How to Determine Your Skin’s Undertone

There are several ways to determine your skin’s undertone. Start by looking at the inside part of your arm, where the underlying color shows through fairly well. This area is naturally hidden from the sun and, therefore, is not sun damaged or discolored, which is why skin in this area works best to reveal how warm, cool, or neutral your skin really is.

Answering the following questions is also helpful:

Does your skin tan easily and rarely sunburn? If so, you probably lean toward a warm or neutral undertone. If not, there’s a good chance you fall into the cool-toned category. (But we’re all using sunscreen, right?)

Do your veins appear bluish or more deep purple? If the answer is yes, you’re likely in the cool-toned spectrum. If your veins appear greenish, you most likely skew toward the warm-toned. Those with neutral undertones will have difficulty discerning either color—it will just all look neutral.

Do you look better in silver or gold? Personal preferences aside, cool undertones tend to be flattered by silver/platinum; those with warm undertones look better in gold-toned jewelry. Neutral skin tones look equally great in both (lucky you!).

Does your skin look somewhat ashen or gray? You might have the wild card of the bunch—olive skin—which is a combination of the natural neutral, slightly yellow undertone everyone has plus the greenish ashen hue that’s unique to olive skin. Olive skin tone is very specific, but is not neutral, as some tend to call it.

What if you have an uneven skin tone, meaning it’s more than one color? Although a great foundation helps neutralize this, the secret sauce is routine use of a skin care product that contains ingredients shown to make all skin tones look more even (and smooths skin texture, too).