Olive Skin Tone – What Is It? Plus Makeup and Clothing Tips

What does it mean if you have an olive skin tone? How can you tell if you have an olive skin tone, and what makeup can you use to accentuate it?

Olive skin is typically a skin tone that is tan, or light to medium brown, with a green undertone. People who usually have olive skin tones are those of Latino, Southeast Asian, Mediterranean, and some Middle Eastern ethnicity.

Read on to learn more about the olive skin tone, including makeup and fashion tips to make your complexion shine.

What Is Olive Skin Tone?

olive skin tone
Meghan Markle

Perfect Blend of Neutral Skin Undertones

Your complexion depends largely on the undertone of your skin. The olive skin tone is almost the perfect blend of neutral skin undertones with a slightly green tinge.

This is not the same green hue that some people get when nauseating. It is a healthy color, so it got the name olive color.

Light Olive Skin Tone Have Beige Undertones

Light olive skin tone usually comes with beige undertones. On the other hand, darker olive skin tones have medium brown undertones. We will be discussing undertones in more detail later.

Common in North America and Europe

Regarding olive skin tone ethnicity, note that it is quite uncommon in North America and Europe. It is no longer surprising to realize that not that many people are aware of this skin tone. If you happen to have Asian olive skin tone, you can consider yourself special.

Not the Same as Bronze Complexion

The human body produces melanin, and your skin tone will depend on the amount of melanin you have. Many people believe that olive skin is the same as bronze complexion, which is not true. The olive skin tone has many different shades.

Unique Due to Its Neutral Undertones

Olive skin is unique because it has neutral undertones, which is rare. However, it also has its own set of downsides. Among these downsides include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Darkens easily
  • Prone to hyperpigmentation
  • Prone to skin discoloration
  • Oily skin

Hides Blemishes and Develop Wrinkles Slower

One of the many benefits of having olive skin tone is that it hides blemishes. Also, people with olive skin tones develop wrinkles slower. However, by the time they get wrinkles, they tend to be deeper than those with lighter complexions.

Moreover, olive skin tones have a thicker inner layer of skin cells, called the dermis and subcutis. This is the fatty layer below the skin that might look like jowls as the person gets older. However, you can significantly minimize wrinkles and other imperfections with a proper skincare routine.

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Skin Tone Classification

Classification Depends on the Prevailing Skin Undertones

Professional makeup artists and stylists typically categorize people’s skin tones into the following:

  • Cool: Pink and blue undertones
  • Warm: Yellow, orange, and gold
  • Neutral: A mix of the cool and warm undertones

This classification depends on the prevailing skin undertones. The olive skin tone falls under the neutral skin classification.

Fitzpatrick Skin Typing Test

Another classification system used in grouping skin tones is the Fitzpatrick Skin Typing Test. It was created by Dr. Thomas B. Kirkpatrick, a dermatologist from Harvard, in 1975. This test breaks down skin tones into six major categories.

People at Level I have very fair skin and get sunburned easily. Meanwhile, those categorized at Level VI are very dark. It takes significantly more sun exposure to get them sunburned.

Identifying Your Skin Tone Can Help in Selecting Hair Color and More

Most people now rely on their skin tone (warm, cool, and neutral) when choosing their hair color, makeup, and clothes. Knowing your skin tone can help a lot during the selection of products.

You can choose colors that complement and/or enhance the natural beauty of your natural skin color. On the other hand, the Fitzpatrick scale is about choosing the right skincare routine for your skin type.

What Are the Different Skin Tone Colors?

Which Hair Colors Complement Warm Skin Tones

Common Issues People Face Due to Their Olive Skin Tone

olive skin tone foundation

1. Can Get Tan Easily

People with olive skin tone can tan their skin easily without getting sunburned because they produce more melanin. However, this does not mean that they are immune from damage due to UV rays.

2. Dryness

A common skin issue that those with olive skin tone have is dryness. Their skin gets dry easily when there is very low humidity.

3. Melanoma

If a person with olive skin tone develops melanoma, the chances of survival are lower.

The main reason is that it is harder to detect the tell-tale signs due to their darker complexion. This usually leads to a diagnosis when it is already too late.

4. Skin Oiliness

People with olive skin tone usually have bigger pores than those whose skin is lower on the Fitzgerald scale. This allows their oil glands to release more oil, lubricating and protecting the skin. This is why olive skin does not get sunburned quickly and does not dry out easily.

Wash Face Using a Gentle Facial Scrub

However, some people produce a bit too much oil than they need. This often leads to clogged pores, eventually resulting in acne and blackheads. This usually hits harder during the adolescent years due to the sudden rush of hormones.

It is possible to mitigate excess oiliness by washing the face using a gentle facial scrub. You then have to finish it up using a skin toner. This will not eliminate the oiliness problem, but it can help lessen the symptoms.

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What Colors Look Good on Olive Skin?

If you have olive skin undertones, you have to look for the best colors that will suit you the best. The undertones play a huge part in how the colors of makeup, clothes, and accessories would contrast against your skin. Choose the wrong shades, and it can throw off your entire look.

The color wheel is one thing used by beauty professionals to determine what colors go well with skin tones. To use the color wheel, check what colors or combinations of colors complement your skin tone. Layering the different complementing and contrasting colors can have beautiful effects.

Keep in mind that your complexion is not just about the color of the surface of your skin. The undertones can also affect it. In that case, you can also complement it using different combinations from the color wheel.

How to Find Your Skin Undertone

Are you unsure of what your skin undertone is? Unlike the skin tone, it is a bit trickier to figure out the undertone because it is not that visible. To figure out if you have an olive undertone or something else, here are some tricks that you can use:

Shirt Check Trick

While wearing a bright white shirt, stand in front of a mirror in a room full of natural light. You have a warm undertone if you notice that your skin has a somewhat yellowish hue. If there is a pinkish hue, you likely have a cool skin undertone.

However, if you notice that your complexion has a slightly green tinge, you probably have an olive undertone.

Check Your Veins

Look at your wrist. If you can see your veins clearly, you can use this method. Do your veins look bluish? Then you have a cool skin tone. If they look green, you most likely have a warm skin tone.

What if you can’t figure out the color of your veins, and they look like they are black? In that case, you have a neutral skin tone. On the other hand, veins that look brown indicate that you have an olive skin undertone.

Again, what ethnicity has olive skin? If you have an olive skin tone, your skin rarely burns and tans quickly. Olive skin tone, a type V pigmentation, is common among people residing in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Southern Europe, Africa, India, and Latin America.

How to Pick the Right Makeup for Olive Skin

olive skin tone ethnicity
Zoe Kravitz

Now, it’s time to learn how you can choose the right makeup that complements your olive skin. Here are some tips:

1. Foundation

The problem with most commercially available foundations is that most have formulations for cool, warm, and neutral skin tones. Fortunately, what works for neutral skin tones can also work for your warm olive skin tone.

2. Blush

If you have olive skin, you cannot go wrong with bronze, pink, peach, and shimmery shades of blushes. With that said, avoid using pastels and any cool colors as they will make your skin look green.

3. Highlighters

Getting just the right highlighter can be tricky if you have an olive skin tone. Pick a too pale product, making your face look chalky or ashy. For olive skin undertones, it is better to pick a golden-colored highlighter.

4. Lipsticks

You will need to pick a lipstick tint that can balance the green undertone of your skin with your lips. For olive skin tones, brown and berry hues look great. If you choose brown shades, get those with chocolate undertones.

Avoid the pinks and go for the browns if you like nude lipstick shades. This goes the same for red lipsticks. Avoid those with blue undertones, too.

5. Eyeshadow

Picking eyeshadows with gold and bronze tints are great for people with olive undertones. Unlike lipsticks, it is best to choose eyeshadows with blue and purple tones to give your eyes a smokey look.

How Much Is Too Much Makeup?

Additional Makeup Tips for People with Olive Skin

Making your eyebrows bold and dark can draw people’s attention away from your face. Prevent this from happening by using gray or brown shades of eyebrow gel to keep your eyebrows subtle. Also, don’t use too much product. With your complexion, a little can already go a long way.

Do not use bronzer on your face. Your olive complexion already has a natural tan color. Adding a bronzer over it will only make you look like you have been under the sun too long. Instead, use a bit of face powder to lessen the shine of your skin somewhat.

Outline your eyes with brown or black eyeliner to bring out your eyes. Never use bright colored eyeliners, especially green and blue shades.

Picking the Best Colors for Olive Skin

One benefit of having olive skin for men and women is you can pick any color of clothes. The reason is that almost all clothing colors will look good on you.

Vibrant shades like fuchsia and pink are flattering for olive skin tones. You’ll do well with lighter tones like blues and aquamarine if you have a relatively light skin tone.

Aside from your skin tone, choosing the right colored clothes will also depend on your hair color. For instance, if you have brown or dark blonde hair, you can choose from oranges, pinks, dark blues, and yellows. All these colors will look great on you.

Let’s go into more detail:

1. Pink

This color increases your sex appeal by quite a lot. Pink on olive skin makes you look quite majestic. Pair this with dark locks and a rose gold necklace, and you’d look stunning.

Speaking of hair color, dark browns or dark blonde hues will work well with this color choice.

2. Black

Black, paired with the right body shape and hair color, will look incredible on you. You can go with auburn or mocha hair colors if you have light-colored eyes.

Meanwhile, caramel and/or dirty blonde will look nice if you have dark eyes. The hair color will frame your face better and emphasize your eyes.

3. Brown

You will need some styling skills to pull off this contrasting look. To be on the safe side, opt for uniformity. Alternatively, if you don’t like to wear contrasting-colored clothes, wear colors similar to your olive skin tone to complement it.

Brown is a decent color choice, but not everything should be the same shade. It works well with a brown dress if you have ash blonde hair.

4. Orange

Oranges work well with caramel or blonde hair colors and light olive skin. If you have this combination, you can wear glossy and matte orange clothes without making you look tacky. Not everyone can pull off this look. For accessories, a minimalistic necklace and a watch are all you need.

5. Yellow

A lot of olive-skinned celebrities rock yellow outfits almost effortlessly. You can do it, too. This is especially true if you have a light complexion.

If you are on the darker side of the color spectrum, wearing a pale and non-glossy outfit will work. Do not wear anything too bright as the contrasting colors will only clash with your skin tone.

6. Dark Blue

Olive-skinned people do not look great in sky blue dresses. It just looks wrong. However, dark blues complement olive undertones. This works even better if you have ombre blonde shades in your hair.

Which Is the Best Hair Color for Olive Skin Tone?

It does not matter what color clothes you wear. If your hair color and skin tone do not work together, nothing will ever look right. Choosing the right hair color that pairs well with your olive skin tone is important.

To give you an idea, here are some of the best hair color options you can try:

1. Dirty Blonde

Many ladies with olive skin tones believe that they could not pull off blonde hair. This might be true for light blonde colors as it does not look natural. However, that is not the same case for dirty blonde hair color.

The seemingly light brown hue almost perfectly matches the olive skin tone, thus giving you a balanced look.

2. Auburn

This is a bit tricky color to use. True auburn hair will only work if you have an olive skin tone without red undertones, which is extremely rare.

However, muted auburn or light auburn hair color can still work. The reason is that it does not contrast too much against the green undertone of your skin.

Moreover, if you are sporting a short haircut, you can wear a scarf to make somewhat your hair seem longer.

3. Caramel

Caramel, or light brown, works well for olive skin tones. It is a great idea to wear dark eye makeup with this hair color. This shows the almost perfect balance between dark and light (your hair vs. skin tone).

An advantage of this hair color is that you can wear any color of clothing you want. This is possible without looking tacky at all.

4. Mocha Brown

If you don’t want to take risks with your hair color but still want some change, go for mocha brown. This is one of the safest hair colors you can choose if you have an olive skin tone. The reason is that it is close to black.

This dark-brown shade naturally pairs well with olive skin tones. It works well with a variety of clothing styles. Some might say choosing this color is just playing it safe. However, if it makes you happy, go for it.

Conclusion – Olive Skin Tone – What Is It?

What is olive skin tone? Essentially, it is a skin tone that is naturally tan. Some might see it as light to medium brown, with a slight green undertone. People who typically have this skin tone have Latino, Asian, Mediterranean, or Middle Eastern ancestry.

This type of skin tone is quite rare in North America and Europe. This is why many people have trouble making the most use of it. Hopefully, if you have olive skin tone, this article helped you choose makeup and clothes that will look great on you.