April 20, 2015 Diana Crisan Spotlight

The Best Makeup for Olive Skin Tones

You’ve been having fun in the sun all summer long, which means your olive undertones are positively glowing. Good for you! 

The last thing you want to do now is cover up your hard-earned tan with the wrong makeup application. So as fall approaches, keep this makeup guide handy. Below you'll find the best makeup for olive skin tones.


Olive Skintones Makeup Tips


Understanding Your Undertones 

This is key, because no matter what your dominant skin tone is, what really makes foundation work is how well it complements your undertones. And to make things more confusing, many brands offer two or more colors that look nearly identical. For instance, Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H comes in Bisque W and Bisque N—warm and neutral. 

Fortunately, product lines like Maybelline Fit Me offer a helping hand with their skin tone and texture matching system. Even still, we realize additional guidance can be helpful, so here’s a good place to start. Beneath your specific skin tone lies a subtle hue of one of the following undertones:

Cool: Pink, red or blue undertones

Warm: Yellow or golden undertones

Neutral: A balance between both cool and warm

Typically, olive skin is known for either having warm or neutral undertones with a greenish cast. The lighter your natural skin tone, the cooler your undertones are, while darker olive shades have a deeper, more golden undertone.

Not sure what your undertones are?  Take these tests 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, 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.

  • 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.

  • The Sun Test

When you were out at the beach this summer, did your skin tan and turn golden-brown, or did you turn pink first? If you tanned immediately, you’re most likely warm-toned. If you burned first, you’re probably cool-toned.

Foundation for Olive Skin Tones

Working with your exact undertone will help you determine which foundation is perfect for your sun-kissed complexion. Check out our gallery of our favorite foundations, and pinpoint your exact shade based on your findings above.

Standouts include the Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation and L'Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup, which have “true-match” technology to accurately match your unique skin tone. A lightweight formula or a BB or CC cream will also deliver just enough coverage to give your olive skin a flawless finish. And if you’re still unsure of your skin’s undertones, have a makeup expert at your local beauty counter help you solve the mystery!


Blush for Olive Skin Tones

A little blush can add that touch of color that brightens an olive complexion. We’d recommend going with either a rosy pink (like Lancôme Blush Subtil in Rose Fresque) warm peach (we love NYX High Definition Blush in Bright Lights) or even a bronze-tinged blush like YSL Blush Volupté in Bohemian. Anything too light and the color won’t even show up on your skin, but if it’s too dark, it will cause your tan to look muddy.

RELATED: How to Find the Right Blush for Your Skin Tone


Bronzer for Olive Skin Tones

To keep it looking natural (and not orange!), choose a copper or earthy-brown shade for gleaming skin. Try Lancôme Star Bronzer in Sunkiss or NYX Tango With Bronzer in Confessions of a Tanaholic for a sun-kissed glow that will enhance any olive complexion. Tread lightly, though. If you go overboard with the bronzer, your faux-glow will look a little too intentional.


Eye Shadow for Olive Skin Tones

Whether you play it safe or sultry is up to you. You could go for golden-brown eye shadows that play up your natural skin tone like the shades in the Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette, or you can really make your eyes gleam with brighter pops of color. An olive complexion really stands out (in a great way!) against sapphire or royal blue, emerald green, burnt orange, deep plum—and lest we forget, a smoldering smoky eye.


Lipstick for Olive Skin Tones

This is where we really envy you, because the right lipstick can take your makeup look from starlet to supernova. And your olive skin tone works with a wide range of lipstick colors from subtle nude to electric orange. Big and bright shades bring out your natural gold undertones, while berry hues add extra warmth to your complexion. Other colors to flaunt include coral with pink undertones, vampy or wine-based reds, cranberry shades and deep pinks. There’s almost no way you can go wrong—unless it’s purple or brown. These hues can wash you out and give your complexion a sallow appearance. Otherwise, wear whatever makes you feel good!

Product Recommendations: Maybelline Color Sensational Rebel Bloom in Power Peony, L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Balm Pop in Caring Coral, NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Chaos, Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Lipstick in #400, Lancôme Color Design in Hit List


Shopping for the Right Makeup

Bonus round! A plan is only as good as your willingness to put it into action. So if this guide has inspired you to get your glow on, then we’ve got another strategy to help you feel confident in finding the right makeup online



Do you have any other tips for bringing out the best in your sun-kissed complexion? Let us know in the comments below.




    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.