A quick guide to colour theory and skin tone

Have you ever been watching a movie and the self-confessed fashionista has said something along the lines of: “I can’t wear that, I’m a summer.” On some level, we’ve all heard of colour theory and the way it relates to our complexion, eye colour and hair colour. In the world of fashion, it’s often used by stylists when building a wardrobe or consulting on projects.

One of the most popular ways of determining a persons colours is seasonally, this is when individual are placed into one of four categories: Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn. Seasonal colour analysis was created by Carole Jackson in her book “Color Me Beautiful” in 1980, where she posed the idea that instead of following trends that you build your wardrobe around your individual style and colour palette.

Credit: Pinterest

The easiest way to discover your season is by figuring out your undertones. They’re broken down into cool, warm and neutral.

How to determine your undertone

1. The Vein Test — Take a look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. Are they blue(ish) or green(ish)?

If they look more blue, you likely have cool undertones. If they look green, you’ll likely have warm undertones. It’s worth noting that your veins are not actually green, but appear green because you’re seeing them through yellow-toned skin.

2. The Jewellery Test — Do you look better in gold or silver jewellery?

Typically cool undertones look better in silver and platinum, while warm tones look better in gold and rose gold.

3. The Neutral Test — what neutral shades are more flattering on you?

Cooler tones tend to look better in paler shades like white and ivory, while warm tones tend to look better in darker shades like black and navy.

4. The Sun Test — When your out in the sun do you burn easily or tan?

Warm-toned individuals tend to tan, while cool-tones tend to burn.

How to determine your season

This next part is fairly simple and is all based on your undertone and natural hair colour.

Spring – Warm undertones and natural hair color that is lighter than medium brown.

Summer – Cool undertones and natural hair color that is lighter than medium brown.

Autumn – Warm undertones and natural hair color that is darker than medium brown.

Winter – Cool undertones and natural hair color that is darker than medium brown.

For example, I have cool undertones and my natural hair colour is lighter than medium brown, making me a Summer.

This is a really simple and stripped back way to discover your season and colour palette and I will say that despite colour theory there can be exceptions to the “rule” because if you’re a cool tone who looks fantastic in red then you keep wearing it.

Candice Farrow

Fashion and lifestyle blogger from North East, England.

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