Everything you need to know about Olive Skin Tone

Olive Skin Tone

What is olive skin tone? If you have olive skin, then know that it is a beautiful and complex complexion. Olive skin can be light or moderate in color, with yellow, green, or golden undertones.

Olive skin tone is caused by a mixture of yellow and red pigments in the skin, with more yellow causing darker or sallow variants of olive. The likely cause of many types of pigmentations on the skin's surface—from pink to light brown—is excess consumption of certain carotenoids (e.g., alpha-carotene) (Trusted sources 1*, 2*, 3*)

This skin type is often associated with pigmentation in the Type III to IV range on the Fitzpatrick scale. Like any other skin tone, some things work well for olive-skinned people and some things that don't (i.e., certain cosmetics). This article will discuss what makes up an olive complexion, care for your unique skin, and what makeup colors complement your coloring best!

Table of Contents

What is olive skin, and what are the benefits of it?

benefits of Olive Skin Tone

Olive skin color can range from fair to dark and often mix both pinkish undertones and yellowish hues. It doesn't get tanned as quickly as other complexions.

Olive skin has been shown to make a person appear older than their actual age. The lack of melanin makes us think that olive skin is wrinkled or suddenly much older when there are fewer wrinkles.

That is because it's not exposed to sun damage like lighter complexions are. This is why it's usually more difficult for an olive complexion person to find work. They often appear too old for their age group. 

The main benefits of olive skin are:

Olive skin is a skin type that is not too dark and not too light

Often, these people have darker (though not black) hair and eyes than their counterparts with fairer skin. It is a beautiful skin tone because of its warmth and depth.

It is more difficult to get sunburnt

Olive skin is very versatile as it doesn't get sunburnt easily, leading to a more even complexion over the years.

You have fewer chances to get melanoma

It's better for your health because there are fewer chances of getting melanoma or other forms of cancerous glare from prolonged exposure to the sun.

It gives you a natural glow

Olive-skinned people will have a natural, healthy glow because their skin cells are easier to produce, which leads to more even skin tones.

You're more likely to get a tan

Olive-skinned people have a higher number of melanin granules in their skin cells. Also, the pigment is less evident on the surface of these cells because it is not as densely packed as it is in fair skin.

It's less prone to wrinkles and dark spots

Olive skin tones are less prone to lines because the melanin granules do not become as deeply embedded into the skin cells so that they can be wiped away, unlike in fair skin. The granules are not as densely packed within the cells, so there is more space for them to be distributed evenly.

It is more resistant to aging

They are also more resistant to aging since they produce less melanin to protect themselves from the sun's UV radiation.

This makes olive-skinned individuals less prone to developing signs of aging as quickly as people with fairer complexions like redheads or blondes. They produce a lot of heat for their pale skin coloration (provided they've spent time in the sun)

It is very versatile

People with this skin tone can wear many different colors without looking washed out. Olive tones tend to imitate most other colors like green, brown, yellow, and red.

People with olive skin have a combination of beige and pink-yellowish tones that make their complexion warmer compared to more on the blue side. This creates warmth, making it well suited for colder seasons because they don't look sickly or pale at all. 

It is generally a healthy skin color

Olive-skinned people are often healthier than other types of complexions. They have enough melanin in their bodies to protect them from UV rays; this production also protects the body against sunburns.

The higher ratio means that olive-skinned individuals can get away with more time in the sun than other skin types, and their tans will last longer.

How to know if you have an olive skin tone

Do you think your skin tone is olive? Check to see by holding up a piece of white paper next to your face or wrapping it around the back of your neck. If you notice tones are coming through on one side and yellow hues on another, then, when examining yourself in front of this makeshift mirror, congratulations! You have an olive complexion like me!

How to get a better olive complexion 

Olive Skin Tone

Use a sunscreen moisturizer

Olive skin is just a variation of porcelain skin. Use moisturizer or sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to 30 during the day.

During winter, olive skin can tend towards dryness and sun damage, so be sure to keep yourself hydrated and wear a moisturizing sunscreen such as Murad specially formulated for olive-skinned people.

For warmer days, you should use more liberally - at least 1 teaspoon up to 4 teaspoons (depending on your weight) for your whole body each time you put it on. Avoid times when UV radiation is above 3 hours (10 am-3 pm).

Cleanse your skin twice a day

You might want to stay clear of oil because it can leave your skin dry and dull to keep pores clean. It would be best if you washed with a cleanser that contains a salicylic acid in the morning and night.

You don't need toners across your T-zone if acne is not an issue for you. Make sure to remove makeup before bed so as not to disrupt natural production during sleep time!

A cleansing brush is a great way to get rid of dirt, oil, and debris from your skin. These brushes are as effective as manual cleansing, yet they leave less of an oily residue on the pores when you're done.

Always start with clean hands (don't use your fingers) to avoid introducing more germs into your facial environment. 

  1. You should also gently remove dry patches still on the skin first - these can clog the pore and create spaces for bacteria to grow. 
  2. Work a pea-size amount of cleanser onto wet fingertips and massage over your face in circular motions. Get in those nooks around the nose, mouth, and eye areas where makeup usually collects if you wear it.
  3. Add water to the brush and work it in circular motions over your face, like doing a mini facial massage. This helps loosen dirt from pores and ensures that all oil is removed for a more even skin tone. 
  4. You can also rinse off with warm water, but it's important not to use too hot water temp: this can irritate your skin and make it appear red or blotchy.
  5. Finish with cold water to close the pores, which will reduce irritation caused by hot water rinsing.
  6. Pat dry with a clean towel so that you don't leave any moisture on your face - bacteria love moist environments!

Intensify your skincare at night

The right nighttime moisturizer can give you a brighter, more youthful skin tone. Apply eye cream to help reduce the appearance of dark circles and wrinkles while also preventing dryness or fine lines!

The best nighttime skincare routine starts in your head with applying an SPF 30 sunscreen before bedtime as well as wearing sunglasses when outdoors on bright sunny days.

When it comes to how often you should use daytime sun protection varies depending on personal risk factors such as:

  • Age (those over 65 years old)
  • Family history.
  • Medical conditions like lupus erythematosus (LE) that make one sensitive to sunlight exposure may need extra care if they spend most of their day outside).

The best makeup for olive skin tones 

First, know that for most makeup to be flattering on your skin, it should look natural. You don't need a lot of color or shine to make it work.

The best makeup for olive skin tones would be light neutral colors in matte or satin finishes. Make sure to blend as much color as you can all the way down your neck, so there are no hard lines.

  1. A great way to add some subtle shading is by adding a cream contour shade with a brush similar to this one.
  2. Then going back over it with a light powder contour shade for an even smoother finish.
  3. To wear mascara, start by wiggling the mascara tube back and forth between your thumb and forefinger like you were giving it a good shake to mix up the formula inside.
  4. Comb through upper lashes first from root to end, then repeat on bottom lashes, moving from side to side rather than up and down.
  5. For best results, make sure to curl your lashes with a lash curler before applying mascara.
  6. Apply about three coats of mascara for a really fake-looking effect (aka Brigitte Bardot). If you want more subtle volume, apply two or three coats instead.

To finish the look and have some color on your lids without going all out with an eyeshadow look, use a lighter shade of foundation or concealer as the base for your eye makeup.

Don't apply too much color to your lids! You may want to go back over it again and blend the edges where you applied more so that it doesn't make your lashes stick together.

Tips for styling your hair with an olive complexion 

Your complexion is going to be your main point of consideration in deciding how to style a hairstyle. If you have an olive skin tone, it can either be flat or rich, both moderating factors for the look you're going for. You'll want to make sure your hair accords with this so that no one can mistake you for not being a Mediterranean person.

When styling an olive complexion, the gold standard of hair color is natural black browns and grays, which contrasts well against the skin's warm undertones. Tips for styling your hair:

  • Avoid using too much product in your hair, as it can make your hair look greasy.
  • Use a light-colored shampoo and conditioner to avoid any unwanted tones
  • Try not to use too many dark colors on your hair - they will only highlight the natural redness of olive skin
  • If you want to dye your hair, try going for lighter shades like blonde or brown instead of darker ones like black or navy blue 
  • Keep your makeup simple with neutral colors that won't clash with an olive complexion 
  • Don't wear anything too tight around the neckline - this can cause irritation and breakouts on the neck area

Olive skincare routine 


Drink a lot of water, take time to detox and let icky stuff go with the pee, sweat, and poop; drink more water.

Keep your pores clear by drinking plenty of fluids like water or tea. Hydration pushes the gunk out so it doesn't stick around in your skin and clog up those pores.

Eating healthy foods high in vitamin A will also help invigorate skin cells that form dirty pores paving the way for brighter complexions and reducing acne flare-ups. Bonus: eating foods high in Vitamin A can often reduce acne flare-ups for you too!


  • Get some form of exercise in the sun a few times a week to improve your skin's elasticity and flexibility. 
  • If you work indoors, invest in an office with windows facing the south or east as that will give you UV exposure without the winds that can dry out your skin over time. 
  • Use sunscreen! Make it part of your daily routine to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays, both from natural sunlight and tanning beds and lamps at places like salons or spas.


For skin that needs moisture and protection, look for a product called face lotion. Lots of people would recommend eye cream, moisturizer, sunscreen to help with the dryness.

You might also need some special cleanser, depending on how acne-prone you are.

If your skin is more oily than dry, then try a liquid foundation or BB Cream. Remember, work from the center of your face out to prevent cakey makeup or uneven coverage!

If your very oily, use powder instead; it will control oiliness better than anything else can hope for.

There are tons of different tips and tricks about this process, and it would be best if you could see them in action first hand as they may not work for everyone.


Avoid ultraviolet radiation, apply protective lotion, and wear a hat.

Yes, it's true! Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can damage the elastic fibers that hold your skin together, causing visible wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. 

Applying sunscreen to exposed skin is an essential way of protecting yourself from scarring. That is significant because those who have scars are at a much higher risk for developing any other defects in their skin than those without scars.

It also helps protect from more UV-related damage - not just what you can see on the surface of your skin!


The best way to exfoliate olive skin is with a chemical exfoliant alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid like glycolic and lactic acids.

These types of AHA's work on the top layer of your skin called the stratum corneum and promoted the removal of dead cells built up there.

In other words, it helps keep your complexion unclogged, clear, and bright-looking all day long without overdoing it.


The best way to hydrate olive skin is by using mild soap and water or facial cleansing wipes.

If you want to wash your face with soap, use gentle soap specifically made for sensitive skin. Avoid any soaps with harsh ingredients like dyes, parabens, alcohols, fragrances, or perfumes.

Make sure not to scrub your skin too hard as well. Gently lather the areas you need with the soap and rinse it off thoroughly when you're done.

If you're feeling lazy and don't want to take off work, though, swap out the traditional bar of soap for one of these Facial Cleansing Wipes - they deeply cleanse while also refreshing your skin.


Olive skin is a different type of dark skin. It's tan but not as brown as other tans.

The term "olive" likely comes from the color olive oil, which has been used for centuries to moisturize and protect the skin.

As you can see, many types of tanned or darker skins may be considered olive! What do your friends call their complexion?