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How to find your undertone

Posted by Stephanie Effiom on
How to find your undertone

To find your undertone, the first thing to know is that your skin is brown.

Your undertone is the colour which tints the brown in your skin and it lies somewhere on the colour wheel between yellow-green and reddish-purple. Here's how to find it:

HOW TO FIND YOUR UNDERTONE

If you have ordered a comprehensive skin tone analysis, you can find the details of your undertone on page 6 of your guide. 

 

Alternatively, click the button below to use our FREE skin tone analyser for a faster (but less accurate) analysis.

 

Pages of the Mayen complexion guide showing details of a customer's complexion

Our technology is the most accurate method in the world to find out your undertone. We spent years studying skin to create our bespoke beauty range customised to your unique skin.

Your Gloww Guide will give you a precise undertone value between 1A and 10E to help you understand exactly where on the scale your undertone lies. It will reveal the 3 essential aspects of your skin tone - depth, undertone + temperature. You can also discover the unique way that light reflects off your facial structure and how to harness light with your makeup for a more radiant glow. 

UNDERSTANDING YOUR UNDERTONE

Undertones can be grouped into three general classes: olive, neutral and roseate.

 

YOUR UNDERTONE IS A COLOUR

Do you remember learning about primary colours in art class when you were little? How red and yellow make orange, blue and red make purple, and blue and yellow make green? If you loved paint as much as I do, you'd have discovered that when you make a big mush out of the primary colours red, blue and yellow, you get the colour brown.

 

Your skin is the same. The melanocyte cells in your skin create the melanins that compose your complexion. The dominant form of melanin in human skin is brown, that is why ALL humans are some particular shade of brown.

If you add more red to the paint mixture, the resulting brown will be reddish. If you add more yellow, the brown will be yellowish. It's the same with your skin. Your undertone gives a tint to the brown in your complexion.

UNDERTONE AND COLOUR THEORY

Since your undertone is a specific colour, it can be identified as a point on the colour wheel. The undertone scale lies between yellow and red on the colour wheel.

gradient bar showing colour yellow transitioning through orange into pink

Neutral undertones

A neutral undertone is an orange undertone. If you have a neutral undertone, it means the brown in your skin isn't really tinted at all. It lies in the middle of the undertone scale - exactly between yellow and red, like orange. (brown is basically a dark orange 🤯).

As you move away from the middle orange point in either direction, other colours are introduced and this is what creates reddish-purple or yellow-greenish undertones.

Olive/yellow/yellow-green/golden/warm undertones

An olive undertone lies on the left of the undertone scale. If you turn the colour wheel to the left from the neutral orange, the orange becomes yellower as the red fades away. As you move further towards the left, the yellow softly turns greenish as you get nearer to the colour blue.

It's important to note that the melanins in human skin are wayyyyyyy less vivid than the melanins in flowers and animals, so having a greenish undertone does not mean this:

Image of an extra-terrestrial with bright green skin

reddish-purple/pink/blue/cool undertones

If you turn the colour wheel to the right of the neutral orange point, the orange becomes redder as you move closer to the colour red. As the wheel continues to turn, the yellow fades away from the reddish orange, leaving a full rich red. As the wheel turns further, blue tones slowly emerge, turning the red purplish.

THE VEIN TEST

If you don't have a Gloww Guide, the vein test is a simple method you can use to get a rough idea of your undertone. The vein test will not tell you your undertone as accurately as your Gloww Guide, and it may not work if you have red-blue colourblindness. 

Hold out your hand with your palm facing upward. Look at the veins on your wrist. The colour of your veins can indicate where you are on the undertone spectrum.

  • If your veins appear bluish or purplish, your undertone is likely towards the red-purple end of the scale. You most likely have a roseate undertone.
  • If your veins appear greenish, your undertone is most likely towards the yellow-green end of the scale - an olive undertone.
  • If your veins are neither green nor blue/purple, your undertone is likely to be neutral.


If you prefer a more accurate way to find your undertone, order a custom foundation to get your skin tone accurately analysed by us.

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