Why do some neutrals look better on us than others? The likely reason is that the ‘undertone’ of these neutrals is in harmony with that of our skintone. Like our skintone, colours have an undertone as well.
In describing undertones, we use the words ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ to describe the ‘feel’ we get from them.
In this colour wheel, we roughly divide warm and cool colours this way:
In general, if a colour has more ‘yellow’, it’s considered ‘WARM’, if it has more blue, black or white, it’s ‘COOL’.
How do we know if a colour is WARM or COOL?
Truth is: determining a single colour’s undertone is DIFFICULT. The best way to do so is by COMPARISON.
If Colour A has no yellow in it, while Colour B has, then Colour A is COOL.
So, the presence of yellow / a greater amount of yellow makes a colour ‘warm’ or ‘warmer’ than another.
A greater amount of blue, black or white in a colour makes it ‘cooler’ than another.
If your skin tone is warm, then the colours that are in harmony with you are warm as well.
If you find that a colour just doesn’t seem ‘right’ on you, it’s likely that that colour has the opposite undertone. A person who has a warm undertone will find that colours with yellow in them look more HARMONIOUS with their skin tone.
The following pictures are used the illustrate how colours of a different undertone look out of place – they stick out like a sore thumb, drawing attention to themselves.
The same principle applies in choosing neutrals for your outfits.
To find the best neutrals for you:
- find out your skin undertone
- select different colours and put them against your face, ask yourself, does the colour look ‘weird’ on me? If the colour shouts for attention in a negative way, then it isn’t the right colour for you.