Skin Color Chart: Do You Know Your Skin Tone and Undertone?
Have you ever taken home a fresh new bottle of foundation, only to realize it doesn’t blend with your natural skin color and tone? We’ve all been there. It’s no easy feat settling on the right formula, let alone the best shade to match our complexions. That’s why it’s important to determine your overall skin color, tone, and undertone well before adding to cart. Need a helping hand? We turned to board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Joshua Zeichner for guidance. Scroll ahead for his simple tips and tricks for identifying your skin color, tone, and undertone.
Tip #1: Know Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type
Your skin tone is the natural color of your complexion, ranging from fair to deep. “In dermatology, we typically define skin type according to its ability to tan or burn,” Dr. Zeichner says. “We call these the Fitzpatrick Skin Types, which range from type one skin which always burns and never tans to type six skin which always tans and never burns.” To get an idea of what your Fitzpatrick skin type might be, consider these guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation:
Type 1: You always tan and hardly ever burn in the sun.
Type 2: You almost always burn and rarely tan in the sun.
Type 3: You sometimes burn and tan in the sun.
Type 4: You tan easily and sometimes burn in the sun.
Type 5: You tan easily and rarely ever burn in the sun.
Type 6: You never burn in the sun.
Tip #2: Identify Your Skin’s Surface Color
Frequent skin changes can make assessing your skin’s surface color a difficult task. Consider these tests to point you in the right direction:
Look at the color of your jawline. Rather than glancing at the center of your face, start by looking at your jawline. The jawline is typically less impacted by skin color changes. When you examine this area, try to determine for yourself if the area is fair, light, medium or dark. This can help you decide what tone you fall under. “In lighter skin types, some people have cool tones while other people have warm tones,” Dr. Zeichner says. “The lighter the skin type, the cooler the tone tends to be.”
How do people describe your skin color? Think back to compliments you’ve received in the past. Has someone ever described your skin as being “fair?” If so, this is probably what you skew toward. Or, perhaps you regularly get compliments on how tan you look. In which case, you may be medium. If you’re pale in the winter and tan in the summer, you may be light.
Tip #3: Keep Your Eye and Hair Color in Mind
Your undertone also plays a key role in the appearance of your skin. The three main undertones present in the skin are: cool, warm, and neutral. While the answer is certainly not black and white, here’s how you can help get closer to an answer:
Cool: Typically people with cool undertones have blue, green-ish blue, gray, or deep brown eyes with hair that has blue, silver, and ash undertones. Redheads are a prime example. “Redheads tend to have less pigment in the skin than those with darker hair color,” Dr. Zeichner says. Less pigment often equates to cooler tones.
Warm: Warm undertones appear more yellow and peachy in appearance. People with warm undertones tend to have green, hazel, amber, or warm brown eyes and hair with gold, red, orange, or yellow undertones. Dr. Zeichner says, “People with darker hair and darker eyes tend to have harder skin compared to redheads, and usually have warmer skin tones.”
Neutral: If your skin isn’t too ruddy or sallow, you may skew neutral.
Tip #4: Manage Your Expectations
Full disclosure: this assessment isn’t always accurate. “You have to take this with a grain of salt, as for every rule there is an exception,” Dr. Zeichner warns. “For example, someone with dark hair and porcelain skin likely has cool undertones.” When in doubt, consult with your dermatologist to for help determining your skin tone and undertone!
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