Foundation to match skin undertone

Skin undertone for foundation

Although choosing the right foundation for our face is no rocket science, it can still get quite tricky.  While we always strive to pick the shade closest to our skintone, it is not always easy to do so and the wrong shade can make us look completely faded, muddy or ashy.  

Like for me, I only realised recently that I not only have to pick the right color for my complexion, but also be able to identify my correct skin undertone and choose the right shade to match it. 

So what is skin undertone and how do we identify it?

From what I’ve read, this is the predominant color of our skin when we’re are not wearing any makeup.   Apparently, the color of our complexion may change due to environmental factors, but the undertone will always remain the same.  And to find out what is our skin undertone, we should be looking at our skin color using natural lights, especially the inside of our forearm or wrist because those areas are least exposed to sunlight.

In terms of color of our complexion, the ranges are from fairly light, light, light medium, medium, medium deep to deep for those with naturally dark colored complexions.  But for skin undertone, depending on which product you buy, you could be looking at three major undertones like warm, neutral or cool like what I’ve seen on the new pamphlet from L’Oreal on their True Match Foundation:

Warm skin undertone
You look best in gold jewelry, corals, browns and dark greens. 

Neutral skin undertone
You look good in both silver and gold jewelry and most colors.

Cool skin undertone
You look best in silver jewelry, pinks, mauves and pastels.

Some companies even go a step further and add in shades like beige and golden for more specific definition while there are makeup experts who prefer to describe skin undertones in the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn.  Wikipedia has an explanation on skin tone color matching if you’re interested to read more.

Actually I was kind of surprised to learn that Asians fall into the cool or winter category because my impression is that we have yellow skin and hence, a warm skin undertone.  I suppose the said Asians here are those with extremely fair and porcelain skintone as I am also very fair but I definitely look better with foundations of warm or golden undertones. 

At the end of the day, we need some experimentation to find out what flatters us.  While we can always rely on the counter sales assistants to advice us, their judgements may not always be correct.   Hence, knowing more in terms of our complexion and skin undertone is always useful.  Afterall, we’re talking about our own face isn’t it?


  1. Irene says:

    so if i’m reading this right, asians tend to be in the cool skin undertone? alamak. this is the reason why, i haven’t really worn make up. too much headache, but the vanity in me will prevail. LOL>

    Irene: That’s what is usually said. But I find that cool tones don’t work for me – too fair! Warm tones does the trick and make me look better. I suppose you need to try and find out…so if we can get free samples, all the more wonderful to experiment!

  2. farah says:

    this thing bother me for si long..i never identified my own skintone…really stupid i am.. ireally need some profesional help…

    im not porceline type..i am dark brown..malay skin..huhuhuu..

    Farah: Check my earlier reply – ask for professional help at the counter.

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