Selecting The Right Makeup For Your Skin Tone

Click to subscribe to the CysterWigs blog in your favorite reader app

By Eseandre

Finding makeup that matches your skin tone can be tricky especially when you have no clue about what your undertone is. Finding out your skin’s undertone is one very important detail you must know if you want to achieve an effortless glow while wearing makeup. Now don’t get me wrong. You are beautiful in your own skin. No one is disputing that. But should you choose to wear makeup to enhance your natural beauty and you don’t know where to start, I just want to help you select the shades that work for you.

Skin Tone And Undertone

The very color of your skin is your skin tone. Various factors can lead to different variety of skin tones. Your genes, melanin pigmentation, age, exposure to sun, or even the geography of where you stay are all factors that influence your skin tones and skin types. Understanding that your skin tone can be different from other people’s is important, especially if you’ve realized that what works for your friends doesn’t always work for you. Now we have established that, let’s talk about undertones.

Wearing the wrong tone of makeup can make you look muddy or totally give away the fact that you might be a little clueless when it comes to picking out shades. So, let’s get into undertones. Your undertone is that shade of skin that is not exposed to the usual harshness that the rest of the skin faces. It is that underlying skin color that affects your overall tint.

Undertones usually fall under three shades:
● Cool
● Warm
● Neutral

You have probably come across foundations named “cool linen”, “warm bisque” or just “neutral.” These names aren’t just creative ways to address the makeup shades, but they also indicate the undertone that the makeup will complement.

You can determine your undertone by looking at the veins on your wrist or the inside part of your arm. If you have a cool tone you will notice either blue or purple looking veins on your wrist. A warm skin tone is synonymous with green veins and a neutral skin tone doesn’t have an obvious vein color but more of a distinctive skin color.

Cool Tone

If you have a cool tone, I must first acknowledge your beautiful eyes. Cool tones go hand in hand with grey, light blue, amber, hazel or deep brown eyes. As for your luscious hair, people with blonde, jet black and also dark brown hair usually have cool undertones. Sadly, most people with cool undertones usually burn easily in the sun. The foundation you will wear will be different from the next person’s and I mean once you know what works best for you, the possibilities are infinite. Sometimes using the foundations with their respective tones may not always work for you. Some leave you looking too pinkish or yellowish. The tip here is to select foundations that give a little hint of pink on the bottle. For cool undertones, you will look rather radiant with a cherry red lip, deep purple, grey and jewel toned eyeshadows, and a rosy pink blush for that natural skin flush. Feel free to step it up a notch by trying bolder colors. You will love the results.

Warm Tones

Warm bodies get in here. People with warm skin undertones have green wrist veins and tend to tan easily. It is important to note that your undertone is not a reflection of how fair or dark you are. Someone with a warm undertone can be really fair. If you have a warm undertone, you will want to go for warm colors. Honey, golden, warm beige, yellow, red, peach, coral and also orange. These colors will highlight your facial features and beauty. When you are foundation shopping go for the bottle with a ‘W’ label, it has a slight yellow hint to it. For your hair, honey blonde and golden brown will make you look absolutely gorgeous. You will notice that a coral red lip and colors of the coral family as blush will flatter you the most. For your eyes think colors of the earth, copper, bronze, gold will make your eyes pop. Eyeshadows look best when they contrast in comparison to your eye color.

Neutral Tones

Congratulations! If you have a neutral skin tone, you can pretty much get away with any color. I mean, any color in the right proportion. Feel free, honey. You are basically a chameleon. Deep purples, golden and orange shadows, blue, grey, pink you can rock it all with minimal chance of looking muddy. Go for foundations made for neutral undertones. If you have a neutral tone you can wear both cool and warm blush shades and contour colors. Go get it, girl!


Irrespective of what your skin tone, skin color or undertone reflects, remember that you need to wear what you are most comfortable in. Comfort is key. Also keep in mind that these are only guidelines and not rules. Good luck and have fun!

You can see all of Eseandre’s posts here.


  1. Patricia Pritchett
    October 2, 2018 / 4:08 pm

    Undertones are so difficult. I have read similar descriptions before, but none of them match me exactly. I have light blue eyes, my veins look blue, but I tan very easily and rarely burn. People have told me I look terrible in orange, and not so good in purple…but have lots of compliments when I wear pink or red. So I am confused! . LOL

    • Gina
      October 2, 2018 / 4:16 pm

      I hear ya Patricia! I have to go to the makeup counter at the department store to get my colors matched. Then for each season it seems like I need a new color palette depending on my tan!

      Best tip I’ve read though was Kathleen’s comment on matching lipstick colors to your actual lip color. I would have never have thought that!

  2. October 2, 2018 / 8:57 pm

    I think it’s a lot of trial and error. I watched a video once where a vlogger from the UK pointed out the differences in how American women of color wear foundation and how British women of color wear it. It was pretty eye-opening because over here, we tend to want a foundation that matches exactly. She said there, they go for a slightly warmer color since the color on our face, neck and body isn’t the same shade. In my attempt to match my foundation to my neck, I was getting shades that were ashy or gray. I have yellow undertones in the colder months and warmer ones when I get more sun. I found that warmer shades look more natural because they offset any dark blemishes I have, including a birthmark. It would be nice if there was a foundation that worked year-round, but that’s wishing for a lot. Lol!

    All you can do is experiment. There was a time when I thought I couldn’t wear red lipstick. I was so wrong. I can wear it. I just have to go for the more bluish reds than orangish reds. Same goes for blush an eyeshadow. I used to stick to “safe” colors. Now, I try different things. I had this red blush once. It was intimidating in the pan, but very easy to wear on. I just had to get out of my head…and my routine of the same old colors. Don’t think you’re limited to what the color wheel or guides tell you. You might not be able to wear grape purple shadow, but a lilac or eggplant color might work. You might not be able to wear vamp red lipstick, but a lighter version or lip stain might work. It ultimately comes down to what makes you feel good.

    -devon, CW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: