The Top 8 Makeup Tips For Olive Skin Tones

Olive skin is the most desired and envied skin tone of all, but it can also be tricky when trying to match your makeup! Some colours clash, others work in total harmony, and there’s a whole host of dos and don’ts specific to olive skin! So, if you’re an olive skinned beauty, these top 8 makeup tips are just for you.

If you’re a bronzed Mediterranean, luscious Latino, Asian beauty or even a fair-skinned African-American, then you more than likely fit into the olive skin tone category.

With high levels of melanin, the term ‘olive skin’ is generally used to describe skin with warm yellow and green undertones meaning your skin is sultry, supple and tans beautifully. It also emits that gorgeous glow we fair skinned ladies long for! What’s more, your dark lashes and clear complexion mean you can get away with wearing very little makeup!

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with vibrant eyeshadows and lipsticks from time to time. Nor does it mean you shouldn’t enhance your natural beauty with foundation, highlighter and bronzer, but which shades? Take a look at our top 8 makeup tips for olive skin tones to learn the makeup tricks and colours specific to you.

#1 Use Foundation Sparingly


Lucky for you, your skin does not need to be completely smothered in foundation to achieve a flawless finish. Simply use a small amount of light coverage foundation to even out the skin where needed. Avoid full coverage foundation – you really don’t need it; just let your natural radiance shine through!

#2 Choose The Right Shade

You want to choose a foundation with a base that matches your undertones so look for yellow-based shades with names such as ‘honey’ or ‘golden.’ Be sure to avoid foundations with blue and pink undertones with titles like ‘cool beige’ or ‘alabaster.’

#3 Don’t Forget Your Concealer

You may have unblemished skin and minimal pigmentation, but you might have noticed dark under eye circles. Olive skin tones are genetically prone to these, but don’t worry: Simply choose a yellow based concealer with a creamy consistency; this will work best to cancel out the purple tones. Remember also to choose a shade lighter than your skin tone.

#4 Think Warm Blush


A blush that is too dark will make you look clown-like whereas a blush that is too light will make you look ashen. Warm colours such as apricot, peach and coral are your best bet and look beautiful on olive skin giving a subtle glow. There are some truly beautiful orange shades around this summer, too, so you can certainly use this to your advantage.

If you’d prefer to wear a pink blush, opt for a warm pink like rose and make sure to stay clear of cool ice pinks.

Unlike fairer skinned ladies, you can even get away with using bronzer as a blush. It not only compliments and enhances your natural skin tone but, if applied correctly, it can work effectively to give you a chiselled contoured effect on your cheekbones.

#5 Make a Vibrant Shadow Selection

While golden brown eyeshadows look fabulous on olive skin tones, they are definitely the safest option but can get boring. Why not spice things up a bit by trying out a metallic gold to really make your skin pop! Or even experiment with an intense burnt orange, deep emerald green or sapphire blue for a change. You can get away with these beautiful rich colours without them looking harsh, so take advantage of this!

#6 Take Your Pick Of Lipstick


You have a wide range of colours to choose from when it comes to lipsticks because almost all colours suit the olive skin tone!

Subtle shades such as nude, toffee and cinnamon all look wonderful but coral is always a winning choice as well as delicate orangey pinks.

Brighter shades such as fire engine reds and oranges bring out the beautiful gold tones in your skin so don’t be scared to try a concentrated colour once in a while! Deep berry and wine colours also look stunning paired with yellow undertones, but avoid purple shades as they tend to bring out the yellow a bit too much and give you a sallow look.

#7 Don’t Skip The Highlighter

You may already have a glow that comes from within but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accentuate it by applying a highlighter.

Add a touch of a peach or pink gold highlighter under the brow bone, down the bridge of your nose and corners of the eyes to enhance your natural luminosity! If you’ve used bronzer as a blush then adding a dab of highlighter to the top of the cheekbones will give an especially nice definition and intensify the contouring effect. Give Benefit’s Sun Beam a try, a golden highlighter with a hint of pink – it is literally liquid sunshine and perfect for olive skin!

#8 Experiment With Nail Polish


You can’t go wrong with many nail polish shades since there are few colours that don’t look good paired with your skin tone. Earthy tones like deep orangey browns and warm sandy colours look great but so do dark reds, spicy apricots, greys and bright turquoise!

You really have a wide selection to choose from ladies! I will say though that it is probably best to avoid overly pale colours and navy blue so your skin doesn’t end up looking unhealthy.  Also, take care with gold shades, as they could end up looking dull against your skin.

So make the most of your envied olive skin by choosing complementary makeup shades. Enhance your natural glow, indulge in the beautifully rich colours only you can pull off and always look your very best! 

Cover photo:

About the author

Jane Glover

Jane Glover is a 25 year old yummy mummy with a passion for writing and all things beauty related. A literature lover and fuchsia fanatic, Jane is happiest with a novel in one hand and a deliciously pink cocktail in the other.


Click here to post a comment

  • As a girl with olive skin, I definitely agree with Anon that the writer doesn’t know anything about olive skin. The writer is making the mistake that most people in the cosmetic world do – mistakenly thinking olive skin means orange skin!

  • Agree with Anon and Sara, this article is so wrong on so many levels.
    Too many wrong assumptions on olive skin, please do your research TYVM! ;)

  • Nope I have olive skin and it’s very hard to find any info that suits me compared to fair skin tones. You may be confusing this as an olive undertone, ladies with olive skin most of the time are pretty tan! There are fair ladies with olive undertones but I believe the article did a decent job. Though I think people can rock navy blue eyeliner. It’s your own personal preference and if you don’t agree then feel free to wear whatever color you want <3