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  • Writer's pictureTeam Phytosurgence

Buying Makeup For Olive Skin & Undertones

All our regular customers know this, but we love offering shade matching services via our Instagram DMs and emails. One of the most prevalent questions we are asked everyday involve some variation of:


"Hi, I have (pale/light/medium..) olive skin/undertones. Can you help me pick some products?"


So we wanted to create a quick little guide to buying makeup for olive undertones with suggestions from our own catalogue. But to answer this question best, we want to clarify a few things first.


What Kind Of Olive Are You?


Just saying you are "olive" is actually not that helpful of a descriptor for us. Oliveness is a spectrum and more information is needed to fine tune your skin tone description. There are people who lean more golden & yellow with olive undertones, as well as those with neutral, or cooler & "greyer" with olive undertones. Some people have very bright colouring to their skin, while others may have muted colouring. How products look on the skin vary a lot based on these factors as well as skin tone depth, so it is important to be aware of and note this when looking or asking for recommendations.


PS. there are tons of resources out there if you want to read up more about it.


The Typical Conundrums


Having some noticeable green-ness in your skin often leads people to have some common experiences with certain makeup products. Some examples:

  • Golden foundations look way too yellow

  • Neutral/cool foundations look grey, pasty, or muddy

  • Bronzers often look too bright, orange, or yellow

  • Blush depending on the colour can look orange or red


Our Product Recommendations


While we don't make foundation or complexion products, we do have tons of blush & bronzer shades, many of which avoid the issues above for our olive friends.


Blush: We usually recommend avoiding anything with too much orange-red, warm-red, or yellow pigment. Here are some of our favourite olive crowd pleaser shades to recommend:


Condensate: a muted dusty pink balanced with violet hues. A hugely popular shade for those with very pale to light medium olive skin. However, if you are very golden, or medium and deeper, it will likely be too dusky for you. Photo below of a look using Condensate by @lionel_makeup



Exothermic: an earthy rosy brown that will work for any skin depth. If you want something that has more body but can sheer out very easily as well, this is a great pick. The more golden you are, the more the violet tones come out but it never looks "purple".


Ignite: a rosewood kind of tone that remains a true tannin infused rose colour sheered out, without going red, orange, or pink.


Fume: a neutral mauvey dusty pink if you'd like something that reads a bit more neutral if you have a neutral to golden olive skintone


Evaporate: a muted milk tea peach that doesn't have too much bright yellow, or those who want to dabble in peach territory without looking washed out. Photo below of a look using Evaporate by @lionel_makeup





Bronzer: This product category was a huge labour of love for us to create. Even olive undertones aside, bronzers on the market often run incredibly yellow and orange on many people.


We created our Spectral Sunlight Cream Bronzer shades (images below) to be way less vivid and saturated than most bronzers on the market, and to emulate how skin looks when exposed to the sun vs. how the majority of the makeup industry thinks people look when tan. Of course, this is subjective and just our opinion haha.


Traditionally, bronzers usually run cool, to neutral, to golden, to red/purple as shades get deeper. Recognizing a huge array of undertones, we felt that it was necessary to create different bronzer undertone options for each shade depth. We incorporated a lot more cool red and blue pigment, and tamed down the yellow to create a range of "realistic" tones that we personally find way more flattering across the board.


For neutral to more golden olive folk - our golden bronzers will be beautiful compliments to your skintone. They are way more "green" and neutralized relative to other golden bronzers.


For the cooler olive folk - many cooler olive skin tones don't actually look very visibly pink, but rather have more of a desaturated neutral, slightly cool appearance. If you feel like you do have some pink hues or would rather lean into cooler and pinker tones based off of experience, the rosy bronzers will look great. That said, many cooler olive customers have enjoyed the golden bronzers.



Comparing bronzer shades

So we hope that brief synopsis of how we define olive skin tones helps some of you get a better feel of what products from our range (and others) may suit you best. As always, you're all more than welcome to ask for more individualized and specific shade matching help via email or Instagram DMs. Just make sure you include as many details as possible about your skintone, makeup preferences, products you already have that match you well, and photos if possible!


If you're ever looking for more photos and such for inspiration, make sure you check out our stories, highlights, and tagged photos on our Instagram page as we post and update daily with photos from all of our customers!

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