Color Palettes for Your Skin Type

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You’ve found the perfect shade of lipstick and a knockout dress for a party this weekend. But when you take a second look in the mirror, the color doesn’t look quite right despite its seemingly perfect shade. Understanding your skin tone will break down any beauty barriers–such as the lipstick debacle–that come your way. Choosing the right color palette for your complexion will work wonders, and luckily, color matching your clothes, jewelry and makeup has some hard and fast rules so you can find the best palette for your skin type.

Colors are divided into pigments, which helps determine a color analysis that looks at your natural coloring based on skin tone and hair and eye color. The most important step is determining if you have a cool or warm undertone, which is the color right beneath your skin. Because it never changes, it’s the most accurate way of determining what colors are right for you. So while it’s possible to have the same skin tone as someone, you most likely have a different undertone than they do! Pink, red or bluish hues signify cool undertones, while yellow, peachy or golden undertones suggest a warmer tone. It’s possible to have neutral undertones, which is a combination of both cool and warm tones, and gives you the power to wear any color.

Contrary to popular belief, fair-skinned women can have warm undertones and, similarly, dark-skinned women can have cool undertones. After determining what warm, cool and neutral means, it’s time to figure out how to understand your undertone for yourself and how to match colors accordingly.

Do you tan easily? Warm-toned women will bronze easily and quickly, while a cool-toned woman’s skin will burn first and then turn pink. Fair-skinned cool tones will simply burn, and medium-skinned cool tones will burn then tan.

Luckily, your natural eye and hair color are also easy tricks to help you figure out your undertones. Cool-toned people will generally have blue, gray or green eyes and blonde, brown or black hair (Think January Jones, Anne Hathaway, Lucy Liu.). If you’re a woman with brown, amber or hazel eyes and red, brown, strawberry blonde or black hair, you are most likely warm toned (Think Jennifer Aniston, Beyoncé, Rachel Bilson.).
Or discovering your undertone can be done with a flick of the wrist! If you look at the inside of your wrist right now, are your veins more greenish or more blue? Green equals a warm tone and blue equals a more cool tone.

When it comes to choosing a color palette that’s best for your skin type, look to plums, pinks and magentas, emerald, and blue-based reds if you have a cool complexion. Warm-toned people will look best in warm reds or burgundy, yellow-greens, browns, ivory and oranges.

For jewelry, cool skin tones favor platinum, silver and white gold jewelry. Look for stone colors such as pink, blue, purple, or magenta to really bring out the natural, gorgeous pigment of your skin and undertone. Complementary jewelry hues for warm-skinned women are gold, brass, pewter and copper. Turquoise and coral-colored stones will look beautiful on you, as will green, orange or gold. But don’t limit to yourself to just gold or just silver depending on your pigment. Mixing and matching silver and gold is so trendy you’ll find many pieces including both metals. And by adding complementary colored stones to your jewelry, you’ll make everything look elegant and cohesive.

A makeup palette can work wonders when you find the right shades. When choosing a lipstick, pick shades that are similar to your undertone. Look for shades with blue, purple, or pink tones if you have a cooler complexion and then warmer hues such as an orangey-red if your skin has more of a golden tone. No matter warm or cool, everyone should stay away from pale or ashy accented lip colors. There’s no room for 50 shades of gray in your color palette.

For foundation, you’ll again want to match your undertones, so warm women should go with a yellow or peach base, and cool women opt for neutral or pink-based foundation. When it comes to eye shadows, cool skin undertones will pair perfectly with silver, pink or any jewel tones (such as emerald or sapphire) and you can complete the look when you match it with a cool pink or rosy blush. Gold, copper and bronze will make your eyes and complexion pop if you have warm undertones. Pair it with a warm peach or coral blush for the ultimate beauty look.

There are combinations of makeup that will complement either warm- or cool-skinned women, as well as skin tones ranging from fair to olive to dark. Smoky or metallic eye shadow will look great on all women, as long as it’s applied sparingly. Now get out there and make that color wheel stop spinning! HLM

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