Medium skin tones — you’re not quite considered fair or light, but you’re not olive either. You’ve got just enough of a beige undertone to always wake up with a naturally healthy glow. And even if you skipped bronzer today, you’d still have enough color in your complexion to appear slightly tan. Mhmm, jealous! Lucky for you, this also means that you don’t usually burn when you’re out in the sun (this doesn’t mean you can skip SPF!). Since you’re kind of “in between” skin tones, finding the right shade of makeup can be difficult at times. That’s why we have put together a guide on finding the perfect products for your medium complexion!
Just like any other skin tone, choosing the right makeup is dependent on your undertones. And shopping for the perfect foundation shade can be overwhelming, as most brands will offer two or three colors that look almost identical. For example, Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H comes in Buff C, Buff W and Buff N —cool, warm and neutral. What does this mean? Beneath your specific skin tone lies a subtle hue of one of the following undertones:
Cool: Pink, red, or blue undertones
Warm: Yellow, peach or golden undertones
Neutral: A balance between both cool and warm
Not sure what your undertones are? Here’s how to find out:
The White Vs. Cream Test: Grab two articles of clothing (or even a towel) — one white and the other off-white. While wearing NO makeup, decide which color complements your skin tone best. If it’s the pure-white shade, your undertones are warm. If the cream color suits you more (because the white washes you out), then you have cool undertones. If both flatter you just the same, you’re neutral!
The Vein Test: Look at the veins on your wrists. If they’re green, then you have warm undertones. If your veins are blue, then you have cool undertones. Do you have both colors or do they appear to be blue-green? Then you have neutral undertones.
Still not sure? Here’s one more for good measure!
The Jewelry Test: If gold jewelry enhances your complexion, then you’re likely on the warmer side. If silver jewelry looks best on your skin tone, then you have cool undertones.
Working with your exact undertone will help you determine which foundation is perfect for your medium complexion. Try one of our favorite foundations and pinpoint your exact shade based on your learnings above. If you’re still unsure, have a makeup expert at your go-to beauty department help you solve the undertone mystery!
Choosing the right blush for you can always be a confusing process. Going with a blush that’s too light can wash you out, while one that’s too dark will look harsh and unnatural! If you have a medium skin tone with cool undertones, go for a rosy pink blush like Maybelline Fit Me Blush in Deep Rose to bring a flush of color to your cheeks. If your undertones are warm, a soft apricot or peach blush like YSL Kiss and Blush in Corail Affranchi will enhance your natural glow.
Related: How to Find the Right Blush for Your Skin Tone
If your skin tone is in between light and olive, you already have a natural hint of color in your complexion. So, the goal here is to just enhance it without going too shimmery or too dark. And beware of bronzers that are too warm, as they can make you look orange! The general rule of thumb is to select a bronzer that’s no more than two shades darker than your skin tone — but more specifically, ensuring that your bronzer is a perfect match means finding one that also suits your undertones!
For medium skin with warm undertones, a soft shade of golden-brown like NYX Matte Bronzer in Light or a soft brown with peach tones like YSL Terre Saharienne Powder in Terre Ambree works best. Finding a bronzer to match cool undertones is a little trickier since many shades can come off as yellow, orange or even muddy. A translucent powder like L’Oréal True Match Naturale Soft-Focus Mineral Finish in Translucent Medium will add just the right amount of warmth to skin, without looking obvious. And a sheer liquid like Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in #10 is also the perfect product to enhance your complexion’s natural radiance, while adding some definition to your cheekbones. It’ll look like you woke up with glowing skin!
Related: The Basics of Bronzer
An illuminating bronze or honey shadow shade work wonders against your skin tone. Try the Lancôme Color Design 5 Pan Eyeshadow Palette in Kissed By Gold for a light, daytime look or build the color for a smoldering, golden smoky eye. For fun shades that really stand out — cool undertones look lovely in lavender or gray, while copper and rich blues flatter warmer undertones.
Lucky for you, just about any lipstick color from light pink to deep berry enhances your skin tone — but there are just a few things to keep in mind! When shopping for the perfect nude lippie, women with cool undertones should look for a shade that has a slight hint of pink like Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Pink Satin— otherwise a true nude could wash you out. Warm undertones, on the other hand, pair perfectly with a beige-nude like YSL Rouge Volupté in Nude Beige.
When looking for brighter pigments, cool undertones look stunning in blue-based red, berry, pinks, and mauve! Warm undertones look amazing with gold-or-orange-based reds, burgundy, coral and even brown!
About the Author: Diana creates on-trend beauty content for Makeup.com readers. She stays up-to-date on the latest beauty news and product launches and tests every makeup item that comes through the door. As an employee of L’Oréal, Diana writes stories about beauty products across the entire brand portfolio.