How to work around having olive complexion skin

Making the best out of olive skin complexion skin tones

By Rosemary Zenith
How to work around having olive complexion skin

What is olive complexion skin?

Knowing exactly what type of skin you have not only can help at the makeup counter. It can help you find the right products specifically for your skin tone. But what if you are not sure? It is not uncommon to confuse olive skin with a golden tan. And not all medium-brown skin tones possess that green tinge unique to olive-skinned beauties.

Olive skin can include light brown skin tones between pale and dark, but not always. Where light olive skin may have cream to beige tones, dark olive complexions can vary from moderate brown. What really sets olive skin apart is the natural green pigment mixed with shades of red and yellow slightly visible on the surface of the skin. For some women, these olive hues can give the skin an almost grey or ashen appearance.

The origin of olive skin complexion

Olive skin means someone has a green tinge to the skin. It is quite common knowledge that people from the Mediterranean quite normally have olive skin. West and Northern Europeans tend to have more pink or neutral skin. Olive skin is hardly prevalent. Although, green eyes seem to be more common there and in Eastern Europe. Eastern Europeans have a peachy pink or with peach skin tone. “Middle East” has a slightly green hue as does the Southern European depiction and this is around the Mediterranean.

Although in Asia in general olive skin can be seen fairly commonly. It is also seen in indigenous Americans. It should be noted that, consider what some call “hazel” as green. People say “greenish brown eyes” or “greenish yellow” eyes are hazel and not green but in actuality, they are indeed green. True hazel is essentially light brown, the color of hazelnuts. Green comes in many shades/depths so even eyes that are a dark olive color (which people call hazel) are still green because olive is a shade of green not brown. That being said the green eyes and olive skin would be more prevalent in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Italy, Spain, Jordan and Palestine generally West and South Asia as a whole because the olive skin is common and green eyes can be seen here and there in these countries.

Examples of light and dark olive skin tones

Light Olive Tone

Medium Light Olive Tone

True Olive Tone

Medium Olive Tone

Medium Dark Olive Tone

Dark Olive Tone

Best makeup for olive skin complexion

If you have olive skin, finding the right makeup could be challenging. Bright, fun colors look amazing with your complexion, but it could take all day to find a foundation that perfectly matches your unique undertones. And of course, the right makeup application is key.

No matter what your dominant skin tone is, what really makes foundation work is how well it complements your undertones. And to make things more confusing, many brands offer two or more colors that look nearly identical. For instance, Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H comes in Bisque W and Bisque N warm and neutral. Fortunately, product lines like Maybelline Fit Me offer a helping hand with their skin tone and texture matching system. Even still, we realize additional guidance can be helpful, so here is a good place to start. Beneath your specific skin tone lies a subtle hue of one of the following undertones:

  • Cool: Pink, red or blue undertones
  • Warm: Yellow or golden undertones
  • Neutral: A balance between both cool and warm

Typically, olive skin is known for either having warm or neutral undertones with a greenish cast. The lighter your natural skin tone, the cooler your undertones are, while darker olive shades have a deeper, more golden undertone.


Olive Skin Tone Chart and Makeup Guide ⋆ Best Cosmetic Reviews & Skincare Tips

1. Foundation for Olive Skin Tones

Working with your exact undertone will help you determine which foundation is perfect for your sun-kissed complexion. Check out the gallery of our favorite foundations, and pinpoint your exact shade based on your findings above.

Standouts include the Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation and L'Oréal Paris True Match Super Bendable Makeup, which have “true-match” technology to accurately match your unique skin tone. A lightweight formula or a BB or CC cream will also deliver just enough coverage to give your olive skin a flawless finish. And if you are still unsure of your skin’s undertones, have a makeup expert at your local beauty counter help you solve the mystery!

2. Blush for Olive Skin Tones

A little blush can add that touch of color that brightens an olive complexion. We would recommend going with either a rosy pink (like Lancôme Blush Subtil in Rose Fresque) warm peach (we love NYX High Definition Blush in Bright Lights) or even a bronze-tinged blush like YSL Blush Volupté in Bohemian. Anything too light and the color will not even show up on your skin, but if it is too dark, it will cause your tan to look muddy.

3. Bronzer for Olive Skin Tones

To keep it looking natural and not orange, choose a copper or earthy-brown shade for gleaming skin. Try Lancôme Star Bronzer in Sunkiss or NYX Tango with Bronzer in Confessions of a Tanaholic for a sun-kissed glow that will enhance any olive complexion. Tread lightly, though. If you go overboard with the bronzer, your faux-glow will look a little too intentional.

Source: Pexels

4. Eye Shadow for Olive Skin Tones

Whether you play it safe or sultry is up to you. You could go for golden-brown eyeshadows that play up your natural skin tone like the shades in the Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette, or you can really make your eyes gleam with brighter pops of color. An olive complexion really stands out against sapphire or royal blue, emerald green, burnt orange, deep plum and lest we forget, a smoldering smoky eye.

5. Lipstick for Olive Skin Tones

This is where we really envy you because the right lipstick can take your makeup look from starlet to supernova. And your olive skin tone works with a wide range of lipstick colors from subtle nude to electric orange. Big and bright shades bring out your natural gold undertones, while berry hues add extra warmth to your complexion. Other colors to flaunt include coral with pink undertones, vampy or wine-based reds, cranberry shades and deep pinks. There is almost no way you can go wrong unless it is purple or brown. These hues can wash you out and give your complexion a sallow appearance. Otherwise, wear whatever makes you feel good.

List of Lipstick suitable for olive skin tones:

  • Maybelline Color Sensational Rebel Bloom in Power Peony
  • L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Balm Pop in Caring Coral
  • NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Chaos
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Lipstick in #400
  • Lancôme Color Design in Hit List.

The best hair colors for people with olive complexion

Just like shopping for the perfect foundation, choosing a hair color that complements your skin tone is detrimental to your look, and no matter how many times you pin that snap of Sienna Miller with fairy-like, rose gold tresses to your Pinterest page, it might not be the best match for you especially if you have olive skin.

Source: Pixabay

1. Auburn

Not many olive-skinned girls ask to go Auburn, because, from experience, most do not think they suit copper tones. For this look to work, the undertones should not be orange or red, but more chestnut, because otherwise, it can look tacky and two-dimensional. Olive skin has a tendency to look slightly green, so anything too red will clash that is why a muted auburn is the perfect shade if you want to switch things up.

2. Cinnamon

Naturally, nine times out of ten, girls with olive skin have hair with some kind of warmth in it, so anything cool will be going against what suits you. Every Fashion Week we get a feel for what is going to come into style and what will filter down to Instagram, and then into the salons, and this year it is warm cinnamon.

3. Caramel

Some ashy highlights to create a balyage effect, though. Colors like these complement olive tones beautifully when they are not right up against the skin. If you want a color that goes up against your skin, the cooler the better, so it does not make your skin so yellow.

4. Platinum Blonde

Believe it or not, you can go platinum blonde if you have olive skin. It is not always necessary to add warmth to your hair in order to inject warmth into your skin tone. Sometimes, depending on the tone of your olive skin, you can use the reverse of your natural color to achieve a warmer complexion. If you're going to go blonde, you have to go blonde. There is no in-between for olive skin otherwise it'll just wash you out.


Hope these tips will help you to complement your beautiful olive complexion.



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