Wednesday, 20 March 2013

What colour is your skin undertone?

Have you ever heard people speaking about skin undertones and wondered what on earth they were talking about? How can you tell if you have WARM undertones or COOL undertones in your skin? And no, before you ask I am not referring to the temperature of your skin or whether or not you suffer from hot flushes! Warm & Cool refers to the colouring, not the temperature of the skin. :)

As a makeup artist, my eye has been trained over the years to pick up on skin tones at first sight- it is one of the facial assessments I do on auto-pilot for every client I see. By having an understanding of my client's skin tone, I can see what colours will best suit their facial features, complexion, hair and their clothing.
 Without a proper understanding of your skin tone, you may unknowingly be using the wrong colours on your face, or in your wardrobe. By getting this correct, you can really give your appearance the fresh boost it needs. People won't necessarily be able to put their finger on the change, but they will certainly notice the difference in your healthy glowing complexion!

A majority of the population, including a large percentage of my personal clients have yellow-based (warm) undertones in their skin. It is usually more common to have yellow undertones than pink ones (cool). So what does this mean, and how do you know which category you belong to? See my simple checklist below, and keep in mind that sometimes people can have a bit of both and be more in the middle.
We all know that EVERYONE is unique and no two faces are the same, so there aren't any hard and fast rules when defining your skin tone- however the pointers below will help to work out where your colouring best fits in. Once you have determined what colour undertone you have, you will be able to make more informed choices about the colours in your wardrobe, and the products you use on your face.

Cool/Pink Undertones:
-Your skin appears to be ivory or fair with pinkish colouring.
- Skin usually burns first, and may take longer to tan
-The veins on your wrist (underside) will appear blue in colour
-Your cheeks may be prone to natural redding or flushing (particularly after exercise or drinking alcohol)

You may also have COOL undertones if you have any of the following:
- light-medium brown hair
- light green, hazel, grey or blue eyes
- natural blonde/fair hair
- pale skin colour
- skin freckles easily
- naturally red hair colour

Warm/Yellow Undertone:
- Your skin has a more yellow or peachy complexion.
-You tan easily and don't tend to burn as much.
- The veins on your wrist (underside) may have a slightly greenish tint to them.

You may also have WARM undertones if you have any of the following:
- Naturally dark brown, black, auburn, or golden tones in your hair.
- Brown or Green eyes

Olive Undertones:
- Your skin is golden brown colour.- You tan very easily.
- Your veins will appear more green than blue.
- Certain foundations tend to look too pink or ashy on your skin
- You may have European or Asian heritage

Olive skin tends to be a mix of warm tones (orange/beige/yellow) with a slight coolness to it (from a greener undertone). For this reason, olive skin is very versatile when it comes to choosing colours to use/wear.

Orange/Red Undertones:
- Dark brown/black natural hair colour
- eye color is amber, hazel, brown, or black
- Warm colours like coral, apricot and orange work well as bronzers and blush.
-If you want to wear a red lipstick, make sure it has orange undertones (like bright Christmas red), not bluey-reds (like pinky/raspberry red)

Blue/Black Undertones:
- Dark Hair
- Brown Eyes
- Slight blue tinge around the outer rim of the lips
- Dark blue tone coming through on the knuckles and elbows.
- Cool blues bring out the highlights in the face.
- Cooler pinks work well on this colour skin.

If you are still having trouble working out which tones you have, try these little tricks:

White test-
Take a white towel, top or piece of fabric and wrap it around your hair and neck so that all you can see is your skin against the white. The whiteness of the fabric/towel will reflect the toning of your skin. If you are seeing more of a blueish tint, you are most likely cool toned. If your skin is looking more yellow against the white, you are probably warm toned. Make sure you do this test without makeup on as any foundation may mask the true undertones of your skin.

Jewellery Test:
Take some gold jewellery and place it against your face/ears/neckline. How does your skin look? Does it make it glow with warmth, or do is clash and look like cheap gold jewellery? If it looks nice against your face, you are probably in the warm tones.
Now take a piece of silver jewellery. How does it look when placed against your face/ears/neckline? Does it brighten your skin? Does it clash less than the gold? If so, you are most likely cool toned. If you have a biased preference for gold or silver jewellery despite whether or not it suits your skin tone, do this test but get someone else's opinion. They might see it differently to you!

I also wanted to show you a photo of me with my gorgeous sister. This illustrates that even siblings can have different undertones. She has beautiful dark hair with creamy cool-undertoned skin (pinks work best on her cheeks) and I have blonde hair (not ENTIRELY natural!! hehe) with noticeably yellow undertones (peach/apricot cheeks look better on me!)

If you have any questions about this post, or are still uncertain about what undertone you are after reading this, feel free to email me your questions:

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Monday, 11 March 2013

What does "Natural Makeup" look like? PART 3: "Natural Lips"

In this blog post, I will be describing what my idea of "natural" looking lips are.
I often hear clients say "I don't ever wear lip colour on my lips" and they look a little bit freaked out at the thought of adding any kind of colour. The thing is, when you have a full face of makeup with beautifully defined eyes, by not putting any colour on the lips they can appear a bit flat and lifeless. I will write a separate blog post on the types of lip finishes, as there is a fair bit to cover and I don't want to overload you with info! So this is purely to offer some guidance when choosing colours to create natural looking lips.

My general rule when choosing natural looking lip colours for my clients is to find the most dominant  natural colour pigment that exists in their lips. Then I use a similar colour to fill in the lip area. That way, it still looks natural (because I'm not using a foreign colour) whilst giving them a healthy hit of colour and fullness.

One of the lip palettes I have in my makeup kit is a Natural Lip Colour Palette by Ben Nye. It features six tabs of creamy, long-wearing colours that can go on sheer, or be built up in layers for a stronger lipstick look.

Some of the shades above are quite strong in colour, so if you want to make them more natural looking, you could just apply a very sheer wash of colour, and then put some gloss on top. I'm not suggesting you all go out and buy this particular palette either- but use these colours as a guide when you go hunting for your next natural lipstick colour.

See how these celebrities wear natural lip colours to enhance their features:

Their makeup has been finished off by filling in their lips with either a coloured gloss, or by using a light coat of lipstick in a natural shade, followed by a light coating of clear gloss for a bit of shine.

One final Lip Tip:
When testing out lipstick colours in the shop, you don't want to try them on your lips because you never know how many people have done the same thing before you! Ewww....
Instead of using the back of your hand or wrist to check the colour, use the very tip/pad of one of your fingers. The colour of the skin at the end of your finger is closer to the colour of your natural lip, so by testing the colour there, you will get a more accurate view on how the colour might look on your lips.

This concludes my 3-part series on "What Natural Makeup Looks Like." If you missed the first one on natural faces or the second post on natural eye makeup, you can go straight to them by clicking on the links below:

Sunday, 3 March 2013

What does "Natural Makeup" look like? - PART 2: The Eyes

Eyes can say so much about a person, they really ARE the window to the soul!

I LOVE doing eye makeup. In my opinion, they are the best feature on the face.
As outlined in my PART 1 -NATURAL FACES blog post, the same colour principle applies here. I feel that the definition of "Natural Eye Makeup" is not just about the strength or way in which the makeup is applied, but also about the colours that are used in the application.
The palette below (Viseart Paris) is a complete, neutral Palette. It has highlight colours, midtone colours and darker contour colours, and they are all colours that could be found in  natural colour pigments of the face, depending on your complexion.

Viseart Palette 12 Paupières Eyeshadow Palette Neutral Basic: 01 - Matte

You will find some different variations of "natural eye makeup" outlined below, varying from very natural application to smokey full eyes.


Natural Eyes #1 - Bare Minimum

This look is designed to lengthen and define your lashes, without adding too much colour to the lids. It looks beautiful with some natural looking false lashes, and a creamy skin colour or taupe shadow on the lids. A light coating of mascara may be applied to the bottom lashes also, however there is no eyeliner applied to the top or bottom.

Natural Eyes #2 - A little bit of definition

This look has a slightly darker mid-tone eyeshadow added to the socket crease in the eyelid, and this helps to contour and define the eye. A dark brown/black pencil liner is applied to the top lash line only, and smudged in slightly to soften the look. By adding the liner on top, you will give the illusion of fuller, thicker lashes.

Natural Eyes #3 - Up A Notch

This style incorporates eyeliner on the outer corner of the bottom lash line, as well as on top. The top liner is quite strong and defined so that it  sculpts and frames the eye into an almond-shape. The eyeshadow on the lid may also be a darker mid-tone colour for additional drama. A fine white pencil may be used to rim the bottom water line in order to open up and whiten the eye.

Natural Eyes #4 - Sultry & Smokey

This eye makeup is quite dramatic and most suitable for evening occasions. It makes use of the deeper contour colours across the eye lid. A kohl pencil is used to frame the entire eye (top and bottom), and then some of the eyeshadow colour is swept along the bottom lash line to give a soft, smokey finish. Smokey eyes are typically not labelled "natural makeup", however if you stick to the brown tones (rather than charcoals and greys), the look will be less harsh, and by keeping the rest of the face natural (simple lips) the smokey eyes will add a bit of intrigue and drama. 

If you missed our Part 1 guide on Natural Foundation, click here.

Stay tuned for PART 3 - Natural Lips!