Updated: Mar 17, 2021
You might have already noticed that some colors suit your complexion better than others. Maybe you’ve been told that blue is your color or your eyes spark brighter when you’re wearing a peach scarf. There is a pretty simple explanation, which goes back to color theory.
Your skin tone can change depending on sun exposure, irritation, medical conditions, and a variety of other factors. Your skin undertones, however, will remain the same throughout your entire life; they are simply the pigments that are coming from within the skin. Your skin undertones can be either warm, cool, or neutral.
Determining Your Skin Undertones
First things first, make sure your skin is clean, doesn’t have any makeup residue left, and is not red from scrubbing. Stand in front of the mirror and use natural lighting as it does not change the appearance of your skin color. The easiest way to determine your undertones is by holding a piece of white paper next to your face.
If your skin appears yellow, green, or light brown, your undertones are warm. On the contrary, if your skin looks pink or blue, your undertones are probably cool. Lastly, if your face seems gray, you are likely neutral. You can also ask your friend to help you do the same test on the skin behind your ear as that crease is less likely to be affected by tanning, rosacea, or reaction to medicine. You can also take a quick look at your wrists. If your veins seem blue, your skin is cool; if they seem green, your skin is warm. If it’s hard to tell, your skin is probably neutral.
Colors for Warm Undertones
To know what shades will make you look your best, go to the warm side of the color wheel. In outfits, turn to amber, gold, yellow, and peach. You also shouldn’t shy away from warmer options of green and purple. In neutrals, go for cream, taupe, and warm grays. Most importantly, try to stay away from blues and icy colors as then you’re at risk of looking gray.
Colors for Cool Undertones
If you have cool undertones in your skin, you should look to the cooler part of the color wheel and the more wintery shades. Blues, purples, and icy shades are what will highlight your features without washing you out. Navy, bright white, and pastel yellow will also work well for you. Try to avoid bold oranges, reds, and yellows.
Colors for Neutral Undertones
As a person with neutral skin undertones, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. While you can go for both warm and cool shades, it is better to avoid bold colors and choose soft muted shades. There is only one exception to this rule, however; you will always look great in red, no matter what.
Colors for Everyone
Teal, blush pink, and eggplant purple are some of the colors that look great on any skin tone. You can also always go for a pure white, no matter the skin tone. If you find that a white garment makes your skin grayish, check if it has any cool or warm undertones, which aren’t usually noticeable under artificial lighting.
If your favorite color is not on the list of what you should wear, do not get discouraged. Fashion and style are all about fun and self-expression, so do not get stuck on the rules. Instead, you can use your favorite shades for a fun accent with accessories rather than full-on monochromatic outfits. At the end of the day, you want your clothes to highlight your best features and not wash you out.