Complex & Colors

By Amanda Harth

Visuals by Adrian Politzer

One of the most fascinating things about being a human are the many complexions we come in and how our skin knows to change along with the seasons. Think about it, most humans are created with the same things; organs, bones, muscles, but there are a variety of skin tones in each ethnicity. In the summer our shades will become darker due to exposure from the sunshine. As the weather continues to heat up over the next few weeks keep your summer skin in mind as you shed those winter layers and prepare for a color swap. Now let’s find your shades!


Your undertones are your natural colors underneath the skin and are what makeup artist are referring to when they use the terms warm, cool, and neutral. Your skin tone is the shade of your skin. Your skin tone will change throughout the seasons, but your undertone will remain the same. Usually most people have three different undertones; Cool, Warm, and Neutral.


Type I: Palest skin, often with freckles. Doesn’t tan at all, prone to sun burns.  Have blue, pink or green undertones. For example, Julianne Moore and Anne Hathaway.

Type II: Pale skin that tans lightly. Fair skin tone has yellow, green or pink undertones. For example, Cate Blanchette and Coco Rocha.

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Type III: Naturally beige or lightly sun-tanned skin with yellow to golden undertones. For example, Gisele Bündchen and Natalie Portman.

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Type IV: Usually known as olive skin tone. Often seems unhealthy without sun because of greenish undertone. Light tan skin tone goes with green, yellow and golden undertones. For example, Aishwarya Rai and Penelope Cruz.

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Type V: Olive, coffee, caramel hues. Has cool yellow with a hint of green or warm yellow golden undertones. For example, Rihanna and Halle Berry.

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Type VI: More intensive color skin that looks quite warm. Undertones can be greenish yellow (that looks ashen) and golden to red. For example, Naomi Campbell and Chanel Iman.

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Type VII: Naturally beige or lightly sun-tanned skin with yellow to golden undertones. For example, India Arie and Lauryn Hill.

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Type VIII: Bronze and ebony. Exotically rare for blue-black undertone. Usually comes with warm red undertone. For example, Alek Wek and Viola Davis

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Amanda Harth