How to Determine What Color Looks Best on Your Skin Tone

Color can be a cruel mistress. Most of us know we might gain a few style points by trying shades outside of our comfort zone, but – like finding the right haircut for your face shape – choosing the right shades for different skin tones skin is often easier said than done.

With such a kaleidoscopic array of shades, it’s no wonder you’re scratching your head and wondering “which color looks best on me?”. Now, some of you will disagree, saying it’s not exactly rocket science, just a matter of trying something on and measuring it in a dressing room mirror before you buy. And to some extent, you’re right.

But if you want to save time on your errands or shop online with more confidence, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with a few basic rules when it comes to knowing how to dress for your skin tone.

What are the different skin tones?

The first step in that daunting “what color suits my skin tone” question is to delete the bookmarks you’ve created for those online quizzes based on supposedly sophisticated algorithms. There are three different skin tones, and yours has nothing to do with whether you like rock music or rap.

Second, look at your arm. To better judge which colors should be the heart of your wardrobe, you’ll need to consider whether your skin has a warm undertone, a cool undertone, or a neutral undertone. If the veins in your wrist are more blue than green, you have cold skin. If they are greener, your skin is hot. If it’s hard to tell, you probably have a neutral skin tone.

It is important to note that skin tone (i.e. pale skin, dark skin, or dark skin) does not necessarily determine your skin undertones. A dark-skinned guy may have a cool complexion, and a pale-skinned guy may have a warm complexion. And all vice versa.

Now that that’s settled, read on for a step-by-step guide to finding the skin tone palette that will work best for your wardrobe.

Cool shades

Many fair-skinned guys will find they have cool skin as well, but darker skin can also have a cool undertone. Ask yourself these questions to find out if you have cold skin. Are your veins as blue as they come? When you look in the mirror, does your skin give off a bluish undertone? Does your skin often burn in the sun? If you answered yes, chances are you are the proud owner of cool-toned skin.

What colors are best for cool undertones?

If you have pale skin and fair features, shades that contrast clearly with your complexion will — literally — bring color to your complexion. “I recommend basing your outfit on darker colors, which you can combine with lighter colors,” says Daniel Rhone, personal shopper and stylist at Selfridges.

Darker colors like gray, brown, burgundy, bottle green, navy blue, and bolder shades of blue will all work well as these shades contrast with your skin tone. People with cool undertones generally look best in colors in the cool range of the spectrum: think purples, greens, charcoal grays and deep blues.

What colors should I avoid?

People with cool undertones to their skin will want to avoid soft, pastel tones or bright colors. The same goes for neutrals; rather than white, light beige or stone, choose richer hues like sand, camel, khaki and slate gray.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself through color. It just means you have to mix light colors with dark colors,” adds Rhone. Red, while not best suited to the pale, rosy-cheeked, rosy-cheeked person, can work for paler alabaster skin tones when worn in bold tones like crimson.

Cool skin tones

warm shades

If you have skin that tends to tan rather than burn out in the sun, then you probably have what’s called a warm complexion, which suits a much wider color spectrum than those with fair skin or cold complexion. If your veins have greenish tones instead of blue and your skin tone is more yellowish, you likely have warm-toned skin. Dull-skinned guys or dark-skinned men tend to fall into this camp, but not always.

What colors are best for warm undertones?

Although most colors work with a warm complexion, you can ensure that you look your best by going for shades that are a bit lighter or darker than the middle ground. What exactly does this mean? Choose pale beige over warm sand if you’re going for light neutrals, or try a bolder shade of purple (like magenta) over mauve, for example.

“I would recommend a lighter color palette, with white being the obvious choice to accentuate your skin tone,” says Rhone. So it’s good news that austere ombre is no longer limited to linen. Outside of the sunny season, try a pair of white jeans with a dark jacket for a standout look.

What colors should I avoid?

Since your skin will likely have yellow or green undertones, it’s wise to avoid wearing shades of these colors that are too close to your skin tone. What you’re trying to avoid here is ending up looking naked by blending your skin with your clothes.

Shades you should probably give the uplift include pistachio, mustard, olive, and mocha brown. For more delicate looks like all-white or pastels on pastels, make sure you’re tanned enough (closer to black than olive green, if you will) to carry it off without looking washed out.

Warm skin tones

Neutral skin tone

Just like those with average skin, when it comes to finding colors that work for you, guys with neutral skin tones have won the genetic lottery and can try almost any shade without too much trepidation. . You probably have a neutral skin tone if it’s hard to tell if your veins are blue or green, and you can see both colors in your skin’s undertones.

What colors look good on neutral skin?

The world, gentlemen, is truly yours. Your skin tone is perfectly positioned to pair well with the vast majority of skin tones and undertones, as it’s not likely to wash out like relatively pale skin tones. That said, there are a few caveats.

“Having license to wear bright, bold colors like jade green or cobalt blue is great, but be sure to add balance to your outfit with a color that will hold the look together,” Rhone advises. In practice, that means not spinning the color wheel like a crazy decorator who just spent half an hour blowing chemicals through a paint shop. Instead, choose a single pop of color or two that complement rather than compete with each other. Bright red is a winning shade for men with neutral skin.

What colors should I avoid?

Yellow is almost forbidden. Much like how pastel tones wash out paler skin, yellow won’t contrast with your skin clearly enough. Although black and navy are two key colors in any man’s wardrobe (making up the majority of formal and business wear), it’s worth keeping them to a minimum to get the most out of your particularly versatile complexion.

What color suits me best: neutral skin tones


What is the best color for my skin tone?

“I personally don’t subscribe to a color chart that dictates how you should dress based on your skin tone,” says Rhone. “Style is, and always has been, about self-expression, and I always advise my clients that if there’s a color you like, go ahead and wear it with confidence. That said , it’s worth being aware of which colors work together.

So here is. Wear any color that makes you feel good, and the mirror is your friend. The general rule is that skin with cool undertones looks best with grays, browns, blues, greens, and purples. Warm undertones look best with bright or light colors. And skins with neutral undertones look great in bright, bold colors.

How do I know my skin tone?

The Vein Method is the proven approach most people take to discovering their skin tone. Bluish veins indicate cool undertones, while green veins indicate warm undertones. Neither or both means you probably have neutral skin.

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