In the world of personal style and aesthetic expression, colors hold major significance. Embracing the right hues can elevate not just your outfit but also your mood, confidence, and the entire way you're perceived by those around you.
At Avenue B, we understand that each individual is a unique blend of tastes, preferences, and innate charm. Much like how makeup has evolved into a world of authenticity and individual flair, finding your color palette isn't a strict set of rules — it's about embracing shades that dance with your essence.
Your color palette isn't just a label; it's an exploration. Finding your ideal color palette can help you dive into your personality's depths, exploring your unique undertones and connecting with shades that bring some extra oomph into your style.
Planning a wardrobe makeover, sharpening your makeup game, or just vibing with a splash of self-revelation? This guide's got your back.
What Are the Basics of Color Theory?
Before diving into the personalized realm of color palettes, let’s run through the foundational basics of color theory.
At the core of every (yes, every) color we see lies a trio of powerhouses: red, blue, and yellow. These are the primary colors, and they form the backbone of the entire color wheel.
So, what happens when you mix two primary colors? Secondary colors.
Red and blue create purple, blue and yellow mingle to create green, and red and yellow combine to produce orange.
But we can take that even further with tertiary colors. When a primary color mixes with a secondary color, we get nuanced tertiary colors. This is what gives us stunning shades like teal or blue-green (a blend of blue and green) and scarlet or red-orange (a mix of red and orange). Tertiary colors add impressive depth and complexity to colors.
Warm vs. Cool Tones
Picture a dividing line running through the color wheel.
On one side, you have warm tones — reds, oranges, yellows, and certain browns. These evoke feelings of warmth, energy, and passion.
Opposite them lie the cool tones — blues, greens, purples, and some grays. These shades are reminiscent of calm skies, serene waters, and tranquil nights.
Understanding the temperature of colors is instrumental in determining which ones might resonate more with your skin's undertones and personal vibe.
The Color Wheel and Its Significance
The color wheel isn't just an artist's tool. It's a map — a guide that showcases the relationships between colors.
Beyond primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, the wheel helps us understand complementary colors (those opposite each other), analogous colors (those adjacent to one another), and monochromatic schemes (different shades of a single color).
While the science behind colors might seem technical, Avenue B works to embrace knowledge while leaving room for artistic expression. When it comes to personal style, you're both the artist and the canvas, and understanding color theory can help you paint your masterpiece.
What Are Skin Undertones?
Undertones play a key role in how we perceive colors, influencing which hues will make us feel like a million bucks — and which might leave us feeling a bit… well, off.
Skin undertones are the subtle, cool, warm, or neutral shades underneath the surface of your skin. While the general shade of our skin (light, medium, or dark) can change based on various factors like sun exposure, our undertones remain consistent.
Think of your undertones as the base layer of paint on a canvas — the top layer can change, but the base will always influence the final appearance.
Why Do Undertones Matter in Choosing Colors?
Ever tried on a shirt in a color you absolutely adore, only to find that it doesn't quite “pop” against your skin? Or put on a lipstick shade that looks fantastic on your friend but doesn't quite hit the mark on you? That's undertones at play!
Matching the colors you wear with your undertones helps ensure harmony and cohesion — knowing your undertones can help you make sure your makeup, clothes, and even hair color enhance your natural beauty, making you look good (and feel good, too).
What Are the Main Undertones?
Broadly speaking, there are three primary undertone categories to be familiar with:
Cool (Pink, Red, or Bluish Undertones)
Cool undertones are fascinating — they bring out the blue, pink, or purplish tints in your complexion. Contrary to popular belief, cool undertones aren’t only found in pale skin. In fact, they can be found in many different shades.
If you have cool undertones, certain blues, purples, and pinks can make your skin seem to glow with an inner light. Clothing, accessories, and makeup in these hues might make you look more vibrant and full of life, and you may find that certain jewel tones truly resonate with you, bringing out that rosy glow.
Warm (Yellow, Peachy, Golden Undertones)
The warm undertones are all about that golden, peachy glow that radiates warmth and vitality. It's like having a little touch of sunshine in your skin. People with warm undertones often find that earthy tones, such as warm browns, oranges, and yellows, really make their complexion shine.
Choosing the right color palette based on warm undertones can help you come alive in natural light. Even your hair color choices might be influenced by your warm undertones, creating a cohesive appearance that's both inviting and energizing.
Neutral undertones are where things get really interesting. Having a balanced mix of warm and cool tones gives you the flexibility to explore a broader palette of colors — you just might find that you can pull off shades that others find tough to work with.
From soft pastels to vibrant primaries or muted neutrals, it's like having a playground of color at your fingertips. Think of neutral undertones as a versatile canvas that adapts to whatever style or mood you're in.
How To Determine Your Undertones
Understanding your unique undertones isn't just about looking good; it's about feeling good, too. When you wear colors that align with your natural hues, there's a sense of harmony and authenticity that comes through. It's not just about fashion or trends; it's about honoring who you are and what makes you special. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the following tests to unveil the secrets beneath your skin, pinpointing the exact undertone that resonates with your being.
The Vein Test
The simplest way to start is to observe the veins on your wrist. In natural daylight, look at the veins just beneath the surface of your skin:
- If they appear blue or purplish, you likely have cool undertones.
- If they lean more towards green, you probably have warm undertones.
- If it's a mix of both, or it's difficult to determine, you may have neutral undertones.
The Jewelry Test
Your affinity for gold or silver jewelry might tell more about you than just your taste in accessories:
- Gold jewelry typically flatters warm undertones, creating a harmonious glow.
- Silver or platinum pieces often resonate with cool undertones, reflecting an ethereal charm.
- If both types of metals look equally pleasing, you might have neutral undertones.
The White Fabric Test
This test involves draping a pure white cloth near your face and observing how it interacts with your complexion:
- If the white makes your face appear brighter, your undertones are likely cool.
- If it leaves you looking sallow or washed out, you may have warm undertones.
- For a neutral undertone, the color may neither wash you out nor brighten your face, but leave you looking balanced.
The Sun's Reaction Test
How your skin reacts to the sun can also provide clues:
- Cool undertones often burn easily and rarely tan.
- Warm undertones tend to tan golden-brown without burning.
- Neutral undertones may experience a bit of both, burning slightly but also tanning gradually.
Professional Color Analysis
For those who want even more precision, professional color analysis can be a fun and educational experience. An expert trained in color theory will analyze your skin, hair, eyes, and overall coloring to provide a comprehensive guide to your perfect hues — chef’s kiss.
How Do Hair and Eye Colors Fit With Your Color Palette?
The world of personal colors isn’t just about the skin… our hair and eyes also play major roles in crafting that perfect, harmonious look. They're integral facets of our identity, and when paired with the right colors, they can truly make us glow.
Hair Color and Its Impact on Your Palette
Hair color is a defining aspect of our overall appearance. Whether you're flaunting your natural locks or experimenting with new shades, understanding your hair’s relationship with your palette can be largely beneficial.
With tones ranging from ash blonde to golden strawberry blonde, the spectrum of blonde hair is expansive. Ash blondes with cool undertones might feel at home wearing icy blues and muted purples.
On the other hand, strawberry blondes have a warmth that sings when paired with warm autumn tones like golden yellows or burnt oranges.
The beauty of brown hair lies in its versatility. Those with light brown to medium brown tresses might strike the perfect balance by choosing to wear the delicate hues of light spring — think soft pinks and breezy sky blues.
Alternatively, soft autumn shades like muted olive or warm beige may be stunning, and dark brown-haired beauties have a palette that allows for even more drama. If you have dark brown hair, high-contrast colors like bright teal or deep burgundy may be just as flattering as subtler shades.
Black hair often presents a striking contrast and depth that can play well with both cool and warm colors. If your undertones are cool, you might love how vibrant blues, deep purples, or even stark whites look with your hair.
For warm undertones, you may find a special connection with earthy greens, rich browns, and bold reds. Don't be afraid to explore and play!
A fiery statement in itself, red hair looks stunning with colors that complement its intensity. Warm autumn shades like golden undertones, deep terracotta, or rich caramels are go-tos for red hair, but don't shy away from cooler shades. Even a deep teal or muted lavender can create an unexpected but gorgeous contrast.
Gray or Silver Hair
The elegance of gray or silver hair brings a touch of sophistication that can be paired with a wide, wide range of colors. If your hair leans towards a cooler gray, soft pastels and vibrant jewel tones might be a beautiful choice.
Warm, silvery hair colors may resonate with gentle peaches, warm beiges, or even dramatic blacks and dark blues. Remember, your hair color is just one piece of the puzzle, and it's all about tying your hair in with your undertones and personal style.
What Role Does Eye Color Play in Your Color Palette?
Your eyes are often described as the windows to your soul, and what's more personal than that? Your eye color can enhance or even transform how colors look on you. Let's talk about the relationship between your eye color and your perfect palette.
Blue eyes can range from soft gray-blue to a deep, almost violet hue. If your blue eyes have cool undertones, icy blues, pinks, and lavender shades might make your eyes sparkle. For a warmer touch, consider gentle browns or even some shades of green that can highlight the flecks in your eyes.
Green eyes offer an exciting palette to explore — earthy shades of brown, warm gold, and rich burgundy can help emphasize their warmth and depth, but don't overlook cooler shades like deep blues or even some grays, which can help create an attractive contrast.
From warm honey brown to deep, near-black tones, brown eyes can wear many colors with total grace. If your eyes are a lighter brown, consider trying soft greens or warm terracotta shades. Those with darker brown eyes, though, might love the elegant look of navy blues, plum purples, or rich metallics like gold and bronze.
Hazel eyes have a blend of colors that make them adaptable to an extensive variety of shades. Reflecting greens, browns, and even blues, you might find that everything from earthy colors to vibrant spring shades can make your eyes truly stand out. Experimenting with colors that are a close match to the flecks in your eyes can create an absolutely stunning effect.
What Is Seasonal Color Analysis?
Maybe you’ve heard of being classified as a “winter” or a “spring,” but what does this actually mean? Seasonal color analysis offers a new approach to identifying a color palette that best complements your natural coloring, specifically influenced by the tones and hues prominent in each season.
If you're a winter, your skin, hair, and eye color contrasts are typically stark, with a cool undertone. Think deep, intense shades like icy blues, jewel-toned purples, or striking blacks and whites. Much like the season itself, winter types have clarity and depth to their coloring.
A spring persona radiates warmth and freshness. If you fit this category, you likely have clear, warm undertones. Bright, warm colors like peach, coral, and golden yellows are your best friends, reflecting the blossoming vibrancy of this season.
For those who resonate with summer, there's a softness and delicacy to their coloring, with muted cool undertones. Pastels and soft neutrals like lavender, powder blue, and muted pinks can echo the serene and gentle nature of summertime.
The rich and robust shades of fall are a testament to the autumn type. With warm undertones, often accompanied by golden or reddish highlights in their hair, autumn types flourish in earthy, spicy colors like terracotta, deep greens, and burnt oranges.
How To Take a Holistic Approach to Your Color Palette
Finding your color palette isn't just about finding a group of colors that look good on you. It's also about finding colors that feel good and help you be your most confident self.
Here are some tips and tricks as you work to find your personal color palette:
Celebrate the Nuances of Your Color Personality
Everyone has their unique spectrum of colors that they feel most connected to — it's not just about having blue or brown eyes or fair, tan, or dark skin, but stretches into even more subtle undertones.
Sometimes, these nuances might not fit perfectly into popular color categories or “trending” style — and that’s okay! Celebrating your unique hues means you're also celebrating your individuality.
Reflect on Your Emotions and Moods
Colors are powerful tools for evoking emotions. Think of the calmness of a soft blue, the energy of a bright red, or the warmth of an earthy brown — every single shade holds some form of emotional significance or meaning.
As you’re exploring your palette, think about your emotional reactions to various colors. Which shades help you feel like your calmest self, and which ones uplift you? This process can help you hone in on your personal palette.
Understand the Power of Color Combinations
Single colors can definitely have their charm, but if you ask us, the real magic often happens when those colors are combined. A bold color, for example, might be too stand-out for a casual outfit, but can bring out the perfect level of brilliance when paired with a neutral shade.
Playing with combinations allows you to expand your palette and create stunning looks, ensuring that the colors you choose resonate harmoniously.
Evaluate Natural Surroundings
At the end of the day, we’ll be honest — Mother Nature is possibly the best color stylist. From the ombre hues of a sunset to the deep and complex shades of a forest, our natural surroundings are filled to the brim with inspo.
Simply pausing and taking a look at the color palettes that naturally exist around you can guide you in terms of which colors work well together and how you can incorporate them into your style.
Revisit Past Favorites
Think back to those favorite outfits or accessories that once made you feel on top of the world. Maybe it was an emerald green dress you wore to your best friend's wedding, or that dark blue scarf you always reached out for.
Reflecting on past fashion favorites can help find hidden gems in your color preferences.
Assess Your Current Wardrobe
You can also assess your current wardrobe and look for patterns, dominant shades, or colors that you seem to have quite a lot of. These often represent your comfort zone and common go-tos, and can act as a foundation for experimentation.
Explore Cultural and Historical Influences
Cultural roots and historical backgrounds can largely influence our color preferences. Maybe there's a certain shade that reminds you of your grandmother's childhood stories or a certain piece of clothing that's been passed down through generations. These colors can add depth and meaning to your chosen palette.
An outside perspective can sometimes provide insights that aren’t immediately obvious to us. Friends or coworkers, for example, might be better able to spot colors that naturally flatter you or reflect your personality.
Your color journey is personal, but external feedback may help you refine your choices.
What Are Some Tips for Flaunting Your Perfect Color Palette?
Recognizing the best colors for your skin tone, hair color, and eye color is a super fun experience… but what next? How can you put this knowledge into practice and elevate your personal style? We’ve got your top tips.
Constructing Your Capsule Wardrobe
Curating a capsule wardrobe that revolves around your best colors is one of the best ways to use your color palette. If you know you're a light spring or soft summer, it’s never too early to start infusing pastels and cool tones into your closet to bring out the best in your skin undertone.
If you have an autumn color palette or are a warm autumn, reach for warm colors like rich olives, deep browns, and golden yellows next time you go shopping. This doesn't necessarily mean excluding different colors entirely, but ensuring that the core of your wardrobe aligns with your personal color spectrum can help have more confident days.
Playing With Makeup
Your newfound color theory knowledge can revolutionize your makeup routine. With the right colors, your features — like blue eyes, brown eyes, or green eyes — can pop in a way they never did before.
If you're of the soft summer or light summer palette, think about lip colors with a high contrast to your skin tone. Maybelline's SuperStay Matte Ink Lip Color offers a smudge-free, matte finish that’s highly pigmented, ensuring that your lips showcase super-saturated color all day long.
Complement your eye color with flattering colors. Blue eyes might pop with shades of olive green or warm browns, while brown eyes might dazzle in shades of ashy blues or cool undertones purples. Green eyes? Consider the magic of blue-green or even a warm, rich copper.
Prior to applying your favorite lip color, it’s essential to ensure your lips are smooth and free from dead skin. Wet n' Wild's Perfect Pout Watermelon Lip Scrub is just the thing you need — its fine sugar crystals buff away dead skin while murumuru seed butter, tucuma seed butter, and vitamin E deeply moisturize, leaving your lips soft and ready for color.
Ensure your foundation matches not only your skin tone but also your undertone. Cool undertones will pair well with foundations that have blue undertones, while golden undertones will resonate with foundations that have a yellow base. For flawless coverage with a matte finish, Revlon's ColorStay 24-Hour Foundation matches your skin tone and undertone, keeping shine at bay with its advanced oil-control formula.
Hair Coloring Revelations
Your natural hair color offers a base, but for those wanting to experiment, consider your personal color analysis. Warm undertones might find strawberry blonde or a rich auburn alluring, while cool undertones can consider shades like ash blonde or ashy medium brown.
And if you sport a light brown or dark brown hair hue, explore highlights or lowlights in shades that echo your seasonal palette.
Accessories and the Right Colors
From scarves to jewelry, the accessories you choose can either enhance or detract from your overall look. If you have cool undertones, silver or blue-toned accessories might be your go-to. Those with warm undertones can revel in gold-toned pieces or even vibrant warm-colored beads.
Swatches Are Your Best Friend
When shopping, especially online, keep swatches of your best colors handy. Compare potential purchases to these swatches to see how they align with your palette. This ensures that what arrives at your doorstep makes you look and feel the best.
Playing With Saturation and Contrast
Realizing you're a light summer or soft autumn doesn't mean you need to stick rigidly to certain colors. Embrace the spectrum within your palette, and dabble in varying saturations. From muted pastels to deep, rich shades, each hue tells a unique story.
A color in the light to medium range might give off a subtle elegance, while a highly saturated version becomes the show-stopping star. Venture out and mix and match.
Expanding Beyond Clothing and Makeup
Beyond the realm of fashion and beauty lies a big, wide world waiting to be painted in your personal colors. Ponder over home décor choices — from vibrant cushion covers to serene wall paints. Let your desk gleam with stationery in shades that resonate with your soul.
And why stop there?
You can even elevate your tech game with gadgets in hues that align with your palette. Surrounding yourself with colors that uplift you not only brings visual harmony, but can profoundly influence your mood, boosting positivity and rejuvenating your energy levels.
A Final Word
At Avenue B, we believe that discovering your personal color palette is like unlocking a secret superpower. It not only elevates your style but celebrates your unique beauty.
Once you've pinpointed those hues that make you shine, allow us to fine-tune your beauty routine. Venture over to our Beauty Quiz. We've meticulously designed it to curate the best products, harmoniously tailored for your skin and your beauty dreams.
Because at the end of the day, your colors and our expertise make a perfect blend — embrace the vibrant journey with us!
- Tags: Makeup