Ever catch yourself hopelessly staring at another woman’s perfect coral lip, only to try the shade on your self and find the results slightly less magical? The reason why certain colours flatter on one person and look out of place on another comes down to the undertones of your skin. “The right makeup in the right colours will make the skin glow effortlessly,” says Stephanie Daga of
BlushPretty in Toronto. Since we’re
all about glowing skin, we asked Daga to share her expert makeup tips on how to determine your skin tone.

Why your makeup should match your skin tone

Pairing colours that complement your skin tone will brighten up your overall complexion—and can make your
teeth look whiter—whereas opposing shades can make you look tired or even garish. “The makeup will look ruddy as opposed to healthy and the skin will appear sallow and ashy,” says Daga. And the same applies to clothing and accessories—which is why certain colours to do nothing for our look, while others are naturally flattering.

Cool skin tone

Cooler undertones tend to have a pink, reddish or even bluish appearance in the skin. “The easiest and most common way to determine if you have a cool undertone is to check the inside of the wrist,” says Daga. “If your veins run purple or blue, chances are you are a cool undertone.” Typically, those with cooler undertones have silver or white blonde-hair and green or blue eyes.

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To highlight your icy undertones, opt for cooler pinks (think fuchsia shades), nudes and berries for the lips. As for colour on the eyes: “Sticking with a neutral to pastel-based palette is best,” she says.

RED LIP: Get the perfect shade for your skin tone

More makeup tips on how to complement warm skin tones on the next page…

Warm skin tone

Like most of the features we’re born with, genetics can help play a role in determining undertones. “Those who happen to be brunette, or a deeper blonde or red, and have brown, black or
hazel eyes, would be considered to have warm undertones,” Daga explains. Warmer undertones tend to have a yellow or golden appearance in the skin tone. “If you were to do the wrist test, your veins would appear green.”

FOUNDATION TIPS: The right shade for your skin tone

To bring out the warmth of your skin, try corals, plums and peach hues. “Orange-based shades are flattering and bright, and gold-toned or infused shades work well also,” she says.

Neutral skin tone

So you don’t fall on either side of the spectrum 100 percent of the time? “You can be considered ‘neutral’—someone whose undertones are a mix of cool and warm,” says Daga. “Your veins tend to run blue-green and most colours, whether cool or warm in tone, are flattering on you.” (Lucky, you!) “Another test I like to do is the jewellery test: silver-toned jewellery flatters cool undertones and gold flatters warmer tones,” says Daga.

More good news? “If you can get away with wearing both, you’re neutral!” As for shades that have a universal appeal, opt for teal, eggplant and bright red hues.

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How to make colours work for you

Just because your skin tone falls under one specific range, doesn’t mean that you have to forfeit your tomato-red lipstick. “These days, I refrain from saying you can’t wear a certain colour or shade because the truth is, if you want to wear it you are going to wear it regardless.” (Truth.) “If you choose a shade that works against your natural undertone, but use it sparingly and in tandem with colours that do complement your skin, it could work,” she says. “It’s a matter of using a very clean makeup technique and
lots of blending.”

Read more:
How to find the perfect red lip for your skin tone

5 beauty trends to start in 2014
How to contour: 6 makeup tips
How to wear a burgundy lip