Get to Know Your Skin Tone


Last week we touched on the concept of skin tones/complexion, and how certain colours work well for some but not others. Over the next few weeks we will get into specifics about the various skin tones on an individual basis; this post however will review the types and characteristics.

There are six skin tone categories that an individual may fall into, and their origins date as far back as the 17th Century. If you are sighted, you are well aware that your fellow humans do not come in only six shades. Everyone is different, but virtually all skin tones and types will fall into these six categories. The basis of these categories is derived from the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test, which categorizes based on the skin's reaction to sun exposure. While the Fitzpatrick Test will define your particular skin type according to melanin content, paring the result(s)/definition(s) with undertone definition(s) and your skins propensity to oiliness and sensitivity will determine your skin tone.

According to the Fitzpatrick Test, the six skin types are as follows:

Type 1: Light/Milky skin which always burns and never tans.

Type 2: Fair skin which typically burns, then tans.

Type 3: Medium skin which occasionally burns, but tans well.

Type 4: Olive skin which rarely burns and tans well.

Type 5: Tan/Mocha brown skin which typically doesn't burn and tans well.

Type 6: Black/Chocolate brown skin which can (w/extended exposure), but very rarely burns and tans very well.

After taking your above mentioned skin type into account, you are now ready to consider what your undertone is. Undertones fall into three categories and you can determine what your undertone is by inspecting the veins on the underside of the wrists. Warm undertones can are identified by veins that have a purple-bluish tint; your skin tends to turn a golden brown or honey color from sun exposure. Cool undertones are identified by veins that have a green-bluish tint; your skin typically burns or gets a rosy color from sun exposure. Neutral undertones usually have a hard time telling whether their veins appear more purple or green; you generally tan equally as much as you burn with sun exposure.

Now that you've made your assessment(s) with the above categories, it's time to consider oiliness, water content and skin sensitivity. Considering these factors for your skin specifically will place you in one of five categories; normal, oily, combination, dry or sensitive. Normal skin is not too oily or dry, has very few or no imperfections, an even complexion and is not sensitivity. Oily skin is oily all over with enlarged pores and shiny complexion prone to blackheads and regular breakouts. Combination skin is oily in some areas and dry in others with dilated pores and a shiny complexion. Dry skin tends to be dry allover with a rough, reddish complexion, with few visible pores, less elasticity and prone to visible lines. Sensitive skin is easily irritated and becomes red and itchy, with burning or dryness.

Now that we've covered the elements that combine to create one's skin tone, take some time to determine where you fall on the general spectrum. As mentioned, these are broad categories, and there are many shades within each. Over the coming weeks we will cover each category, discuss what colours work best and go over some outfit suggestions, so stay tuned!

Be sure to enjoy the journey while creating your own unique style!

- LoneWolf Styling


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