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Skin isn’t neutral, green, or blue

Skin isn’t neutral, green, or blue

It drives me absolutely crazy to see people using the terms neutral undertone, green undertone, or worse yet blue undertone when it comes to skin. That isn’t alive skin. No one’s skin is any of these things, and while I can forgive neutral as a term (even though its wrong), the other two... JUST WHY?! Are they lying to you? Probably not, but let's face it, you know that there is a lot of wrong information out there. You've experienced it.

“But Elea when I went to x place they told me I had a blue undertone”.

Okay… That’s fine, and there are plenty of AMAZING makeup artists that are wrong about undertone. Here’s the reason why, doing makeup and making makeup are totally different mindsets.


Because we are makeup artists who work on many different people, we make makeup, and we analyze undertones for a living, we have the privilege of really understanding the WHY behind undertone and it isn't as easy to find your undertone as they make it sound. In fact, I bet most makeup artists know it isn't. There are truly talented makeup artists who can nail a foundation match instinctively without being able to explain why they have made certain decisions, or worse yet telling you the wrong reasons why they did. That's fine. We aren't discussing them. We are discussing YOU. 


So stop looking at those veins and trying to troubleshoot what your color is... or do but realize this…


I DEFINITELY have yellow undertones.

If I stand next to my pink undertoned coworker I look straight up yellow compared to her (see image below). If I put a foundation on that has too much red in it I look orange (because red is cooler than yellow). If I look at my veins they look blueish. In conventional wisdom that would mean I have cool undertones. I definitely do not have cool undertones. If I put on the cool colors, I look like I’m dying. I get no coverage and my makeup looks like straight up garbage. We are the same value, but our skins look wildly different. There are several reasons for this...


Yellow undertone skin on left, red undertone on right



Your skin isn’t neutral because neutral is gray. I don’t care how fair you are, I don’t care what level your skin is at, no one, and I mean no one has gray skin. The problem with saying your skin is neutral is it makes it sound as though any foundation undertone could work.


Why is that wrong?

I know from first hand experience that you can’t just neutralize your way into the right match. Your coverage will be blotchy and your face will look either too pale or too ashy. You will ALWAYS look way more amazing in a foundation that is the right undertone, even if it is darker or lighter than your body color. You will ALWAYS look a little sickly with the wrong undertone on.


Now you can totally NEUTRALIZE a foundation shade that is the right undertone, I do this every day. No matter what level of skin you have from the fairest to the richest, most people aren’t the most saturated version of that undertone. So yes, sometimes you add GREEN, PURPLE, hell maybe even BLUE.


“WAIT A MINUTE! Didn’t you say there is no such thing as green or blue undertones Elea?!?!?”

You are so right thanks for paying attention…. Here is why I stand by that.


Your skin is Orange. It is ORANGE. YES ORANGE. ALL SKIN IS ORANGE. Now don’t go picturing the fruit okay, that isn’t what we are talking about. Orange can range from that cream paint you ordered to that expensive Ceylon Ebony table you’ve been dreaming of. Both of those are orange but different tints or shades.


Warm Orange

Cool Orange


Cool Orange

Warm orange


Orange ranges from the most red to the most yellow. red to yellow. red to yellow. NOT green. NOT blue. Orange is literally made from YELLOW and RED. That’s it. If you are a painter you know what I mean. So let’s say you are a painter right. Let’s say you put a tiny little drop of blue in your orange paint, does that mean your orange now has a blue undertone? NO. That would make NO SENSE to say. Your orange undertone is the color that is predominant in it. So for example, if you are like me and have more yellow than red in the mix, you have a yellow undertone. If you are like my coworker and have more red than yellow, you have a red undertone.


What about the people in the middle? Well the middle is wider than you think. We use ebhues because we use it to measure how much red or yellow is in orange. So for example, if you are on the cool side you could be a S45, S22, S42, S21, S27 etc. Those are the cool ranges. What is smack dab in the yellow and red mix? There really isn't one in the 'middle'. Your shade will always lean either warm or cool, even if it is neutralized. Is that a neutral? Naw...


Adding blue neutralizes orange and makes it more grey, but until you add the EXACT opposite of that particular undertone of orange and the exact amount of that color as your orange, you don’t have a true gray, you have a neutralized orange. If you have a foundation with more toner than orange then, okay yes, you have a whatever undertone (blue, purple, etc). If you have a foundation with the exact opposite of your undertone orange in equal concentrations, wow you are really grey. Let me know who you are. I want to meet you. That sounds super interesting. 


Whew. That’s a lot of capital letters. I’m passionate about this y’all. The reason why is because so many people feel they are bad at makeup, but the truth is makeup just wasn’t made or categorized for them. Makeup isn’t hard when you have the right undertones. Learning your best undertone is so important, especially when it comes to your skin.


Not to blow your mind any more, but also knowing your skin undertone doesn’t tell you anything more about the rest of your best colors or undertones EXCEPT your best orange. Yeah I know it sucks. But if you ever ordered that red lipstick because your veins were green and you were confused why it looked clown like, the logic you bought it on was totally off base and the people who wrote that article should feel bad. Not gonna name names, but like next time, find your ebhues and test expertly mixed color that is super nerdy, and you’ll never have to poke your veins again (for that reason).


Want to find your best orange? We gotchu. Check out the strength eye drape or just go straight to the skin twin for foundation matching.


Want to find your best red and/or pink? Check out the new lipdrape


Live in Chattanooga? What are you waiting for? Come visit us and we'll let you SEE the difference. Love ya!


  1. Darin Wright Darin Wright

    Hi Chanice! This process is the same for all skin. We have kits for every skin in the skin twin and the strength eye drape works for all.

  2. Darin Wright Darin Wright

    People who have a lot of yellow in their skin will look green. Check out the color Prized on our website. Keep in mind that in orange the more yellow you get, the closer to 'green' you'll look when your coloring is more neutralized. Melanin has eumelanin and pheomelanin. The range of skin has to do with the different ratios of these types. An experiment you can do is take an ochre color or even straight up 'orange' add yellow and a snip of grey (or even a true blue), you'll find that the more you mute the color the more it looks green.

  3. Bri Bri

    Okay PLEASE tell me why some people really do straight up look green. I’ve ALWAYS wondered that. And it’s straight up, they look kinda green, and a lot of colors make them look a little sickly.

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