Sunday, August 6, 2017

How to tell if a blush shade has a warm, cool, or neutral undertone


We read a lot about makeup undertones online, but it can be really tricky figuring out our own undertones and the undertones of our products. I personally find blush to be tricky because blush sneaks up to the THIS IS TOO MUCH line so quickly.

Thing 1: Find your own undertone

My bare skin, photographed in natural light with no edits at all

Wearing foundation, plus neck comparison (I do not blend foundation down my neck)

There is a lot out there on the internet about undertones and how to find yours, I'll just say this - you might not fit neatly into a category. For example, not all yellow undertones are warm, you might have an olive undertone, redness in your skin from acne or eczema might be masking your actual undertone, etc.

I would describe my own undertone as fair cool, but I don't think I'm that far off from fair neutral. Data points: I enjoy both gold and silver jewelry, many "neutral" eyeshadows pull very warm on me and most warm browns look like straight up orange on me, I steer clear of warm or peachy lip colors unless I want it to be a high contrast look, powders with a yellow cast look out of place on my skin (Laura Mercier's not-actually-translucent powder), cooler toned blush and eyeshadow look more natural / no makeup makeup on me, many fair netural foundation shades work better for me than the very pink cool ones (L'Oreal True Match N1 vs C1).

Thing 2: Comparison swatch

Don't just look at products in the pan, actually swatch them next to each other to get a better idea of undertone. Take a look at the blush picture above - if you only saw Bobbi Brown Pale Pink next to Inglot's #20, you would think Inglot #20 looked pretty warm. Similarly, if you only saw Inglot #20 next to Nars Orgasm, it would look like a cool pink. Blush is often worn sheerly, which makes it harder to tell, so I do comparison swatches at full opacity to clearly show contrast.

I chose these three because Nars Orgasm is one of the warmest (look at the burnt red-orange coming through) in my collection, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink is one of the coolest (look at those blue tones!), and Inglot #20 is a more neutral pink.

Another example, the Sephora free birthday gift Tarte Party is in the middle.

There is a lot out there on the internet about undertones and how to find yours, but the best I have been able to figure out for myself is to take pictures in natural light and compare shades against shades you know to be obviously warm or cool to help see the subtlety.

If you are shopping online and don't have the product in front of you, search online for swatch and review pictures that show the product compared to other items in natural light. Youtube ring lights and filters can be very deceptive about the actual color, so do your research carefully.

Thing 3: Wear what you like best

Cool toned blushes look the most natural and classically flattering on me, but makeup doesn't always have to be beautifying. Sometimes I still wear warm blushes for fun or for a higher contrast look.

Over the last year +, I have been destashing and paring down my collection substantially. Most of the blushes and bronzers that left my collection were warm toned because I found myself reaching for them much less often. I kept a few favorites, but most were passed along to my warm toned sister.

I hope this was helpful! Do you have any tips about blush undertones? Please leave a comment below!

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