How to pick the right color for your complexion?

Have you ever wondered why certain colors just don’t work with your skin complexion?  There is an easy explanation to this, you are not picking the right color for you skin’s undertone.  Your skin’s undertone plays a huge part on whether a color makes you pop or look dull/washed out.

There are 3 categories of undertones, 4 depending on who you talk to:

  • Cool (pink, red or bluish undertones)
  • Warm (yellow or golden undertones)
  • Neutral (a mix of warm and cool undertones)

Some include olive as a separate, fourth category, but most consider it neutral because it has a mix of warm and cool undertones.

Until it becomes instinctual we will always refer back to the color wheel.

color wheel

Remember when we were talking about monochromatic (different variations of the same color), analogous (two or more colors next to each other), and complementary (colors opposite each other) colors?  Well this will help you understand why certain colors bring out your complexion and other wash you out.

If you wear a color that is the same variation of your skins undertone, then that color will wash you out or bring you out in the wrong way.

red_color and complextion

Example:  If you are a cool undertone (pink, red, or bluish) and wear a red shirt, depending on which red is strong (your shirt or your undertone) it could cause you to look washed out or bring out the redness in your skin.  And I don’t know about you, but neither sounds good.

redngreen_color and complextion

The reverse would happen if you were to wear a shirt in a color that was opposite your undertone on the color wheel.  If we to stay with a cool undertone, then the color that would complement the red undertone would be green. Ha, you never knew why red and green looked so good together.  Now you know!

As for analogous colors, the further you are away from your undertone the better the color will look.  For example, something in the yellow family would look better on someone with a cool undertone, verses the orange family.  This is because yellow is further away from red than orange is, and closer to green, which as we found out above complements red.

The same above would be true for a warm undertone (yellow or golden).  You would want to gravitate more towards purple to compliment your complexion.  As for the neutral or olive undertone, you can play with a broader spectrum of colors.  Just like all neutral they compliment every color on the spectrum.

I hope that all of this color talk is starting to make a little bit more sense.  Like I said in my first post, color and fashion are a science, there is rhythm to every reason!

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.


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