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Is My skin Fair or Olive?

Determining your skin tone can be tricky. Are you fair, olive, or somewhere in between? Understanding your complexion is important for choosing flattering colors in makeup and clothing. Keep reading to learn how to tell if your skin is fair or olive.

What Does Fair Skin Look Like?

Fair skin tends to burn easily in the sun. It often has pink, red, or peachy undertones. Here are some common traits of fair skin:

  • Very light complexion
  • Freckles are common
  • Visible blood vessels or veins
  • Burns easily in the sun
  • Hard to tan
  • Light hair and eye colors

People with fair skin usually fall into the Fitzpatrick scale category I or II. This scale classifies skin type based on tanning and burning susceptibility.

What Does Olive Skin Look Like?

Olive skin has yellow, green, or golden undertones. Here are some features of olive skin:

  • Tan complexion
  • May still burn with too much sun exposure
  • May or may not freckle
  • Fewer visible veins
  • Tans relatively easily
  • Mediterranean or Middle Eastern descent

Olive skin often falls into Fitzpatrick scale category III or IV. It tans more easily than fair skin.

Differences Between Fair and Olive Skin

Here is a comparison of some key differences between fair and olive skin:

Fair Skin Olive Skin
Very light complexion Tan complexion
Pink, red, or peachy undertones Yellow, green, or golden undertones
Always burns, never tans May burn but tans relatively easily
Numerous freckles Fewer freckles
Visible blood vessels Less visible veins

As you can see, olive skin is darker with yellow undertones compared to the light peachy complexion of fair skin. Olive skin also handles sun exposure better.

Am I Fair or Olive? Ways to Tell

Not sure whether your skin tone is fair or olive? Here are some ways to determine your complexion:

  • Veins: Check the color of veins on your wrist. Are they blue (fair) or green (olive)?
  • Jewelry: Does silver or gold look better against your skin? Olive skin is complemented by gold.
  • Sun exposure: How does your skin react to the sun? Frequent burning indicates fair skin.
  • Tanning: Can you achieve a tan relatively easily? Olive skin tans more easily than fair.
  • Freckles: Fair skin is prone to freckles and moles. Olive skin often has fewer.
  • Undertones: Fair skin has rosy pink undertones while olive skin is more yellow.

The best way to determine your tone is by looking at your veins, sun reaction, tanning ability, and undertones. Analyzing these factors will reveal if your complexion is fair or olive.

Makeup Tips for Fair Skin

Certain makeup shades and techniques are especially flattering for fair skin tones. Here are some tips:

  • Opt for pink or peach based foundations rather than yellow.
  • Try plum, mauve, and pink blushes instead of orange shades.
  • Choose taupe and ash brown eye shadows to make blue eyes pop.
  • Use cream or ivory highlighters, not golden toned.
  • Try lip colors in pinks, berries, and cool toned reds.
  • Use cream cheek products to warm up the complexion.
  • Avoid frosted or shimmery eye shadows.

When shopping for makeup, look for cool toned, pink based products labeled for fair skin. Warmer, more golden shades can look unnatural.

Makeup Tips for Olive Skin

Olive skin looks gorgeous with the right makeup tailored to its undertones. Here are some olive skin makeup tips:

  • Use yellow toned foundations and concealers.
  • Try coral, peach, and brownish blushes.
  • Gold, bronze, and brown eye shadows make green or brown eyes pop.
  • Champagne or rose gold highlighters complement olive undertones.
  • Opt for nude, peach, and brick red lipstick.
  • Rich chocolate and espresso eyeliners make green eyes stand out.
  • Nude lip glosses work well for a natural everyday look.

When selecting products, look for yellow based, warm toned makeup labeled for medium or olive skin. Avoid anything with pink or rosy undertones.

Clothing Color Tips for Fair Skin Tones

Fair complexions look best in certain clothing hues. Cooler colors tend to be more flattering. Here are top colors for fair skin:

  • Blue – Brings out eyes and flatters fair skin.
  • Purple – Complements fair skin nicely.
  • Pink – A pretty, feminine shade for fair complexions.
  • Red – Try deeper burgundies and wines.
  • Green – Darker emerald greens look beautiful.
  • Gray – Flattering neutral that isn’t too harsh.
  • White – Crisp and fresh, but avoid stark white.
  • Metallics – Silvers and platinum flatter fair skin.

Avoid wearing harsh, overpowering oranges and yellows. Look for muted, softer versions of warmer colors. Darker cool tones work best for fair complexions.

Clothing Color Tips for Olive Skin

Certain clothing colors complement and enhance olive skin tones. Here are top colors for olive complexions:

  • Green – Brings out golden undertones in skin.
  • Brown – Richer shades like mahogany and mocha.
  • Orange – Try burnt orange or terra cotta.
  • Red – Bright cherry reds pop against olive skin.
  • Purple – Deep jewel tones like amethyst.
  • Camel – Flattering neutral that matches undertones.
  • Navy – Darker blues pair well with olive tones.
  • Metallics – Gold, bronze, and copper shimmer nicely.

Avoid pastels, which can drain color from olive complexions. Bright, saturated warm colors work best for olive skin.


Determining if your skin is fair vs olive comes down to scrutinizing your veins, sun reaction, tanning ability, and undertones. Once you’ve identified your skin tone, you can enhance your complexion with flattering makeup and clothing shades. Fair skin looks great in cooler pinks and blues. Olive skin shines in warmer golden browns, oranges and greens. With the right colors, your gorgeous glow will shine through!