Everything you need to know about undertones!

Skin undertones are often neglected when it comes to makeup but they’re actually incredibly important if you want to find the perfect foundation shade.

I’ve been wearing makeup for about 10 years now and I’ve only just discovered undertones and what they actually are. I’m here to tell you all about undertones, how to find yours and how to find the perfect foundation.

Firstly, let’s get acquainted with undertones. Your undertones are a group of pigments in your skin that work in conjunction with your melanin to create your own unique skin colour. Remember not to confuse melanin and undertones. The melanin in your skin determines the depth whereas the undertone determines the overall tone of the skin. You may have noticed some foundations are labelled with a letter and a number like MAC’s foundations or L’Oreal’s True Match line.



The letters, which will either be C (Cool), N (Neutral) or W (Warm), will stand for the undertone and the numbers will determine the depth, in most cases the higher the number, the darker the foundation. I want to add that you can be fair-skinned with warm undertones and dark-skinned with cool undertones. Remember melanin only controls the depth of your skin, not the tone, that’s your undertones’ job!

So how do you go about finding your undertones? Well it’s actually really easy but I’ll show you some tests you can do at home. The first is the vein test. All you need to for this is to take a look at the veins in your wrist. It’s best to do this in natural day light because this will ensure an accurate reading. Now, if you see blue or purple tones in your veins, that means you’re more likely to be cool toned. If your veins are predominately green/olive, you’re probably warm toned. If you have a combination of blue, green and purple tones that means you’re neutral.


The vein test, in my opinion, is the most accurate test for determining your undertones but if you’re still not convinced, there are a few more ways to figure it out.

The next isn’t really a test. Think back to whenever you’ve been in the sun. Maybe you were on holiday or maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a hot climate. Did you burn? Did you tan? If you’re cool toned, you probably found you burned a lot and barely tanned. If you tanned really easily and suffered no sun burn (lucky you!) you’re most likely to be warm toned. If you’re neutral you probably found you did tan, eventually, but didn’t burn. I myself am neutral and it takes forever for me tan! But I don’t burn luckily so there’s a silver lining I guess!

The final at home test you can try is the jewellery test. This one’s really easy and all you need is a piece of gold and silver jewellery. Gold and sliver plated will work just fine, there’s no need to go out and buy a real gold or silver necklace! All you need to do is try both pieces on and look to see which suits you the best. It’s as simple as that. Silver jewellery will compliment a cooler skin tone, whereas gold will look beautiful on a warmer skin tone. If both pieces look good then you’re probably neutral.

Now that you have figured out your undertone you can use your new-found knowledge at the makeup counter! All foundations are labelled differently, some may be numbered, some may have letters and numbers and others may be labelled with words. If a foundation is labelled with a letter and number, it’s easy because you know your undertone so it’s just a case of matching the depth. If a product is labelled with a word such as “ivory” “sand” “porcelain” or “mocha” you’ll have to do some testing. A cool toned foundation will always have a rosy tint whereas a warm toned foundation will have a beige tint. The best way to test a neutral shade is to put it next to a cool and warm toned foundation. But never decide on a foundation by testing it on your wrist, you’ll get an inaccurate reading. Test the foundation on your neck, just under the jaw closer to the ear and always try to look at it in natural daylight, natural lighting is the most unforgiving so you’ll be able to tell straight away if the shade matches. The foundation should blend into your skin seamlessly, if you can see the product it’s the wrong shade. But keep testing and you will find your perfect match!

Thank you so much for reading my first ever blog post! Feel free to leave a comment and I hope you visit again soon for more makeup tips!

Sofia x

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