In our last blog post we began a series on How to Choose Eyeglasses and Sunglasses. We started with face shape as a key factor in choosing your best looking frames. The next element to consider when choosing a frame is your skin color, or more specifically your skin’s undertone. The color of a frame can have just as much impact as the shape. Selecting colors that shine with your skin tone can transform standard frames into something spectacular. It’s easier than you think.
What is skin undertone?
Undertone is the warm, cool, or neutral hue that shines through the skin’s surface color. Although the surface color of skin fluctuates depending on sun exposure and other skin conditions like rosacea and acne, the skin’s undertone remains consistent. Using just straight facial skin color as the main element in choosing your fashion colors, as in makeup, clothing, hair color, or eyewear, may not produce the harmonious, flattering look you yearn for. Instead, if you base your color choices on your skin’s undertone, or the hue that shines through your skin consistently and remains unaffected by external, environmental factors, you will almost always make great choices.
There are two basic skin tones: warm, which has a peachy cast with green and yellow undertones, or cool, which has a pink, rosy, or blue undertone, and a third one, which is neutral and has a little of both. It doesn’t matter if you’re fair or dark skinned, white, or black. All skin has a specific undertone that falls into one of these categories and should be considered when choosing colors for any fashion accessory.
How do I determine my skin tone?
There are several methods you can use to identify your own skin tone. It is best to try a few and go with the most consistent results.
The Vein Method
In natural day light examine the skin on the underside of your wrist. If you have bluish veins your skin is cool toned. If you have greenish veins you have mostly warm toned skin. Some people have both green and blue veins which may mean you’re a neutral skin tone, or you need to do an additional exam before you make a decision. Those with neutral undertones will have difficulty discerning the blue/green.
The Hand Method
You can also do this by looking at your hand and arm skin. A golden or apricot skin color indicates warm undertones. Cool undertones are found in pink or rosy skin.
The White Paper Method
In natural daylight, put a blank sheet of white paper against your neck and chest skin (not your face because facial skin color changes depending on sun exposure or skin conditions) and see how skin reads against it. Yellow based skin (warm undertone) will look more yellow against white paper and pink based skin (cool undertone) will look pinker against white paper.
You can also do this with a gold or silver piece of fabric. Hold a piece of gold jewelry up to your face and neck. Gold looks more harmonious against yellow (warm) skin tones and wakes it up. Alternate that with a piece of silver jewelry, which will look better against pink (cool) skin tones. You will probably notice that you have always preferred one type of jewelry over the other most of your life. This is probably because that is what looks best against your skin tone.
The Clothing Method
Take a look in your closet. Which colors dominate your clothing choices? Most likely you have mostly chosen colors that harmonize and enhance your skin tones. If you feel your clothes wash you out it’s usually because they’re a completely different tone than your skin’s natural undertone and they just don’t look right. When it comes to white, pure white usually suits pink (cool) undertones more than ivory and ivory looks better than white with golden or yellow (warm) undertones.
The Tan Indication
Skin with yellow or warm undertones tans golden in the sun and seldom burns. If you burn easily, tan minimally, not at all, or a bronze or beige brown, your skin probably has pink or cool undertones.
Get a Professional Opinion
If you don’t feel confident analyzing your skin tones yourself, you can always consult with a wardrobe or makeup specialist who is trained to help you choose colors based on your natural skin, hair, and eye coloring.
Now that you’ve determined your skin’s undertone, how does it influence your choice in eyewear?
By choosing a frame color that matches your skin tone your eyewear will automatically enhance your look and harmonize with your complexion. If you have cool toned skin you will want to choose cool colored lenses and frames like deep magenta, pink, blue, plum, turquoise, green, silver, white, or black. Warm skin tones look best with warm colors like amber, gold, copper, peach, orange, brown, olive, dark red, warm blue, off-white, and tortoise-colored.
In our next post will discuss hair and eye color. Once you understand how to work with the key elements that go into choosing your most flattering eyewear you will be able to adjust to color trends and changing styles without sacrificing your best look. Building a wardrobe of fashion accessories that harmonize with your face shape, complexion, hair, and eye color will give you confidence that you always look your best, which will help you feel always on and always great.
Related: Face-Shape: Which Frames Suit Yours?