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How to Determine Your Skin Tone


Photo Credit: Mayo Clinic

We all love makeup shopping and trying out new trends and colors. What elfette doesn't?! But how do you know which colors will make you look the best and which you should pass on? First, you have to determine your skin tone. Easier said than done, we know. That's why we've put together this guide on how to find your true skin tone so you can choose makeup, clothes and accessories that will make you look even more fabulous!

Step 1: Warm or Cool?

Even before you think about what shade you are, you need to determine whether you have warm or cool undertones. There's a few easy tests you can perform to find out. 

The Vein Test: Take a walk outside so you have natural light and examine your wrists. If your veins are mostly blue you have cool undertones.  If they are green, you're probably a warm skin tone.  If they're a mix of blue and green, it means you're neutral and can go either way!

Gold v. Silver: Stand in front of a mirror near natural light. Hold a piece of silver next to your face. If you feel like your face lights up, you are cool toned. If the silver makes your face look ashen or sick, you're probably warm toned. Switch to the gold cloth and do the same thing. If gold makes you look fresh and glowy, you are warm toned. 

Pony tail test - Put all your hair back into a pony tail with a headband and wash your face. Place a white towel or cloth around your neck and shoulders so that only your face shows in the mirror. Look at your reflection. If your reflection is blue, you have cool tones, whereas if you look yellow in the mirror, you have warm tones.


Step 2: Clear or Muted?

Someone with clear skin usually has significant contrast between their hair skin and eyes, her skin may even look translucent. Think  Zooey Deschanel or Rihanna. Those with muted skin have softer colors and more ash tones in their skin, like Beyonce and Blake Lively. 


Step 3: Which Season?

Now that you've figured out if you are warm or cool, muted or clear, you can determine which season you are so you know what colors naturally work best for you. Let's start with summer. 


Women with summer skin tones have a cool, muted complexion. Natural blondes with light eyes that tan easily are the most common members of this crew. Those with ash blonde or brown hair and pale, pink skin are also part of this complexion season. If you are a summer, your skin has a low level of contrast between hair, skin and eye color.

  • Best Colors: Pastels, neutrals, and muted colors like lavender, rose, mauve, pale yellow and light blue
  • Watch Outs: Intense colors, like black or orange, may drown out your skin tone so use caution when wearing these
  • Celebrity look-a-like: Brittany Snow, Katherine Heigl


Fall skin tones are warm and muted, and usually consist of people with light golden skin, brown eyes and red or brown hair. They may also have golden blonde or dark honey colored hair with icy blue eyes. Their light skin makes them prone to burn easily in the sun so a strong SPF is a must!

  • Best Colors: Almost all earth tones, both rich and muted, look great with a fall skin tone like caramel, beige, burnt orange, gold, dark red, olive and rich brown look gorgeous on fall girls
  • Watch Outs: Cool shades, especially pink, should be avoided. Be careful using bright colors and black/white as they may make you look washed out.
  • Celebrity look-a-like: Jada Pinkett-Smith, Lauren Conrad


Asians and Africans usually fall into the winter season, with cool and clear skin tones. Winter consists of very stark and dramatic skin, including pale skinned Caucasians with dark hair.

  • Best Colors: True white, true black, cool grays, navy blue, deep reds, bright pinks, jewel tones like emerald, royal blue, royal purple and icy pastels look dashing with winter complexions
  • Watch Outs:  Steer clear of beige, orange, gold, brown and other washed out shades, as they may wash out your dramatic features
  • Celebrity look-a-like: Zoe Saldana, Leighton Meester


Last but not least, spring skin tones are warm and clear, encompassing women with light and strawberry blonde or auburn hair. Springs usually have light green or blue eyes with light, ivory skin. Freckles are most populous in the spring category as well.

  • Best Colors: Pale, soft like ivory, peach, true red, clear blue, camel, light pink, coral, golden yellow, golden brown, aqua and bright greens look dazzling on spring tones
  • Watch Outs: Avoid dark, dull colors as they may make you look tired and dragged down. Use caution with black and white, as well, because it may be too contrasting for your complexion.
  • Celebrity look-a-like: Emma Stone, Alicia Keys

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and we encourage all of our elfettes to experiment and see what works best for them! Tell us what season your skin tone is and which colors you love using!


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