Understanding Undertones

There’s a lot of confusion about skin and undertones. It’s not surprising when we consider how unique each of us are, and how limited the cosmetics space has been, until now. 

Most liquid foundation brands have found it sufficient to limit their offering to less than 50 shades. Pantone (the colour experts), on the other hand, have categorized most skin into 110 distinguishable shades during their research. We can visualize a gradual diffusion of skin tones when these colours are charted on a 2-dimensional map of skin surface tone (or “depth”) and skin “undertone”.

Your skin depth is simply the surface colour of your skin, and changes with the amount of melanin (“skin pigment”) contained in the uppermost layer, known as the epidermis. Your skin depth may change with exposure to the sun or similar activities (i.e. seasonal tanning), and the scale is graded from Very Fair through to Deep Dark. 

The translucency of your skin, however, means that your skin may appear with an additional subtle hue applied like a filter, from beneath the surface skin. This effect is referred to as undertone, and it is generally believed that your undertone remains “unchanged” over time. Understanding and finding yours is important to achieve a naturally flawless finish. 

Undertones fall into 3 broad categories: Warm, Neutral and Cool.

  • Warm undertone absorbs more red light wavelengths, and hence reflects more yellowish hue when looking at skin. With foundation, you might come across terms like “golden”, “peach” or “olive” used to segregate areas of the chart, depending on the shade depth and intensity of yellow pigments used in the formula.
  • Cool undertone skin does the “opposite”. Less red-light is absorbed, and hence more pink and red hues reflect back through skin under light.
  • Skin with neutral undertones, as the name suggests, has more balanced absorption and simply reflect your natural surface tones.

There are simple tests that can be broadly used to identify skin undertone. For example, people with warm undertones tend to prefer wearing Gold jewellery, versus cooler skin that has an affinity towards silver. Neutral skin tends to be the most versatile, and have the most options! Another way would be to examine the veins on your wrist. Blue veins appear with a greenish hue when “filtered” behind the yellow undertones of warm skin. Very cool skin might show veins as almost purple. 

Take the 110 shades quiz where we’ve organized a simple flow of questions to help you discover your undertones online!

Determining your undertone can be tricky. Indeed, your skin contains a distribution of pigments, which can change over time. Finding your shade of foundation can be de-motivating without an exhaustive (and yet structured) approach, but using the wrong shade of liquid foundation can result in either ashy or stained complexions! 

Now is your chance to explore JABBAR&Co.’s complete range of Full Cover Liquid Foundation, available in all 110 shades; everyone’s included. The sample packs are designed to help you try our formula and undertones within a given depth. Many makeup enthusiasts have even found several favourite undertones (“contrast” vs “complement”) that they use to achieve different looks and gain the edge! 

In future posts, we’ll be looking at “Colour Theory” and considering the effect of light vs pigments in the contexts of skin, cosmetics, and photography, so stay tuned!

We’re sure you’ve love the cruelty-free, silicone-based and professional formula (non-SPF for reliable long-wear). The texture is light and velvety, the cover is fast-setting and buildable, and the gently moisturizing foundation is most suitable for combination skin. Further, the foundation has a luxuriously scent inspired by Mandarin Oranges & Earl Grey Tea. Now that’s fancy! 

For best results:

  • Wash and dry skin as per your normal routine
  • Apply and set any desired moisturizer and/or sun-protection (SPF) prior to makeup application. Use blotting paper to absorb any excess, for oilier skin.
  • If you use a makeup primer, pair JABBAR&Co.’s liquid foundation with a product that is also silicone-based, since they are adjacent layers.
  • Smoothly apply foundation, allowing at least 15 seconds drying time between layers, optionally using a foundation brush or sponge to build and diffuse. Direct application on skin is optional.
  • If you need a concealer for some heavy-duty coverage, now’s the time!
  • Buff with translucent setting powder and bake for 5-10 minutes!
  • You’re now ready to create the looks you want, or dash out the door for a naturally flawless finish!

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