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Are You Warm, Cool, Olive or Neutral Toned?

Are You Warm, Cool or Neutral Toned?

Are You Warm, Cool, Olive or Neutral Toned? What colors do you gravitate towards? I consider my skintone to be pale and neutral, between N0 and N10. I have redness from rosacea, which means 99% of the time I have a bit (or a ton) of pink to my skin. Lately I’ve really noticed that my neck and chest are flushed slightly pink / cool-toned. I should point out that when I go to match foundation, I match the tone to my neck and chest, rather than my face. My face is always slightly darker / redder than my neck and chest. And yes, I wear SPF on all of it daily.

Are You Warm, Cool, Olive or Neutral Toned?

This post contains a mix of press samples and products purchased by me.

I prefer neutral foundations with a balance of pink and yellow tones. If I wear a super pink-based foundation, I usually look like I’m sunburnt. If the foundation is too warm, I look orange. In Sephora’s Color IQ system I came up as 1y01 (see my experience) and currently match following cruelty free brands –  Kat Von D Lock It Foundation #42, Cover FX Total Cover Cream N0, Too Faced Beauty Balm Snow Glow and Tarte BB SPF 30 Fair. There are other matches but they’re not cruelty free. Also interestingly enough, NARS Siberia didn’t pop up on this list.

As you know, Cover FX makes my favorite foundations because their N10 is usually a great match for me, plus they’re vegan. I’ve been loving mixing the Custom Cover Drops in N10 with different sunscreens and skincare products of mine to make a DIY foundation. Sometimes it’s nice not to have to mix though.

One of my recent successful experiments started with me applying the Nyx CC Cream Green in Light on my redness. Once that dried down, I stippled a mixture of Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation in N10 mixed with Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten in Porcelain, only on top of the CC Cream, and to blend with the rest of my face. The result was me wearing far less foundation than normal but I had great coverage.

My current go-to ‘I don’t want any redness to be seen’ winning combination is the Nyx CC Cream Green with Cover FX Custom Cover Drops N10 mixed with Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint Light, set with NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder.

Current Foundations

  • Cover FX Shade N10 (Pressed Mineral Foundation, Total Cover Cream, Custom Cover Drops, CC Cream + Life’s Entropy White) (vegan)
  • Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation in Tickle the Ivory (testing this out, worn above)
  • Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten in Porcelain (mixed with Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation in N10)
  • Life’s Entropy Foundation Elixir White (to make any liquid or cream lighter, total life saver for pale skin) (vegan)
  • Nyx CC Cream Green in Light (to cover redness, has to be worn under foundation, too dark on its own)
  • Perfekt Beauty Skin Perfection Gel in Luminous + CCDs N10
  • bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in Opal mixed with Cover FX CCDs N10 & LE White
  • Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint Light + Cover FX CCDs N10
  • Illamasqua Skin Base 2 (no mixing needed) (vegan)
  • Too Faced Beauty Balm in Snow Glow mixed with CCDs N10 & LE White  (vegan)


Lately, I’ve been going for cool tones in a lot of  my makeup. I’ll explain more below.

I’ve noticed for my brows that I hate warm-toned orangey brow gels or pencils. I always reach for neutral or cool tones to fill them in. Also, I’m sad to say that only one of my brow products is vegan, as far as I’m aware.

Brow Products

  • Senna Sketch-A-Brow in Ash Brown & Mink
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown & Granite
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel in Granite
  • Nyx Eyebrow Gel in Black
  • Too Faced Bulletproof Brows in Universal Brunette
  • Silk Naturals Brow Cream in Soft Black (I picked up their Medium Ash Brown shade and  need to remember to try it) (vegan)

For blushes I flex warm or cool, trying to work with whatever lip color or makeup look I’m wearing. Honestly, I’ve been lovin’ the hell outta UD Bittersweet and Makeup Geek Secret Admirer. They both lean cool and purple and I think they’re perfect on me. I’ve been told by friends I should wear Rapture more often, too.

Recent Blush Obsessions

  • Urban Decay Afterglow Blushes – Rapture (worn above, mauve), Kinky (peach), Bittersweet (purple), Score(pinky peach) (see all the blushes here)
  • Makeup Geek Blushes – Secret Admirer (orchid), Honeymoon, First Love, Romance (see them all here)
  • butter LONDON Cheeky Crème Blush in Naughty Biscuit (rosy nude)
  • Too Faced Sweethearts Blush in Peach Beach and Candy Glow

For contouring products, I’m pretty sure I lean towards using cool, but I have a few neutral and warm shades too. While you can see all of my contouring products for pale skin here, as well as recommendations for light to medium skintones, I definitely have a few key ones that I reach for over and over. Now I don’t contour my full face. I will usually only contour the hollows of my cheeks. That’s it.

Contouring Products

  • Notoriously Morbid Blush in Necromancy (worn above) (vegan)
  • Silk Naturals Shady Lady Contour Powder in #1 (vegan)
  • Life’s Entropy Particle Contour Sticks in Proton or Alpha  (vegan)
  • NARS Contour Blush in Olympia

With highlighting products I know I leaned warm or neutral for a long time, but I’ve been leaning cool for a few months now. I keep reaching for Pearl Dust over and over, and before that it was Osteomancy. However, for years it was Candlelight Glow Duo non-stop, which is neutral/warm.


  • Dose of Colors Highlighter in Pearl Dust (worn above)(ethereal iridescent pink)(see my review)
  • Notoriously Morbid Blush in Osteomancy (ethereal silvery blue white) (vegan)
  • Too Faced Candlelight Glow Duo

I know with eyeshadows that I love warm, neutral and cool tones, but I’ve been snapping up palettes with cool tones because I feel like there’s a dearth of them! Warm eyeshadow palettes are a dime a dozen! People who love warm eyeshadow palettes are certainly  not hurting for options! There are so many palettes available right now, so I’ve listed a few below.

Cool Eyeshadow Palettes

  • Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette – I love the cool quad in this, see my review.
  • Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette – has several cool toned colors, see my video
  • Kat Von D Innerstellar Palette – cool tones and purples, see my review
  • Saucebox Etude Palette – over half the colors are cool toned, see my review
  • bareMinerals the Posh Neutrals – I have this in my to-review pile and I bought it ages ago.
  • Urban Decay Electric Palette – this has some cool tones! It’s also the brightest palette I own, see the review

Warm Eyeshadow Palettes

  • tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Palette – warm and mattes
  • Too Faced Love Palette – new, looks to be full of 15 neutrals and warms.
  • Too Faced Chocolate Bar – lots of warm shades, see my review
  • Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar – lots of warm shades, see my review
  • Colour Pop Metamorphosis – pretty and warm (some shades vegan)
  • Colour Pop Where the Light Is – gold and smoky warm (some shades vegan)
  • Colour Pop Rebound – warm and peachy (some shades vegan)

So tell me, are you cool-toned, neutral or warm-toned? What do you reach for with your makeup? Have you ever noticed yourself leaning towards warm or cool? What palette are you using the most lately?

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  • I’ve always had a hard time identifying my undertones. For the longest time, I thought I was mostly cool because I found that a lot of foundations I have tried are too warm for me; but recently I’ve been thinking that I’m actually more neutral. I’ve never been able to find a foundation that really matches me; though I’ve noticed that number 110 from the Maybelline Fit Me line matches me pretty well. I used to mainly wear cool toned eyeshadows because I thought they looked best on me; but I’m finding otherwise now that I’ve been branching out more.

  • I’m neutral, but do find a lot of foundations tend to lean that little bit too yellow. I tend to wear a mix of cools/neutrals (since II can) but like a cool brow shade as well.

    • Happy to hear you lean cool for brows too 🙂 I was feeling a bit left out because I swear like 90% of all brow stuff seems to be warm

  • I find I’m slightly yellow-toned! It confused me for ages until I finally figured it out. My skin casts more greenish in sunlight, so I usually reach for foundations that are a bit yellow-toned but not too overly yellow or I look a bit sallow. Any pink tones and I turn orange though! ;;

  • I’m part Asian, so I have some (not a great deal) of yellow in my skin; but, like you, I have rosacea. So neutral works best for me, too. I vary between cool and warm depending on what I’m wearing, the current color of my hair, and what mood I’m in. Both seem to work for me, although I’m finding that as I age, I’m reaching for warm more often as it seems to brighten me up and creates a bit of a fresher look.

    • Yeah the pink overtone can be a pain! I think it’s good to use your foundation to brighten your complexion, great idea 🙂

  • You have matched your foundation pretty perfectly. I still have trouble finding something light enough and neutral enough for me. T.T I haven’t found a foundation yet that truly works on my skin and the couple of bb cream formulas I’ve found that I like are too dark or too pink or too yellow.

    • Have you tried Cover FX Total Cover Cream in N0? Or have you had a chance to use Life’s Entropy White foundation elixir? You can mix that in with anything to lighten it.

  • I always thought I was cool but now I’m sure I run more neutral. I mostly wear cool brown, taupe, gold, cream on my eyes. I like both cool and warm blushes but not too warm. Same with lips though pink is my favorite.

  • I think I lean olive? Ya know, I’m not really sure! I do know that one of my foundations is olive, so that’s what I’m basing it on haha

  • Love this post! I’m warm (yellow) toned with my foundations, but everything else I love to mix up cool and warm. I love warm neutrals for my lips, cool blushes (loving light lavender blushes right now!), and for my eyes I’m fair game for anything as long as they blend well!

  • I am a cool toned light olive. I can get quite dark, but I load up on SPF and don’t lounge in the sun for too long. I tend to gravitate toward cooler toned colors, but I do have some warm neutrals in my makeup collection that I love.

  • I am olive toned, and I also find it difficult with makeup brands, mainly foundations and concealers. I feel like when they say “yellow toned” it is TOO yellow or just way off. I also have a case of the difference between my face and body skin tone. My body is very olive and can tan very easily whereas my face can have some pink tones to it. I try to match my face to my body so as not to look weird. That being said, I LOVE cool tones on my eyes!

  • I love your hair in that picture!

    I’m very fair, about an N10, with neutral undertones. If I get a lot of sun, I veer slightly into warm territory, as I turn a tiny bit golden in the face and arms. Everywhere else, I burn and peel back to white. So I wear tons of sunscreen and stay white. lol

    I keep my foundation neutral. If I go pink I look burned; if I go yellow I look jaundiced. I usually go slightly warm on highlighters, though I really like Notoriously Morbid’s Osteomancy. I favor cooler contour. Otherwise, I think my makeup is pretty 50-50. I think I can get away with almost any color. I think my most flattering colors are coral, hot pink and bright red, but I favor purples, burgundies, pinks and greens on my eyes to bring out the green.

  • This is really interesting. Great post!! I’m getting more splotchy red as I age. I have no idea what undertone I am and every MUA I’ve met tells me something different!

    • I’ve been told a lot of different things – peach undertones, pink undertones, and beige undertones. I’ve found sticking with Neutral works best for me.

  • I’m cool-toned but I always gravitate towards shades better suited to warm-tones. I guess it’s a grass is always greener kind of thing.

  • I am technically cool-toned, but when I became a redhead, it opened up warm-toned possibilities for me in terms of eye makeup, blush and lipstick. For foundation, it is pink & cool-toned for me. I’ve been using the CoverFX Drops to try to mitigate the yellow in NARS Weightless Foundation and a couple of others.

    • One of the things I loved when I had red hair was how gorgeous peach lipsticks would look. I love that it opened up a whole new world of colors for you!

  • I so wish the cosmetics industry would acknowledge OLIVE as an undertone in addition to Neutral, Cool, and Warm. The greenest of us aren’t truly Warm/Yellow, even if that is the closest option. I can wear a yellow-toned foundation and still look peach once it sets/oxidizes, and if I don’t blend down to my chest it looks so off.

    It’s frustrating especially when brands call a foundation shade “olive” just because it falls on the darker end of their medium-to-tan spectrum! Olive skin does tan– that doesn’t mean we ARE always tanned. So far the best foundation matches with the greenest undertones I have found are made by Urban Decay (6.0), BECCA (Olive), and NARS (Stromboli), but all of these are still quite dark for me until the end of summer.

    I really wish I could start an awareness campaign or something. LOL

    • I’ve found success with MUFE MatVelvet, I believe in 25 for my fair olive complexion!

    • Giiiirl im with u..was just bemoaning this to my SO the other day..i have 2 mix in lighter shade 2 bring stromboli down till midway thru seems alotta companies if they make an olive tone think all olives are only on the tan/lighter end of dark zone..color wise i keep hearing how bobbie brown has some good ones but because of the lavender i cant even look into it more.

      • That mixing gets expensive too! Illamasqua seems to have a HUGE range of “olive yellow” foundations from pale to deep shades that you may want to try? Unfortunately, you would have to buy online since they aren’t sold in stores here anymore, but it’s an option. I don’t notice lavender, but I do see fragrance in the ingredients list, so maybe email them first? I haven’t bought it myself because I have a ton of allergies and sensitivities too.

  • I’m extremely heavy in the yellow tones in my skin, but I think the foundation selection process is more complicated with darker complexions, partially because just about all people as dark as me are two-toned. I used to go with the darker color in my face, but I noticed it makes my face look MUCH darker than my body (almost like I had been wearing SPF everywhere BUT my face and had tanned a lot as a result), but the lighter shade can be… weird. Just uncanny.

    PS, thanks for the cruelty free foundation recs. I was working on my leftover MAC foundations and I want to move on to something more animal friendly, so I’ll hit up the Sephora near work for matches and samples. 🙂

    • I always match my foundation shade to my neck / chest, which is slightly lighter than my face. I think my face is always slightly darker / redder because of my rosacea. I think that you’re right, you have to figure out where you want to match to.

      • This is the problem I have with Sephora Color IQ because they are trained to match three points, two of which have to be your face! I wish they could just grab from my neck and chest, but wow, they are sticklers for that training.

  • I’m as warm toned as it gets! Funny enough I find myself gravitating towards cool-toned makeup products. I feel like it suits me more, for some reason. The palette I use often is Naked Basics 2 (simply because it’s the only palette I have, hehe). Love the recommendations! So helpful 🙂

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