry out to determine your undertone but the easiest way to find out is the 'white vs cream' test - simply hold two garments, one of each colour, against your skin and see which one compliments the skin tone the best.
White looks good against warm undertone and cream looks better against cool. If both look great, then it's neutral.
If you're still not 100% sure,look at what jewelry you prefer to wear. If gold jewelry enhances your complexion, then you are warm undertone, if silver compliments you better, then you are cool and if they both compliment you then you are probably neutral.