When you wear colors not suited to your skin's undertone, you promptly look haggard and dull. It's particularly important near your face. I see it all the time, particularly, cool-toned guys wearing beige or brown shirts and warm-toned guys wearing blue.

On the other hand, a color that complements your skin tone makes you look healthy and alive even after a regrettable late night out.

Knowing your undertone makes it much easier to select the colors that brighten your face. However, since it's an undertone and has nothing to do with fairness or darkness, it's a bit tricky to identify.

Justin Timberlake, Cool   |   Jimmy Fallon, Warm

Justin Timberlake, Cool   |   Jimmy Fallon, Warm

Your skin's undertone is either cool (mostly blue) or warm (mostly yellow). And a very small group of people are neutral - a mixture of both warm and cool.

Here is how to tell whether your undertone is warm or cool.

1. General Complexion

Pink or ruddy red complexion generally equates to cool undertones for the fair-skinned; blue or purple complexion means cool undertones for darker skin.

Golden, olive or bronzey-brown complexions usually qualify as warm.

Looking at your face in the mirror, try holding royal blue under your chin and then switch to caution-yellow. One will make you look washed out while the other brightens your complexion.

If the blue enhances your color, you're cool-toned; if the yellow illuminates your skin, you're warm-toned. If there is truly no difference, you're a lucky neutral.

2. Your Wrist Veins

Look at the inside of your wrist and note whether your vein color appears blue (cool) or green (blue veins appear green through 'warm' or yellow skin tones).

Many guys have trouble differentiating between blue and green - one out of every 12 men is color deficient in blue-green-yellow variation - so poll a few women to determine your vein hue.

If you get several "I don't know"s or "I really can't tell"s, you may be neutral.


3. Hair & Eye Color

Platinum blondes, ashy brunettes or jet black tresses suggest cool skin tones. Along with light blue, gray-blue, blue-green or dark chocolate eyes.

Strawberry blondes, golden or auburn brunettes, red-heads and dark cherry locks tend to have warm skin tones. Along with hazel, green, amber or golden brown eyes.

4. Sun Reaction

Though not the greatest test for those with very dark skin, the skin's reaction to the sun can provide clues of it's undertone. When you show a little extra leg come Memorial Day, does your skin immediately burn or bronze?

If your pasty upper thigh easily burns, you likely have cool undertones.

Light olive to deep brown skin that tans without burning usually indicates warm undertones. Pale skin that easily freckles is also likely warm.


So which colors work for which undertones?

Cool-toned people look great in colors with more blue than yellow; warm people should stick to colors with more yellow than blue.

Cool-tones should wear grey neutrals, emerald green, purple, blush or bright pink and deep reds:

Warm-tones should wear sandy neutrals, khaki, brown, bright greens, salmon and bright orangey-reds.

*It is most important to complement your undertone with the colors of your shirts, jackets, ties and hats since these sit right next to your face. Swimming trunks, shorts and other articles you wear when showing a lot of skin are also important. Pants and shoes, though, don't matter as much so go wild.


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