What even is a “personal color palette,” anyway?

While certainly not a new concept, curating a closet or makeup collection based on your undertones is generating major buzz online recently. People are eagerly sorting themselves into spring, summer, autumn and winter, each with their own archetypal color palette.

It’s hard not to find the trend compelling, with its dramatic before-and-after comparisons – people said they do seem to glow in their post-color-analysis outfits.

But I’m sure many of you have asked: how do I actually tell what my undertones are? Luckily, if you’re part of this camp (and those TikTok filters just aren’t doing it for you), here are a few hacks to get you started.

Determining Your Undertone

First, make sure you begin in an environment with as much natural lighting as possible. Also, try to keep your hair out of your face, remove any makeup and wear neutral-colored clothing.

One simple way to determine your undertone is to look at your wrists – if your veins look green in the light, you most likely have a warmer undertone, and if they appear blue or purple, you tend to lean cooler.

Alternatively, take a look at the contrast between your skin tone and your natural hair color; if you notice little-to-no contrast, you most likely lean warmer, while if you notice a higher level of contrast, you most likely lean cooler.

Finally, one last technique you could use is simply holding up gold and silver jewelry to your skin. If gold makes your skin look duller (such as grayish or dry), sallower or makes your eye bags more prominent, you’re probably cool-toned, and vice versa for silver.

Photo credit: How to Find Your Skin Undertone / YouTube screenshot
Photo credit: How to Find Your Skin Undertone / YouTube screenshot
Video Credit: Haley Kim / YouTube

Finding Your Season

Okay, that was the tough part. Now that you’ve hopefully found your undertone, finding your season is a lot easier. Simply compare your natural hair color to your undertone.

  • If you have a relatively lighter hair color and warm undertones, you’re a spring! You most likely look best in brighter, well, spring-ier colors.
  • If you have warm undertones, but a relatively dark hair color, you’re an autumn. Jewel tones are your best friend.
  • Meanwhile, if you have a relatively lighter hair color but cool undertones, you’re a summer! Bold, bright colors probably suit you best.
  • And finally, if you have a relatively dark hair color with cool undertones, you’re a winter. Dark, muted, cool colors most likely look best on you.

If you’re still confused, don’t worry! Try finding spring, summer, autumn and winter-colored clothing, jewelry or makeup and holding it up to your skin. Similarly to the jewelry hack, keep an eye out for which colors make your face stand out and which make your face duller or appear sallower.

And besides, at the end of the day, you don’t have to follow your “personal color palette” at all – it should be a helpful guide rather than an absolute law. Wear what makes you happy!

Thumbnail image: Color wheel palette by Kiloueka is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0