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What undertones look best on pale skin?

Choosing makeup with the right undertones can make all the difference for people with pale skin. The wrong undertone can make you look washed out, sickly, or just “off”. But how do you know which undertones will be most flattering? Here’s a quick rundown of the best makeup undertones for pale skin.

What are undertones?

Undertones refer to the underlying hue that your skin has beneath the surface. There are three main types of undertones:

  • Warm undertones: these tend to have yellow, peach, or golden hues
  • Cool undertones: these tend to have pink, red, or blue hues
  • Neutral undertones: these have a balance of warm and cool undertones

People with pale skin can have any of the three undertones. Determining your specific undertone will help you find makeup and colors that bring out your natural beauty.

How to determine your undertones

Here are some tips for figuring out your skin’s undertones:

  • Look at the veins on your wrist – greenish veins indicate warm undertones, while blueish veins indicate cool undertones
  • Wear a gold vs. silver jewelry – whichever makes your skin look brighter is likely your undertone
  • Think about what colors flatter you – warm undertones look great in yellow; cool undertones shine in blue
  • Look in natural light vs. indoor light – indoor yellow light can mask cool tones
  • Ask a makeup artist for an assessment if you’re still unsure

Best undertones for pale skin

If you have a fair or pale complexion, here are some of the most flattering undertones to look for in makeup and color choices:

Warm undertones

Those with warm undertones often have peach, golden, or olive skin. Warm undertone makeup includes:

  • Foundation/concealer with yellow or peach undertones
  • Bronzer with golden shimmer
  • Eyeshadow in peach, gold, copper, warm brown
  • Warm red, coral lipstick

Cool undertones

Those with cool undertones often have pink or red skin. Cool undertone makeup includes:

  • Foundation/concealer with pink undertones
  • Blush in soft pinks
  • Eyeshadow in plums, purples, cool greys
  • Berry or true red lipstick

Neutral undertones

Those with neutral undertones have a blend of warm and cool. Neutral undertone makeup includes:

  • Foundation/concealer labeled neutral, beige, or sand
  • Blush in mauve or apricot
  • Eyeshadow in browns, taupes, lavender
  • MLBB (my lips but better) lipstick

Tips for makeup by undertone

Here are some more specific tips for choosing flattering makeup based on your undertones:

Warm undertones

  • Look for yellow-toned foundation and concealer
  • Try bronzers with a golden shimmer
  • Opt for coral, peach, gold eyeshadow
  • Wear warm red, copper, terracotta lipstick
  • Stick to warm brown eyeliner and mascara

Cool undertones

  • Look for foundations with pink or neutral undertones
  • Use cool-toned pink or mauve blush
  • Try eyeshadow in lavender, grey, mint green
  • Wear berry, rose, or red lipstick with a blue base
  • Use black or dark brown eyeliner and mascara

Neutral undertones

  • Opt for foundation labeled neutral, beige, or sand
  • Wear blush in soft pink, peach, or mauve
  • Eyeshadow in sage, taupe, shimmery sand
  • MLBB lipstick in pinky browns and rose shades
  • Use dark brown or black eyeliner and mascara

How lighting affects undertones

The lighting you’re in can also impact how makeup undertones look. Here’s what to know:

  • Yellow indoor lighting can make cool tones look too pink
  • Natural daylight shows undertones most accurately
  • Blue-toned fluorescent lighting can make warm tones look orange
  • Candlelight flatters both warm and neutral undertones

Whenever possible, test makeup colors in natural lighting for the truest impression of undertones. The wrong lighting could steer you in the wrong direction.

Undertone-matching foundations

Matching your foundation to your skin’s undertone is key for a natural look. Here are some popular foundations suited for pale skin by undertone:

Undertone Foundation Shades
Warm NARS Sheer Glow in Gobi
Too Faced Born This Way in Warm Nude
Cool Smashbox Studio Skin in 0.1
Neutrogena Hydro Boost in Classic Ivory
Neutral Urban Decay Stay Naked in 10NN
Maybelline Fit Me Matte in 102

How to color correct by undertone

You can also color correct issues using complementary colors to your undertones:

Warm Undertones

  • Use mint green primer to reduce redness
  • Dab lavender concealer to brighten yellow skin
  • Opt for cool pink blush instead of peach

Cool Undertones

  • Use peach primer to reduce blue tones
  • Dab yellow concealer to brighten pink skin
  • Wear warm apricot blush instead of pink

Neutral Undertones

  • Use green primer for any redness
  • Try peach and yellow concealers
  • Wear both pink and peach blushes


Determining your skin’s undertones and choosing complementary makeup is essential to nailing your beauty look, especially if you have pale skin. Test out warm, cool, and neutral makeup until you find your perfect match. With the right undertone makeup, your natural beauty will shine through.

Remember to look at veins, try different metals, and pay attention to what flatters you most. Finding the harmonizing undertones in makeup can make you look alive, not washed out. Use flattering lighting when testing products. Most importantly, have fun with the process and enjoy your beautiful pale skin!