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Pale Olive Undertone Struggles

Confession: I’m a licensed makeup artist and I just found out whether my skin’s undertone is warm or cool. At 24 years of age. A fact that is highly embarrassing as I should know this stuff. In fact I do, I’m able to colour match other people very quickly and well, I’ve just always had a problem with identifying my own undertone. You know how there’s all these tricks you find online that are supposed to help you determine your skintone? They always cause more confusion than clarity here. If the veins on the inside of your wrist are green, you’re wam toned, if they’re purple or blue, you’re cool. Mine are either or both, depending on when you look. If gold looks better on you than silver, you’re warm toned. If silver looks better on you than gold, you’re cool. Neither really looks good on me, to be honest, although I think silver clashes with my skin a little bit less. So am I cool, then? My brown hair and hazel eyes would say I’m not, as they’re generally ascribed to warm skin tones. As is the fact that I tan in the sun rather than burning, which is generally what cool toned skin does. But I look horrible in orange, gold makeup is the worst possible thing I can do to myself and foundation is very often too yellow for me. If I pick up cool foundation however, my face turns a very distinctive pink that stands out from the rest of my skin. Neutral foundation is hard enough to find as it is, but it’s not right on me either.

The clearest I can see my skin’s undertone is when I compare my skin colour to that of my Dutch friends, who are as pale as me. When I put my arm next to theirs I can almost always see a very distinct… Greenness. Yes, my skin is most definitely green. So… olive then? I’ve always thought of olive skin as something much darker than my skin, I often have trouble finding a light enough foundation in the drugstore, sometimes I can just get away with the lightest shade. When someone says olive skin I’ve always imagined Latin, Arabic or Indian skin tones. But lo and behold, it turns out olive is actually an undertone. One that nobody ever talks about, but definitely exists in all different shades. Apparently pale olive is common in Eastern Europe, so that would explain a thing or two about why I’m the only one besides my brother that has this skin colour over here, haha!

One of the best known examples of someone with pale olive skin is Mila Kunis. The green comes out when the tan fades, so you can see it better when she’s lighter, but take a look at this:

See that green?

I’ve got that green.

Pale olive skin means I don’t look good in warm shades, and I have definitely noticed I look better in cooler colours, although all the way silver or blue-toned purple isn’t quite “it” either. The struggle continues as I try to work with pale olive skin that’s kind of warm looking but is actually more on the cool side. Any fellow pale olive ladies out there who would like to share some tips?

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12 thoughts on “Pale Olive Undertone Struggles”

  1. I am in the SAME boat! I have Eastern European roots as well, dark brown eyes, naturally a level 4 in hair color, my veins appear both blue and green depending upon where you look, and when I’m tan-great…but I live in a place where winter is a primary season, and therefore the moment I lose my summer color (which happens fast and then I’m back to pale)-the green comes out. I do not look good in bright orange or yellow, or any yellow-based reds, bright pastels, lime green, etc. I look better in blue-based reds, and blues, greens, purples, black is fine I find, and dark brown. Also do not look good in coral lipstick or any orangey based blushes as well.

    1. Thank you for allowing me to relate-I was on a search for a different hair color. I have highlights which I maintain by using a purple-based color shampoo to keep the brassy out, however, I think I may switch this us-cuz I am so dark naturally, haircolor-wise. Also, definitely did not realize Mila Kunis was so pale olive….she fits me to a T. In fact, I never realized we probably could pass as twins.

  2. Hey Lucy,
    I am soooo happy I found your page! I think we are skin hair and eye color doubles, or almost! My eyebrows are lighter I think… HAPPY because I am struggling!
    For the moment, in make-up, I use L’Oréal 1,5N or 2N. 2N is better because it fits my skintone better, but it also seems to have slightly warm reflections which are not in the 1,5N. I am really curious now about the one you suggested!
    I wear “dirty” jewelery, silver, gold and copper. But it has to be dirty!
    I also tend to be more cool, but I wear best a washed out black, broken (warm) white, all sorts of dark greens, nightblue, bordeaux red, saturated dark purple, neutral red, orange, light brown, jeans, …? still searching for more!
    I was thinking of getting a professional color analyses, I found someone in my town who seems really good at it, having a big range of categories etc… I can share my results with you, if you wish…
    Greetings from Berlin

  3. hey loepsie,
    i think we have the same hair-, eye- and skincolour! 🙂 i am so happy to finally see pictures of someone “like me”. guess what, i am ten years older and still confused 😉 i went to chanel especially to get advice for a lipstick and always went home with cool colours. but i can also wear slightly warm colours, like red with a slightly brown touch.
    for make-up, i use l’oréal 1,5n or 2n. the 2n is slightly warmer unfortunately, but fits better to my natural skintone. but i’d like to try the ones you suggested.
    silver or gold – non of it looks really good on me, unless it is dirty 😉 so i go for vintage and then i can wear both.
    clothes: i have been wearing only black, nightblue and green for ages!! i feel so boring and always wanted to be the “spring type” who can wear a big range of funky colours! also, i couldn’t handle my tan and so i have been using selftanning cream for ages. i stopped this now and begin to discover myself….
    my clothes vary from a washed out black (not grey!), to nightblue, and all sorts of greens. but i am really struggeling here! is that all? bordeaux-red seems to work well too, deep purple and a broken white/creme (but not too warm!), and jeans. i have an orange scarf that i love to combine with night-blue and it looks good, surprisingly. and a very saturated neutral red raincoat that seems to fit well to my surprise, as normally i can wear muted colours better. my most terrible colours seem to be a saturated light blue, turquoise and a very warm yellow. i am thinking of getting a professional color analysis, but i am hesitant, as i got already adviced so wrongly from make-up professionals. but if i do i might share my results, if you wish…

  4. I have paler skin than you; if I remember correctly, you use the second to lightest shade from the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and i use the lightest, Vanille Clair, which has warm undertones. My hair was very light blond when I was a child and it darkened throughout the years and is now very ashy, so you would expect a cool undertone to my skin, but I only have pink undertones in my cheeks. I’m very pale compared to most people i know, so it’s like you said, you can’t really tell what my undertone really is, when it just looks white standing next to other people. But my sister also has pale skin and when we’re comparing skin tones, mine has a definite yellow-olive shade and hers looks pink.

    I look good dressed in bright red and a number of other bright colors, whether warm or cool, but creams and more neutral tones wash me out. Or maybe my preference in colors has something to do with it as well, haha.

    Oh, and I’m from Eastern Europe too.

  5. I actually buy foundation that is designed for olive skin! I love it and it looks super natural on me 🙂 I really like the way warm neutrals look on me and ashy cool toned colors look really nice. I get my foundation at sweetminerals.com/kingofqueensmua I wear a 2O so I’m more medium olive, but the 1O should be light enough for you. I love taupe or mauve shadows, contours, and lip colours

  6. I have an olive undertone to my pale skin too (although not as pale as you are). Online “tests” always say that i have a cool undertone, but i always look washed out or sick when wearing the colors that are supposed to be good for people with cool undertones. On the other hand, there is a very specific shade of orange that makes my skin look glowing while other shades of orange don’t look as good. I’ll always end up looking grayish in most shades too.
    When it comes to makeup, finding the correct foundation is always a struggle. It either comes out too orange (even the lightest shades) or too fake. Foundations with pink undertones make me look like i’m wearing a mask. I’ve just resorted to using CC cream as makeup base. Lipsticks come as a struggle too. Whether finding a good red or nude, it always comes down to me mixing two or three different products together.
    I guess we get the best of both worlds with our undertone. It makes us unique but that uniqueness comes with a price of a lifelong search for colors that would suit us the best. In the end, the struggle would probably be worth it

  7. Very interesting. I have green, blue & purple veins in my inner wrists, so was always confused as well. I’m East Asian, but decidedly more tan. I’m discovering that bright, full saturation colors look best on me – does this make me more on the cool spectrum? I have no idea. 🙂 Yellow is definitely not my friend, so silver is my metal of choice.

  8. Omg, I can totally relate! I found those test too, and I didn’t get it. I have both green and dark blue veins, and I never wear orange because I feel it makes me look yellow, or something. I only have one blouse in a warm orange, kinda autumn-orange, because I felt it suits my skin tone.
    And that experience with foundations happened to me too, so I quit trying to find make up for me. =(
    I must say I don’t see the green tone that you talk about in your pictures. Where is it? In which part of your face you see it?

    1. It’s really hard to see unless you compare it to someone else’s skin. You can only really tell it’s green when I hold it next to someone else or when I’m sick 😛

  9. Hey!
    My two cents: I’ve come to understand that whether you tan or burn doesn’t really have anything to do with coolness or warmth. Natural redheads are super pale and burn easily, but they’re likely warm-toned.

    Also, if you’ve read anything about colour seasons – there are a zillion spectrums to take into account (for example whether you suit clear, bright colours more or muted colours, whether your overall “image” is dark or light, and so on). And to make it more confusing, you don’t necessarily have to be strictly one or another, you can be somewhere in between. I have dark brown eyes and hair, pale skin and I tan super easily but my colour season is definitely winter (not sure about the subtype, probably clear). I also look like vomit in orange, yay. (I really like orange but I guess some things have to be admired from afar and not incorporated into clothing.)

    Have a great day and do more updates on what you find suits or doesn’t suit you!

  10. I have dark ashbrown hair, dark green-grey eyes with amber in it and this distinct skin color. I think the cooler the color, the better its looks on me, especially silver and blue toned purple 😉
    oh, and i`m of eastern european descent too, from one side. but i always struggeled to find a good foundation and powder that would let me look “fresh” but pale, like redhaeds and blondes do. and everytime i find one affordable, its taken out of the sortiment 🙁

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