Choosing the perfect foundation or concealer shade can be overwhelming, especially if you’re shopping online. If you still can’t seem to find a hue that actually matches your skin no matter how wide the shade range, fret not.
We’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s all about the undertones. Identifying your undertone will help you find your foundation and concealer match much easier.
Now, you may be familiar with warm, neutral, and cool undertones, but there’s one that’s often left out of the conversation: olive undertone.
To help you identify them, read on for our guide and discover the brands that offer shades with a tinge of green to flatter your skin tone. Don’t worry, these won’t leave you looking like She-Hulk.
What are undertones?
While skin tones are one thing, undertones are completely different, and can often make or break your makeup look. Skin tones range from very fair to very deep in colour, whereas undertone refers to the shade within that colour.
Your skin tone could change throughout the year – you may be fairer if you’re indoors a lot or you live in a colder climate, and a shade or two deeper if you’re often outdoors or in a warmer climate – but your undertone never changes.
Skin undertones fall into four basic categories: warm, neutral, cool, and olive, though some experts consider olive a subset of neutral-undertone skin.
How to identify olive undertones
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While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules to determine if your skin has an olive undertone, you likely have it if your answer is “yes” to some or all of the following statements:
- You notice a green or grey tinge on your skin.
- Foundations or concealers often look too yellow, pink, or orange on your skin.
- Your veins aren’t distinctly green or blue.
- Pastel shades don’t look flattering against your skin tone.
- Light and white-based lipstick shades tend to look a little “off” on you.
- You look good in both gold and silver jewellery.
- Most red lipsticks pull pink or purple on you.
- The wrong colours make you look ashy or sickly.
Celebrities with olive undertones
Light olive undertones
You may notice a subtle green undertone in actress Mila Kunis’ skin, but what stands out more is a golden quality to her complexion. She doesn’t appear greyish at all because her overall skin tone leans a little warmer.
Actress Rashida Jones, on the other hand, has skin with cool pink tones and green mid-tones. The olive undertones are most noticeable along her jawline and neck.
Meanwhile, model Vittoria Ceretti has more neutral, olive undertones. It isn’t warm nor cool, but pulls slightly grey under certain lighting.
Medium olive undertones
Like Mila Kunis, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has warmer skin with an olive cast. As you can see, she has more green and yellow undertones, whereas YouTuber Teni Panosian has cooler pink tones with olive undertones.
Model Adriana Lima has neutral olive undertones, so she’s neither warm- nor cool-toned.
Deep olive undertones
Yup, those with deeper skin can have olive undertones too. Model Malaika Firth leans a little warmer, with golden and olive undertones.
Meanwhile, singer and founder Rihanna, is more cool-toned. You can even pick out the green cast in her mid-tones along with a hint of pink. Next to Rihanna, model Damaris Goddrie has an almost grey-like cast with no obvious colour temperature.
How to find a foundation or concealer for olive undertones
Finding the right foundation can be tricky for those with olive undertones. That’s because most foundation shades are formulated with cool, warm, and neutral undertones in mind. Brands that do have base makeup for olive undertones won’t typically describe them that way, so they can be tough to identify.
Your best bet? Compare your foundation or concealer shade against other shades. Olive shades tend to appear more greenish or greyish next to another shade with the same depth. Take the image above, for example.
Both shades are in the light-to-medium category, but the hue on top has a green cast next to the neutral one, which has more of a pink and orange cast.
The next example is of two shades that don’t fall in the same category of skin tones. However, you can still see that the shade on top has a yellowish-green cast, while the one below it pulls a lot more orange.
Foundations and concealers for olive undertones
To help you with your search for an olive-toned foundation, here are a few foundation shades to keep an eye out for the next time you shop!
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Shades for olive undertones: 130, 225, 265, 290, 345, 425, 445
Fenty Beauty’s founder Rihanna has olive undertones, so you bet she understood the assignment. The entire Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation range has not one, not two, but seven shades made for skin with olive undertones.
Extensive shade range aside, we’re no strangers to the foundation’s unbeatable formula. This buildable, medium to full coverage foundation fights heat, sweat, and sebum for a pore-smoothing, shine-free finish that lasts for hours on end.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation retails for S$62 on Sephora.
Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation
Shades for olive undertones: 170W, 230N, 280N, 360W, 420N, 430W, 460W, 510W
Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty is giving Fenty Beauty a run for its money by offering eight shades catered to olive undertones across light, medium, and deep skin tones.
Its fluid-like texture is also lighter compared to Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, which has a creamy consistency some may prefer. The Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation has a mess-free doe-foot applicator that lets you apply the foundation on one dot at a time – a little goes a long way!
Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation retails for S$52 on Sephora.
Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation SPF 25
Shades for olive undertones: 160, 210, 260, 270, 290, 360, 400, 430
Just like Rare Beauty, Kosas has eight foundation shades for olive undertones. Besides making it easy for us to pick out the right shade, the foundation’s formula is another thing to write home about.
This buildable, medium coverage foundation settles to a second-skin finish that blurs, visibly smooths texture, and minimises pores. It also contains a powerful blend of skin-loving ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, peptides, and squalane to hydrate, soothe, and brighten.
Oh, and did we mention it has SPF 25 for sun protection and is safe for both sensitive and acne-prone skin? A huge win in our book.
Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation SPF 25 retails for S$60.10 on Revolve.
Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer and Daytime Eye Cream
Shades for olive undertones: 3.2, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 8.1, 8.8
If you need a little more coverage, pair the Revealer Foundation with the Revealer Concealer, which has six shades for olive undertones.
We love how this creamy concealer combines the benefits of an eye cream and spot treatment. It boasts caffeine, pink algae, and niacinamide to brighten the skin, while arnica, peptides, and hyaluronic acid soothe and plump the skin, revealing better skin over time.
Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer and Daytime Eye Cream retails for S$42.93 at Revolve.
NARS Light Reflecting Foundation in Gobi
Great for lighter skin tones with an olive cast, NARS’ latest foundation in the shade Gobi has yellowish-olive undertones.
The thin, lightweight formula blurs imperfections, smooths the look of textured skin, and conceals blemishes, dark spots, as well as redness. The medium, buildable foundation is infused with skincare benefits too, which help protect the skin against an onslaught of environmental aggressors and blue light.
This foundation is also formulated without silicone, which is a bonus for those who feel like it clogs their pores.
NARS Light Reflecting Foundation retails for S$78 at Sephora.
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX03
Look close enough and you’ll notice that there’s a warm, olive shade in this award-winning range.
This flexible, full-coverage product corrects and conceals any complexion concern like a magic eraser. Formulated with jojoba oil, vitamin E, and honey, this waterproof formula grants a luminous and natural finish that lasts.
You can use it in five different ways: as a concealer, corrector, foundation, contour, or highlight. A tiny amount is all you need!
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer retails for S$48.65 on Revolve.
Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation in 213
Another great foundation for light skin with warm olive undertones is Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Aqua Foundation in the shade 213.
Did you know that the foundation was designed to mimic that post-facial glow? With that coveted radiance in mind, the brand infused RGB powder into the formula to enhance your skin’s natural tone, giving you brighter, poreless skin.
Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation retails for US$96 (~S$128.67) on Beautylish.