How to Know If You Have Warm or Cool Toned Skin

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash


The other day I was randomly browsing the makeup aisles of my local drug store when I hear a woman confusedly talking to her friend. “These are the exact same shades, what the hell is the difference?” As I looked at the foundation, she was looking at I noticed she was holding up two shades that, while called the same thing, were both made for different toned skins.

While I am a firm believer in rocking whatever makes you feel beautiful it is helpful to know if you are warm toned or cool toned. This doesn’t mean you necessarily have a different skin shade than the person sitting next to you but that you have different undertones. While subtle, these undertones can change how certain colors look on your skin. Our undertones are broken into three parts; cool, warm, and neutral. Cool undertones range from pink, red, and bluish while warm undertones range between gold, yellow, and peachy (neutral being a mix of both).

If you have absolutely no clue what undertone you have or what this even means then you are in luck! I struggled for years finding a perfect red shade for my lips until my friend went shopping one day with me saying I was picking orange-toned shades when I should be picking toned blue reds (I know, this was just as confusing to me as well). While you can wear either knowing your undertone really does help in picking out makeup, matching clothes, and just understanding your body a little bit more.

What color are your veins?
This is the most common way to tell if you are warm or cool toned. Look at your wrist (wear most veins really show) and study your veins. Do they look more green or blue? If they sway on the green side, this means you have warm undertones. If blue, you will match with cooler tones. A misconception is that fair skin is cool toned. This is not necessarily the case and is usually why people match things incorrectly to their undertones.

If you are cooler toned then colors like blue, green, purple, magenta, pink, and blue based reds will look more flattering for your skin. Warmer toned skin will look best with colors like yellow, orange, brown, ivory, and warm red shades.

Your eyes and hair say a lot
If you are unsure from your veins what category you fall under you can also use your natural hair and eye color to make a decision. A typically warm toned skin has brown, amber, or hazel eyes and strawberry blonde, red, brown, or black hair. They also might have undertones of gold, red, yellow, or orange in their hair. Cool toned skin usually means you have either blue, gray, or green eyes and hair with colors of blonde, brown, or black (with undertones of blue, silver, or violet).

How does your skin tan?
The effects of the sun on your skin say a lot about your undertones as well. For me (a cool toned) I will turn pink in the sun and eventually tan which makes me a medium-skinned cool tone. If you just burn then you probably fall under the category of fair skin with cool undertones. Warm toned skin usually turns a golden brown when sitting under the sun instead of that pink or red burn.

Neutrals and golds
The oldest trick that you have probably heard of is the silver or gold comparison. Don’t go off of what you like to wear (because that would mean I’m definitely a warm toned gal) but more what gives you a radiant look. If you look better with silver, you will lean toward cooler tones while gold will gravitate towards warm.

The same goes with neutral clothing. If you look better in whites or blacks as opposed to brown or tan shades that indicates a cool tone. Once you know what you are you can start to pick clothing and makeup that suits your complexion. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear red if you are cool toned it just means you might want to find shades that have a blue undertone in them. At the end of the day, you do you boo but if this can help you feel a little sexier than it is always worth it!

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