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How to Find Your Undertone for Foundation

Choosing the right foundation can be a daunting task– from finding the perfect formula to suit your skin type (like foundation for oily skin or foundation for dry skin) to perhaps the most complicated task of all: selecting a shade that matches your skintone – especially when it comes to finding the perfect undertone to match your skin. Whether you have warm, cool, or neutral undertones, selecting a foundation that complements your skin tone can make all the difference in achieving seamless looking foundation. We sat down with Jasmine Ferreria, National Director of Makeup Artistry & Education at Lancôme to ask her for her top tips on finding a foundation that matches your skin undertone.

What are skin undertones?

The undertone is the color underneath the skin’s surface, and it does not change. In complexion there are 3 undertones: Cool, Neutral, and Warm.

The Skin Undertones

Cool Undertone:
· In light skin tones s, you see pink, rosy tones
· In deep skin tones, you see red-blue
· Veins appear blue

Neutral Undertone:
· A mix of pink/yellow
· If you have difficulty identifying undertones it is most likely neutral (peach)
· Veins appear to be a mix of blue & green
· Olive Undertone is considered a subset of neutral undertone skin.

Warm Undertone:
· In lightskin tones s, you see yellow/olive
· In deep skin tones, you see golden, caramel
· Veins appear green

How is my undertone different than my skin tone?

Your skin tone is your surface skin color. It ranges from fair to deep and can vary throughout the year (think lighter in the winter and darker or more tan in the summer) At Lancôme, for example, we organize foundation shades into 5 skin tone intensities: Fair, Light, Medium, Medium-Deep, and Deep

Why is it important to know your foundation undertone?

Knowing your foundation undertone makes finding a foundation that is a perfect match very easy and helps you step up your makeup game. For those who prefer a perfect match, knowing your skin tone intensity (skin’s surface – Fair, Light, Medium, Medium-Deep, and Deep) and undertone is key. An undertone mismatch will work against the skin’s natural complexion and may not look as natural and seamless on the skin. Some people prefer to go for a lighter or darker shade of foundation, and some prefer to neutralize their undertones as opposed to matching them perfectly. If you’re looking to neutralize your undertone from a warm to a neutral or a cool to a neutral, it remains very important to know your skin undertone.

What should I do if I am struggling to know what my undertone is?

Checking the veins in your wrist is usually the easiest way to tell (see above) and when you can’t tell if they are green or blue then you probably have a mix of both and that makes you a neutral undertone. Another way to tell is with your jewelry collection, those with warm undertones gravitate toward gold jewelry while those with cool undertones prefer silver. When you are comfortable wearing both and feel they both look good against your skin, this is a clear indication that you are either neutral or olive.

Teint Idole Foundation shade swatches with different undertones and skin tones

How do I find my undertone and foundation shade in Lancôme Foundation?

In the Teint Idole Ultra Wear Collection there are 50 shades, 5 skin intensities, and 3 undertones. The lightest shade is 100W and the deepest shade 540C

Step 1: Find your skin intensity:
Fair-100s, Light-200s, Medium-300s, 400s-Medium-Deep, and 500s-Deep

Step 2: Find your undertone: Cool, Neutral, or Warm within your intensity

Step 3: Narrow down the shades within your skin intensity you feel would best match you. I recommend also trying a shade with a neutral undertone within your intensity if you are warm or cool as it has been found that many clients prefer to neutralize their undertones. Neutrals work pretty well on cool and warm skins. You may like to try a sample of each undertone to find your preferred match!

Foundation Tips and Guides

Foundation for Oily Skin

Foundation for Dry Skin

How to Prime Skin for Foundation

How to Find The Right Shade of Foundation

How to Pick The Best Foundation Formula for You

How to Use Foundation for a Glowing Finish

Shop foundation.

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