How have you determined what colors work best for you?

Trial and error for the most part! I’d say I started using colors that “seemed” like they’d be good on me, e.g. warmer tones since I am warmer in undertone.

— Christine


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Erica Avatar

What works best on me is colors I like or what I’m drawn to. I don’t waste time trying to make something I don’t like work. I’m a neutral and can wear gold or silver jewelry and I have brown eyes and hair so I really can wear anything. But I prefer warm tones, earthy tones, blues and greens. Purple is my least favorite color. I’m just not drawn to it. I like it more if it’s more plummy or has pink to it but a straight up Joker purple is so off putting. I don’t know why. It’s just that color for me

Nancy T Avatar

Let’s just say, at 13 through 17/18, I actually thought I looked “Hot” in blue frosty eyeshadow on the lid, charcoal frost in the crease and frosted light yellow on my browbone, lots of mascara, sheer lipglass and some blush! I had NO clue how bad I must’ve looked. 46 years of playing with various colors and shades of colors later, I know what works and what doesn’t. I pretty much knew by 18 y.o., that I was a medium golden olive, and to go warmer or neutral to have everything mesh with what I got.

Ana Maria Avatar

Trial and error, trial and error…
I’m not a color expert (I’m more like a newbie) and I don’t have an eye for color matching. Many colors seem beautiful online, on other people, in store… but they don’t work for me. Sometimes colors that look similar (aka dupes) have some subtle difference that make one look great on me, while the other makes me look sick. Unfortunately, I’m not a lucky girl that can pull any shade.

With lipstick it’s easy, I just go to a MAC store and try different shades to see how they look on me.
Otherwise I try to get make-overs to try some shades; blush, eyeshadows… some shades really look great swatched, but once I get them on my cheeks or eyes they simply don’t work for me.

Kubuko Avatar

Lots of trial and error, but also by noticing how certain clothes look on me. I always have to remember to step away from the mirror and see how it looks.

LindaP Avatar

I think the Color Me Pretty and other like sites/services can help determine your colors. I am a true winter and I have a neutral undertone. I can wear high color saturation, but look best in blues, reds, black, white, and deep pinks that are blue toned. I can wear some pastels so long as the are icy and not warm. Even with the colors that work on me, some shades look better than others.

I figured out my colors moons ago, and never stray. Sounds rigid and boring? Not to me. When I wear color that suits me, I feel so much better about myself, prettier, more confident. I put on that deep blue that works, I light up. You will never see me in yellow, for instance (mon dieu, non).

My makeup goes along the same lines. No sunset or orange looks for me. No yellow toned blushes or orange-y bronzers. Icy toned shadows often work well on me too. I can wear coral blush, but it has to be a dusty, deeper one.

Anyway, I think color is a power tool. If you’re interested in learning more about yours, Justine Leconte has a good primer. She also has videos that walk you through figuring out your undertone.

Deborah S. Avatar

I went to a little home makeup party back in the 70’s or 80’s, can’t remember which, but anyway, I had my “colors” done and they determined I was a winter although at the time I had strawberry blonde hair. Anyway, it isn’t base off of hair or eye color. So winters are suppose to look good in jewel tones, white and silver jewelry. I also have extremely cool undertones (although changing a little now but still cool). So, I started there and then just kept at it until I found what I like and what I feel looks good on me. My eyes are quite a dark brown so sometimes I feel that lighter shades on my eyes just don’t mesh well. They seem over powered by the deepness of my eyes. I love a minimal eye makeup with just a touch of definition in the crease and then doing a bold lip but whenever I try to do that it just looks terrible.

Seraphine Avatar

Trial and error. Catching my self in a mirror somewhere and getting either a “what was I thinking” or “wow, my makeup looks good today” impression. Or just getting compliments from people during the day. I’ve learned which shadows look best on me from people commenting on how green my eyes are!

Genevieve Avatar

Due to my colouring (red hair, grey/blue eyes and fair complexion) I have always been drawn to blues, greens, black/white/reds and browns. I have never liked pinks, oranges or most purples.
As far as eyeshadows were concerned, I would, in the past, use only shades of grey and navy. So warm toned clothes and cool toned eyeshadows.
But now I have branched out into warmer toned eyeshadows as well as olives, taupes and coppery shades.
For clothes, I have just started wearing plum accents. So you never know what can really suit you until you try it.

Snow Avatar

I was clueless until I learned about personal color theory and how to diagnose which colors and tones were for me. It’s not perfect and is more like a general guideline, but I now seem to make better shade choices when I pick up something new, not just with makeup but also with clothes.

Gamze Avatar

Long before I started wearing makeup. In my early teenage years, I discovered that I look sick in warm shades whereas I looked my best in cool red and fuchsia. I also instinctively chose cool shades for makeup. Later I found out that I’m a true winter. Now that I’m middle aged, I also try to wear warmer shades in the summer, but it never works out well with the exception of bronze eyeshadow.

Alecto Avatar

Same, trial and error. I did (in the beginning of my makeup journey) try to follow “established” (shifting, really) rules, but most didn’t work that well for me. Eventually I gave up on makeup. Then eventually I got into in-your-face metal makeup. Since I so rarely try to use “pretty” or “enhancing” makeup, I don’t pay much attention to what’s flattering anymore, but I will say I’ve discovered that my face has different “zones” and different undertones or temperatures work best in different areas: I look my “enhanced” best when my eyes have very warm to warm tones, my cheeks have neutral tones, and my lips have strong cool tones. So, in essence, if I cared to look pretty, I’d be most successful by gradating hot to cold, top to bottom. No idea why that works.

Alecto Avatar

I wanted to add that yes, I’ve tried the opposite (gradating cool to warm, top to bottom) and I look like death — not charming goth-y death, more like sallow, liver-wasting disease death. So … no. I say I don’t care about wearing flattering makeup, but even I have my limits.

Rachel R. Avatar

Trial and error, plus my mom was a painter and model, so I was exposed to colors and color theory pretty early on. I was color draped in high school in the 80s, too. That determined that I was pretty neutral, but as a natural brunette I leaned slightly more Winter. As a redhead, I think I wear Autumn colors even more easily, and can wear some shades I couldn’t pull off as a brunette.

Emilie Avatar

Trial and error! In the past, if a fair/blonde YouTuber hyped something up, I assumed it would work for me and I’d buy it. Mac Creme Cup is the best example. So many people praised it on YouTube, but whenever I wore it I felt so yucky and self conscious. Taught me not only that only warm pink lipsticks work for me, but that I need to feel good in it before buying it. Kinda like clothes shopping, honestly. Now I can almost always tell if I’ll like a shade on myself without much guessing.

Bonnie Avatar

I honestly believe that you just have to learn your matches for skin products. Color products – you can make anything you like work for you if your skin products are the right undertones and you can put a whole cohesive look together. The best colors for you are the ones that make you happy!

Silvia Avatar

By experimenting with various shades but for example I know pink blushes are my best friends followed by perhaps a light mauve. Or another example on my skin Luminoso/Milani I like but it is not the best shade on me I prefer Coralina or any of the pinks shades. I think your face lights up and says ‘Thank you’ to your mirror when applying the correct shade is like magic! I certainly can tell what favors me on my hazel/green eyes, cheeks and lips.
Recently in this crazy S.Califirnia weather which changes daily I was wearing a casual sweater and as applied Berry Recognize liquid lipstick/WetnWild my entire face just lit up love that shade! And I prefer the WetnWild ones over the Nyx and Colourpop I have which tend to run outside lip line and I hate that. Or by wearing a warm copper shade, golden tones or purple on my hazel eyes is magic!

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