We’ve all learned the primary colors and the secondary colors in school. But we’re going to take it to another level. We are going to really learn all the aspects of the color wheel, and see how it relates to our skin tones and makeup. After you’re done reading this article, you are going to have a new skill of picking the perfect makeup tones (and clothing, too!) for your skin. I even have some great makeup application tips for you, too.
Let’s start with the primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. These colors are basic. They seem somewhat lifeless. But once we mix red and blue, we get purple (violet); blue and yellow-we get green; and yellow and red-we get orange. Those are called secondary colors. Our skin pigments are made up of these primary/secondary colors. When these colors are mixed, it makes a category called “neutral browns”. Once we mix white in with the neutral browns, they make a lighter brown, or a tan color-which is how we get light skin tones. When we mix black in with the neutral browns, we get darker browns which is how we get darker skin tones.
Although our skin is made up of browns, whites, and black tones, it still doesn’t change the fact that we also have the primary and secondary tones in our skin as well. Makeup is also made with those same tones, so there are perfect makeup shades for all of us out there.
FINDING YOUR UNDERTONES: Our undertones are those primary/secondary colors. Here’s how you know which tones you have: Look in the mirror, and look at your skin pigment. What colors do you see? If you have pale skin, you might also see pink tones. This means you have undertones that fall under the category of red, since pink is in the red family. This is why people who have pale skin look great wearing red lipstick. It matches their undertones. If you have tan or brown skin, you may have yellow or green under tones. If you have green undertones, you have what we call “olive skin”. For darker brown skin tones, you may have orange undertones. Orange undertones mean you have bronze skin. This is why when people tan or buy self tanners, they end up looking orange. They are trying to get a bronze look-which is a mixture of browns and oranges. If you have very dark skin, you may have green (or olive) undertones as well. You may also have blue or purple undertones. This is why red (blue tones) and burgundy (purple tones) lipsticks look great on dark skinned girls well. Although those colors are in the red family, red also has blue tones in it. This is why red lipstick makes your teeth look whiter. Blue is a color that is used to brighten colors up (including red lipstick). This is why many whitening or brightening toothpastes are colored blue.
Now you know what you’re undertones are! You will find that picking out your eye shadows and lipsticks (blushes and foundations, too!) are just simply a method of understanding your undertones, and picking colors that match it. Stay tuned for Color Made Simple! Using the Color Wheel to Master Your Makeup, Pt. 2: PICKING OUT FOUNDATION.