Have you ever slipped on a dress or a shade of makeup that makes your face look vivid and full of vibrance? And then you slip on your second option that’s pretty much the same exact shade of the first look, only to realize that the second shade makes your skin appear so dull and washed-out. They key to this insanity is that the first look may have matched your skin’s surface tone and undertone to a T, whereas the second look was way off in terms of matching your undertone.
So what’s the difference between surface tone and undertone? Let’s first take into account what they actually mean. Our skin’s surface tone is the color you’d typically identify with when choosing foundations, concealers, etc. You would be categorized in one of these: ivory, light, medium tan, dark tan, etc). And your skin’s undertone is what lies underneath the surface, which is broken down into three groups:
Cool (pinkish, red or bluish undertones)
Warm (yellow, peachy or golden undertones)
Neutral (a combination of warm and cool undertones)
Before we find out the ways to determine your true shades, let’s clear up a popular myth! The belief that pale girls can never be warm-toned is completely false. There are fair-skinned ladies with warm undertones, like Angelina Jolie, for instance. And dark-skinned women like iconic model Alek Wek have cool undertones.
Now let’s take the right steps in determining which category you stand under. These steps are highly essential in helping you pinpoint the right look, or more specifically, PROM DRESS color that’s ideal for you. A little bizarre, but so helpful!
1. Analyze the veins of your arms. Take a moment to push your sleeves up and check out the veins on the inside part of your wrist. Do you appear to be more green or blue? If blue, then you have cool undertones. If they look more on the greenish side, then warm tones it is. And the reason for greenish veins isn’t because they’re actually green… your warm, yellow-toned skin creates this effect.
2. Take the Neutral Test. Determine what neutral shades are most flattering on you. Ask yourself this: Does my eyes, skin and overall face appear better in stark black and white hues, or creamy, off-white and brown/tan shades? If you chose the former, then there’s a good chance your cool-toned gal. The latter would definitely fall under the warm-toned category.
3. Consider the traditional jewelry trick. Ask yourself, which tone of jewelry gives you a more vibrant glow: gold or silver jewelry? Ladies with cool undertones will find silver to be more of their true match, while gold looks much better on warm-tones.
4. Examine your eye and hair color. Another great determinant is identifying your natural eye and hair colors. Typically, cool tones are reserved for those with blue, gray or green eyes and having blonde, brownish or even black hair with blue or ash undertones. Warm toned girls have brown, hazel or amber eyes with strawberry blonde, red, brown or black hair, with an almost red or orange undertone.
5. Examine your skin after a day in the sun. What happens after you’re out basking in the sun’s rays? Does your skin slowly turn to a golden-brown, do you burn or turn immediately pink? Those with very warm tones will tan into a golden brown easily, very cool toned girls will inevitably burn and medium-skinned cool-toned girls may burn at first and then tan.
6. Pick a celebrity whose tones match yours. Take a look at some random pictures on popular red carpet events and find celebrities with cool tones and those with warm. Then, see the dress they’re wearing and if it suits them well. This serves as another helpful way to determine which color prom dress will suit you. Here’s a tip, celebs with cool undertones include Anne Hathaway, Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johansson and Cara Delevingne. Those with warm tones would include Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Eva Mendes.
7. Choose a range of colors that look best on you. There’s no denying that warm-toned girls will look their best in shades of yellow, warm reds, oranges, browns, greenish-yellows, creams and camels. Cool-toned girls are glowing in blues, rich greens, purples, pinks, bluish-greens, fuchsias and reds with a very blue base.