How-To Choose the Most Flattering Colors for the Skin You’re In

Determining the right makeup and hair shades to best complement our features can be challenging. When it comes to your skin’s undertone and overall skin surface color, there are makeup shades that best flatter each one.  You want to choose similar makeup hues to those found in your complexion, not opposite ones. Knowing your skin’s undertone and overall color can help you choose the colors that will look exceptional on you!

First, let me define the difference between surface and undertone. Your skin’s surface tone is the color that you can see on the surface of your skin, often described as light, medium, tan, deep, and so on. Your skin’s undertone is the color underneath the surface. You can have the same skin color as someone, but a different undertone.

Cool (hints of pink, bluish or red/ruddy undertones)
(hints of yellow, peachy, or golden undertones)
Neutral (skin’s natural surface color is more evident)
Olive (has a mix of warm and cool undertones, slightly yellow with unique greenish ashen hue)               

Ask yourself three simple questions to find your undertone:

Do your veins on the inside of your arm appear blueish or deep purple? If the answer is yes, you more likely lean toward the cool-toned spectrum. If your veins appear greenish or olive, you most likely skew toward the warm.   If your veins are blue-green in natural light you are neutral.

Does your skin tan easily and rarely sunburn?  If the answer is yes, then there is a good possibility you have a warm or neutral undertone.

Do you look better in silver or gold; which of these colors pops on your skin?  If gold, you are a warm.  If silver, you are cool.  If you favor both, you are neutral.

Now that you have defined the undertone of your skin, the goal is to select shades that have only the slightest hint of your skin's undertone but also flatters the general tone of the skin. Below are some general color choosing guidelines:


Cool/Fair: Shades of soft pink, rose, or rose gold

Warm/Fair: Soft baby pink, beige or tawny tones, light coral or peach. Tip: Avoid orangey reds and frosty finishes-they can make skin look sallow and washed out.

Cool/Medium: Rich, deep pink

Warm/Medium: Sheer mauves, apricots, corals, or peach blush

Cool/Deep: Shades of plums and purple

Warm/Deep: Deep reds, warm brown, and tangerine

Olive: Peach and copper

Eye Shadow

Cool: Pick eye shadows in blues, grays, silver, pinks, and plums.

Warm: Choose golden hues, such as greens, browns, gold or pinks.

**For Fair skin steer towards sheer washes of pigment such as soft taupe, cool pinks and soft greens.

**For deeper skin types and eye colors, darker, bolder eye-shadow is easier to wear.


*Test the lipstick on a sheet of white paper to determine the lipstick's dominant color.

Cool/Fair: Nudes, light mocha, and light mauves.  If you’re more daring, try purple or a cooler pink.

Warm/Fair: Light browns or pinky beiges brighten pale complexions. Try a shell, sand, or nude peach lip.

Cool/Medium: Rosy pink, plums, pomegranate and cranberry reds

Warm/Medium: Warm cinnamon reddish browns, bronze coppers or pale warm champagne

Cool/Deep: Raisin, wine, or deep plum purples, rose, ruby red with hints of blue, and sheer pink gloss

Warm/Deep: Honey, ginger, or coppery bronze

Olive: Dark berries, brick red or brown red and caramels. Avoid orangey or pinkish reds.

Pro Tip: The darker the shade the smaller your lips will appear.  For a fuller pout just add gloss.

Same rules apply for hair color!

Cool: Stick with colors that have blue, violet, and ashy tones.  If you want to try a red, try a red violet or blue-red.  If you want to go blonde, lean toward ashy or neutral and try to avoid peachy or golden tones.

Warm: Try a golden or peachy blonde, a red with more orange tones, or a brown that pulls out auburn or golden tones.


For more color tips and tricks, visit our beauty professionals at Harmony Salon and Spa.  Our talented, Aveda-trained staff are happy to help you find your most flattering, unique self.








Blogger: Jessie Cooling

Add a Comment