Make-up Tips for Different Skin Tones


Which make-up colours suit you?

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By: Annabelle Maria Jeffrey

Make-up is an art most women will try at some point in their lives – be it a young girl messing around with her mom’s make-up or a sleep-deprived student looking for the right concealer – we’ve all been there.

To a beginner though, the make-up world might seem a little intimidating, but we’re here to help, below are the basics you would need to grasp before handling the more tougher ventures like the ‘smoky eye look’.

First step: Which undertone are you?

If you burn easily, then you’re more likely to have yellow to green undertones.

If you’re less likely to get tanned, then you’re more likely to have pink to blue undertones.

Second step: Determine which skin tone you belong?

Pale Skin

Pale skins don’t usually get tanned but if they do it depends on their undertones, which usually consist of yellow to green undertones. Those with pink to blue undertones tend to get very blotchy under long-term sun exposure. Now that you know which category you belong to, here are the colour palettes you can use with pale skin.

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Pale skin + pink to blue undertones: For eyeshadows, try cool colours like pinks, blues and lavender shades and light pink for blushes along with pink coloured gloss. Nude lips will also look great!

Pale skin + yellow to green undertones: Try light greens and yellows with coral coloured blushes paired with peach-coloured gloss or a coral lipstick. This will give you a more natural glow and look less pale.

For both cool and warm undertones: Avoid dark or bright colours when choosing your blush because you will end up looking like a clown. Red lipstick goes well with pale skin no matter what undertone you are, but stay away from colours such as dark chocolate and burgundy as they only amplify the paleness of your skin

Olive Skin

Having olive skin means you’re generally resilient to sun damage, but that’s just on the surface (because without sun protection skin wrinkles and sags). Unlike pale skin, olive skin tone in Asian skin generally comes in warmer undertones of yellow or green.

To find out if you have green or yellow undertones, it is best to check the colour of the veins on your hand – green veins indicate yellow undertones, while blue, green or hard-to-spot veins tend to mean you’re a neutral green.

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Olive skin + yellow undertones: Bronze and copper eyeshadows will help to accentuate your warm honey toned skin. Add some pink or rose blush with warm pink or orange lips to complete the look.

Olive skin + green undertones:  Eyeshadow colours like purples and blues would look best, but since green undertones skins are considered naturals, you can also try bronze and copper as well! Mix it up with some plum coloured blush and nude lips for the perfect look. If you want some colour go for a shimmery bronze coloured gloss that will draw just enough attention to your lips.

For both green and yellow undertones: Brown blushes and lipsticks are a big no-no as they make your skin appear dull and sallow.

Dark Skin:

Dark skin means wrinkle-free days because of the strong collagen fibres. Similar to olive skin, dark skin on the cosmetic side is less likely to be damaged in the sun (but sun protection is still a necessity). The issue that often arises with dark skin is the tendency to look cakey or ashy if the wrong make-up colour is used.

Sharing the attributes of olive skin, dark skin tends to come in either yellow or green undertones. Those with green veins fall under the yellow undertone category, and the green undertones tend to fall in the neutral category.

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Dark skin + yellow undertones: Go for colours such as gold and orange-red paired with warm tropical colours for your blush such as brownish pinks or peaches. Finish it with some sultry red lipstick to enhance your exotic skin.

Dark skin + green undertones: Vibrant colours like turquoise and dark purple will give your skin a pop of colour. Add a little deep plum blush and wine coloured lipstick to top it off.

For both green and yellow undertones: Stay clear of colours like white, grey, silvers and powder blue because you’ll end up looking like a walking disco ball. Chalky lipstick colours are best avoided as they create too much of a contrast on your skin.

Remember, the best way to know which colours suit your skin is by trial and error. Enjoy experimenting with makeup!

Thank you for writing up a post about different skin tones – it’s really helpful to a beginner in makeup & it also caters to dark-skinned women. I’ll be watching this space, so do put up more articles on make-up! 😉