How to Pick the Right Makeup Colors for Your Skin Tone

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Makeup color choices hinge on skin tone. While numerous subtle variations exist, skin tones typically consist of fair, medium, olive and dark. To determine your skin tone, focus on your jaw line. Undertones are important when you're picking out a foundation or base color. To determine your undertone, use the color of your veins: If your veins are blue, you are cool-toned; if your veins are green, you are warm-toned. If you have a hard time determining whether your veins are blue or green, you are most likely have a neutral skin tone.

Fair Skin

Fair skin benefits from soft pinks and beige tones. When selecting eye shadow, go with a light gold with a little bit of shimmer to open up your eyes. For your cheeks, a soft baby pink or peach blush will give your cheeks a slight flush. It you want a brighter color pop, opt for sheer plum. Lip color can range from neutral hues to a sheer rose or a glossy honey color.

Medium Skin

Medium-toned skin is broken up into two categories: medium-fair and medium-dark. Medium-fair skin tone radiates with a pearlescent beige eye shadow, a peachy-pink blush and an earthy pink-toned lipstick that's a good mix of brown and pink. For medium-dark skin, earthy tones -- think brown or honey -- with a hint of a metallic finish give your eyes a neutral look. For a more dramatic eye, play with bold blues. Brush cheeks with an apricot blush to give them a fresh and soft look, or go bright with a raspberry color. For lips, swipe a dark but sheer berry for a day-to-night look.

Tip

  • Professional makeup artist Kendra Richards says a rule that works for all skin tones when selecting lip and cheek color is to take your natural lip and cheek color -- after pinching it -- and go up one shade.

Olive Skin

Olive skin tone is enhanced by warm tones. Dark browns, blues and even some greens make your eyes pop. Dark pink or brown, blonze blush complements olive skin's green undertones. A warm peachy blush will give cheeks a glow or, for an everyday look, choose rose. Color lips with a nude lipstick or go bare and simply add gloss. For a more dramatic lip, go with a brick red or a plum purple.

Dark Skin

Dark skin tones can stand up to color so dark, pigmented shades work best. For the eyes, a deep purple or burnt grape makes your eyes appear bigger. Your blush color can range from raisin with deep burgundy undertones to deep terra cotta or -- for a true flush of color -- go with a fiery orange-tangerine. Your lips can show off a palette of colors: Experiment with bright and punchy hues such as fuchsia to deep shades of dark reds and purples.

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