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You Think You're so Cool! A Guide to Foundation Color Matching

Posted by on in Sheer Minerals Makeup
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Warm, Cool or Neutral.  Which are you?  Surprisingly most people don’t know! Selecting the correct color of makeup and clothing can help you put your best and most vibrant face forward.

Choosing the wrong undertone for foundation can make your face look muddy or ashy rather than healthy and glowing. As an example, let’s say you have pink (cool) undertones and you mistakenly choose a foundation with yellow (warm) undertones; being opposites on the color wheel, you aren’t going to be bringing out and enhancing the natural glow of your skin, but rather masking it. Foundations are designed to blend with and smooth the color and appearance of your own skin.  If you look in the mirror and something doesn’t look quite right and you don’t have the healthy, vibrant look after applying your foundation, you may have chosen the wrong undertone.

To determine if you are warm cool or neutral, we need to first differentiate between “tone” and “undertone”.  The tone of your skin can change depending on the time of year it is. You may be a light in the winter and a tan in the summer.  The undertone, however, is the color under the surface of the skin.  Think of it as backlighting behind the skin.  I may be a medium, but am I a Sand Medium (cool) or a Golden Medium (warm)? This all depends on the undertone. Surprisingly, the color of your eyes and hair are not necessarily determining factors in your undertone.

The 4 undertones are:

Cool:  pink, red or blue undertones

Warm: Yellow or gold undertones

Neutral: a combination of both pink and yellow

Olive:  Also considered a combination of both.

There are a couple of ways to determine your undertone:

What color are your veins?  If the veins on your wrist have a bluish color, you would more likely look better in something with a cool undertone. If they look greenish, a warm undertone would be more flattering. If you are unable to discern whether veins are blue or green, you are likely neutral.

The paper test:  hold a sheet of white paper under your chin and look at your skin in natural lighting; your best bet is to go outside.  Stay away from fluorescent lighting, as it will add a green cast to your skin.  (This is why when ladies go into public restrooms and look in the mirror, our first reaction is…aaaccckkk! Why do I look sick??!!) Look at your skin in comparison to the white paper and determine whether it looks more pink or yellow against the white.  It helps to have a second opinion so ask a friend to help you.  Again, if it’s indiscernible, you are likely neutral.

How do tone and undertone translate into the Sheer Minerals line of Mineral Foundations and BB Crème?

When using our BB Crème, it’s light and sheer application allows you to determine your color by tone alone (light, medium, tan, deep or dark). Since the BB Crème is more of a complexion-enhancing product, rather than a true, full coverage foundation, the warmth or coolness of your undertone (the backlighting) will shine through. You need only match the color of your skin, not the undertone. You can enhance the undertone by selecting the appropriate coordinating cosmetics such as blush, bronzer and lip colors.

With the Sheer Minerals Mineral Foundations, if you line the classes of tones together (Oatmeal Light with Crème Light, Sand Medium with Golden Medium etc.) you should be able to see that one will have a slightly more pink color and the other more yellow. Once you have determined your tone (light medium, tan, deep or dark) and then determined your undertone (cool - pink/red, warm- yellow/gold or neutral- both), choosing your color(s) should be a little easier. If you determine you are a neutral, mixing the two from your tone category may help you achieve the right undertone.  Luckily with the Customized Sheer Minerals Starter Kit, you can choose TWO foundation colors!

For easy reference, below are the tones and undertones of our Sheer Minerals line of Mineral Foundations:


Crème Light – pink (cool)

Oatmeal Light – yellow (warm)


Sand Medium – pink (cool)

Golden Medium – yellow (warm)


Rose Tan – pink/red (cool)

Sunlight Tan – yellow/gold (warm)


Rose Deep – pink/red (cool)

Café Deep – yellow/gold (warm)


Sienna Dark - pink/red (cool)

Cinnamon Dark – yellow/gold (warm)

One of the best ways to determine if you are accentuating the positive is the mirror and compliments. You know the colors that tend to make you look the most vibrant when you look in the mirror.  If someone tells you that a particular color looks amazing on you, say thank you and take note. If what you are wearing is an earth tone (warm) or blue/pink/red toned (cool) it is likely enhancing and complimenting the undertone of your skin.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me in the comments section.

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Hello Natural Beauties!
I’m Shelley, the Sheer Minerals Makeup Manager at Lemongrass Spa Products corporate office in Colorado.  Makeup is my passion and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share what I’ve learned with all of you.  Bringing fun, fashion-forward trends, application tips and makeup ideas is what I hope to provide in my monthly blog post!  Since 2010, Sheer Minerals has been providing makeup that is safe to wear, all while offering trendy and glamorous color combinations.  I’m so proud that when Lemongrass Spa Products advertises ‘clean, pure and natural’ … we truly stand behind it with our easy-to-pronounce ingredient list!  Watch for tips and tricks with makeup and accessories, before-and-after transformations and savvy makeup party ideas.


  • Guest
    Cindy Nicolaisen Thursday, 16 March 2017

    Alot of people tell me my best color is blue, so what makeup would be best for me? By the way my veins are blue with a hint of green. Does that help?

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Guest Thursday, 20 June 2019