Skin Color Chart: Do You Know Your Skin Type, Tone and Undertones?
Have you ever taken home a fresh new bottle of foundation, only to realize it doesn’t blend with your natural skin color and undertone? We’ve all been there. It’s no easy feat settling on the right formula, let alone finding the best shade to match your complexion. That’s why it’s important to find out your skin type, color and undertone before adding a new foundation to your shopping cart. We know that distinguishing the slight differences between your skin color and undertone can be difficult, so that’s why we got in touch with 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: Find Out Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type
While you’re often used to referring to your skin type as either oily or dry, you skin type can also be classified by its ability to tan. “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.” Knowing your Fitzpatrick Skin Type can help you to get a better understanding of your skin color and undertone. To get an idea of what your Fitzpatrick Skin Type might be, consider these guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation:
Type 1: You always burn and never tan in the sun.
Type 2: You almost always burn and rarely tan in the sun.
Type 3: You sometimes burn and sometimes tan in the sun.
Type 4: You tan easily and sometimes burn.
Type 5: You tan easily and rarely burn.
Type 6: You do not burn.
Tip #2: Identify Your Skin Color
Frequent changes to your skin, like tanning or even skin conditions like rosacea, can sometimes make identifying your skin color a difficult task. Do you really have a medium skin tone or did you just spend a lot of time in the sun this summer? Luckily, there are a series of different tests that you can do on your own to help you discover your skin color, like the jawline test. When trying to determine your skin color, don’t use the center of your face as a point of reference but rather use your jawline. This tends to be a better representation of your skin color because the jaw 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, dark or deep. Once you have a good idea of what skin color you are, then this can help you figure out what are your undertones.
Tip #3: Keep Your Eye And Hair Color in Mind
Your undertone also plays a key role in the appearance of your skin. There are three main undertones present in the skin and they are cool, warm and neutral. If you have cool undertones, your skin color may have subtle hues of pink, red or blue. Typically, people with cool undertones have eyes that lean blue, green-ish blue, gray or deep brown. You can also tell if you have cool undertones by looking at your natural hair color. 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.
If you’re someone with warm undertones, your skin will lean yellow, peachy or golden. Those with these tones tend to have green, hazel, amber or warm brown eyes with hair that has gold, red, orange or yellow undertones. Dr. Zeichner says, “People with darker hair and darker eyes usually have warmer skin tones.Then finally, there are neutral undertones which is when you have a balance of both warm and cool tones.
If you’re unsure of your undertones, there are a few quick and easy tests that you can do to help you determine what you are including the white versus cream test. To do this test you’re going to need two articles of clothing (or towels). Make sure one of the articles is white and the other is a cream color. Hold the articles of clothing against your skin and if the white complements your skin tone better, you are probably warm-toned. If the white washes you out and the cream is more flattering, you might be cool-toned.
You can also try the jewelry test. If gold jewelry enhances your complexion, then you likely have warm undertones. But if silver is more complementing, then you are probably cool-toned. If both cream and white, and silver and gold look great on you then you are probably neutral.
And if all else fails, you can also look to your veins on your wrist for some help. If your veins are green, you have warm undertones. If they are blue, you have cool undertones. If they appear a mix of a blue-green shade, then, you guessed it — you have neutral undertones. As a general rule of thumb, however, Dr. Zeichner says, “The lighter the skin type, the cooler the tone tends to be.” Therefore, skin types that fall under type one through type three on the Fitzpatrick Skin Types may identify with having cooler undertones whereas someone who is between type three and type six might be warmer.
Tip #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Dermatologist
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.” There is no one shoe fits all when trying to discover your skin type, color and tone. These are all tips that you can use to help you narrow down your choices. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to consult with your dermatologist to help you determine your skin type, color and undertone.
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