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How do I Determine my Skin Undertones?

By Kerrie Main
Updated May 21, 2024
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Determining your skin undertones can help you make most flattering choices for your hair color, makeup, and clothes. People generally have warm, cool, or neutral undertones. There are a few different methods you can use to see which type you have, with the most common ones being looking at your veins and your natural hair and eye color and seeing what your skin looks like next to gold or silver jewelry or a white cloth. If you're stuck after trying these methods, you can try getting professional help.

Vein, Hair, and Eye Color

One of the most common ways of determining your skin undertones is by looking at the veins on the underside of your forearm in natural sunlight. If they look bluish, then you have a cool skin tone, and if they look more green or yellow then you have warm skin. If they are a mix, or you can't really tell, then you probably have neutral skin.

Looking at your natural eye and hair colors can also help you figure out your coloring. Typically, cool people have eyes that are blue, gray, or green and have blond, brown, or black hair with blue, silver, violet and ash undertones. By contrast, warm people usually have amber, hazel, brown, or black eyes with strawberry blond, red, brown, or black hair. Their hair tends to have gold, red, orange, or yellow undertones.


You can also try using jewelry to see whether your skin is warm, cool, or neutral. If you look better wearing silver, white gold, and platinum, you probably have cool skin, but if you look better with yellow gold, then you're probably have a warm skin tone. The metal that works with your skin undertones will complement your skin and make you look fresh. If you look equally good with both, then you have a neutral skin tone.

White Cloth

A fourth way of determining skin undertones is to pull your hair back and put a white cloth like a towel or T-shirt around your neck and shoulders. If your face looks blue or pink, you have cool skin. If your face looks yellowish or peachy, you have warm skin. Neutral skinned people normally look greenish next to the white cloth.

Professional Help

If you still can't really tell what type of skin you have or you want to learn more about what colors of makeup and clothing look best on you, you may want to attend a color class or make an appointment with a stylist. Usually, cool-toned people are advised to wear jewel tones, pinks, blues, and pure white. Warm-toned people typically look better in earthy tones, such as orange, green, yellow, red, and brown.

A stylist may also categorize you using the seasonal color method. In this system, people are generally divided in spring, summer, autumn, and winter types, with each category further breaking down into things like clear, light, soft, and hard depending on your skin color, variations in your skin undertones, and the saturation of your hair and eye color. For instance, a person could be a clear, cool, light summer, in which case he or she would look best in light, but warm colors like coral and khaki.

Dressing to Complement Your Skin

Wearing the most flattering colors can help you to look your best overall and make you look more vibrant. They can, for example, make your eyes to really stand out and give your skin a healthy glow, rather than looking tired or washed out. Regardless of your skin undertones though, some colors may just not look good on you. This sometimes happens when people have colors or features that overlap various categories.

If you have a color that you love, but find that it is not flattering, you still may be able to find ways to wear it, as long as you try to not wear it above your waist and definitely not near your face. Slight variations of certain colors can also work. For instance, if you have soft but warm coloring, you may not look good in a stark white shirt, but a soft ivory one might work very well.

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Discussion Comments
By anon957177 — On Jun 18, 2014

This was really helpful. I had a small suspicion that I had warm undertones, just from what I've heard growing up and all that. You know, sometimes you hear stuff and you don't know what it means but you retain the info anyway. But the vein test and the metal test and eye test and hair color, it all checks out. So thank you this really did help!

By anon932352 — On Feb 11, 2014

I'm actually looking for an article on how to find specific undertone colors. I've always sort of known as much as 'cool' (like I always hear people saying, "oh this color looks good on me because I have yellow undertones") and I can't seem to find anything. It looks like I'll be going to a professional. *sigh*

By anon354103 — On Nov 05, 2013

I have been told I am cool, warm and have olive skin, fair skin and medium skin, so I am undecided and confused.

By amypollick — On Nov 04, 2013

And sometimes, the rules just don't apply. I have brown hair and eyes and fair skin. My veins are Wedgewood blue, though, and my skin has a decidedly cool undertone. I love the color peach, but it turns my skin green or gray. A coral with a pinker undertone works fine, though. It really just depends on the individual person.

You have to find what looks good with your individual combination of eyes, skin and hair. Use these articles as starting points, and then go from there.

By anon340892 — On Jul 06, 2013

I love this! Most people don’t even know what skin tone they are; they just assume they are warm if they’re tan and cool if they’re pale, but that’s not true.

By lightning88 — On Nov 05, 2010

Thanks so much for this article! I had taken all these quizzes on how to determine your skin undertone, and I kept coming up with contradictory answers, but this article really cleared it up for me.

I would definitely recommend this article for anyone who wants to know how to tell your skin undertone.

By closerfan12 — On Nov 05, 2010

What are some good colors for people with olive undertone skin? I recently took a skin undertone test and that's what I came up with (not surprising, since I am of Greek descent).

So what are the best colors for someone with olive skin to wear? I've heard that people with olive skin must avoid brown, but other than that, I really have no idea -- can anybody give me some tips?

By yournamehere — On Nov 05, 2010

Cool article! I love finding out about stuff like this. Although I had heard of how to tell skin undertones by looking at the skin next to a white cloth, I hadn't heard of a lot of the other methods that you detailed.

I do think it can be kind of hard to tell with the jewelry though, at least on your own, since that can be a very subjective thing. For instance, a person might think they look good in silver jewelry just because they like how it looks, but it might not be the best fit for them.

That's why it's always best to do the whole skin undertone quiz thing with a friend -- they often have a more objective view of your skin tone, and can give you a better response.

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