What Are the Best Cool Skin Tone Colors?

Sheri Cyprus

The best cool skin tone colors have a blue base, while orange-based shades in cosmetics, hair colors, and clothing are best avoided. Platinum blond, violet-brown, dark brown, and jet black are some hair colors that tend to suit cooler skin tones. Vivid red and other clear colors such as hot pink, lemon yellow, and emerald green can brighten and flatter these complexions. Icy pastels can also look good on this type of skin coloring.

Blue may be a flattering color for cool skin tones.
Blue may be a flattering color for cool skin tones.

Icy pastels have a strong bluish-white undertone and just a hint of color such as pale pink, baby blue, or soft yellow. Icy neutrals such as gray and taupe also tend to be good colors for a cool skin tone. While taupe is a cool neutral, as it has some gray in it, beige contains some yellow that makes it too warm for most cool complexions. A silvery rather than yellowed gray is also a good color choice.

Makeup colors with blue undertones tend to look better on women with cool skin tones.
Makeup colors with blue undertones tend to look better on women with cool skin tones.

Rather than peaches and salmons, which have a lot of orange in them and tend to suit warm skin tones better, those with cool complexions should choose clear, bluish pinks, such as rose and cotton candy. Comparing peach, salmon, rose and cotton candy together can really help many people notice the orange or blue undertones. Once the basic difference is understood, it can make shopping for cool-toned makeup, clothing, and hair colorings much simpler.

Comparing yellows and greens can be another way to discover cool skin tone colors. For yellows, a green rather than orange undertone is best. Lemon yellow contains a much more green cast to it than a golden version, which contains orange. Wearing lemon yellow tends to brighten cool complexions, while golden yellows usually have the opposite effect, seeming to add shadows to the face.

The more yellow a green contains, the less it flatters cool complexions. Cool skin tends to look best in blue-based greens. Comparing pine with forest green can reveal a strong difference, even though both dark colors may look similar at first glance. Forest green is yellower, while pine is bluer. People with cool complexions often can wear any shade of blue, although a lot of green can warm up the color. Blues with a violet undertone are typically the most flattering.

Typically the more yellow a green has, the less it flatters cool complexions.
Typically the more yellow a green has, the less it flatters cool complexions.

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Discussion Comments


Since I'm cool skin toned, will self tanners look OK on me? I unfortunately inherited super pale skin from my father, who was pale and had pitch black hair. The reason I'm asking about self tanners is because winter months are coming and I get super pale and I want some color in winter. My friend has a gorgeous olive complexion and she tans easily. I, on the other hand am too scared to self tan because of the possible tacky results. If there are any ideas or suggestions, please let me know! -Aliyana


@bythewell - While it might have something to do with pigment in the skin, skin tone is not determined by how dark someone is. In fact, most people who are very pale are cool skinned, but so are people with true olive skin or dark skin.

The real way to tell is whether the blood vessels in that are visible under your skin are blue or green. If they look blue, you have cool toned skin, if they look greenish, you have warm toned skin.

The only reason they look that color at all is because of the light reflecting off the skin, so I think that whether you have warm or cool skin tone has got more to do with the transparency of your skin than the pigment.


@indigomoth - Yeah, the cool tones, warm tones thing has been around for a while. I think they used to say you were a "winter" or a "summer" for a while, but it basically means the same thing. It's got something to do with the underlying pigment in your skin.

For example, my sister has cool toned skin. She's takes after our Irish ancestry and she's got that really pale, rose petal skin.

While I've got a yellowish tone to my skin, which I guess I get from my father's side of the family.

The result is that we can't really ever use each other's makeup or clothes, except things that are just basic black or white.

This is never more true than when one of us decides to borrow a favorite sweater or something like that and is disappointed that it doesn't look nearly as good as it does when the other is wearing it.


The first time I read about cool and warm skin tones I didn't really think it was all that much of a big deal and that all skin tones were individual, so they couldn't be summed up as either being cool or warm.

I thought that you just had to figure out what suited you, or even that you just have to figure out what you could get away with.

But there really are a set of the best colors for cool skin tones. I first noticed it with lipstick. I could wear two lipsticks that didn't seem all that different and one would look amazing and the other would look, well, cheap. It took me a while to realize that I had been figuring out that I needed cool toned lipstick and that I had been spending hours picking them out by comparing all the different colors and then deciding that the cool tones worked best.

If I had just followed the rules about cool skin colors then I could have gone straight to the right colors, rather than messing around with the whole range.

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