Undertones 101: Bobbi's Guide to Finding Yours

  • Written By:Bobbi
  • Photography:Ben Ritter
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When you match your undertones, your foundation is going to blend more seamlessly into the skin and look the most natural.

As a makeup artist, I’ve always understood the importance of identifying the skin’s undertone when choosing the right foundation. When I started doing makeup, most foundations had such pinky undertones that they looked unnatural. I was always fixing them to make them work — I bought yellow, blue, red, orange and black tints available at theatrical makeup stores. After years of mixing, I finally made my own Face Pencils, an easy and versatile solution to natural looking skin.

Here’s the basics: undertones are the shade within your skin color. They can be warm, neutral or cool.

Warm undertones are yellow, peachy or golden — the type of skin that can tan. Cool undertones are pinky, blue, red — people who tend to burn. Neutral undertones are a mix of cool and warm hues and often change between the two. And there are always variations. For example, even though light, freckled skin is cool underneath, a warmer foundation often looks best because of the warmer freckles. There are also women who have slightly different skin tones on different areas of the face, who can use products to color correct.

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When you match your undertones, your foundation is going to blend more seamlessly into the skin and look the most natural. The best way to find out if a color is right for your skin is to test it on the side of our face, not with a swatch on your arm or hand. If the color disappears, it’s right for you. However, you can also experiment with different undertones to color correct the skin.

So, how to choose the right one, especially if you’re buying it online?

First, look at the faces representing the makeup line and find your closest match. Next, identify which category you’re in from light to deep. Read the description and align on if you’re cool or warm. Then go to the foundation finder—plug in your existing items and get a recommendation based on your last formula used. If both are the same, it’s a good sign. If you’re still not sure, many brands have makeup artists on hand that you can either talk to or DM your photos to.

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Also know that you’ll be using different colors seasonally, and probably mixing and blending in between. Don’t just think traditionally. Use the light colors underneath the eye, under the brow bone or on any recessed areas of the face. Then use darker tones to bring out and deepen the skin as needed. Think like a makeup artist.

Check out the faces, charts and tools available on jonesroadbeauty.com

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