For such a short, three-letter word, “tan” means so much more than those three little letters could ever convey. Tan skin can mean many things, since it refers to such a broad range of skin tones. A broad spectrum of vivid colors, split into various undertones, it can be one of the toughest skin tones to match.
We at Subtl Beauty are here to offer you our definitive guide to help you choose the right shade of tan for your skin, no matter what season of life you may be in.
Finding the Right Tan for You
Tan skin can mean a lot of things. Maybe it’s the middle of the summer, and you are working as a lifeguard in your spare time. Or, perhaps you have Italian genes, and your skin boasts a bit of an olive undertone. Maybe your skin tone is rich but not quite deep enough to reach for dark shades of foundation.
Each of these people will likely wear a different color of foundation, depending on the exact color of their skin. Sometimes, it might take a bit of trial and error to find a shade you like.
What About Undertone?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to find the right shade for their tan skin is not picking the right undertone. Many people assume that tan skin automatically means having warm undertones. However, this is not always the case, and there are more undertones than just warm and cool.
If you can see your veins, you should be able to tell your skin's undertone pretty easily. Skin with purple or indigo veins will be cool-toned, frequently appearing to be a bit rosy, pink, or peachy. Emerald green veins usually mean olive undertones, while green with a hint of blue is a bit more of a general warm tone. If you find yourself in the middle with neutral blue veins, reach for neutral-toned products.
Here at Subtl Beauty, we get that skin tones vary widely. That’s why, in addition to our cream concealer coming in many shades, we also offer concealers with a plethora of undertones. Our concealer is available in warm, cool, neutral, olive, golden, yellow, and richer undertones, allowing all of our customers to find the perfect shade to blend seamlessly into their skin.
Is This a Temporary Tan?
Did you just come back from the beach? Maybe you got a spray tan for a special occasion. Keep this in mind and remember that while it will alter your skin tone, it is a temporary change. When your tan fades, darker shades of makeup will suddenly not be such a good match, leaving you looking mismatched.
In Between Shades? Try Blending Two Together
If you do find yourself a shade darker than normal, try mixing your regular shade with the next shade darker. Working on sections of your face, you can roll a finger around both concealers, placing alternating dots across your complexion before blending it in with a damp makeup sponge or a stippling brush.
Furthermore, whenever your tan does fade, you can keep that darker concealer shade on your Makeup Stack and use it as a cream contour or bronzer.
If you are in between shades, not sure which one to choose, might be catching some extra rays in the near future, or are on the cusp of a changing season, consider going ahead and getting two different shades to begin with. While we do offer premade Makeup Stacks, you can also purchase each of our components à la carte.
You can keep these different shades on your stack and use the various options for contour and highlighting, or you can take them off and store them for later. We also offer individual lids for times when you may want to deconstruct your stack and leave certain pieces at home.
What Kind of Lighting Are You Using?
When doing your makeup, and especially when you are trying to color match yourself, always remember to use natural lighting. Some light bulbs are very warm, giving you a deceitful glow when you look in the mirror, only to leave you looking more orange than an Oompa Loompa when you head out the door.
On the other hand, many beauty lights and ring lights are almost too cool-toned — this is another easy way to accidentally add too much bronzer in an effort to warm your skin up, or not enough contour, out of fear of looking too dark or harsh.
Remember To Match Undertones for Contour, Too
We previously stressed the importance of matching the correct undertone for your all-over foundation, but we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you this rule also applies to your concealer and contouring.
If you have very cool-toned skin, reaching for a warm-toned bronzer, even though it’s in the middle of the summer, might make you look unnaturally orange. On the other hand, warm-toned skin with cool-toned bronzer or contour can look gray, making your face look dirty.
How Can Subtl Beauty Help You Find the Right Shade?
There is a big difference in all of these situations, but we have a solution to make things easier.
If you have a concealer or foundation from another brand you are using and/or match up pretty well with, enter it into our color matching tool and see which of our 19 shades you will match up with the best. Our tool compares tons of products from both major and smaller niche companies to guarantee you will surely find the right shade for you.
Is Your Translucent Powder the Right Shade?
While many brands claim to have perfectly fine translucent powders, many don’t pass the test. Some don’t blend in with tan or deeper skin and leave brightly contrasting white or ivory pigment behind, which can be super noticeable in photos.
Our Shine Control Pressed Powder is actually translucent and will seamlessly melt into every skin tone, allowing you to avoid the dreaded white cast or flashback.
Not only does the lightest dusting fully absorb unwanted oil and eliminate excess shine, but it also provides a layer of protection from harmful blue light rays, the invisible rays emitted from the screens of our electronic devices.
How Do You Pick the Right Shade of Blush?
Going too light on the blush can make your skin look washed out. This is especially true if you accidentally grab a blush too light for your skin tone. Many middle-of-the-road shades can also completely blend into your skin, making it appear like you don’t even have anything on.
While tan skin tones don’t necessarily reach for the darkest or absolute brightest colors, they should be looking for something that stands out a little bit more.
Luckily, Lip and Cheek, a perfectly creamy balm designed to be used as both a cream blush and tinted lip color, comes in six shades. Mauve is a gorgeous pink shade for those with light tan skin, while Dusty Rose is a little more neutral and deep. For a fiery burst of color, try Coral, a vibrant reddish-orange shade sure to bring a festive wash of color to your face without going over the top.
If you are looking for powder formula, our new Powder Blush comes in three shades and was perfectly designed to flatter all skin tones, making each one ideal for everyone.
How Do You Pick the Right Shade of Highlighter?
Some highlighters, particularly very light shades, may brighten up your skin, but in all the wrong ways. Shades that are too matte or not pigmented enough can look chalky on medium or tan skin as opposed to illuminating it.
Our Highlighter, available in two super flattering shades, is designed to melt into your skin, without any of the unnecessary matte pigment you might find in other pressed highlighters. Champagne is a natural, flattering shade of light gold while Rosé is the perfectly pink counterpart, both of which are meant to bring out your natural glow.
How Do You Pick the Right Shades for Lips and Eyes?
We know Y2K fashion and makeup have been trending lately but that doesn’t mean we need to bring every trend back. Tan skin tones should avoid super light lip colors and refrain from using really light eyeshadows as an all-over base. “Concealer lips,” one of the most regrettable trends from years past for many of us, is also one of the more unflattering ways to look super washed out.
If you don’t want to put a darker or pigmented color on your lips, consider going for our unflavored Lip Balm. This neutral alternative is infused with jojoba, coconut, and olive oil for ultimate hydration, enhancing the natural color of your lips with a silky, subtle sheen.
If you’re looking for a little color, Lip and Cheek in Dusty Rose or Riveting Red could be perfection.
Lighter, shimmery eyeshadow is having a moment again but this too can also make you look washed out and maybe a little too 90s. Some so-called neutral shades might also just blend into your skin, making it look like you are wearing nothing at all. Using pointless pigments like this is not only a waste of product, but it’s also a waste of money.
Instead, reach for a slightly deeper mini palette that will make an impact, like our Eyeshadow Duo in Dune or Purple Haze.
The Right Shade for You
With each of our products coming in a wide array of shades for different undertones and skin shades, you are sure to find the right colors for you. Our lineup consists of a smart line of basics; we’ve made sure everyone is included and can find everything they need to really bring out the best in their beautiful, tan skin.
Take our quiz today to not only find your right shades but to also find the right accompaniments for the rest of your Makeup Stack.