Here’s a little secret: Finding the right makeup shades for you has nothing to do with being chinita, morena, or mestiza. In fact, when a lip color looks too brash on your skin or your blush makes you look washed out, it’s because you’re wearing the wrong color for your skin tone.
Most people mistake skin surface color as skin tone when skin tone actually refers to undertone. Chinitas have an obvious yellow cast to their skin, which is their skin’s surface color, and are often generalized to have warm undertones. But chinitas, like morenas and mestizas, can have varying undertones that range from warm to cool or neutral.
So how do you find out what your undertone is? Most people go by the color of their veins. Greenish veins peeking through your skin? You have warm undertones. Bluish-purple veins? Cool undertones. Both green and blue? You’re neutral and can wear both warm and cool colors. Another way to tell is to think back to the last time you tanned. If you turned golden brown, you’re warm. Grew rosy-pink? You’re cool. Now, check out your jewelry. If you have silver baubles because they suit your skin better, then you’re probably cool-toned. If you prefer gold trinkets, then you’re warm-toned. If you think both suit you, then you’re neutral.
In the same way that your skin can have warm or cool tones, so does color itself. Warm palettes have shades of brown, orange, red, and yellow while cooler palettes have green, blue, purple, and pink. So what happens when you have cool undertones but always wanted to wear red lipstick? The good news is, red can be warm when mixed with orange, cool when blue-toned, or just simply be neutral.
So the truth is, you can actually wear any color you want as long as you find it in a shade that suits your undertone. Now that you have a better understanding of what skin tone is, check out our makeup recommendations for warm, cool, and neutral skin tones, and find out what hues suit you.
Warm Skin Tones
Warm skin tones look great in earth colors like rich olives, soft browns, creamy beige, true taupes, and anything bronze and gold. Enhance eyes in shimmering gold and copper for evening dates then go neutral during the day with matte brown and beige.
When it comes to giving skin a gorgeous glow, warm complexions benefit from a shimmery wash of golden pink, peachy-orange, sunset corals, or deep bronze. As a general rule, darker skin with warm undertones look great in deeper shades while fairer types can go lighter in peach, coral, and orange.
Brighten up your look with shimmering nude, golden brown, creamy orange, light peach, dark apricot, and orangey-red lipsticks.
Neutral Skin Tones
Neutral-toned lasses are lucky! You can go warm or cool, wearing several shades within the same color family. Some ladies though lean more towards one end of the color spectrum despite their neutral undertones. Either way, you can wear almost any makeup color available so go wild! Our suggestion? Invest in a palette with a combination of cool pinks and plums to warm nudes, peach, and copper.
Peachy-pink, apricot, mauve, plum, and even bright pink–you can wear any shade of blush to give your skin and face a healthy flush of color. We like Nars Cosmetics’ bestselling, universally-flattering peachy-pink with gold shimmer.
You can’t go wrong with a peachy-rose color on your lips. This lovely warm pink shade flatters neutral skin tones and is the perfect everyday lippie.[crp]
Cool Skin Tones
Bold jewel tones in shades of blue, green, purple, and shimmering metallics in gray and silver are perfect for evening eyeshadows while paler pinks, lilacs, and cool creams, beige, and taupes look great as your everyday eye enhancement.
Cool skin tones are perfectly accentuated with a rosy flush. Try light dustings of baby pink, sheer plums, and soft berries on cheeks and skin.
Lip colors in pink, rose, plum, berry, mauve, fuchsia, lilac, and even lavender suit the lips of cool-toned ladies. Try this vibrant fuchsia in a long-lasting, highly-pigmented formulation—the perfect addition to your party bag.
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Pia Rojas has been writing about fashion, beauty, and health for 17 years. She's happily married with dog, and spends most of her time working and applying weird skin potions to her face.