Skip to Content

How do you identify warm undertones?

Determining your skin’s undertones is an important step in finding makeup and clothing colors that truly flatter you. Warm, cool, and neutral undertones exist, but how do you know which one you have? There are several ways to identify if you have warm undertones and would look best in yellow, peach, and golden based colors.

Wrist Vein Test

One of the easiest at-home methods for determining your undertones is to look at the veins on the inside of your wrist in natural lighting. Those with warm undertones often have greenish veins, while blueish veins indicate cool undertones. If your veins appear to be a neutral green-blue mix, you likely have neutral undertones.

Vein Color Undertone
Green Warm
Blue Cool
Green/Blue mix Neutral

While this wrist test is a handy guide, it isn’t necessarily foolproof. Veins can sometimes appear more blue or green than they really are due to lighting conditions. It’s best to combine this with some of the other methods below for confirmation.

Jewelry Metals

The jewelry metals that look most attractive and flattering against your skin tone offer another clue into your possible undertones. Those with warm undertones tend to look best in yellow gold jewelry. The yellow metal seems to complement and enhance their complexion. Meanwhile, white metals like silver often look harsh against warm undertones. On the flip side, cool undertones come alive when paired with white metals and can look sallow and tired against yellow gold.

Metal Undertone
Yellow Gold Warm
White Gold/Silver Cool

When shopping for new jewelry, try necklaces and earrings in both silver and yellow gold. The one that seems to make your eyes pop and skin glow is likely your ideal metal match.

Your Sunburn Color

Believe it or not, your sunburn hue can provide clues into your skin undertones. If you burn easily in the sun, does your skin turn bright pink or cherry red? If so, you likely have cooler undertones. Warm undertones tend to burn more golden and coppery.

Sunburn Color Undertone
Pink/Red Cool
Golden/Coppery Warm

While this isn’t a method anyone should seek out intentionally, take note next time you get a mild burn from sun exposure. The resulting color can offer clues into your overall undertone.

Your Eye Color

Believe it or not, your natural eye color provides insights into your likely undertone. Those with brown and hazel eyes often have warmer undertones. Blue and green eyed people tend to have cooler undertones. Gray eyes point towards neutral undertones.

Eye Color Undertone
Brown/Hazel Warm
Blue/Green Cool
Gray Neutral

Of course, eye colors exist on a spectrum and many people have combinations of colors or flecks of different hues. Use your dominant overall eye color to get an indication of your likely undertone.

Your Hair Color

Similar to eye color, your natural hair shade provides clues into your skin undertones. Those with warm undertones typically have golden, strawberry, red, or copper hair. Cool undertones are often seen with ash blonde, dark brown, or black hair. Neutral undertones tend to appear in medium brown or lighter ashy blonde hair.

Hair Color Undertone
Golden Blonde Warm
Strawberry Blonde Warm
Red Warm
Ash Blonde Cool
Dark Brown Cool
Black Cool
Medium Brown Neutral

Again, there can be variations, but your dominant natural hair color and tones offer clues into whether you are likely warm, cool, or neutral.

Your Skin’s Surface Tone

Examining your bare skin’s surface tone without any makeup can also reveal insight into your undertones. Those with warm undertones often have a peaches and cream complexion or yellow-golden tint. Cool undertones frequently appear more pinkish or reddish. Neutral skin is more even and clear.

Look at your face and neck in natural lighting without any color-correcting makeup. The overall impression of your natural bare skin provides hints into undertone. Skin can be warm and peachy, cool and pinkish, or neutral and more even.

Your Reaction to White Clothing

How you look in basic white clothing serves as another handy gauge for identifying undertones. Warm undertones will often look vibrant and alive against crisp white. Meanwhile, those with cool undertones can appear washed out or dull in white tops. Neutral undertones should look balanced and naturally flattered in white.

Test out a few different white garments near your face and decolletage. The effect provides clues into your skin’s reaction to this basic hue.

White Clothing Effect Undertone
Appear vibrant and alive Warm
Look washed out Cool
Seem balanced and natural Neutral

Your Reaction to Bold/Bright Colors

How your complexion reacts and interacts with bold, bright colors is another handy test. Warm undertones tend to glow against vivid coral, orange, yellow and chartreuse hues. Cool undertones may look tired or overwhelmed by such warm colors. They come alive instead next to icy blues, vibrant purples and cherry reds instead.

Reaction to Vivid Colors Undertone
Glow against yellows/oranges Warm
Energized by blues/purples Cool

Drape different bold colored garments near your face and observe how your complexion reacts. The hues that make you appear most fresh and glowing likely coincide with your dominant undertone.

Your Vein Color on Tan Skin

If you have medium to deep tan skin, your undertones may be more difficult to detect using some of the above methods. One way to combat this is to gently press a clear drinking glass against your skin until you can see the veins underneath become visible. Are the veins greenish or blueish?

Greenish veins indicate warm undertones, while blueish ones signal cool. This technique can help determine undertones that are less apparent on darker skin tones.

Overall Impression

While the above tests are handy guides, also consider your overall impression and how others tend to describe your looks and coloration. Do people often comment on your bronze or golden skin? Do they call you peach, ginger or rose? These descriptors likely point to warm undertones. If you instead hear that your skin has porcelain or alabaster tones or your hair looks icy blonde rather than golden, you likely have cool undertones. Neutral comments and descriptors reinforce neutral undertones.

Think about what colors, metals and makeup others often gift you or say look great. Their impressions provide clues into your most flattering undertone as well.


Determining your skin’s undertones takes some detective work, but it is worth the effort. When you know whether you have warm, cool or neutral characteristics, you can pick makeup, hair color and clothing that truly complements your natural beauty. Start with easy at-home tests like your wrist veins and gold/silver jewelry. Combine those with your hair color, eye color, sunburn tendencies and reactions to white and bold colors. The overall picture will reveal if you glow in warmer or cooler shades. Finally, listen to feedback from others about how they perceive your looks and coloration. With some detective work, you’ll unlock your most flattering undertone.