What do you do when you have, say, warm or golden undertones in one area of your face, and cool or blue undertones on your jawline, or any mixture of this? Or maybe you have melasma and find it hard to cover skin discolorations? How can you tell what your undertones are? Do helpful staff at a cosmetic store get your foundation shade wrong all the time, and how can you know what works on you? I have delt with this issue many times in my career as a pro makeup artist in CNN and FOX national and international live news. In fact, some ethnic groups are more prone to it than others, and can become very savvy at using foundation in a creative and playful way to accent their best features.
With that in mind, I’m including a video where I make-up my fun-loving good friend, Tahisha, who is blessed with gorgeous skin, as well as mixed undertones. In this video, I show how to use her undertones to best flatter her face, and also bring out her eyes and lips so that, trust me, no one notices her uneven complexion! But more on self-esteem and sparkles later, let’s get to undertones.
What Are My Skin’s Undertones?
One of the best ways to figure out your undertones is to look at the inside of your wrist. If your veins are green, you probably have warm undertones, and if the veins are blue, you are more in the cool range, but even this isn’t fool-proof. I’ve seen women and men who have one undertone on their jaw, another on their neck, and another on their wrist. No wonder it’s a challenge to find the correct foundation! As a rule of thumb, I match the shade around the eye area first, and then try to match the jawline to the neck, rather than starting with the jawline.
The idea with multiple undertones is to have your skin look seamless so there is no demarcation line anywhere, and everything blends together. As I show in the video, Tahisha is a perfect example of having a warm undertone around her eyes, and a blue undertone on her jaw and neck. I decided to use two different foundation colors to match both undertones, blending them together so that they looked pretty. Having said that, I could’ve just as easily used one foundation shade around her eyes, and not used any foundation on her jawline and it would’ve looked great. There is no law that states you need to have foundation all over your face, no matter what that influencer on YouTube said. In truth, I rarely use foundation all over, and usually focus on my T-zone and under eye area.
What Type of Foundation Should You Use?
When you are trying to either cover discoloration on the face, melasma, brown spots, or any mis-match, you have to consider several factors with your skin and the type of foundation you use.
- What is your skin type? In other words, do you have oily, dry, or combination skin?
- Do you need a full coverage foundation, or can you use a light to medium coverage?
To the subject of skin type, oily skin requires a matte foundation and if you are especially blessed with oily skin, get an oil free foundation. For the most part, some oil in foundation makes it blend better and look natural, and most foundations have a greater or lesser quantity of oils.
Do you have dry or combination skin? Stick with a hydrating foundation or one that states it has hydrating serum or extra hydration included in the formulation. This will help with it not setting in fine lines, blending better, and looking natural on the skin. Which brings us to the second point of using a medium or full coverage foundation. In general, I prefer a light to medium coverage with mature skin. It tends to not set in fine lines and looks like skin.
Admittedly, the issue comes when we try to hide or neutralize inconsistencies in the skin. On Tahisha, I used a medium coverage foundation on both undertones, and it covered beautifully and looked natural. If you need greater coverage, spot cover using products like Dermablend or Vanish Airbrush Concealer. I find that using medium coverage foundation automatically minimizes the varying undertones and demarcations, and that using a separate product to cover specific areas helps the skin to not look to caked up. If this is a challenge for you, please write down below and I can create content on how to do this like a pro.
Ashy Skin and Other Pitfalls
When you start messing with undertones and blending, you can easily look ashy. On Tahisha, I was careful to blend the edge of the warm and cool foundation shades so that nothing took on that ashy hue, and you might have to become adept at product placement to manage this. In some cases, using a skin tint can do wonders, but this is a wider discussion that I don’t have room for in this article. Suffice to say, neutralizing concealers can really help with this issue, and with practice, you can even out any discoloration in minutes.
The last pitfall I want to address is the belief that your different undertones, or uneven eyes, or booty size, or protruding belly button, or slight lisp when you say the word statistician is anywhere near as bad as you think it is. A friend recently asked me if she should get a tattoo on her upper lip to hide the fact that her lips are crooked. As observant as I am, I had not noticed anything of the sort and told her so along with the absolute truth that she is a beautiful, inspired, and wonderful human. Embrace your so-called imperfections, love your uniqueness, and spread the love and sparkly effervescence that is never undervalued, even with weird undertones.
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