What is my undertone? We come up against this question all the time—more often these days now that customers are becoming more familiar with bespoke beauty and customized products.
Undertone is a common term used by the cosmetic industry to indicate the hue of skin such as yellow, neutral or red. It’s one of three primary attributes when identifying skin color; the others are lightness and color saturation. This is why knowing what hue family your undertone belongs to is very important when it comes to selecting a foundation or concealer shade.
Before unlocking your undertone, it’s important to realize that while “undertone” is commonly used in beauty, it’s one of the most incorrectly used color science terms. While some beauty forums like to describe undertones as vaguely being either “cool” or “warm”, the hue of skin has in fact three distinct hue families: yellow, neutral or red. So trying to separate undertones into two undefined color groups of “cool” or “warm” simply doesn’t work. Also, holding a piece of paper up against your skin or staring at your veins will not give you all the information that you need to find out what shade is an exact match. It takes a bit more understanding of how we get our undertone and even more to uncover it.
THE ROLE OF MELANIN
Did you know that your skin color is actually based primarily on the amount of melanin in your skin?
The ratio amount of each pigment that you have and pigment type is determined by your genetics. Melanin pigment types are black, brown and red with brown being the most common type. This is why color experts and color science correctly define melanin pigment tones as different shades of yellow brown, neutral or red brown.
For example, if you have less brown and no red pigments, your skin will appear yellow undertone while very little brown with a lot of red gives you red undertones (the appearance of "pinkish" skin).
Sun exposure is also a factor in determining what skin color you have. Skin that produces more melanin pigments to combat UV exposure will appear darker and more saturated. Freckles are also a result of melanin pigment concentration in UV exposed skin.
UNCOVER YOUR UNDERTONE
The best way to uncover your undertone is to use color measuring devices specifically designed to measure skin color. Even if your face is a different color to your chest, it is a more reliable way of calculating what your true undertone is. Professional color measuring devices provide the accuracy and consistency required to ensure that the most natural looking foundation, concealer or contour shade is applied.
MY SKIN TONE MATRIX was designed to make color measuring technology available to anyone around the world, not just the elite. It takes the confusion out of determining what your skin color is and provides the most reliable solution to getting personalized products made just for you based on your skin color.