You may know how to dress your figure but do you know which colors look best on you? The ones that instantly make you look refreshed, youthful, and healthier? Or how about those colors that make you look tired, sick, and sallow? Color is just as important as silhouette, when it comes to what you wear every day, and what makeup hues to use, and you should know your best options.
Although it seems old school (because it is), color analysis is a helpful way to find the colors you should wear on the regular. It takes into account several different factors to identify what category you fall into, separated by seasons — winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Each category then breaks down what colors to embrace, and which to avoid. Do you know what season you are? Or if your hair, skin’s undertone, and eyes are warm or cool? Or maybe neutral? It can seem like a daunting task to find out, so we did some research, found easy-to-follow tips and tricks, and put it all together in a short, handy guide.
What Are Warm, Neutral, and Cool Undertones?
The first step to finding the best colors for you is to understand undertones. These are the colors that emanate from your skin, and help to determine what hues will complement you and which to stay away from. You want to work in harmony with these colors. If your skin has peach, gold, olive, or yellow in it, you have warm undertones. If you have pink, red, or blue, your skin has cool undertones. You’re neutral if you have a bit of both undertones, and/or don’t see any obvious undertones.
Which Colors Look Best On You?
You may have an idea of what category you fall under with our first tip; if not, don’t worry, there are more ways to ID your undertone that we will share! For now, let’s look at the colors that will work best for each group. For warm undertones, dress in warm colors, and use warm makeup. Think peach, brown, rust, orange, etc. And it’s the opposite for cool undertones — those look best in blue, purple, gray, etc. It’s important to note that you don’t have to give up a specific color, like red, or blue. Just look for a warm or cool-toned version of that color so that it will look great on you. Same goes with neutral colors.
The Veins Test
Another way to help determine your skin’s undertone is to look at your veins. Those who have blue or purple-looking veins have a cool undertone, while those with veins that look more green or olive are warm. Finally, those with a neutral undertone will have veins that appear blue-green in hue.
Gold or Silver Jewelry?
You might have not thought about this, but do you look better in gold jewelry, or silver? Or both? This is a clue as to what your undertone is. Those with a warm undertone will look great in gold jewelry, as it too is warm. Same goes for silver; those with a cool undertone to their skin will glow in that cool metal. Neutrals can enjoy the best of both worlds, as both metals will look great on them.
White Paper/Fabric Test
We’ve learned a bit about warm and cool colors, and the corresponding undertones they look great with. This goes for white and off-white. A test for determining your undertone involves placing a white and off-white piece of fabric or paper next to your face. The color that complements your skin tone will make your skin look healthier, more vibrant, and just better overall.
What Happens When You Wear Flattering/Wrong Colors?
In essence, you can wear whatever colors you want, just as you can wear whatever clothes you want. These are just guidelines, should you want to narrow down color choices to the ones that will look best with your skin’s undertone. But, you should see an example of how certain tones of the same colors (in this case blonde and peach) will make you look. Reese Witherspoon looks much better in the cool-toned colors that complement her skin’s undertones (photo on the right). What a difference between the two pics!
Now that we understand more about what warm and cool undertones are, let’s delve into the seasons. Within warm undertones, there is the summer and autumn seasons. For cool, you have spring and winter. Where you fall between two warm seasons, for example, depends on how much of a contrast there is between your hair/eye and skin tone. But more on that later!
Autumns generally have rich brown hair and warm-colored eyes (golden brown, green with gold flecks, and hazel green), and tan easily. Fall-like colors will look great on you.
The complete opposite of autumn is winter. There can be a significant contrast between the hair/eye and skin tone, or both the hair and skin can be dark, but instead of it being warm, it is cool. The hair, from brown to black, and grey, is cool in tone, and the eyes the same. Rich jewel tones, black, and blue-reds look amazing on you.
Summer is the lighter version of Winter. So, the hair (muted with ash undertones), skin (which usually burns easily), and eye color (usually blue, green, or gray) will have a cool undertone, but the contrast between them all will be softer. The best colors for summer include various shades of blue, such as periwinkle and sky blue, and other cool hues like cool pinks and berries.
The next season we will look at spring. Spring is the lighter version of autumn. People with spring as their season have fair skin for their ethnicity, which may tan but not easily, with more of a pink or yellow undertone. The hair color you were born with was more likely a dirty blonde or pure blonde. Your eyes are usually on the lighter side, like light hazel, light blue, or light green. Light, warm colors will look great on you.
Best Makeup Colors For Your Type
Now that we understand what to look for in terms of cool and warm tones, you can start selecting the makeup that will really make your features pop. Don’t think you have to give up your favorite shades, either. You can wear a lot of different colors, but just make sure to find the warm or cool versions (unless you’re neutral).
Best Haircolors For Your Type
Same goes for haircolor. Summers and springs will look great with light blonde to medium brown, but summers will want to choose ash tones with no gold or red highlights. It’s the opposite for springs; they will want warmer undertones, and no ash. Winters can go jet black if they want, and autumns can opt for a fiery red. Have fun with it!
Workarounds So You Can Wear the Colors You Love
Tips like these are meant to give you more and better options, and not to take away what you love. If you are cool-toned, and love mustard yellow, try wearing the color away from your face (as to not make you look sallow), and wear a cool-toned, navy top. And remember that there are cool and warm-toned versions of all colors, including beige!