Finding the Right Neutrals – Warm & Cool

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’.

Left: Cool Neutrals (colour combo)
Right: Warm Neutrals (colour combo)


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.

The colour on the right has the most yellow, therefore it is the ‘warmest’ among the 3 colours.

Even blues can be warm.
Left: Coolest colour, Right: Warmest (has the most yellow)


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.

Original Colour Scheme (done by Nippon iColour Visualiser)
Warm Neutrals



The colour of the decorative partition has been changed. Notice how it doesn’t jive with the rest of the colours in the combination. The original on the left looks a lot better. This colour is too ‘cool’ for the whole colour combination.


The same partition has been ‘repainted’ – this colour is better than the earlier one, but it’s still not the best.


Finally, this colour fits best into the general colour scheme. It attracts the right amount of attention without being strangely out of place.

The same principle applies in choosing neutrals for your outfits.

To find the best neutrals for you:

  1. find out your skin undertone
  2. 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.





Virtual Celeb Hairstyle & Makeup Makeovers

I had lots of fun with this software!  I urge all you girls to give it a try!

Which one of us hadn’t dreamed of being a star? :D    First I was Ciara, then Rihanna, then Taylor Swift.  So, I invite you all to have some fun with this – without spending a cent.  Let your hair down (or up) and see what changes you might want to make next!

This site allows you to personalize your experiments by uploading a picture of yourself.  Alternatively, you can select a model’s face and explore what the software can do for you.  Here we go…


Katie Holmes' hairstyle




Carla Gugino




Taylor Swift

You can also try out makeup items on your face. From foundation, tan, blush to eyelashes, shadows and lipsticks.  There are even selections for Cool and Warm Colours (which is great!).  On the screen, you can see that the wrong toned colours can make your makeup appear as if it’s sitting on your skin not blending in with it.


Example: (Click on each picture to see the text better。)


Select your eyeliner from Cool, Warm or Neutral colour palette

Lip colour from the Cool palette


  • Cool Lip Colour:  Notice how the lip colour above makes me look pale.  If that happens, it means that the colour isn’t in the right tone for my skin-tone.  I’m warm toned, therefore, the cool toned pink isn’t that flattering on me.


Warm lip colour


  • Warm Lip Colour:  I selected a darker warm lip colour to illustrate this so that it shows up better.  If a colour is in the same tone as your skintone, then it blends into your complexion well.  When selecting a lipstick colour that’s natural, make sure you select one in the right tone.


Without makeup

With makeup


  • I changed the hair colour and added subtle makeup to the look.

This software’s pros:

  • fun AND easy to use!
  • lots of colour options to explore for hair and makeup.  Even comes with the product names so you know which products suit you.


  • I’m sure you noticed that my face shape was changed each time I tried out a hairstyle belonging to a celebrity whose face shape is different from mine.  The Before and After pictures clearly show that difference.
  • When you’re trying out the hairstyles, look for celebrities whose face shapes, age and neck and chin size are similar to yours, or else the result might be something like this …..

Nonetheless, have fun with it!

Are you warm or cool?

Today’s post is to explain what warm and cool colours in our clothing are.  Basically, the terms ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ are given to colours based on the feelings they give to the individual.  Cool – sea, water, greenery – is soothing and makes one feel more relaxed.  Warm – sunshine, fire, heat – makes one feel energized, alive and cheery.

The 2 pictures above show some warm and cool colours of clothing we may wear.  Which palette do you think suit you more?

A large number of us living in Malaysia are warm toned.  In other words, colours that suit us are in the ‘warm’ palette.  And we look best in those colours.  And yet, we wear a lot of cool colours for work and formal events.  Loosely put, we find that cool colours (black, grey, white, silver, purple, royal blue) tend to look more ‘formal’  and frankly speaking, very ‘safe’.

How does one know if one is warm or cool-toned?  Some of you might have heard of the ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ drape test.  You put gold and silver cloth over you (one after another) and see which is more flattering.  If gold looks better on you – then you’re warm-toned.  If silver is better – then you’re cool.  (Some have mentioned using gold and silver jewelry for this purpose, but I find that not very effective. )

However, this doesn’t stop us wearing colours that are in the warm and cool palette.  It shouldn’t.  It simply means that in future you’d want to look out for colours with your skintone in mind.  And in so doing, you might surprise yourself that there are more colour possibilities out there than you imagined.

The next time you go shopping, try and explore what other colours look better on you.  Dark doesn’t have to mean black.  It could be a rich brown or a charcoal.  Such colours are equally slimming and formal and they don’t have the harshness that black has.  And don’t ignore that orange or olive shirt on the rack….it might just be the colour for you.

In an earlier post I mentioned about the various colour qualities to consider when you choose colours for yourself.  Here’s the link to the post.

If you still don’t know what suits you – find a personal colour analyst (PCA).  The job of a PC Analyst  isn’t just to find out if you’re warm or cool.  He/she can help to determine your best colours, intensity and colour combinations you wear, for our hair, nails, makeup and accessories.  Our colours change in different phases of our lives.

Drop me a line if you want to know more.