Determine Your Skin Tone - Warm or Cool?


When you determine your skin tone, you will know which foundations will look best on you! It's totally important that you get this right since they are the bedrock of the rest of your makeup.  Choose incorrectly and your skin could look unnatural! Make the right choice and help set the perfect stage for the rest of your makeup application!








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Every woman is born with certain hereditary traits from their parents, grandparents, and even beyond. Your DNA helps determine your skin tone even before you are born. Therefore, it only makes sense that you will inherit some of the same traits from your genetics.

Another important aspect of colors in general, is the way they make you feel! When you wear colors that are more suitable for your skin tone, it’s reflected in the way you present yourself to the world. Since colors are prevalent in our society, choosing the right colors is one of the best ways to draw more positive attention.

Your Skin Tone

Do you know your skin tone? The major categories are: very light, light, medium, olive, brown, and black. Of course, because of the vast mix between races, many new skin tones have developed.

Your skin tone is determined by melanin, which is triggered by an enzyme called tyrosinase, which creates the color of skin, eyes, and hair shades.
different skin tones image


(Melanin controls the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun that is able to permeate and absorb into your skin.)

Melanocytes produce two distinct types of melanin: eumelanin (very dark brown) and pheomelanin (red).

The amount and type of melanin produced is controlled by the number of genes which operate under incomplete dominance. One copy of each of the various genes is inherited from each parent. Each gene can come in several alleles, which results in the greater variety of human skin tones.

To determine skin tone, you’ll first need to figure out if your skin is warm or cool. Underlying pigments can influence your skin tone. Those pigments are influenced by the way light is refracted from your skin.

If you have a cool skin tone and wear makeup for warm skin tones, your face may look washed out and weird. If you have warm skin tone and wear makeup for cool skin tones, your makeup may look gaudy and unnatural.

However, wear the right makeup colors and it will pull your face together.

Determining Your Skin Tone for Makeup Colors

Step One - Look at the underside of your wrist. Are the veins you see green or blue? If veins appear blue in color, you have blue underlying pigments and your skin tone is cool. Veins that appear green in color, means that you have yellow undertones and your skin tone is warm. To make double sure that you’ve correctly identified warm or cool, try this second test:

Step Two - Look through your linen closet and get out a white towel. Take it into the bathroom with you. Now, use a headband to help pull your hair completely out of your face. Then wash your face well, especially if you have makeup on. Pat dry your face and hold the white towel up to your face. The white cloth will help pick up underlying skin tones. Does your facial skin look yellow or blue?

If your skin looks yellow, you have a warm skin tone. If your skin looks blue, then you have a cool skin tone.

warm and cool skin tone colors image

With the correct makeup colors:

  • Skin tone will appear natural
  • Your eyes appear brighter and clearer
  • Your hair better reflects highlights
  • You will hear compliments like 'Wow! You look great'!

    With the wrong makeup colors:

  • Your face will appear tired and drained
  • Your eyes will look shadowed and heavy
  • Your teeth may appear yellow
  • You will hear comments like 'You look tired'!

    Step Three - Did you ever feel more comfortable wearing either gold or silver jewelry? Are you mysteriously drawn to one or the other? If you look better in silver jewelry you have a cool skin tone. If you look better in gold then you have a warm skin tone.

    Step Four - Get a good mirror and take a good look at the natural color of your hair and eyes.

    Warm Skin Tones – typically have blue, green, or gray eyes with blond, red, brown or black hair.

    Cool Skin Tones – usually have brown, black, or hazel eyes with black, brown, blond, red, or strawberry blond hair.
    skin tone chart image


    If you just can’t decide which skin tone fits you best, you may be one of those lucky ladies who have neutral skin tone. That means you can pretty much wear any color successfully and that you look great in both silver and gold jewelry!

    One other swell way to figure out what colors look best on you, is to judge by the nail colors that look best on your nails. If your nails look better with brighter colors, you probably have cool skin tones. If paler, softer colors look best on your nails, you probably have warm skin tones.

    One other thing to keep in mind, is that throughout your life, you will be mysteriously drawn to certain colors. They may or may not be the right makeup colors for your skin tone but somehow it won't matter. That's perfectly fine too! No sense in pushing against the universe, right? We all have favorite colors for no explainable reason. Roll with it and don't worry too much about the small stuff!

    To find out which colors are best for your skin tone, you'll need to know your makeup color season. Get them here.

    Celebrity Skin Tones

    Celebrities with Warm Skin Tones Include: Nicole Richie, Kim Raver, Kristen Johnston, Marcia Cross, Calista Flockhart, Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reba McIntyre, Julianne Hough, Sarah Ferguson, Rebecca Romjin, Tara Reid, Renee Zellweger, Ellen Degeneres, Diane Sawyer, Amy Adams, Jillian Anderson, Amanda Bynes, Becki Newton, Leona Lewis Ellen Degeneres image


    America Ferrera image Celebrities with Cool Skin Tone Include: Demi Moore, Anne Hathaway, Courtney Cox, Sandra Bullock, Terri Hatcher, Kirstin Davis, America Fererra, Penelope Cruz, Candace Bergen, Sarah Chalke, Hillary Clinton, Heather Locklear, Britney Spears, Sarah Jessica Parker, Christy Brinkley, Reese Witherspoon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeri Ryan, Jennifer Aniston, Elizabeth Taylor, Keira Knightley, Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson, Liv Tyler, Alexis Bledel, Megan Fox, Jennifer Connelly, Shania Twain, Brooke Shields, Sophia Bush, Ellen Pompano


    An easy way to remember your skin tone is to just remember either: 'earthy or jewel'. With warm skin tones, you will look best in earthy tones (browns, yellows, oranges, and off-white) and with cool skin tones, you will look best in bold jewel tones. (red, white, blue, and purple)






    Related Pages on This Site

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    Translucent Loose Powder – A Makeup Artist’s Secret Weapon

    Makeup Colors for Redheads

    Makeup Colors for Brunettes

    Makeup Colors for Blondes

    Party Makeup Tips for Festive Occasions

    Holiday Make Up Ideas for Party Girls!

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