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Colour is one of the most important things to get right. You might have found the most amazing outfit style wise for your body but if the colour isn't right then you're wasting your time.

Have you ever been asked if you're not feeling well or told you look tired when you're actually feeling great? It may have been the colour you were wearing, one that washes you out or doesn't enhance your appearance.

Equally important is picking the right colour for certain occasions or moods. A woman in Human Resources recently told me she chose to wear a subdued colour the day she announced redundancies and the next day wore red when she went into arbitration!

Choosing your colour profile can be very difficult. Let's make it easy:

Be aware of how colour impacts you, how it makes you look and feel.

  • Your face lights up, as do your eyes
  • Your face, hair, eyes, skin are enhanced by the colour.

  • Shadows appear under your chin and neck
  • Wrinkles or marks on your face appear more prominent
  • Your face changes colour and not in a way that enhances you e.g. it makes you pale, washed out or reddens you
  • The colour overpowers you, you disappear and the colour dominates.

  • When you go into a fitting room, take the style you like in different colours and try them on. See what the colours do for you - uplift you, wash you out or overpower?
  • A great place to check out colours is one that sells lots of different coloured t-shirts for example. Or a fabric shop if they've got a mirror. Hold the colours up to your face, under your chin.
  • Note, shop lighting can impact the colour and what you're seeing, where possible get out into the natural light.
  • If in doubt, ask the retail assistant or a friend/family member for help.

There are three key considerations when it comes to colour:

  • Depth of colour
    - how light or dark a colour is and which you suit.
  • Undertone of colour.
    Colours are either blue-based, yellow-based or neutral. For example, a red can be blue-based (a cooler red), yellow-based (more orangey) or as a straight primary colour (neutral). Blue undertone is cooler, yellow undertone is warmer.
  • Clarity of colour
    - do you suit soft and muted colours or clear, clean and crisp or somewhere in between.

Depth of ColourUndertone of ColourClarity of Colour
LightCool (blue undertone)Soft
Are you naturally a very light colouring - hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, eyes, skin?
  • Your colour palette is light.
  • Avoid dark colours, especially black.
  • If you wear dark colours, wear a light colour near your face.
Your complexion will have a rosy, pinky, some times slightly blue tinge to it. You're likely to have ash-blonde, silver, grey or black hair, and blue or grey eyes, occasionally hazel.
  • Colours with a blue undertone suit you, not warm, yellow tones.
  • You'll suit medium to deep colours.
  • Make-up colours should be cool - avoid browns, greens, creams and gold.
Do you have dark blonde, mousey or light brown hair with soft/muted eyes of blue, brown, hazel or green? Tonally, there is no real difference between the colour of your hair, eyes and skin.
  • Your colour palette is understated
  • Your overall look is blended and soft, which means it's best to wear colours of similar toning, especially medium depth (between light and deep).
  • Avoid contrasting (opposite) colours
Medium (neutral)Medium (neutral)Medium (neutral)
Your skin colouring is neither cool nor warm. Your hair and eye colouring are neutral. You don't suit extremes of colour. A more neutral, mid-tone colour palette is best.
DeepWarm (yellow undertone)Clear
Do you have dark hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and eyes?
  • Your colour palette is dark and strong. Black works really well.
  • You can wear bold and dark colours close to your face.
  • Lighter colours may not work well on you. If this is the case, complement them with darker colours.
You're likely to have red-toned hair in any shade from strawberry blonde to auburn and with green, brown or blue eyes. Your skin may be light with freckles or dark-toned with a golden (yellowy), olive undertone.
  • Wear colours with a warm (yellow) undertone of medium depth rather than too light or deep.
  • Choose warm coloured make-up, e.g. brown mascara and eyeliner instead of black.
You have definite contrast in colour between your hair, eyes and skin. Your eyes will be your key feature, they'll often dominate. Your skin may either be light or dark. Your eyelashes and eyebrows will generally be dark.
  • You will suit colours that contrast (dark and light), just like your eyes and hair do.
  • You will suit bright, vivid, clear, bold colours.
  • If you're tempted to wear black, team it up with colour.
  • Avoid soft, muted colours.
  • Avoid light or dark colours worn together.

Color Chart

You can be a combination of colour profiles, e.g. you can be deep and warm, or light and clear. It's important to work out which is your dominant colour profile and work from there. For example, are you best suited to clear, bright colours but with a warm, yellowy undertone?

We can actually wear far more colours than we think, it's mostly about getting the tone right - cool, warm or neutral undertone, the depth of the colour and whether you suit crisp, clear colours or soft, muted more dusky colours.

As we age, colour-up over summer or change our hair colour, our colour profile can change. Where once you might have suited clearer, brighter colours, with your skin and hair colouring lightening you may now be better in soft, more muted colours from the lighter palette.

The best place to check your natural skin colour is the under side of your wrist, the part that's least exposed to the sun.

Your also plays an important part:

  • Casual/Natural/Relaxed - may feel more comfortable in natural, subdued colours.
  • Classic - types may lean towards classic, solid colours like black, white, cream, navy, etc.
  • Feminine/Romantic - may prefer softer, feminine colours or flattering colours that help accentuate their body
  • Fashion Follower - generally goes by what's in season
  • Creative/dramatic - types will be more suited to bolder, stronger, contrasting colours
  • Minimalist - monochromatic (one colour), subdued, sophisticated palette of black, white, cream, browns, greys, etc.

Phoebe Phoebe has light colourings - hair, eyes, eyebrows and skin.

Light & Cool - she suits lighter colours with a cooler, blue undertone.
Lisa Lisa is a brunette, with hazel coloured eyes and has a golden skin colouring.

Her colour palette is Clear & Warm.
Bev Bev has very light ash-blonde hair, light coloured eyes and eyebrows and a golden skin colouring.

Light & Cool - her colour palette is light with a cool, blue undertone.
Karolyn Karolyn has very olive coloured skin and is a golden brown even during Winter. Karolyn's eyes, eyebrows and hair are all dark, though she has some highlights in her hair.

Deep & Warm - she suits dark colours, with warm yellowy undertones.
Annette Annette has mid-tone coloured hair, eyebrows and eyes and overall has soft features.

She suits Muted & Light colours.
Diana Diana has dark hair, eyes and eyebrows and mid-tone skin colouring.

She suits the Deep & Clear colour palettes.
Vicki Vicki has a warm, golden skin colouring, dark eyebrows and eyes, and blonde hair.

Warm & Muted colour palettes work well for her.
Anne Ann's dark colourings - hair, eyes, skin - means she suits a Deep colour palette. She can wear black close to her face. She also looks amazing in Clear, bright colours that complement her skin.

Deep & Clear
Lizi Lizi has light grey eyes, mid-tone coloured hair and eyebrows with light-coloured skin.

Muted & Medium-Deep colour palettes suit her.
Ashley Ashley has dark features - hair, eyes, eyebrows and skin colour and really suits deep, strong and vibrant colours.

Deep & Clear
The examples we have used here just happen to work with two colour profile combinations,
e.g. Deep & Clear. You might just suit one colour profile, e.g. Cool or Muted

Next: Love thyself
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