How to Find Your Undertone

Undertones are so underrated. They mean everything (well, sometimes) when it comes to finding your best makeup choices, especially foundation and certain shades of lipsticks.

There are basically 3 undertones: Warm, Cool and Neutral.

The Quick Way

Put a gold and a silver piece of accessory up to your face. Which looks more flattering: the gold or the silver against your skin? If gold, then you’re more than likely a warm undertone. If silver, then more than likely cool. If both seem to look decent, you could be neutral.

Yes, this is very concise and may not be the most efficient way to find your undertone, but it’s a start.

The More In-Depth Way

In natural light, look at your veins (if you can see them well). If they look green, you have a warm undertone. If they look blue/purple, then you have a cool undertone. If you can’t really tell, you could be neutral (but you also could just have a very tough time finding them).

The Closet Test

Are jewel-toned clothes, like emerald greens or rich purples, flattering on your skin? If so, you more than likely have a cool undertone.

If earth-toned colors, like yellows and oranges, look flattering on you, then you can assume you have a warm undertone. But, remember that they’re so many various shades of each color that this test may be a bit tricky. We really like the veins and jewelry test a little more.

Also, if ivory-white looks better on you than pure white, then you probably have a warm undertone.

The Burn or Tan Test

This is another tricky way to determine your undertone, but could be helpful. If you tend to tan, you may be a warm undertone. And if you tend to burn, instead of tan, you could possibly have a cool undertone.

Foundations for warm undertones will likely have orange, golden, yellow hints of color to them.

Foundations for cool undertones may have pink and beige hints to them.

Neutral foundations never have too much yellow or too much pink in them, but fall in the middle.

The N (neutral), W (warm), and C (cool) letters on many foundations are pretty self-explanatory and will help you be a guide to finding your best foundation and concealers.

  • Thanks for this I know my foundation could better. I now know my undertone. I’ll use this when I’m looking for a new one. ?

    • Melanie Yvette

      🙂 So glad this helped, Chantelle!

  • Very informative. Thanks.
    Another way is to use colors speak for instantly finding the undertone.

  • Jones

    Why is it so difficult to find a foundation with a warm undertone when we get more to the darker foundations?

    • MelanieYvette

      Hi Jones,
      I’ve noticed that too. I’ll do a formal blog post on this, but as a woman with cool and warm undertones, I find that investing in foundations from more prestige brands offers me a better range of warmer undertoned foundations. Most companies aren’t up to date on how they develop foundations for women of color. The colors they usually add to their foundations for darker women tend to be more on the cooler side. I’ve been using Kevin Aucoin, Maybelline’s Fit Me (at Walmart only), NARS, and IMAN have great warm undertoned foundations. I hope this is helpful and I’ll do a post on your question soon! xo, Melanie

      • Jones

        Wow! Thank you for such great tips!

        • MelanieYvette

          No problem, also, CoverFX has a great range of warm undertoned foundations. But, they’re better for normal to dry skin, at least that’s been my experience.