Understanding Undertones: Are You Cool, Warm or Neutral?



I don't know about you, but I've lost count of the amount of foundations and concealers that have gone in the bin not long after buying them because they look far to yellow on my skin. I was getting so frustrated at constantly wasting money on foundation that seemed great in the store, but looked awful in the natural light. Eventually I learned about a little thing called undertones, which happen to make a big difference to your makeup if you happen to get it wrong.

Why does it matter?
Getting the wrong foundation for your undertone can leave you looking washed out, and sometimes just plain ill... which is definitely not something we want especially when you consider how much some of them cost. Knowing your undertone can also help you choose more flattering colours for your blushes, eyeshadows, lipsticks and even your clothes although your undertone should by no means dictate entirely how you dress (I cover this more later on).

Check Your Veins:
The easiest way to get an indicator of what your undertone is, is to check your veins. People with blue or purple toned generally have cool undertones, and people who have green or olive veins generally have warm undertones. If you have a mix or blue and green, then you have generally have neutral undertones. My veins are really prominent and very blue, so it is nice and easy for me to work out from this test that I have cool undertones... although from other tests I've worked out that I am somewhere in between cool and neutral (just to complicate things) so don't take one result as gospel!


Source: A Bullseye View

Gold or Silver: Which looks best?
Looking in my jewelry box, pretty much everything I owe is silver or white gold. Don't get me wrong, that is partially down to the fact that my wedding ring is white gold and I like everything to match... but its also because silver tones just look better on my skin than gold which happens to be a indicator that I have cool undertones. If you have warm undertones, golds tend to look better on your skin compared to silver, and if you have cool undertones, silvers will look better on you. If you have neutral undertones, either colour will suit you just as well (lucky you!).

Tanning: Do you bronze, or burn?
How your skin reacts to the sun can be another great way to figure out whether you are warm, or cool. If you skin tends to go brown rather than burn, you likely have warm undertones whereas if you tend to just burn you most likely have cool undertones. If you are somewhere in the middle because you tan but burn after a while, or burn but tan afterwards you likely have neutral undertones. Using this test, I fall into the neutral category as I usually tan straight away, but burn if I am out too long (this could just be over exposure mind). It definitely helps to use all of these mini tests to work out your undertone rather than just one, as it should give you consistent results. 

Which colours suit you best?
A glance at my wardrobe tells me two things, the first of which is that I wear alot of black and the second is that while most of my clothes tend to be blues, greys which are commonly flattering colour for people with cool undertones, I also have some red, yellow and orange pieces in there as well. Blues, greys, purples and pinks flatter cooler undertones, while reds and earthy colours like yellows and oranges flatter warmer undertones. If you have neutral undertones (you'll be seeing a pattern now), you can wear pretty much any colour without having to think too much about how you accessorize it.

Having cool undertones doesn't mean reds or oranges won't look good on you though, as different shades of each colour will flatter either warm, or cool skin more. You can wear any colour and look great in it with confidence, but getting the right shade to suit your undertones will flatter you that much more.

Source: Capsule Wardrobe Collection

There are lots of other ways to figure out your undertones if you still aren't sure, one of which is go and ask at a makeup counter, preferably the one where you buy your foundation! It actually took a friend who works on a Smashbox counter telling me about undertones recently before I actually went off and learnt about them myself. Hopefully now you will have a much better idea on what your undertone is, and you can go armed with this new knowledge the next time you buy a foundation.

Am I the only one who didn't know the importance of undertones? Have you used any other tests to figure out your undertone? I'd love to hear about them in a comment below!

Much love,


2 comments

  1. This is so useful! I think I have a warmer complexion based on the tests above so hopefully it will help me when picking out foundations, it's such a tricky business haha! Your blog is the prettiest btw :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara | (doing follow for follow on bloglovin or instagram)

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    1. Ah I'm so happy you found it useful! If you aren't too sure, just check at a few different makeup counters and you should get the same answer from them! Thank you so much lovely!
      Samantha xx

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