Home Makeup Best Makeup Colors For Olive Skin Tone

Best Makeup Colors For Olive Skin Tone

by Gabbi

It can be challenging to find makeup products that suit your skin tone. However, if you consider your undertone, you’ll be able to see every color that suits you the best.

For example, olive skin tones can be the trickiest to match. In addition, most people are under the assumption that olive is one particular shade. However, anyone from the fairest to the deepest of complexions can have olive skin or an olive undertone. 

If you have an olive skin tone, you may have noticed that typical foundation shades can be too warm and enhance your green undertones, or too cool and leave you one-dimensional or ashy. And even when it comes to choosing shades of blush and eyeshadow, certain shades just don’t work.

So, what are the best makeup colors for olive skin tones? The best makeup colors for olive skin won’t leave you looking green or flat. Instead, you’ll want to opt for foundations that aren’t extremely warm and choose jewel-toned shades for eyes, lips, and blush.

When most of us think of olive skin tones, we often think of a medium-tan complexion. However, not everyone with olive skin tones will fit that description. While it can be challenging to find flattering makeup colors, it’s not impossible. So, read on to learn the best strategies for shade-matching and color mixing!

What Is Olive Skin?

What is an olive skin tone exactly? We mentioned earlier that many people would classify olive skin as tan or having a medium complexion.

That idea comes from scales like the Fitzpatrick Scale (pictured right), and it is true that “olive” can often be used to describe this particular skin tone.

However, while that may be true for some people, olive undertones can be found in all shade ranges.

For example, if you are generally pale, you’ll notice that your complexion looks more cool rather than tan. However, if you have a deep skin tone, olive undertones may look more golden than green. Most olive undertones look green or yellowish.

When looking for a foundation, you’ll notice that most of them are categorized by undertone. The three categories are cool, warm, and neutral. Cool tones have red, pink, or blue undertones, while warm ones have yellow or golden.

Lastly, neutral undertones are a combination of warm and cool. So, where do olive skin tones fall in these categories? Olive skin tones are usually classified as a neutral undertone. 

How Do You Know If Your Skin Tone Is Olive?

How can you determine if you have an olive skin tone? Shade matching is one of the most challenging parts when shopping for makeup. In addition, professional makeup artists have years of shade matching experience to identify undertones instantly.

So, what can you do if you’re not a professional makeup artist? There are multiple tests you can perform that can help you determine if your skin is olive. For example, the most popular methods are analyzing your jewelry or taking a closer look at your veins. 

While there are more ways you can find out if your skin can potentially have an olive tone, these are the simplest to conduct at home. 

What Jewelry Looks Best?

Do you wear gold jewelry the most? Silver? Both? The color of jewelry that looks the best on you can determine your undertone. Then, once you know your undertone, you’ll have an easier time picking out the most flattering makeup colors for you.

For example, if you love gold jewelry and it looks the most flattering on your complexion, you will most likely have a warm undertone. On the other hand, if silver jewelry complements your complexion the best, chances are you have a cooler undertone.

Finally, if you look great in both gold and silver jewelry, you most likely have a neutral undertone. We mentioned that olive skin tones tend to fall within a neutral undertone, meaning it looks fantastic with both silver and gold accessories. 

Look At Your Veins 

Another way to figure out your undertone is by looking at your veins. Like the jewelry methods, looking at your veins can help determine if you have a cool, warm, or neutral undertone. Veins can look green, blue, or a combination of both shades.

If your veins look predominantly green, you may fall within the warm undertone category. However, if your veins look more blue, chances are you have a cool undertone. Lastly, if your veins are a mix of green and blue, you’re neutral. 

Veins mixed with green and blue are often found with people who have an olive skin tone because they fall within a neutral undertone.

Signs You Have An Olive Skin Tone

What are some other signs that you have an olive skin tone? Olive skin tones are often overlooked and the trickiest to match because if you lean more golden, you’re often paired with a warm-toned foundations or look flat with a cool-toned foundation.

In addition, it can be challenging to conduct at-home tests like analyzing your veins or jewelry, especially if you don’t know what to look for. So, let’s gloss over some other tell-tale signs that can help determine if you potentially have an olive skin tone.

Without knowing your complexion and undertone, finding what makeup colors look the best can be hard.

Green Cast

Olive skin tones can look like they have a slight green tint, just like an actual olive. In addition, this subtle green tone can make it challenging to find flattering makeup colors because you’ll try to match your overall complexion rather than the undertone.

A green cast can determine if your skin does have an olive tone. In addition, you’ll notice that with the wrong color makeup, your skin can tend to look ashy or washed out. As a result, you may look one-dimensional or flat with your makeup done.

Foundations Don’t Suit Your Undertone

While most foundations on the market have a warm, neutral, and cool category, it can still be difficult to find a match for olive skin. For example, most foundations on the market are highly saturated and can create an unflattering finish for olive skin.

Some brands make an olive-undertone foundation line, but others don’t. So, your best bet to find a match for olive skin is looking for a neutral undertone that is slightly muted to flatter the green, golden, or grey within olive skin.

You Tan Easily 

Olive skin tones can produce pigment relatively quickly thanks to melanocytes, giving the skin more melanin. This is why many people claim that olive skin tones can tan more rapidly and indicate that you have an olive complexion.

People with olive skin tones will tend to tan rather than burn in the sun. However, even people with olive skin need to stay protected in the sun because a deeper complexion doesn’t mean you are shielded from the sun’s harmful rays.

So, next time you’re in the sun or on vacay and notice a tan developing, it can be a sign you have olive skin tones. 

Jewel-Toned Makeup Is Flattering 

If you have an olive skin tone, you may notice that you look better in bold, rich colors. In addition, pastels may not be the best fit for olive skin because they can highlight unwanted undertones or create an ashy/flat appearance.

Instead, colors like royal blue, deep purple, or forest green can complement your skin tone and make you look lively. Rich or deep shades tend to look the most flattering on olive skin tones because it brings dimension and the right amount of warmth. 

What Colors Look Good On Olive Skin?

Thankfully, many colors flatter olive skin tones. So whether you’re looking for foundation, blush, or eyeshadow, you can rest assured these hues will compliment your complexion. However, what colors should you avoid?

As mentioned earlier, any pastel shades or light pinks can make olive skin look washed out or create an unflattering contrast. However, that doesn’t mean avoiding pink altogether; you’ll need to find another shade of pink.

For example, when looking for blushes or lipsticks, avoid baby pinks and stick to deeper tones like mauve or berry if you want to wear pink. 

So what other colors look good on olive skin?

Rich Browns

Deep brown eyeshadows can help accentuate your eyes and your skin tone. In addition, rich browns won’t make your skin look ashy or flat. Because olive is considered neutral, you can opt for neutral shades of brown for your skin tone.

However, if you want to add a little warmth to your makeup look, you can choose a warm, deep brown to create a smokey eye. In addition, brown is the perfect everyday neutral that you can wear for the daytime or smoke it out for a dramatic night out.

Lastly, deep browns look wonderful on olive skin because it brings life and dimension to the face without looking overly warm or cool. 

Gold, Bronze, Metallic

Dimensional shades like gold, bronze, or other metallics will also suit olive skin tones. These shades work exceptionally well if you’re looking to add a slight warmth to the face, but you want something more interesting than a regular brown eyeshadow. 

In addition, if you have olive skin with a slight tan or a deeper complexion, golds, bronze, or metallic shadows make a fantastic statement eye look. Also, these hues will add that sparkle and shimmer without leaving your olive skin tone looking drab.

So, if you’re looking to create a bold makeup look that keeps olive skin looking lively, try using gold, bronze, or other metallic hues. 

Deep Reds and Oranges

Red and orange makeup can be pretty intimidating to apply. 

However, finding the right shade of red and orange can make all the difference, especially for olive skin. It’s crucial to remember that olive can be present in fair, medium, and deep complexions.

Orange is already a universally flattering shade because it can suit almost all skin tones. Burnt or deep orange can add warmth to olive skin without it looking overly yellow. Olive skin can have a green cast, which is why a deep red can neutralize its presence.

Brick red or burnt orange shadows are great for olive skin tones that want a new take on the lip or eye colors for every day. In addition, they can even be used as a more neutral blush shade to get a cheeky flush.

Jewel Tones 

Another good rule of thumb is to pick jewel-toned hues instead of light pastels. Jewel-toned colors are rich, deep, and pigmented to complement all ranges of olive skin tones. In addition, they keep the skin looking fresh and lively. 

Berry tones make great blushes and lip colors if you want a pop of color to make a statement. Other beautiful bold colors include royal blue, deep purple, forest green, and more.

Muted Tones

Muted colors can also enhance olive complexions. If you love neutral looks and don’t experiment with color, earth or muted colors can still accentuate olive skin tones. Most muted shades have a neutral undertone that pairs well with olive skin. 

How To Pick The Best Makeup For Olive Skin 

Now that we know what colors suit olive skin tones the best, let’s put this knowledge to work. It can be overwhelming to go into a store and search for a product that works with your complexion. So how can you pick out the right product every time? 

You can search for the colors listed above like berry, golds, or earth tones for your eyeshadow, lips, or blushes. In addition, you can never go wrong with purchasing a deep brown shade for your makeup. 


Foundations are the most challenging to match for olive skin tones because most brands won’t create foundations for olive complexions. In addition, we know that olive skin can sometimes look slightly green, golden, or grey.

Most warm foundations are incredibly saturated and can look yellow on some olive skin tones. Depending on your personal preference and complexion, you may want a foundation with some warmth. A cool to neutral option might suit you the best if you’re more pale.

A neutral foundation might work for you if you don’t lean particularly to either warm or cool tones. Neutral foundations are more muted, which can suit olive skin, and you won’t have to worry about looking too warm or yellow or cool and ashy.

For a visual tutorial on finding the best foundations for olive skin, take a look at this video from Sephora below!


Bronzer is also tricky because its primary purpose is to add warmth to the face. 

In addition, most bronzers, in general, can pull orange whether you have olive skin or not, especially if it’s the wrong shade. So how can you add warmth but avoid orange tones?

Try opting for a neutral brown bronzer that is slightly darker than your skin tone. A bronzer with a neutral undertone can still add some warmth, but you won’t have to worry about looking gray or orange. 

In addition, you can opt solely for a contour if you want a chiseled face without the warmth if you find your olive skin leans more towards a golden hue. 


When choosing blush, it’s best to opt for deeper shades of pinks, oranges, and browns. Surprisingly enough, you can have a deep terracotta or brown hue as blush. These shades will give you that flush you want without looking super warm. 

However, mauves and burnt orange blushes will look wonderful on olive skin because they can be more neutral in tone but add the right amount of warmth to your complexion. In addition, berry shades can also create a fresh-faced effect.

We mentioned how deep and rich colors can accentuate olive complexions. All of these colors for blush can fall under jewel-toned shades that flatter olive skin.


Rich browns, deep reds, burnt oranges, and muted earth tones make incredible eyeshadow for olive skin. Now you can finally bring attention to your eyes without it compromising the liveliness of your olive complexion.

In addition, these are beautiful shades for everyday looks or smokey eyes.

Another excellent option is to choose gold, bronze, and metallic shadows. Textured shadows will play up your eyes quickly, and these hues will compliment olive skin because they are rich and bold.


When it comes to the lips, the same rules apply like blush. Surprisingly enough, blush and lipstick can be interchangeable depending on the formula. In addition, you can create a monotone look and match your lipstick to your blush. 

Mauves, deep oranges, and rich browns will all make beautiful lip colors for olive skin. 

Final Thoughts

Now you’ll know how to color match your olive skin every time! Olive skin can be present in all complexions, no matter how fair or deep you may be. 

Olive is considered to be a neutral undertone, and you can determine if you have olive skin in numerous ways. For example, your jewelry or veins can indicate if you’re olive. In addition, you may notice your skin can look green or golden.

Overall, the most flattering colors for olive skin are jewel-tones, rich browns, and muted/earth shades. What color will you incorporate into your makeup routine? 

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