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Get to Know Skin Tones

  • 3 min read

Makeup is not one-size-fits-all. The same style of microblading could look totally different depending on the person’s hair and eye colors, face shape and skin tone. Find out all about skin tones and what they mean for permanent makeup here. (We included a freebie skin type test just for PMU artists!)


In a PMU procedure, you’re working with two colors: skin tone and pigmentcolor. The healed procedure is a combination of the two. In addition, if the client already has permanent makeup, the existing pigment will affect the final color as well. 

There are other factors that affect the true skin tone. For example, if the client tans, uses topical medication, or has skin related condition, it affects the skin tone as well. The bottom line is that skin tone is more than meets the eye!Get info so you can determine what suits your client. 

Skin tones

Skin tone is either cool and warm. Aside from tone, also keep in mind that skin could be oily or dry, tan easily or not, and how hair and eye color interact with it. 

Cool skin tones have a porcelain look with a violet tone around the eyes. Sometimes, cool skin may appear translucent with an ivory look and blue tone around the eyes. Scandinavian and Celtic clients tend to have this skin type.

Ruddy skin appears pinkish or rose-beige. Ruddy skin tends to flush easily. This skin tone is common in Caucasian and Northern European clients.

Olive skin appears golden bronze and usually goes with medium or dark brown hair. This skin tone is found in Mediterranean, Southern European and South American clients.

Sallow skin appear pale yellow or ivory. There might be a yellow-greenish cast.  Asian and Middle Eastern clients tend to have this skin tone. 

Brown skin has cool undertone with bronze and warm overtone. Find this skin tone in African and African American clients. 

Lastly, extreme skin, including very dark brown or white, have a cool tone with blue / violet undertones.

Determining skin type

There’s a lot to know about the client’s skin before a procedure. The Fitzpatrick Skin Type chart is one way to determine skin type so you can choose the appropriate pigment for the procedure.

Your eye color is:

Light blue, light gray or light green = 0 

Blue, gray or green = 1 

Hazel or light brown = 2 

Dark brown = 3 

Brownish black = 4 

Your natural hair color is:

Red or light blonde = 0 

Blonde = 1 

Dark blonde or light brown = 2 

Dark brown = 3 

Black = 4 

Your natural skin color (before sun exposure) is:

Ivory white = 0 

Fair or pale = 1 

Fair to beige, with golden undertone = 2 

Olive or light brown = 3 

Dark brown or black = 4 

How many freckles do you have on unexposed areas of your skin?

Many = 0 

Several = 1 

A few = 2 

Very few = 3 

None = 4 

How does your skin respond to the sun?

Always burns, blisters and peels = 0 

Often burns, blisters and peels = 1 

Burns moderately = 2

Burns rarely, if at all = 3

Never burns = 4

Does your skin tan?

Never, I always burn = 0 

Seldom = 1 

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always = 4

How deeply do you tan?

Not at all or very little = 0 

Lightly = 1  

Moderately = 2

Deeply = 3

My skin is naturally dark = 4

How sensitive is your face to the sun?

Very sensitive = 0 

Sensitive = 1 point

Normal = 2 

Resistant = 3

Very resistant/Never had a problem = 4

Total Score: ______


Skin Type I (0-6 points) Always burns, never tans. Skin is very pale white ranging from porcelain to translucent. 

Skin Type II (7-13 points) Sun sensitive, burns easily, tans minimally. Skin is white and fair but has beige undertones.

Skin Type III (14-20 points) Sun-sensitive, burns minimally, slowly tans to a light brown. Skin is fair or cream with hints of pink, beige, or olive.

Skin Type IV (21 - 27 points) Minimally sun sensitive, tans to a moderate brown. Skin is dark with yellow, orange, slight blue, and olive tones.

Skin Type V (28-34 points) Sun-insensitive, rarely burns, tans to a dark brown. Skin is very dark to black with blue or orange tones.

Skin Type VI Sun-insensitive, never burns, tans to black. Skin is deeply pigmented brown.


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