Pink or Yellow, which undertone you have?

The whole “Pink or Yellow” conundrum is one that has baffled women since the invention of foundation. Basically, everyone has undertones in their skin and to make your foundation look natural, you have to make sure you’re wearing the right tone for you. Pink is also referred to as Cool and Yellow as warm. Except in Mac, but more on that later.

What’s the difference?

A yellow undertone is often found on people with sallow skin (eg. Asian).
A pink undertone is often represented by pale skin that burns easily (eg. Irish).

You have a pink (cool) undertone when you find that you blush easily or have pigmentation disorders like freckles and/or you are more prone to acne rosacea. There are of course exceptions out there, when a sallow complexion can also present freckles.

The above examples fall into the sweeping generalization category I was telling you about because of course some Irish people are yellow and some are pink. So how can you tell which you are without very expensive trial and error?

We consulted some makeup artists for their advice and here are the easy ways to figure out which you are.

1. Veins

Look at the color of the veins in your wrist. As a general rule of thumb if they are blue, then you are pink toned. If they are green, then you are yellow toned.


2. Burn time

If you burn easily, your skin tone is probably pink. If you can tan easily chances are you are yellow.

3. Try both – at the same time

Still not sure? Go into the shop with a makeup free face an apply a stripe of pink toned to one side of your jawline and a yellow toned on the other side. The color that blends into your skin is the tone that most suits you.

What if my brand has no pink/yellow distinction?

Don’t worry about it. A lot of brads don’t tell you they base their shades on cool (pink) or warm (yellow) undertones. Just do the jaw tripe test and pick the foundation that blends in best with your skin.

What if I hate my pink/yellow skin?

You can use the opposite tone to yours to cancel out shades in your skin that you don’t like – but be careful with this one. If your undertone is something you want to conceal i.e. you blush easily or you have acne rosacea, in this case counteract this with a yellow/neutral based foundation, or just blend a small amount with your regular foundation to ‘correct’ the problematic areas such as your cheeks & around the nose.

Mac is different

Don’t be confused by the system in Mac, it’s still the same principle, but they switch things around. They have two foundation groups – NW(pink tones) and NC (yellow tones). A point to note, Mac’s foundation coloring is different to normal foundations, with the C in NC meaning cool/yellow and the W in NW meaning warm/pink, a little confusing maybe… Er, yes it is. But it’s all got to do with the neutralizing color (look at the tip above) – and to be honest, don’t worry about it. Just find out which one you are and pick your foundation accordingly.

Mac is different

I hope you’ll find this tips useful.