A question I hear a lot is “what colours will suit my skin tone?” or “how do I pick a lipstick to match my eye shadow?”. I think it’s fair to say that most of us take a stab in the dark when it comes to matching our makeup and we seem to struggle to know what colours will work on us.
Well, there is no definitive answer to this, as there are no rules when it comes to makeup. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow if you are new to makeup and really don’t know where to start; or on days when you are rushing to office because you overslept before that very important presentation to your most crazy, yet important client.
The Colour Wheel – I cannot stress enough on the importance of this one.
This is a vast subject, but I will simplify it as much as I can. Here is what any makeup lover needs to know about it. (Please keep referring to the above colour wheel as you read further.)
- Primary colours: Red, Yellow & Blue – These are the base colours on the wheel. All other colours are developed using them.
- Secondary colours: The colours you get from mixing equal amounts of any two primary colours:
Yellow + Blue = Green
Red + Blue = Violet
Yellow + Red = Orange
- Tertiary Colours: The six tertiary colours are made by combining a primary and an adjacent secondary colour. These colours are: yellow–orange, orange–red, red–violet, violet–blue, blue–green, and green–yellow.
- Complimentary Colours: Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel—colours that tend to “vibrate” when next to each other, such as blue next to orange, or purple next to yellow. In my opinion, these look best when used on separate areas of the face, versus right next to each other. A blue eye makeup with orange lips can look stunning!
- Achromatic Colours: Colours that are not a apart of the colour wheel – Black, White & Grey
When you add black to any colour, you get a SHADE of that colour (darker value of the colour)
When you add white to any colour, you get a TINT of that colour (lighter value of the colour)
If you understand these, you know that you have the power to create any colour to suit your skin tone, once you have the base colours!
Moving on… The colour wheel can be divided into:
- Warm Colours: These are bright, passionate and energetic, and tend to be eye-popping colours – red, orange, and yellow, and variations of those three colours. However, in makeup, reds can be both cool and warm. If the red is blue based (a red with purple or blue undertone), it is cool. If the red is orange based, it is warm.
- Cool Colours: These give an impression of calm, and create a soothing impression. Cool colours include: violet, blue, and green. However, the same theory applies with the colour green. If a green has more gold/yellow undertone, then it is warm. If a green contains more blue undertone, then it is cool. Whenever most colours have a blue undertone, they will always be a cool colour.
Now, there are three types of Skin Tones according to which you should choose your makeup.
- Cool Skin Tone: the skin has a little pink (rosiness) & tends to burn easily under the sun. If you have a cool skin tone, you will look good in silver jewellery & accessories & most of the time, your veins will be in blue colour (take a look at you wrist under natural light). If you wear a cool undertone red lipstick, you will look brightened up.
- Warm Skin tone: the skin has a yellow undertone or golden-olive undertone & tend to tan easily under the sun. If you have a warm skin tone, you will look awesome in gold jewellery & accessories than silver. Most of the time, your veins are in green colour (take a look at your wrist under natural light). If you wear a warm (orange) undertone red lipstick, you will look brightened up.
- Neutral Skin tone–the skin has both pink and golden undertones & you look good in both gold & silver jewellery. Most of the time, your vein is in both blue-green colour. If you have a neutral skin tone, almost all colours would look good on you.
In short, if you have Cool Skin Tone, use Cool Colours & if you have Warm Skin Tone, use Warm Colours on yourself.
I know all this can be overwhelming, and a lot to take in. I hope that a little bit of familiarity with colour theory and the colour wheel will help make sense of the makeup counter, and make navigating a little less daunting, and a lot more fun.
Drop in a comment if you have any queries regarding the colour theory or your skin tone.