How to Wear the Right Colors

Have you ever wondered why you look better in certain colors? For instance, I tend to look washed out if I wear something that has an orange hue to it, including camel shades. Most of the time, you think it’s because of your complexion — light, medium, and dark — which is partially true.

In reality, it’s not just about how light or dark your skin is in its natural state; your skin’s undertone matters too. You might be thinking undertone, what exactly is that? Undertones, which are classified broadly into cool, warm and neutral, refer to the colors that are underneath your skin aside from your overall skin complexion or shade. Unlike your complexion, your undertones don’t change.

Cool undertone: Your skin has a blueish or pinkish appearance

Warm undertone: Your skin has a peachy or golden/tanned appearance

Neutral undertone: Your skin has both cool and warm undertones

Note that light complexion doesn’t necessarily mean you have a cool undertone and vice versa. You might have a dark complexion but a cool undertone.

So how do you figure out your undertone?

The vein test 

The number one way that you can tell what your skin undertone is by looking at your veins. The general rule is that either your vein will appear green or blue.

Green = warm

Blue = cool

Green and blue = neutral

For instance, I have both green and blue veins.

The white/ off-white paper test

Do you look better in white or off-white? A quick way to test this out is to take a white paper and bring it up to your face.

Does your face brighten up? Then you’re most likely cool.

Does your face look sallow? Then you’re most likely warm.

Can’t tell a huge difference? Then you’re most likely neutral.

In this case, I look better in white.

Gold or silver

Another “do you look better in…” test with jewelry.

Gold = warm

Silver = cool

Gold and silver = neutral

I tend to gravitate toward silver naturally, but I’m okay with gold jewelry as long as it’s not too golden.

Tan or burn

Generally speaking, if you burn easily, then you have a cool undertone. If you get a nice golden tan, you got it. You’re warm. If you’re somewhere in between — let’s say, you burn and then tan (such is my case) — then you’re neutral.

Okay, great! Now I know my undertone so what does that mean?

Cool undertone: goes best with jewel-toned shades such as blue (sapphire), green, pink, purple, and cool red

Warm undertone: works well with earthy shades of yellow, orange, brown, off-white (cream), and warm red

Neutral undertone: lucky you, you may be able to get away with most colors! But from my experience, I think you still skew toward either cool or warm, so it really depends.

You can check out this color chart as a visual guide.

So next time when you’re out shopping, try mixing and matching the recommended colors based on your undertone. Who knows, you might have to upgrade your wardrobe, which is never a bad thing!

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