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I believe it was David Hockney who said, “I prefer living in color.” If you’re anything remotely like me, that quote could not be more accurate when describing my wardrobe. With all of the color options though, it’s not uncommon to look in the mirror and think, “this color just doesn’t look good on me.” Fear not, there’s a perfectly logical reason- the tone of your skin, known as undertone, dictates whether a color will be flattering and brighten your skin or make it appear more dull and just, well, blah.

So what is an undertone? It is the general hue that shows beneath your skin. There are 3 different undertones- warm, cool, and neutral. You’re probably sitting there thinking, “yea this is great but how do I know what undertone I am?” It’s very easy to find out with any of these 3 methods-

Look at your veins in natural lighting- are they green? This means that you have a cool undertone. If they are purple/blue then you have a warm undertone.

Consider the color of your natural hair. Generally speaking, natural redheads and “golden” blondes are “warm”; those with “ash” shades of hair color, very dark brown or black hair are “cool.”

Hold a white towel against your face and neck – again in natural lighting. Does your skin have a yellow cast or a blue cast? Yellow is warm; blue is cool.

These rules apply to all races and ethnicities. Do you have a mix of these different indicators? You lucky duck, this means you have neutral undertones. 

Now that you’ve figured out your undertone, lets talk about which colors will bring out that inner glow. It’s no surprise that cool colors compliment cool skin tones and warm colors compliment warm skin tones. For those unfamiliar with color tones, 

  • cool colors are derived from shades of blue, blue-greens, violet and can be associated with what we find in nature that is cool and serene, i.e. the sea, grass, leaves on trees, etc. 
  • Warm colors are based around hues of reds, yellows and oranges and can be associated with what is warm or hot in the natural world, i.e. the sun, fire, etc.

The 2 models below show examples of how your skin appears when you match your undertone to the respective colors and when you don’t. Can you guess which color is more flattering?


Need some more examples of colors to wear? This list is a great place to start-

Warm: Warm-toned people look best in rich browns, rust, tomato red, orange, cranberry, teal blue, emerald green, bubblegum pink, gold. Colors like khaki, grey, and pastel shades of blue will wash you out.

https://presentitude.com/basic-color-theory-part-ii/
https://presentitude.com/basic-color-theory-part-ii/

Cool: The most flattering colors for cool-toned people include black, deep purple, cobalt blue, forest green, fuchsia, blue-greens and icy pastels. Colors like brown, rust, and orange look unflattering.

So, what undertone do you see in your skin? Next time you go shopping keep that in mind and you’ll have a much easier time deciding what color garments to choose!

Don’t know where to start? Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how I can take that stress off your back!


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