Beauty Beat: Are you a warm or a cool? Find out.


Ashley Evert, Assistant L&A&E Editor

One of the biggest misconceptions about skin is that it is one color. Skin has many different colors in it, which can label people as “warm,” “cool” or “neutral.” These terms are thrown around in beauty magazines and TV shows, but not many people understand what they mean.

Warm and cool refers to skin’s undertone, not skin tone. Skin tones are fair, medium and dark. Under tone refers to the color that lies beneath the skin, sort of like a shadow below your skin color. Skin tones can change, but undertones do not. Here’s a guide to decide what it means to have warm, cool or neutral undertones.

Warm complexions have yellow tones in lighter skin and red tone in deeper skin. They are usually accompanied by green, hazel, amber or warm brown eyes. Examples of women with warm complexions include Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, Heidi Klum and Beyonce.

Cool complexions usually have a pink tones in fairer skin and blue tones in deeper skin. They are usually accompanied by eyes that are blue, gray, green-blue or a brown that borders on black. Examples of women with cool complexions include Elizabeth Taylor, Oprah, Demi Moore and Dita Von Teese.

Neutral complexions are lucky. People with neutral undertones can wear any colors and remain neutral. There isn’t a group of colors that looks necessarily bad on them.

People don’t give themselves enough credit – they know what they look good in. Knowing what flatters you is half of the battle in finding out your skin’s undertone.

Jewelry, lipstick and clothes can help determine undertone.

People with warm undertones look best in gold jewelry. They lean toward warm lipstick colors like peachy pinks and browns and warm clothing colors like red, gold and beige. Skin looks healthiest in off-white or beige shirts.

People with cool undertones look best in silver jewelry. They gravitate toward cool lipstick colors like mauve and hot pinks and cool clothing colors like blue, purple and white. Skin looks healthiest in pure white shirts.

A test that my class did in beauty school a few years ago was to drape different swatches of fabric across our shoulders of the same color but with different tones to see what was more flattering. For example, using peachy pink and hot pink or off-white and bright white. Using the warm color versus its cool counterpart allowed for easy determination of undertone.

Knowing your undertone will help immensely in foundation shopping. Thankfully, some brands are labeling their foundations for   warm or cool skin types or providing a helpful chart in stores. If worse comes to worst, just go to Sephora and have them match you. Good luck!