How Can I Tell What Skin Tone I Am?

Knowing your skin tone is crucial when making makeup and hair color decisions.

Photo: Jupiterimages/ Images

Since hundreds of skin tones exist, it would be nearly impossible to go over every skin tone to determine what type you are. Instead, you can determine your skin tone by grouping the types into two simple categories: warm and cool. Warm skin tones have red, peach or yellow undertones, while cool tones have blue, violet or pink undertones. You may be thinking, "Blue skin! Huh?" Don't worry. Undertones are simply the underlying tones in your skin, not the actual color. Determining whether your skin tone is warm or cool is important when choosing clothing and hair colors.

Look Yourself Over


Pull your hair away from your face and wrap it into a white or neutral-colored towel. Remove any makeup from your face. Don't worry, ladies; you'll be by yourself!


Wear a white or neutral-colored T-shirt or just stand in front of the mirror in the buff if you feel comfortable. Word to the wise: you might want to lock the bathroom door to make sure your roommate doesn't walk in on you.


Make sure you are standing in very strong natural light or under an incandescent lightbulb. Soft white bulbs or fluorescents will alter colors.


Look closely at your face and try to find the underlying color in your skin. Even if you have a suntan or dark skin, you will be able to see yellow, red or peach undertones for a warm complexion or blue, pink or violet undertones for a cool complexion.


Look at the skin on your stomach if you can't determine your skin tone from your face. If you wish, hold up a few different-colored objects to your skin. For example, hold up a banana to your skin to see if your skin "matches" with the yellowish color. It sounds silly, but it will give you a guide when searching for your skin tone.

Clothing Colors


Try on some of your favorite clothes in varying warm and cool colors to see what skin tone you are. Warm colors include ivory, red-orange, dark brown and yellow-green. Cool colors include white, pink, green and black.


Observe if your skin "glows," or looks healthy. If your skin looks drab or washed out with warm colors, you have a cool skin tone. It's vice-versa for warm tones.


Determine if wrinkles, blemishes or other imperfections look less noticeable. Proper clothing colors that coordinate with your skin tone will make your skin look flawless and your eyes sparkle.

The Paper Technique


Hold a piece of white paper up next to your face. Make sure the paper is pure white and not yellowish or decorative.


Compare your skin with the whiteness of the paper. Does your skin look yellower than the paper, or bluer? If your skin looks slightly yellower than the paper, you have a warm skin tone. If your skin looks bluer or pinker than the paper, you have a cool skin tone.


Determine if your skin looks greener than the paper. If you have green undertones, you have an olive complexion, which is considered cool.

Check Your Veins


Flip your hands over so that your wrists are facing up.


Take a look at the veins in your wrists. If you can't see the veins in your wrists, try to find the veins in your elbow crease.


Determine if the veins have a greenish tint or are truly blue. If your veins have a greenish tint, the warm yellow tones in your skin are mixing with the blue color of your veins to make green. If your veins are just blue or even purplish, the blue undertones in your skin are simply accentuating the blue color of your veins.

Things You'll Need


1.White or neutral-colored towel


5.White paper

2.White or neutral-colored T-shirt

4.Incandescent bulb (optional)


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