Warm or cool? No, we’re not asking you how you want your coffee. Rather, we're talking about the all important step to finding your perfect foundation. Also commonly referred to as yellow or pink, and sometimes neutral, your skin’s undertone helps you choose the best makeup shades for your complexion that will give you a natural finish. While knowing which way you lean is supposed to make shopping for products easier, actually confirming whether your skin is warm, cool, or neutral isn’t always so straightforward. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of three celebrity makeup artists to fill us in on easy, foolproof ways to reach a verdict on whether your skin is warm, cool, or neutral.
Get to Know the Back of Your Hand
“If you’re noticeably warm or cool, you want to go towards face makeup and lip colors that match your skin’s undertone. If you have a really hard time identifying this, chances are you’re probably neutral,” explains makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. “Since many foundations will tell you directly on the bottle if they’re warm or cool, starting by matching your perfect foundation can set you up with your skin’s undertone.” To do this, he recommends taking a warm and cool shade that look like they could be potential matches and tapping them on the back of your hand. Whichever one blends in seamlessly is the correct undertone—it’s as easy as that.
Consider Your Jewels
Instead of swatching, Sotomayor says that the answer to your undertone shade may lie in what you wear. If you feel like you look better in 24K gold, which is clearly more yellow, then you have a warm undertone. If you feel like you look better in rose gold which has traces of pink to it, than you have a cool undertone. Sotomayor notes that if you regularly mix and match your metals, chances are you’re neutral.
Stick to Your Jawline
Aside from matching your makeup, another thing to consider when you’re figuring out your undertone is what you want your foundation to do. Makeup artist Edward Cruz says to consider your lifestyle and makeup style when deciding on a warm or cool undertone shade. “Some people become more warm or beige during the spring and summer seasons, and go back to pink in the winter,” he explains. Cruz recommends swatching potential matches along your jawline to decide whether or not that’s the shade and look you want to go with. His final tip: Stick with a makeup shade that’s the same color as your neck, or one shade lighter to brighten and lighten up your complexion, and never go darker when it comes to face makeup.
Pay Attention to Your Tan
How your skin reacts to sun exposure can also help you determine your skin’s undertone. “If someone tans well and rarely burns, they tend to have a warm undertone,” says Allan Avendaño. “On the other hand, if someone burns easily, they more than likely have cool tones. There’s also the possibility of being neutral, where you have a combination of both.”