Medium skin tone: Best makeup and colors to match

Recommended styling, makeup and colors for medium skin tone

By Sylvia Epie
Medium skin tone: Best makeup and colors to match

What is medium skin tone?

models with different skin and hair colors
source: Amazon

When you’re not considered fair or light skin and you’re neither olive you’re most likely neutral or medium skin toned. Medium skin tone is in between cool and warm tones. If you’re lucky enough to be in this category, then you have a wide range of colors to match your complexion but you have to know your undertones. You could be medium skin tone and have cool or warm undertones.

The concept of skin tones could be confusing especially when buying makeup, clothes or even picking hair colors. That’s why we’ve come up with a guide that will help you pick out the right colors suited for your skin type so you can step out glowing every time.

Understanding Undertones

Choosing the right makeup, foundation or bronzer depends on your undertones, even if you know your skin tone. Many makeup brands have a single color in about 3 to 4 almost identical shades for different undertones. Underneath every skin tone, there’s a subtle undertone. This is how they’re split:

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

How To Determine Your Tone

The Vein Test

The easiest way to know your skin tone is to look at the inner part of your wrist, what color are your veins? If they look bluish- purple you’re on the cool side, if they’re greenish your tone is warm but if you’re unable to say what color they are then you’re medium tone.

The White Test

Grab two towels or cloths of any kind, one white and the other cream, place them next to your skin without any makeup on and see which color complements your skin best. If the pure white suits you better then you’re warm, if the cream complements your skin tone best you’re cool toned but if both suit you or you can’t really tell the difference, then you’re neutral /medium skin toned.

More reference

You can refer to these articles for more references on how to determine your skin tone: 

Best highlighter and best bronzers for medium skin tone

Yves Saint Laurent Terre Saharienne Bronzing Powder (Matte & Natural) - # 10 Terre Ambree 10g/0.35oz

YSL Terre Saharienne Powder in Terre Ambree

As a medium skin tone, you already have a hint of color working for you, all you need with makeup is to enhance the color slightly. Generally, a bronzer has to be two shades darker than your skin tone, it has to match your undertones.

For medium skin tones you need a soft shade of golden-brown bronzer that will bring out your radiance like  the YSL Terre Saharienne Powder in Terre Ambree or the NYX Matte Bronzer in light brown if you’re medium skin tone with warm undertones but if your undertones are on the cool side then the Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in #10 or L’Oréal True Match Naturale Soft-Focus Mineral Finish in Translucent Medium is best for you.

L'Oreal Paris True Match Naturale Soft-Focus Mineral Finish, Translucent Matte, 0.15 Ounces

L’Oréal True Match Naturale Soft-Focus Mineral Finish in Translucent Medium

Best lipstick shades for medium skin tone

Rouge Volupté Lipstick

YSL Rouge Volupté in Nude Beige

When it comes to lipstick, medium skin tone is spoilt for choice, almost every color works, from pink to nude and deep berry. But since we’re talking of the best, let’s give you specifics. For a medium with cool undertones, you need a lipstick shade that has a slight hint of pink like the Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Pink Satin. If you’re medium warm then go for warm undertones like the YSL Rouge Volupté in Nude Beige.

When looking for brighter pigments, cool undertones look stunning in blue-based red, berry, pinks, and mauve. Warm undertones look amazing with gold-or-orange-based reds, burgundy, coral and even brown.

                                       Maybelline New York ColorSensational Lipcolor, Pink Satin 120, 0.15 Ounce

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Pink Satin

Top hair color for medium skin tone

The best hair color for medium skin tones is dark brown, they look their best with brownish almost black hair, this is the closest thing to the medium skin tones natural coloring so it works wonders for their skin.

On the other hand, this does not exclude neutral from wearing other hair colors, medium skin tone has the benefit of pulling off most colors.

Blonde Hair

If you decide to go blonde as a medium skin tone your focus should be on using golden hues to accentuate your look and stay away from ashy or orange based colors.

Suitable blonde hair colors are:

  • Champagne Blonde Hair Color: Good for cool or neutral medium skin tone 
  • Caramel Blonde Hair Color: Good for warm or neutral medium skin tone
  • Honey Blonde Hair Color: Good for medium warm skin tone

Brown Hair

Medium skin tones can get away with brown hair, still you need to avoid light and too blondish hair for a more natural look. Stick as close as possible to dark brown/chocolate or opt for medium brown like caramel. These colors will give your skin the perfect glow and radiance.

Suitable brown hairs colors are: 

  • Khaki Brown Hair Color: Good for cool medium skin 
  • Auburn Brown Hair Color: Good for warm medium skin
  • Truffle Brown Hair Color: Good for neutral medium skin

Red Hair

This is a very tricky hair color for medium skin tones, it’s not the recommended option but if you’re feeling adventurous and want to go that route then you should keep this in mind. For medium skin tones stay away from dark shades of red, unless you want to look like an eggplant opt for medium auburn. This shade is not too warm nor too cool for medium complexion.

Suitable red hair colors are: 

  • Metallic Red Hair Color: Good for neutral medium skin tone
  • Cinnamon Hair: Good for cool medium skin tone
  • Bright Red Hair: Good for warm medium skin tone with an adventurous spirit!

Black Hair

Black hair suits medium skin tones as long as it’s not jet black, if it’s too black it doesn’t look natural. The ideal shade is brownish-black, or black with brown undertones.

Suitable black hair colors are: 

  • Auburn Black Hair Color: Good for warm medium skin tone 
  • Brown Black Hair Color: Good for neutral and cool medium skin tone 

Best blush colors for medium skin tone  

Maybelline New York Fit Me! Blush, Deep Rose, 0.16 Ounce


When deciding on a blush color, you have to stick to the mid-tones. A blush color that is too light will wash you out and one that’s too dark will look very unnatural. A medium skin tones best bet is a rosy pink blush like Maybelline Fit Me Blush in Deep Rose for cool undertones and the YSL Kiss and Blush in soft apricot or peach blush for warm undertones. They will bring just the right amount of color to your chicks and enhance your natural glow.

YSL Kiss and Blush

Best clothing colors medium skin tone 

Image result for medium skin tone celebrities

As a neutral, you can wear any color and get away with it, but what actually suits you best is lighter shades of color instead of bright ones. They will provide a balance between cool and warm and won’t clash. Go for lagoon blue, jade green, dusty pink, or cornsilk yellow. And for neutral colors medium gray, black, coffee brown and off-whites. With the exception of red, you can wear bright red and look stunning in pure red.

Just for reference celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, and Kerry Washington are medium skin tones.


Related image
source: people

Medium skin tones are the most spoilt for choice in the color wheel, they have a wide range of colors they can choose from. All have to do is bear in mind that whatever color you pick be it for makeup, your hair or clothes always keep it medium. Find the perfect balance between cool and warm and always stick to the middle. If you abide by this little fashion secret then you’re bound to get it right every time. 



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