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What colors work with my skin tone?

Choosing the right colors to wear can be tricky, especially when trying to find shades that complement your skin tone. The wrong colors can make you look washed out, tired or just off. The good news is there are some simple tips and tricks to help you determine what color palette works best for you.

How do I know what my skin tone is?

The first step is identifying your skin’s undertones. There are three main categories:

  • Warm undertones – If your skin has hints of yellow, peach or gold, you likely have a warm undertone.
  • Cool undertones – If your skin has hints of pink, red or blue, that indicates a cool undertone.
  • Neutral undertones – No strong overtone comes through and your skin tends to look more even, not too pink or yellow.

Here are some quick ways to determine your skin’s undertone:

  • Look at the veins on your wrist – green indicates warm, blue means cool.
  • Think about how your skin reacts to the sun – warm skin tans easily, cool skin burns.
  • Consider which metal jewelry flatters you most – warm skin looks great in gold, cool skin pops with silver.

Once you know whether your undertones are warm, cool or neutral, you can begin selecting colors that will complement your complexion.

Best colors for warm undertones

Those with warm undertones look great in earthy, rich colors that enhance their natural glow. Some top options include:

  • Orange – From peach to terra cotta, orange plays up warm golden hues.
  • Yellow – Mustard, gold and lemon shades make warm complexions shine.
  • Green – Olive, moss and lime green bring out golden flecks.
  • Red – Fire engine, cherry and crimson reds flatter peachy cheeks.
  • Pink – Coral, salmon and coppery pinks give a healthy glow.

Darker earth tones like chocolate brown, espresso and chestnut also look beautiful, along with metallics like copper and bronze.

Best colors for cool undertones

People with cool undertones should look for colors with blue, pink or purple undertones. Flattering options include:

  • Blue – Ice blue, royal blue and indigo bring out pinkness in the skin.
  • Purple – Lavender, lilac and orchid complement fair cool skin.
  • Pink – Soft pink, fuchsia and magenta enhance the skin’s rosy undertones.
  • Red – Deep reds with blue undertones, like burgundy, pop against cool skin.
  • Green – Jade, emerald and forest greens accentuate pink cheeks.

Cool-toned people can also wear pure white, jewel-toned navies, claret reds and even pastels like baby blue, pink and mint green.

Best colors for neutral undertones

If your skin doesn’t skew warm or cool, you likely have a neutral undertone. This means you have a diverse palette to choose from. Some top neutral shades include:

  • Beige – Camel, cream, khaki and tan bring out subtle hints of color.
  • White – Stark white makes neutral skin glow.
  • Blue – Steel blue, denim and navy all work well.
  • Green – Olive, sage, moss and teal complement neutrality.
  • Purple – From lavender to eggplant, these pops of color brighten neutral skin.

Neutral undertones can take bolder colors like fuchsia, orange, cobalt and even black for high contrast. Pastels also look lovely against neutral skin.

How to use color analysis

Having your coloring professionally analyzed can provide precise guidance on which hues work. Color analysts categorize skin, hair and eye color into “seasons” – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each has a recommended palette.

Here is an overview of the seasons and their characteristics:

Season Skin Undertone Hair Color Eye Color Flattering Colors
Spring Warm, golden Blonde, red Blue, green, hazel Warm brights like coral, lemon yellow, emerald green
Summer Cool, pink Ash blonde, brown Blue, gray, green Cool pastels like sky blue, soft pink, lavender
Autumn Neutral to warm Red, auburn, brown Hazel, green, brown Earthy neutrals like mocha, olive, terracotta
Winter Cool, neutral Dark brown, black Brown, dark blue Bold colors like royal blue, fuchsia, crimson

Having a color analysis can take the guesswork out of choosing hues that enhance your skin, hair and eye color.

Tips for wearing colors

Once you know which colors work best, keep these tips in mind for working them into your wardrobe:

  • Wear colors next to your face – they should flatter your skin tone.
  • Choose darker colors on bottom to create balance.
  • Add pops of color with accessories like scarves, jewelry, bags.
  • Limit loud colors to small accents so they don’t overwhelm.
  • Mix colors within the same palette to pull together a cohesive look.

Also aim to wear at least one color that brings out your eye color. This instantly brightens up your face and makes your eyes pop!

Common questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on how to pick flattering colors:

What if I can’t easily determine my undertone?

It can be tricky for some people to discern their skin’s undertones. If you’re unsure, drape different colored fabrics against your face and look in natural lighting. Green veins and gold jewelry means warm. Blue veins and silver jewelry indicates cool undertones. Can’t tell? Then you likely have a neutral tone.

Why do some colors look awful on me?

Certain hues can accentuate sallowness, irritation or flushing in your skin if they aren’t harmonious with your undertones. Cool-toned people tend to look washed out and sickly in warm oranges and yellows. Warm complexions appear ruddy and blotchy in cool blues and purples.

How does eye color affect my color choices?

Your eye color impacts which hues make them stand out. Blues and greens become more vibrant against warm orange, yellow and red. Brown eyes glow against rich greens, purples and blues. And hazel eyes pop with jewel tones, contrasting neutrals and pastels.

Can I go outside my color season?

While it’s best to stick with colors that enhance your natural coloring, you don’t need to limit yourself completely. Many people borrow hues from adjacent seasons, especially if their characteristics overlap. For example, Springs can often pull off Summer colors since both have warm undertones. Just don’t stray too far into shades that clearly clash and wash you out.


Finding colors that complement your skin, hair and eye color goes a long way in creating flattering looks. Take some time to analyze your undertones and natural coloring. Try draping different hues near your face to see which are most becoming. Consult a color analysis if you want professional guidance. Stick to the color families and palettes that make your features shine. Soon you’ll have a go-to selection of shades that always work with your skin tone and enhance your natural beauty.