A Guide to the Best Foundation for Olive Skin

The nuances of an olive skin tone, with its contrasting combination of warm and green undertones, gives it depth and richness. However, any woman with olive skin may also tell you though that there is a downside to this tonal complexity: it’s hard to color-match foundation. Foundation for olive skin often appears too light, too dark, or off-color when applied. At Mented, we want women of all skin tones to never regret a foundation purchase again, which is why we started our line of makeup for women of color. From foundations to lipsticks to setting powder for women of color, we’ve got olive, tan, deep and every skin tone shade in between covered. Read on to learn more about how to determine your exact skin tone and find the best foundation for olive skin tones.

Do You Have Olive Skin?

Think you don’t have olive-toned skin or aren’t sure? There are some myths about this skin tone that need to be busted when discussing the best foundation for olive skin. 

To set the stage, here’s a quick look at the difference between skin tone and undertone:

  1. Skin tone is the apparent color at the skin surface. It’s generally described as fair, light, tan, medium, or deep. 
  2. Skin undertones are the colors beneath the surface of the skin. They’re usually grouped into one of three shades - warm, cool and neutral. Warm undertones include honey, yellow, orange and apricot tones. Cool undertones include pink, red and blue. A neutral undertone is a balanced blend of color tones. 

Women with olive shades generally have tan, medium or light brown skin tones, and often are Latina, Mediterranean or Asian heritage. However, that’s not a hard rule. Women with olive skin vary from light to darker skin tones and can be of any heritage. 

This is important to note because you may think you don’t have olive skin because it doesn’t fit into a classic olive skin tone description. However, complexions with notes of green are more common than people think. What’s more, the green pigmentation that is the hallmark of olive skin is not always readily noticeable.

To determine if you have olive skin, look closely at your skin in natural light to determine your undertones. Olive undertones are sometimes considered in the neutral category, but other times are included in the warm undertone category with the green to yellow undertones. If you aren’t sure of your undertone, an option is to try a simple at-home test or use an online shade finder. This is a key step in the process of finding your best makeup match, as knowing your skin tone and undertones will help guide you toward the right choice. 

How to Choose the Best Foundation for Olive Skin

Selecting the best foundation for olive skin is much like choosing foundation for any skin tone. There are three steps to testing foundation:

  1. Choose a few foundation colors in your skin tone. For olive-skinned women, this will typically be foundation shades in the tan and medium categories, but could be lighter or darker depending on your skin type.
  2. Look for foundation shades with neutral undertones. Neutral undertones have a balance of warm and cool that tend to work well on olive skin.
  3. Swatch three colors on your face. Test out three colors starting from your cheek to down below your chin, which is the area of your face with the truest tones of your complexion. 

The correct shade should blend in seamlessly with your skin. If it isn’t, consider the undertone for which you’re picking the makeup shade and consider whether that’s accurate. 

While foundations with neutral undertones tend to be best for olive-skinned women, there is no set rule about underdone-matching for olive skin. Remember there is a great deal of complexity to the undertone shades in olive skin, and each person will be a bit different. Take a good look at your olive skin and consider:

  1. Is there a yellow or orange hue? If so, try a foundation with warm undertones.
  2. Is there a red or blue-gray hue? If so, try a foundation with cool undertones.

Olive Skin Foundation Done Right

In order to help you easily select the best foundation match for olive skin, we’ve categorized our line of foundation sticks into four basic skin tone categories: light, tan, medium and deep.

The undertone for each foundation is also clearly noted, which helps take the mystery out of determining the undertone match of a foundation and whether it’s right for you. A big bonus to the Skin by Mented foundation sticks is that every purchase also comes with a free foundation sample pack featuring all of Mented’s 16 foundation shades, so you can swatch different shades on your face and determine your true match. 

Besides making foundation selection easy, we also want to make the application a breeze. Our buildable foundation sticks allow for any level of coverage you like - from a light look perfect for summer, or a heavier look that brings the drama to a night out. No matter the coverage you need, our foundation sticks are beloved for their creamy, moisture-rich coverage that glide on like a dream. Imperfections, fine lines, and discoloration instantly disappear under the velvety finish, while still keeping your skin hydrated - the key behind how to make makeup last all day

After perfecting foundation, the next step in completing your facial makeup is setting powder. We created high-quality loose setting powder that works to set foundation with an undetectable finish. First, find the right shade of setting powder to match your foundation. We’ve created shades in light/tan, medium/deep and deep/rich so there is a color of tinted powder that is the perfect match for every skin tone. It’s then easy to use our soft, lightweight setting powders to blend with your foundation and provide that perfect finishing touch that mattifies without drying.  

Interested in learning more about powder? Check out our guides that answer all your questions around what is setting powder and how to use setting powder

The Best Foundation for Your Olive Skin Tone

Matching foundation for olive skin tones has its challenges, but our foundation line makes foundation color matching super simple. Our foundations were designed to cover the spectrum of light tan to deep skin tones, with a user-friendly approach to skin tone- and undertone-matching. Now that you have a deeper understanding of the intricacies of olive skin tones, hopefully finding the best makeup for olive skin will forever be a cinch.