Why Your Undertone Matters When Shopping for Self-Tanner


If self-tanners were one-size-fits-all, we’d never have to worry about that dreaded orange look. “Making sure you find a self-tanner that matches your skin tone and undertones is crucial in making sure your tan appears natural,” says celebrity makeup artist Ariel Tejada. Tanning expert Jordan Cook adds, “We each have a different skin tone, so we can’t depend on the same products being able to correct everyone.”

Match Point

Experts agree the quickest way to uncover your skin’s undertone is by way of the “wrist test.” Take a look at the color of your veins, instructs Tejada. “If they lean more green, you have warm undertones.” If your veins appear blue, you have cool undertones, and if you are seeing a mix of both, Cook says your undertone is considered neutral.

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Warmer Weather

For those with warm undertones or darker skin, a yellow- or honey-based color corrector, like Amanda Harrington Tonal Tan Drops ($39) in Natural Olive, will help add warmth and reverse redness in the skin for a luminous glow.

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Bespoke Bronze

For a buildable formula that flatters any skin tone, try mix-in drops. Tejada favors SOL by Jergens Deeper by the Drop Serum ($22). “It works with your skin to create a tan that is custom and perfectly suited to your unique skin tone so it always looks natural,” he says. St.Tropez Self Tan Luxe Tan Tonic Drops ($42) use a similar technology for a customizable tan based on your skin. For a lighter glow, mix the drops into your moisturizer. For a deeper glow, apply directly to the skin.