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Guide to Color & Skin

  • 3 min read

In PMU, your healed result is really dependent on three main components: the skin, the environment and the color pigment used. The skin alone has a variety of factors to consider such as undertones, how it heals, sun exposure and products used. You could (and should) spend months researching, learning and talking all about it! Read on for some things to consider as you start (or continue!) your learning journey.

Understanding Color Selection

The final result color of our work does not solely depend on the chosen pigment color but also on the client's own skin’s pigment content. Aside from the client’s hair and brow color, we also need to take the skin type and tone into consideration. The pigment color we use will blend with the neutral pigments of the client’s skin, and if the client had previous permanent makeup, those older pigments will affect our outcome as well. The color can still change during the healing process. Learning color theory will help you to understand how permanent makeup color changes over time and determine what color is best suited for your clients.

Determine The Color of The Skin

It is often difficult to determine the skin’s true tone, because there are several factors that come into play. For example, some clients like to tan and others like to lighten with products. Environmental factors such as lifestyle and biological factors such as aging also contribute to the skin type and tone. It is crucial to properly access our clients skin before beginning treatment. We need to interview the client about their medication, tanning habits, topical medication used, and other skin related conditions.

Skin Undertones

Skin undertone is the natural color underneath the surface of your skin. There are three main undertone colors: cool, warm & neutral. However in PMU, there are six sub colors:

Transparent - Cool porcelain, sometimes with a violet influence that can be seen around the eyes. Most obvious when a person has lighter skin. 

Translucent - Cool ivory-porcelain sometimes with a blue influence around the eyes. The lips may appear pink or lavender. 

Ruddy - Red-violet, rose-beige, soft pink, or ruddy cast to the skin. 

Olive - Golden bronze or olive. Many people of Mediterranean, American Indian, and some Hispanic descent have olive skin. 

Sallow - Pale yellow, ivory, or sallow. If there is a greenish cast, it will normally appear a yellow-green. This skin type typically has no blue or red cast. 

Brown Skin - All brown skin has some degree of cool blue, green, or violet undertones. 

Exercise: Grab a few different lights (flashlight, phone light, lamp, etc.) run your arm underneath each, noting the colors you see. Is it warm? cool? Blue? Yellow?

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart

If you’re still unsure, a common way to determine is the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart which outlines the six colors with a test to determine as seen below.

I: always burn, never tan. Skin is very pale white ranging from porcelain to translucent.

II: Sun sensitive, burns easily, tans minimally. Skin is white and fair but has beige undertones.

III: Sun-sensitive, burns minimally, slowly tans to a light brown. Skin is fair or cream with hints of pink, beige, or olive.

IV: Minimally sun sensitive, tans to a moderate brown. Skin is dark with yellow, orange, slight blue, and olive tones.

V: Sun-insensitive, rarely burns, tans to a dark brown. Skin is very dark to black with blue or orange tones.

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

Download our Fitzpatrick test to use in your studio or take a look at our imAGe pigment line now!

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