How to determine your skin tone and

how Dr. TWL Scientific Skin Tone

Analysis works

What does skin tone refer to and what are the different skin tones?

Contrary to popular belief, your skin tone is not the surface colour of your skin which is subject to change with environmental factors such as sun exposure, reactions or allergies to topicals and medications and medical conditions such as rosacea, vitiligo, etc. In fact, your skin tone is actually determined by the undertones beneath that come through. The main categories of skin tones include the warm, cool and neutral skin tones.

How do you determine your skin tone?

There are three ways you can determine your skin tone. The following procedure is the simplest test you can use to figure out your skin tone:

  1. Cleanse your face to remove makeup and lotions which may alter your surface skin colour
  2. Wait for 15-30 minutes for any redness from scrubbing face to fade
  3. Using natural daylight, examine the skin colour of your skin by holding up a plain white sheet of paper to your face for contrast. Artificial lighting can affect the appearance of your skin undertone. Use the table below to check which skin tone category your skin colour belongs to.

For those who are extremely tanned or is suffering from a skin condition which affects their skin colour such as acne or rosacea, you may ask a friend to perform this test on the crease behind your ear which is an area of skin that is least likely to be affected by UV radiation or the aforementioned skin conditions.

Skin colour in contrast with white paperSkin tone
Yellowish, greenish, light brownWarm
Pink, rosy, blueCool
Gray, ashenNeutral

The second test you may perform is by examining the veins in your hand and wrist. If your veins appear green, you have a warm skin tone. If your veins appear blue or purple, you have a cool skin tone. If your vein colour does not seem to fall into either of these categories, then you have a neutral skin tone. 

Lastly, you may test your skin tone by determining how you skin reacts to the sun. Those who tan easily without burning usually have a warm skin tone. Those who burn easily rather than tan usually have a cool skin tone. Those with a neutral skin tone may fall into either categories of burning and tanning easily but would not have the appearance of olive, yellow or ruddy skin.

Did you know that wearing the right lipstick colours that complement your skin tone can make you look fairer and more radiant?

Get your perfect colour lipstick with our virtual lip guide, Dr.TWL Beauty Mate™ adjusted to your skin tone and developed by the Dr.TWL Advanced Colour Science Team.

Makeup colours have long been used by makeup artists and designers to enhance one’s skin tone. The Dr. TWL Team of scientists and makeup veterans incorporated this in their scientific algorithm the Pi-Effect, to integrate lipstick colour recommendations according to skin tone.

A lot of Asian women want a fairer skin tone. According to accredited dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin “It is not realistic nor healthy to pursue treatment to specifically ‘bleach one’s skin’. Everyone is born with a certain skin type – we call that phototype. The dermatological grading of this is the Fitzpatrick phototype. For Asians, we tend to be between type III to type V. When it boils down to why people of a certain skin type, for example in phototype III, have varying amounts of skin fairness or pigmentation, it is said to be influenced by various factors. Everyone wants to look good, but it is more realistic to embrace your natural skin tone, achieve healthy skin and wear colours flattering for your skin tone.”

In terms of treatment, chemical peels and lasers  help to stimulate one’s skin cells, restoring it to a normal cell cycle of a young person. Overall, this cause skin to look much more radiant with an even skin tone and a fairer complexion, whilst also reducing the amount of skin surface irregularities. “The lasers work by causing the skin’s natural cells to eat up areas of pigmentation – this is beneficial for those hoping to achieve more even skin tone,” says Dr. Teo.

“Our skin tone is genetically determined and we refer to the Fitzpatrick phototype classification as mentioned above. It is unhealthy to want to bleach one’s skin and remove one’s natural melanin which is protective. To want to lighten one’s skin entirely, it is very dangerous because it can increase your risk of skin cancer as well as accelerate skin ageing. Such treatments are reserved for medical conditions such as vitiligo whereby one has lost significant amount of skin pigmentation through an autoimmune disease and is cosmetically disfiguring. In those cases, if the body surface area is involved very significantly, it can be an indication for the dermatologist to lighten the rest of the skin as well to help the overall cosmetic appearance.”

Embrace your skin tone, achieve healthy skin and be match-made to your lipstick soulmate today.