September 12, 2009

The Lighter Side of Olive Skin Tones

I've noticed that when cosmetics companies create makeup for pale/porcelain skin tones, typically they do not take into account that there's many different possible undertones for pale skin, not just the pinkish undertones of a traditional "English rose." In fact, one can have pale skin, but with olive undertones or warm, golden undertones as well.

An example would be Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame.

Personally, I feel there's a bit of a stereotype that if you're olive-toned, you must be somewhat medium tanned Asian/Mediterranean, despite the fact that obviously you could be deeply tanned or quite pale. Not to mention "ethnic" makeup is always a bit of a task to find.

Mineral Powders:
I found Alima, a Portland company, after doing some research online. They do all-natural mineral makeup and have a truly extensive color selection for all types of skin: Cool, Neutral, Warm, Beige, Olive, Golden and even have a custom blend option. They also have super soft, cruelty-free taklon brushes that feel amazing.

Alima Pure - Satin Matte Foundation in Olive 0, a pale olive that worked best on me. You can also try Olive 1 which is a bit darker and useful to have around for the summer months, for contouring, or just for blending a custom shade with your Olive 0.

Lily Lolo, which is a mineral makeup company based in the UK, also has a several pale warm and neutral shades, though the selection is a more limited. Unfortunately, based on their website I think they have discontinued my own personal favorite: Fortune Cookie, a nice pale olive.

The great thing about both sites is you can order a variety of samples to get a perfect match before purchasing the full size. Or if you wear foundation only on special occasions like me, I've found the samples are more than enough.

Becca Luminous Skin Colour in Sand- This is an lightweight, sheer tinted moisturizer with SPF 25. I used their complimentary Ask an Artist service to get a colour match. I thought it was just absolutely fantastic, blended in like a dream, and looks extremely natural on me. In fact, I think most people wouldn't realize you were wearing any makeup. If you want heavy coverage this is not for you, but if you're looking for the "no makeup" dewy look this is fantastic.

The range has a very large variety of colours to choose from, which is a great bonus for girls who have trouble getting a colour match.

I received a sample of MAC Mineralize Satin Finish SPF 15 Foundation in NC-30, but I found it to be too heavy although the colour did match my skin. Personally I prefer to not feel like I have a mask over my skin.


Leia said...

I'm olive toned, and I buy my foundation from Bare Minerals (I think I use Tan or Medium Tan). It's a perfect match! For days when I need lighter coverage, I use Benefit You Rebel - a tinted moisturizer with SPF. And for days when I need loads of coverage (i.e. lots of pictures being taken!) I use Maybelline dream matte mousse in Sun Beige. :)

Karen/BobbinBombshell said...

Thanks for posting and I think you are right. There are more olive/yellow toned skin tones than people think. I myself am very pale with olive/yellow undertones. I use DHC which is a Japanese company and they get it! Many standard American drugstore brands don't.

Erin said...

I'm so glad you posted this! My mother has very dark olive skin, and my father is irish. My brothers got the dark olive/tanned skin and I got my father's tone..yet my mother's coloring. I'm very pale, but definitely olive(I look yellow in my driver's license pic!) I could NEVER find makeup that didn't make me look pink/matched my skin tone. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I am mixed Asian and Latin, and I have super pale skin so I always had difficulty knowing my skin tone. Because I look more Asian to most people, they always classified me immediately as yellow or yellow mixed with some pink. But none of these combos worked when trying to find foundation. I just found out today after so many years that I am a pale olive tone. I never came across other pale olive toned people before so I couldn't compare. I've been using Silk Naturals mineral foundation. Now I will try the olive formula. Thanks for the post.

sweetarchivia said...

You're welcome! Glad that this post helped other gals out there with pale olive tones...

Anonymous said...

have yet to find the perfect foundation match. i've tried everything too. even bobbi brown is not yellow(or is it olive toned) enough for my lighter medium asian skin. her stuff looks orange on me. it's quite frustrating since the blatantly yellow shades i've tried look wrong but the yellow 'looking' stuff in the packaging turns orange on me. so maybe it's the olive tones i should look into?
how obvious is the shimmer in the alima satin matte?

sweetarchivia said...

Hrmmm... you can either try a bunch of their $1.50 samples or you may want to try using Alima's recommendation service to see which to see if you should be using their Olive, Golden, or Warm lines.
They'll even do custom blends for you if you need it.

I haven't had a problem with their foundation looking orange -- but everybody has different skin.

The satin matte is just as the description is: matte. Hence there's no shimmer.

Good luck!

paul said...

have yet to find the perfect foundation match. i've tried everything too. even bobbi brown is not yellow(or is it olive toned) enough for my lighter medium asian skin. her stuff looks orange on me.
tory burch flats

sweetarchivia said...

Thanks all! I added the Becca Luminous Skin Colour because I think it's just so fantastic and they have a large colour range.

Anonymous said...

This helped a lot. I have tried just about every pale foundation on the stores and they either look yellow or pink on me. I also am a mix of Greek, native American and Irish. It just recently occurred to me that maybe my skin was pale olive. Lipsticks are hard too. Every red I try either looks orange or pink on me.

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