How to Choose the Right Makeup for Your Skin Tone

There are hundreds of options in the makeup aisle—but only some of them are right for your skin tone. Mally Roncal, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Mally Beauty, shows you how to find the perfect matches.  


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Undertones, How to Test, and More

Woman testing foundation shades

Photo by Joshua Pestka

Photo by Joshua Pestka

Nudes When choosing a nude lip color, match the color of your inner lip.

Concealer Concealer should always be one shade lighter than foundation, says Mally Roncal.

Undertones A quick flip of the wrist is all it takes to figure out your undertones. If veins appear green, you have a warm skin tone; if veins appear blue, you lean toward cool.

Testing The best place to test makeup? Your collarbone—it will give you the closest match.


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Fair Skin Tone

fair skin tone makeup

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

Usually the lightest skin, with cool pink undertones—look for yellow-based makeup to help neutralize them.

Shade Suggestions alabaster, porcelain, milky

Tip A highlighter with silver or lavender tones brightens skin without washing you out.

From left: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealing Pot in Light, itcosmetics.com, $28. Maybelline New York Fit Me! Blush in Rose, drugstores, $6. Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter in Iridescence, physiciansformula.com, $11. IsaDora Perfect Moisture Lipstick in Summer Red, walgreens.com, $18. Almay Best Blend Forever Foundation in Porcelain, drugstores, $17. Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer, toofaced.com, $30.


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Light Skin Tone

light skin tone makeup

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

Just a touch warmer than fair, so you’ll still want a yellow-based foundation, but slightly darker.

Shade Suggestions cream, vanilla, ivory

Tip Honey or golden shades of bronzer add warmth without overpowering. Avoid red or orange undertones.

From left: CoverGirl Vitalist Healthy Concealer in Light, drugstores, $8. Burt’s Bees Blush in Shy Pink, drugstores, $10. SinfulColors Face Forward Allover Highlighter Stick in Glow Potion, amazon.com, $7. Lipstick Queen Dating Game Lipstick in Mr. Right, lipstickqueen.com, $18. Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation in 22 Rosé, chanel.com, $60. NARS Sunwash Diffusing Bronzer in Seaside, narscosmetics.com, $40. 


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Medium Skin Tone

Medium skin tone makeup

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

Not too warm or too cool, so neutral shades are ideal. The color shouldn’t be too orange or gray.

Shade Suggestions sand, beige

Tip A peachy-coral blush creates the perfect natural flush.

From left: Wander Beauty Dualist Matte & Illuminating Concealer in Medium, wanderbeauty.com, $29. Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush in Indecent, urbandecay.com, $26. L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Shimmerista Highlighting Powder in Sunlight, lorealparisusa.com, $15. Ardell Beauty Ultra Opaque Lipstick in Crushed Flame, Sally Beauty, $10. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation SPF 15 in Medium Honey, tarte.com, $39. CYO Cosmetics Bronzing Powder When The Sun Don’t Shine, walgreens.com, $5. 


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Tan Skin Tone

Tan skin tone makeup

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

Warm is the key word for tan skin tones—try makeup with hints of yellow or orange to balance out your complexion.

Shade Suggestions bronze, olive

Tip Choose a matte bronzer with undertones similar to the ones in your skin.

From left: Mally Beauty Ultimate Performance See the Light Concealer in Medium, mallybeauty.com, $24. Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Vibration, chanel.com, $45. Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion Undetectable Highlighter in Golden, sephora
.com
, $39. Avon True Color Nourishing Lipstick in Berry Sangria, avon.com, $8. Revlon Photoready Insta-Filter Foundation in Caramel, drugstores, $17. Christie Brinkley Authentic Beauty Sun-Kissed Sheer Powder Bronzer in Burnished Bronze, Kohl’s, $22. 


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Deep Skin Tone

Deep skin tone makeup

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

You want a dark-colored foundation with a slight reddish undertone to avoid looking ashy or gray.

Shade Suggestions cocoa, chestnut, cappuccino

Tip A bronze highlighter adds warmth and luminosity.

From left: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha, fentybeauty.com, $25. Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze, glossier.com, $18. Bare Minerals Invisible Glow Powder Highlighter in Dark to Deep, sephora.com, $28. Flower Beauty Petal Pout Lipcolor in Hibis-Kiss, flowerbeauty.com, $7. Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless Youthful-Look 24-H Foundation SPF 25 in Deep Y570, marcjacobs.com, $46. Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer in Deep, esteelauder.com, $42.