The Easiest Way To Identify Your Undertones, According To A Makeup Artist
Having trouble color-matching your makeup? The best advice I can give you is to go to a counter, test out a few in good lighting, and ask for professional help. But I know that's easier said than done. For one, the practicality of online has made the idea of shopping in person seem so tiresome and time-consuming. And, two, if you're one to shop nontoxic or natural, online might be your only option—as clean boutiques are typically only in larger, more metropolitan cities (or at least at the moment).
And it used to be that there were really only a few shades to pick from regardless (and these were anything but diverse), so you'd pick whatever shade was closest to yours, and you'd just sort of, well, deal with it. Thankfully, that's changed: Brands will carry shade ranges with options north of 40. With all those options comes nuance—and undertones. Undertones are the varying colors that shape our skin tones, be it yellow, olive, pink, peach, purple, or gray hues. (And you might even have a combo of these, too.) This is why two people with the same skin tone can present very differently.
So what is one to do when you start to comb through products online and all the shade descriptions include undertones? I'm a beauty editor, and I'm objectively terrible at identifying undertones! Well, recently I spoke with natural makeup artist Amber Talarico, who gave me a little trick to help. To start: You likely don't need to get into the very specific undertones of your skin, down to exact coloring. Most brands really just stick to warm, cool, and maybe neutral.
"Take a piece of red paper and a piece of blue paper, and put each next to your face to see what looks more flattering," she says. "If you look best with blue, you have cool undertones, and if you look best with red, you have warm." And for those people who look radiant with both? You likely fall somewhere in the middle and have neutral.
If you're in the market for a new foundation, it comes in handy with blush, highlighters, bronzers, or even lip color. But if you are looking for a new cover-up, check our favorite nontoxic options below—conveniently presorted.
Shop "Cool" Foundations:
Cover FX Power Play Foundation in N120
Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid in Awakened RG45
Kosas Tinted Face Oil in Tone 01
Shop "Warm" Foundations:
Ere Perez Oat Milk Foundation in Honey
Kjear Wies Foundation in Delicate
Tarte Water Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 - Sea Collection in 61H mahogany
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