How to Determine My Skin Tone

by Madeleine Mayer ; Updated July 18, 2017

If you're wondering what colors look best on you, first determine your skin tone. People typically fall into two categories -- those with cool-toned skin and those with warm-toned skin. Cool-toned people look better in bright jewel-tone colors, such as bright blues, greens and purples; warm-toned people will dazzle in earthy tones, such as oranges and browns. Follow several steps to determine your tone, then wear the right colors with confidence.

Roll up your sleeves if you are wearing long sleeves, and look at the underside of your wrist. Do your veins look blue-purple or blue-green? If they look blue-purple, you probably have a cool skin tone. If they look greenish, your skin tone is probably warm.

Pull your hair back from your bare face. Hold a white shirt, towel or rag up to your face in front of the mirror. If your face has a yellowish hue, you probably have a warm skin tone. If your face looks blueish, you probably have a cool skin tone.

Stand in front of the mirror and put on a silver necklace or a pair of silver earrings. Take them off and replace them with gold ones. Which suits you better? If it's the silver, you probably have a cool skin tone. If it's the gold, you're probably warm.

Hold a bright pink shirt, rag or towel next to your face while you look in the mirror. Put it down and do the same with a bright orange one. Which makes you glow more? The pink indicates a cool skin tone. The orange means your skin is most likely warm in tone.


  • If some of your answers are inconclusive -- for instance, if you looked equally good next to the pink and the orange -- then you may have a neutral skin tone. Neutral tones are rare, and the lucky people who have them look good wearing all colors.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Zainal/Demand Media

About the Author

Madeleine Mayer has been a freelance journalist since 2007, covering science, health and fitness. She has a master's degree in science and health journalism and a bachelor's degree in cell biology.