Different types of skin undertones


Make up is all about highlighting your best features so that you can look and feel confident throughout the day. Skin undertones are what determine how colours suit us which is important when choosing foundation or a colour palette for a natural make up look. One of the downfalls of not using colours that match your undertone is that it can wash you out which is not the effect we hope to achieve when we apply makeup.

What is a skin undertone?

Skin tones and undertones are not the same at all because our skin tones are what you get on the surface of your skin and can change owing to our lifestyles, sun, the weather and age. The undertone is a subtle colour just below the surface of your skin that stays the same no matter whether your skin gets tanned or darker during certain times of the year. While it is quite intricate to make things easier undertones can be broadly categorised as:

  • warm undertones
  • cool undertones
  • neutral undertones

It is owing to undertones that people with the same skin tone can have very different undertones which affects the way colours work with them. Luckily no matter what shade changes your skin goes through determining your skin undertone needs to be done only once because it does not change. Dark-skinned people can have cool undertones and fair skinned people can have warm undertones, because undertones have nothing to do with ethnicity or skin colour.

Different types of skin undertones

Your skin undertone is what harmonises with the makeup and clothes that you wear, which is why it is important to understand your undertone. You should choose your foundation and concealers based on your undertone because that will give you the perfect flawlessly natural look. There are a few tests you can do at home to determine your undertone, or you could even try consulting an expert to gain guidance on the best colour palettes for you.

Look at your wrist – If your veins seem to have a greenish hue then you probably have warm tones and if they seem to be blue or purple then you have cool skin tones. If you have a mix of both, then you are probably of a neutral undertone.

Jewellery – If you find that gold jewellery suits you better then you have a warmer undertone and if silver jewellery tends to look better on you then you have a cool undertone. Again, if you find that both look good on you then you have neutral tones.

White paper or white t shirt test – Either wear a plain white t shirt or place a pure white piece of paper near your face and step into natural sunlight. If your face takes on a yellowish hue against the bright while then you have a warm tone and if you skin takes on a healthy rosy hue then you have a cool undertone. If whites and creams look good on you then you are a neutral.

Cool undertones – Lavender, pink, cool and bright blues, emeralds and deep purples are all colours that look good with cool undertones. Whites, greys work as well as do pale yellows and rose reds. For hair colour shades of icy or platinum hair colours or warm reds or golden or honey blondes look good.

Warm undertones – Warm toned skin looks good in autumnal colours like warm reds, oranges, deep greens, navy blue and mustard yellow are some examples. For hair colours chestnut, mocha, gold, copper, mahogany, cinnamon and dark chocolate will pop against skins with warm undertones.

Neutral undertones – To have a neutral undertone means that your undertone is roughly the same colour of your actual skin tone. Jade, peach, white, dusty pink and medium blues are wonderful shades for neutral toned skins. For hair shades copper or rust shades, amber, strawberry blonde, beige blond, ash or honey brunette work really well.

Makeup colour palette

Similarly your undertone is what your make up should blend with for a natural finish or else it can make your skin look unnatural and wash you out.

Foundation and concealer – The best way to find good foundation shades and concealer for you is to find two shades that match you, ideally one from the warmer range and one from the cooler colour range. When you try both shades on you should look for the shade that blends into the skin with no obvious colour defined lines. Most concealers and foundations will have a ‘W’ or ‘C’ or ‘N’ as a guide.

Blush – If you have warm tones check out blushes in shades of warm red or orange based to gain a natural flush. If you are cool toned then you can choose shades such as mauves and bright berry to add colour. If your undertone is neutral you can choose from any shade range based on if you want a natural look or pop of colour.

Lipstick – A good way to choose the right lipstick shades for you would be to correspond it with your skin undertone. If you warm skin undertone choose richer nudes and fiery reds and oranges. For cooler skin tones go for paler pinks and nudes and reds with bluish undertones. Test shades on the inside of your wrist to judge if they work with your undertone. Neutral undertones can wear practically any shade.

Eye makeup – Choose eye makeup shades that emphasise your undertone, so if you have a warm tone then use reds, oranges, golds and warm browns and if you have a cool skin undertone then go for purples, blues and greens.

Nail Polish – Of course you can have fun with whatever colours that you want but if you are looking for shades to compliment your skin undertone then a good guide to stick to is that cool undertones will look good with colours like light pink, blue, lavender, reds with a bluish tinge and warmer undertones look good with colours such as oranges, brick red, mustard and teals. With either skin tone if you want to wear a nude go for a colour that is close to your natural nail bed.


Use this guide to understand your skin undertone so that you can do your makeup with shades that highlight your best features to enhance your looks rather than dulling or washing them out. Your makeup should make you feel good, confident and happy. If you love your colour go ahead and experiment and enjoy yourself. There are so many variety of shades and brands to choose from that you will definitely find colours that will compliment your undertone.

Seren Scents

Seren Scents is an ethical, cruelty free and Vegan brand house based in London that specialises in cosmetics, men’s grooming and sun care. Our vision and greatest strengths have always been uncompromising product quality and the strive to make beauty affordable and cruelty free.