Neutral Skin Tone Defined [and Best Colors for Neutral Skin]

People with a neutral skin tone are quite lucky to experiment with different colors, from cool to warm. Most of these colors suit them quite well. But what does it really mean to have a neutral skin tone?

Having a neutral skin tone means that your undertones are almost the same as your actual skin color. Keep in mind that the undertone is not the same as your natural skin tone. Some fair-skinned people have warm undertones and vice-versa. The undertone is the color that is underneath the surface of your skin.

Read on to learn more about neutral skin tone and how it can affect the colors that will look good on you.

Neutral Skin Tone Defined

neutral skin tone
Selena Gomez

A neutral skin tone can be quite hard to describe. It is mainly because it falls in the middle of the cool and warm skin undertones. Even the usual tests you can use to determine your skin tone can be quite inconclusive since it’s almost impossible to determine the absolute middle-ground between cool and warm tones.

However, you do not need to be exactly in the middle of the skin tone spectrum. You can swing either slightly to the cooler or, the warmer side and still consider yourself having a neutral skin tone. Many people actually claim that there is no such thing as a truly neutral skin tone, and they might be right, considering there is technically no way to find out the exact middle of the undertones.

If you look great regardless of what color clothes or makeup you wear, you most likely have a neutral skin tone.

What Is an Undertone?

Let us discuss what undertone means first. The undertone is the color that is just beneath the surface of your skin. Imagine it as a kind of shadow that shows just underneath the outermost layer of the skin.

It is the reason why even though a person has a dark complexion, their undertone can be cool, and those with lighter skin can have a warm undertone. This is an important thing to know, especially if you think of sunbathing this coming summer to give your pale skin some color.

The truth is only the topmost layer of your skin will gain a bit of a tan, but the undertone will remain the same. With that, people with fair skin and a cool undertone tend to get sunburned quicker.

Another reason why you need to figure out your skin’s undertone is because it will help you pick the right colors for your wardrobe. To help you pick the right colors, it is best to imagine the seasons. If you have a warm undertone, think about spring and summer and what colors are often associated with them. If you have a cool undertone, the colors of autumn and winter will suit you better.

Do you have your favorite clothes in your closet – particularly the ones that somewhat make you look like you are glowing and plain to make you look and feel good? Odds are, those clothes’ colors complement your skin’s undertone.

Alternatively, find out if there are pieces that make you look like you are always tired and maybe sometimes even make you look sick. Those clothes most likely do not have complementary colors.

When you know how to figure out your skin tone, you will be able to pick the right colors the next time you go clothes shopping. Before you know it, you will be somewhat of a professional when it comes to coordinating your outfits. You may get so good at it that you hardly even need to think about it too much.

How to Know If You Have a Neutral Skin Tone?

best colors for neutral skin tone

There are many ways for you to determine your skin’s undertones. Most of these ways are easy and require no fancy equipment:

Vein Test

The easiest way to determine your skin undertone is by checking out the veins on your wrist. Do they look green or blue? If you can clearly tell that your veins are on the greenish side, you have a warm skin tone.

If they look bluish, then you are on the cool-toned side of the spectrum. In case your veins are neither obviously blue nor green or if you have a difficult time determining their color, then you are most likely neutral.

Jewelry Test

You can also figure out your skin tone by finding out which type of precious metal jewelry/accessory suits you better. If you look better with silver and similar-colored metals, then you have a cool skin undertone.

If gold or bronze metals seem to suit you better, then you have a warm skin undertone. On the other hand, if you can pull off wearing either color of jewelry, you have a neutral-colored skin tone.

Eye and Hair Color

Cool skin-toned people usually have either brown, black, or blonde hair. Their eye color also ranges from greyish-blue to green. If you have strawberry-blond, reddish-brown, dark brown, or red hair, and you have hazel, brown, or amber-colored eyes, then it is likely that you have warm-toned skin.

The same is true if you have orange, red, or gold hues in your skin and hair. Do you fall in between these color variants? Then it indicates that you have a neutral skin tone.

Tan or Sunburn

Regardless of your skin tone, you will need to wear sunscreen whenever you go outside. It’s important to apply sunscreen with a higher SPF if you sport a cool skin tone, as it may cause you to get sunburned easily. On the other hand, if you have a warm skin tone, your skin gets tanned before you get sunburned, and it usually takes a while before it happens.

As you can probably tell, it can be tricky to figure out if you are neutral-skin-toned or not. The trick is not to strain yourself too much to get a result exactly in the middle of cool and warm tones. You can still have a neutral skin tone even if you lean slightly towards either side.

Best Clothing Colors for Neutral Skin Tones

If you figured out that you have a neutral skin undertone, you are in luck because you can wear anything on the color wheel. However, it is best to steer clear of the vivid and bright hues. Choose the softer, or muted versions of the colors, instead.

Avoid Oversaturated Colors

Oversaturated colors can easily overpower your natural skin tone, so you had best avoid most of them. For instance, you can go with old rose, jade green, lagoon blue, or cornsilk yellow. If you are thinking of getting neutral colors, get off-white, light grays, and black.

Universal Colors

And then there are the ones called “universal colors.” These are the colors that can look good on anyone regardless of their skin’s undertones. They have the perfect balance of warm and cool hues that will not clash with your natural skin tone.

For instance, pure white can work well for anybody. If you have a white garment that does not look good on you, it might have warm or cool undertones. To check, look at it under bright natural light.

Best Hair Colors for Neutral Skin Tones

neutral skin tone hair colors
Julianne Moore

Because neutral skin tones are neither warm nor cool, you may discover a wide range of hair colors that can work well with your undertone instead of working against it.

The nice thing about having a neutral skin tone is that you can get away with warm or cool hair colors, like reds, coppers, and golds. They will not look unnatural on you, especially if you use the right depth of color and technique.

If you are thinking of getting a new hair color, aside from just basing your decision on your skin tone as a reference, you also have to consider the natural color of your eyebrows and the color of your eyes. According to many professional hairstylists, hair color, skin tone, eyebrow color, and eye color need to work in harmony to give you a natural look.

However, if you’re a contrast like a neutral skin tone and your eyes have a cool tone? In that case, it would be best for you to follow the color of your eyes.

Dos and Don’ts for Color-treated Hair

Now, if you are really considering giving your hair a new color, then here are some tips on how to make it last and maintain the overall health of your hair:

  1. Wait two or three days after coloring your hair before you shampoo it. Doing this will allow the color to settle into your hair, making it last a little longer.
  2. Use a shampoo specifically formulated for treated hair, or better yet, use a dry shampoo instead.
  3. Shampoo less frequently than normal. When you wash your hair, even if you use a special shampoo, you will still wash some of the dye off your hair.
  4. Use cold water when washing your hair. It can help the color stick on longer.
  5. Use a leave-in conditioner. Aside from preventing the damage to your hair from getting worse, it also protects the color.
  6. Condition your hair at least once a week. Use a moisturizing hair mask containing ingredients that help repair the hair strands, preventing them from getting dull.
  7. Do not use hot water when washing your hair. The heat will open the cuticle in your hair, causing the color to seep out.
  8. Do not use clarifying shampoos, as they will literally strip the color of your hair.
  9. Do not use heat to style your hair. As mentioned earlier, heat will cause the color to seep out of your hair, making it look not very interesting in the process. If you must use a blow dryer or curling iron, put on a heat protector spray to seal individual hair strands, therefore, preventing them from losing their color.

Choosing Makeup Colors for Neutral Skin Tone

Using the wrong color of makeup for your skin’s undertone will make you look like you just walked out of a circus tent. To help you pick out the right products, here are some tips that you need to keep in mind the next time you go shopping for new makeup:


Even though neutral undertones can pull off any color foundation, you still have to avoid products that are obviously on the yellow or pink sides of the spectrum when buying foundation. This can make your foundation look as natural as it can be. Go for a foundation that is a combination of both colors instead. For instance, a peach-colored foundation will work well on you.


When it comes to lipstick colors, it is best to go with muted shades. For example, if you have a medium overtone, you can go with mauve color tones. On the other hand, if you have fair skin, you can use pink tones.

Eye Shadow

When it comes to eye shadow, you can use any color that you want to use. However, you should base your decision on the color of your eyes. You want your eye shadow to make your eyes stand out, which means you need to choose a color that contrasts with your eye color.

To figure out what color eye shadow works best for you, consult the color wheel and choose the color across your eyes.

Conclusion – Neutral Skin Tone

If you have a neutral skin tone, that only means that your skin’s undertone is almost the same as the actual color of your skin. It is like the shadow color that is underneath the topmost layer of skin.

However, the undertone is not exclusively based on the person’s natural skin color. You can still find many fair-skinned people who have warm undertones and dark-skinned people who have cool undertones.

Related reading:

What Is My Skin Tone? (With Pictures)

How to Determine If You Have a Warm or Cool Skin Tone (Quiz)

Skin Tone Chart – Find Your Color and Foundation

25 Skin Tone Names (With Pictures)