Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skin color VS Skin undertone

So many people out there are confused as to how to classify their skin tone. What do we even mean by skin tone...and what do we mean by undertone?

To clarify, let's first distinguish between the two. Skin tone, or overtone, refers to the actual color of your skin. There are hundreds of variations on skin tone.

Undertone refers to whether you can wear cool, warm, or neutral colors. It has to do with how your skin reacts to certain colors, when those colors are placed next to the skin.

Colors that blend with your undertone bring out the best in your skin tone (color). In other words, your skin will look more polished, smooth, and rejuvenated in these colors. Color in the wrong undertone will visually accentuate any imperfections and/or create uneven skin tone.

When determining your color palette, it is essential to understand that it has everything to do with analyzing your undertone. I have personally seen women with ivory, rose beige, olive, bronze and ebony skin tones fall into the same cool undertone category. Yes, their skin tone/color varies tremendously, but they share the same undertone.

Please understand that color analysis has advanced so much that we are not only able to determine coolness, neutrality and warmth of undertone. We are also able to detect how neutral a person is.

The system I use, Sci\ART, contains 2 cool tones, 2 warm tones, and 8 neutral tones. The question then becomes: If I'm neutral, then what kind of neutral am I?

There are varying degrees of neutrality. You may be neutral but leaning more to the cool (blue) undertone, or leaning more to the warm (yellow) undertone. You may require lighter rather than darker colors, or softer rather than brighter colors.

The point is that there is a key difference between undertone and skin tone, and that lots of folks fall somewhere in between cool and warm undertones.

Please feel free to respond with any questions. I always enjoy feedback and interacting with readers here.

Live in color!


Christine said...

Love this, Lauren. A topic so few women (or make-up artists) understand!
Just to be sure I understand it the same way you do ... if we look at the 3 Autumns, would you agree that the undertones are (from Soft>True>Dark) neutral-warm, warm and, neutral warm, BUT ALSO that you can get more specific about undertone and say they go from amber>orange>red-orange?

Or not? Does description of undertone stay confined to warm/neutral/cool, while the specific colour is another type of classification?

I'm guessing they're the same since you say undertone can veer towards yellow, etc, but I just want to be sure.

Of course, when we buy foundation, it's only confined to warm/neutral/cool , and then the overtone colour like you've shown in the chart.

Also, new topic, I always wanted to ask-in your videos, I see the various swatches for the Seasons laid out on a flat card, rather than in the Book. Where did you get that? Well, Sci\ART presumably, but do they still make them for sale? They'd be awfully handy for filming and demonstrations. I was thinking of making myself a small set of bridal drapes.

Color My Closet said...

Thanks for the commentary. I always enjoying interacting here.

To answer your questions,

I agree that Soft Autumn is neutral (w/ more warmth), True Autumn is warm, and Dark Autumn is also (w/ more warmth).

I have never seen the 3 tones described using words amber, orange and red-orange. That must mean something else.

My understanding is that there are 3 undertones: cool, warm, and neutral....with varying degrees of neutrality (hence the bordering tones).

I do always say that True Autumn has orange as her power or core color.

The analyst guide is what I have, bought it when I was trained by Kathryn. You can ask if they still sell it.

They also sell the bridal drapes...already pre-selected.

Talk soon,

Rachel R. said...

This is fascinating to me...but I'm lost. lol

I believe my own undertones are neutral. My family and friends seem to have always thought I'm nuts, and I don't "fit into" any of the typical color questionnaires, because the first question is almost always "are you warm or cool"? Um...neither?

So apparently, I wasn't nuts. :) But I don't understand "varying" neutrals. Can you expound on this "neutral" category, and what would distinguish between neutrals?

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Maham Qasim said...

A great article Lauren, as always appreciate the effort and thanks for writing.
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