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Foundation Matching and Undertones Demystified

Author: Vapour Beauty Staff
Foundation Matching and Undertones Demystified

Choosing a foundation presents the unique challenge of selecting a color that will harmonize with your surface skin and your subtler undertones.

If this sounds confusing–– you are not alone! We are here to demystify and empower you–– Read on!

Your skin isn’t just one even color—its surface color varies depending on what lies beneath and how thick or thin it is. Undertone is a color theory term, describing how different colors mix and whether they appear warm, cool or neutral. Knowing your skin’s undertone can be important when choosing a foundation shade.

An example of how a similar skintone can lean warm, cool or neutral using Vapour shades.

An example of how a similar skintone can lean cool, neutral or warm.

So, how can you determine yours? Below are several tips for determining undertone. These suggestions may not work for everyone—experiment and don’t underestimate your natural preferences toward color in makeup, jewelry and wardrobe.

  • Jewelry
    Silver, white gold and platinum accentuate cool undertones. Yellow gold accentuates warm undertones. The metal that harmonizes with your undertones will give you a fresh, bright look. Neutral undertones are complemented by both silver and gold. 
  • Vein Color
    One common way to determine skin undertone is by looking at the veins on your inner wrist in natural sunlight. If you can see them and they look bluish, your undertone is cool, and if they look green or yellow then your undertone is warm. If they are a mix, or you can't really tell, then you probably have a neutral skin tone. 
  • White Cloth 
    First pull your hair back and put a white T-shirt, around your neck and shoulders. The white fabric will draw out a subtle cast of color in your face. Blue or pink indicate cool undertones, while yellow and peach indicate warm undertones. Neutral undertones tend to look greenish next to the white cloth.

When researching undertones, we found there is much more information available for lighter and Caucasian skin so we asked Vapour friend and MUA, Dionne Belle, for advice.

To identify undertones on darker skin, Dionne recommends looking under the eye (on top of cheekbones) and on the side of the palm because skin can be lighter there. She also says that wearing white clothes can be really helpful. “It’s important to look at yourself in natural light because artificial lights can change how the color of skin looks,” she says. When asked how she likes using Vapour makeup Dionne replied, “I love working with Vapour, the colors are beautiful and so forgiving. Vapour covers such a wide skin tone range; they really work for everyone.” 


Vapour complexion shades are made with mineral pigments that allow light to pass through and play on your skin. Our shades include both warm and cool tones that optically adjust for a custom fit –– to be as unique as you are.



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1 comment

  • Sara Chwatt on

    I love how luminous foundation covers lightly and adds a glow!

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