Can Wearing the Right Color Take Years Off? You Bet!

Have you ever picked out a foundation or powder that looks great in the tube but clashes horribly with your skin once you try it? We all have. Or how about buying a blouse that looks great on you under the fluorescent bulbs of the store dressing room but when you get it home and try it on again, it seems terrible? Maybe it’s not the cut, or the fit, but the color that is suddenly putting you off.

As we age the texture, tone, tint, and temperature of our skin can change. Decades of sun exposure, reactions to medication or new medical conditions like rosacea can change the surface appearance of your skin, but it’s the undertones that will genuinely determine which colors will bring out the most youthful vibrant appearance in your complexion. Picking the wrong color can make you look dull, ashen, sickly, and old.

Don’t trust the women behind the makeup counter or the salesperson in the boutique. Their mission is to sell sell sell. They are far less interested in finding the color and style that works for you than they are in making their sales quotas and commissions. Luckily, there is a way for you to accurately find your actual skin tone and enable you to buy the colors that will help make you look like a stone-cold fox!

Make sure your skin is clean with no lotions, cosmetics, or serums that might affect the results. Wait 15-30 minutes after washing until any redness from scrubbing fades. ALWAYS use natural daylight as artificial lighting will change the appearance of your skin’s undertones.

Take a piece of plain white paper and hold it up to your face. Compare how your skin looks in contrast to the paper. *Note – if you are extremely tanned or have acne or rosacea, ask a friend to do the paper test on the crease behind your ear instead.

  • Warm Skin Tones – will look yellowish, greenish, or light brown

  • Neutral Skin Tones – will look gray or ashen

  • Cool Skin Tones – will look pink, rosy, or blue

Next, take a look at the veins in the hand and wrist.

  • Warm Skin Tones – veins will look green

  • Neutral Skin Tones – it will be hard to say one way or the other what color your veins look like

  • Cool Skin Tones – veins will look blue or purple

Lastly, those who tan easily will have warm skin tones, while those who burn usually have cool skin tones. Neutral skin tones may fall into either group but with no obvious appearance of olive, yellow, or ruddy skin.


Warm skin tones – look for colors that are rich reflections of nature like red, peach, coral, orange, amber, gold, and yellow. You will also look great in “warmer” versions of cool colors like olive, moss, orchid, and violet-red. Try neutrals in taupe, cappuccino, cream, and mushroom gravy. Avoid jewel tones like sapphire or amethyst because they can wash you out and make your skin look gray.

Cool skin tones – look for colors inspired by the ocean or cold winters — bright blues, emeralds, and deep purples as well as lavender, ice blue, or pink. Maybe try ruby, bright rosy red, or super-pale yellows. Try neutrals you’ll have success with cool gray, bright white, and navy. Avoid orange, tomato red, and strong yellows, which will clash with your skin completely.

Neutral skin tones – You can wear any color, but it’s best to go with softened or muted versions of a color instead of the brighter ones. Choose colors like dusty pink, jade green, cornsilk yellow, or lagoon blue. For neutral colors, go for off-whites, coffee, mid-range grays, and black. While over-saturated colors like electric blue or magenta can overwhelm your skin tone, bright, true red will look amazing!


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