Could olive skin result in years of make-up misdiagnosis? You bet! This is why you should never underestimate undertones

Writer Kate Lucas explains how her sensitive skin meant she was advised to wear the wrong foundation for years, until a make-up artist took her over to the olive side.     `

As a teen in the 1990s, a Saturday afternoon mooch around the make-up section with my mates was a treat after a full-on week at school.

Half the fun is trying the testers (remember those?!) But matching foundation on the back of your hand never ends well, and to be frank - and these were the days before the internet - we had no clue how to choose which concealer, foundation or powder might suit our individual skin tones.

 2_-Kate-Lucas-05

So, one day, keen for some transformative foundation for the school prom, I decided to brave the beauty counter. The beauty advisor saw my pale, pink skin and declared me a ‘classic English rose.’ 

Pale but NOT interesting  

Her diagnosis sounded dreamy. But the moisturising foundation she applied didn’t deliver rosy vibes. The shade seemed almost right, but somehow just didn’t look completely natural. My face was uniformly porcelain, which contrasted starkly with the more yellow-toned skin on my neck, and so I looked kind of ashy. True, the eczema-induced redness had evened out - but now my face was the wrong colour all over, and I couldn’t work out why.

I tried other brands and shades, but never struck foundation gold. I blamed my tricky skin. While my friends envied my lack of spots, my dry, sensitive, irritable skin felt just as annoying. 

And it turned out that my skin was doing more than reacting to allergies and stress - it was masking my true skin tone, too. 

Ten years later and I’d pretty much given up on foundation, relying on concealer and blusher for a natural look, but never feeling totally polished. That changed when I got engaged. With my wedding day on the horizon, I was determined to find some grown up make-up that actually made me glow. 

Luckily, wandering another beauty hall on a rainy Saturday, I came across a knowledgeable make-up artist who took the trouble to examine my face in natural light. She explained that underneath the redness, my skin was actually olive-toned, not pink. 

All that glitters…  

But I’m a pale, English woman,

I protested. She smiled and asked me if I tanned easily - it was winter and I was in full on ghost mode - and I told her that yes, surprisingly I did. She looked at the veins on the inside of my wrists and explained that my green-ish veins, (rather than blue) indicates skin that is olive toned, and typically has yellow or green colours in it. This was a revelation! Who knew that you could be pale-skinned - and olive? It was a game-changer. 

I happily purchased new foundation, along with a bronzer - another heart, and face, warming revelation - and a coral-toned blusher. Make up that suited me, at last. Moving over to the golden side meant that foundation finally did what everyone says it’s supposed to do and ‘disappeared’ when blended.

 3_Kate-Lucas

Importantly for my self-esteem, with the right make-up, I no longer looked sallow and borderline ill. I had also figured out some of the things that irritated my sensitive skin and ditched them, along with all the pink-toned make up I’d tolerated but not loved.

In my wardrobe, I embraced the stronger colours that were more suited my skin tone, and I finally began to feel comfortable in my style, and in my wedding make-up.

Are we olive-savvy?

Fast forward another couple of decades to now, and are we any better informed about skin tones?

Retired beauty therapist and make up consultant, Julie Smith, says the message is getting out, but we have some way to go.

It’s surprisingly common to see people wearing the wrong-toned foundation,

she says.

Despite a much broader range of shades being available now. It’s about education - there can be good availability of shades, but it’s knowing which ones suit you.
My beauty training was a long time ago, but we were taught the importance of assessing a person’s overall look in order to get a good foundation match, and not everyone does that. You have to look at a person’s overall skin colour tones, not just their face. Pale skin can be olive toned too,

she says.

Make-up that matches

Luckily, you no longer need to try a million different Tik Tok tricks on how to identify your undertones. With the new EX1 Skin Classification Tool a simple selfie will be able to evaluate your skin and give you the exact amount of green/yellow/red – it is a gamechanger. If you find, like me you are less of an English rose and more of an English olive then try EX1 Cosmetics Invisiwear Foundation, £12.50, it comes in 16 fragrance-free shades, designed to micro-match every single olive skin tone, whether you’re pale or deep.

JOIN THE COMMUNITY

“I’ve always been told I have warm or medium skin tone, but every foundation I ever tried was either too pink or too orange. After trying the skin classification tool and realising I have warm skin with green undertones – everything makes sense! Now, I look for make-up aimed at olive skin – like EX1 Cosmetics – and I have never looked back!”

@inspiredby_SJ

“I used to mix at least two different foundations to create the right shade for my skin – until I found EX1 Cosmetics. The shade match is spot on and the formula blends perfectly into my skin. I love it.”

@fleekxyyy

“I had seen that loads of celebrities using EX1 Cosmetics Foundation and I was intrigued to see if it lived up to the hyp e. It blew me away. The formula feels so premium for £12.50. I recommend it to everyone.

@s.obeauty

“If you want a flawless finish then you need to try EX1 Cosmetics. I use it on all my clients and always have a bottle in my personal make-up too. It looks so good on camera, doesn’t give any flashback, and gives skin a golden glow.”

@stylewithtracy

“I have olive skin so I really wanted to try EX1 Cosmetics, as I had no idea what shade I would be. I tried the match me tool, thinking it was a bit of a gimmick, but it got my shade spot on. For someone will yellow or green undertones these products are amazing!”

@_sxphs

“Before I used EX1 Cosmetics I tried EVERY premium foundation on the market. Some were ok, but most left me feeling disappointed and underwhelmed. I didn’t have much hope for a foundation costing £12.50, but I was SO wrong. The medium coverage looks like your skin but better and it doesn’t oxidise.”

@tiaangelxo