Cool vs warm

There are two classifications for undertones; Cool and warm. If you have warm undertones, your skin will be either peachy, yellow, or golden. If you have cool undertones, your skin will lean towards pinks, reds, or blues. 

Blue cool tones


Red warm tones


You may ask…Do I have cool or warm undertones?

To know check your veins; if your veins look greenish, then you may have warm undertones. If your veins look blue or purple you likely have cool undertones.  Knowing whether you have cool or warm undertones is extremely important if you want to look and feel wonderful at all times. This is especially true for hair. When it comes to hair we want to ensure that the warm or cool colour tones are correct for YOU.

The only way that you will look good when not knowing and utilising your correct colour tones is if you are an avant garde or statement maker. If your fashion, hair and makeup is dramatic most days, then often you can coordinate something that really works for you even if the colour tones aren't necessarily "correct" for you.  Most of us though want to effortlessly look great when going out socially, wearing casual day wear, going to work or going out somewhere fancy. This is why knowing your undertones is so important as it helps you achieve this effortless beauty.

One topic that aligns with Cool and Warm undertones that is very topical now is embracing the natural silver greys as they come through. While we are a salon that has clients come from all over New Zealand for our “Expertise in Silver hair” The question you should ask yourself is…

Does everyone suit grey/silver hair? 

That answer is NO, not everyone suits grey/silver hair. I advise my clients that if you are warm toned and going grey, silver grey hair will not be your best hair colour look. If budget and investment is not an issue when colouring your hair then I advise for those with warm undertones DO NOT GO  GREY. Instead go for a fabulous warm colour that suits you, is uplifting and makes you look and feel amazing.

Jane Fonda case study – Master Stylist Vicki Ogden-O’Fee

Warm tones :

In these images Jane Fonda looks amazing, her skin looks fresh, glowing, uplifting, soft, sexy, feminine, and great for her age. That is because in these images her hair, makeup and outfits reflect her undertone. Jane Fonda has a natural warm undertone; her hair needs some depth and warm tones, and this really helps her to glow.

warm Jane fonda
Blonde Jane Fonda
Blonde Jane Fonda

Cool tones:

In the images below silver hair makes Jane Fonda look drawn in the face, tired, and older. In my opinion Jane Fonda has aged a decade or more over night in these cool undertone images. She has tried to warm it up a bit with her red jacket and warm toned evening dress, but this look is no where near as flattering as the warm undertone images above, and that is because she is warm toned naturally so having cool toned hair is draining her complexion.

Jane Fonda dull Grey
Cool toned Jane Fonda
Jane fonda Grey

It is so vitally important that when having your hair coloured, buying clothes, jewellery, and accessories that you know your undertone. Once you do you will have good hair, fashion, and style days for the rest of your life.

Cool and warm tones

What colour looks best on cool skin tones?

Colours for cool skin tones include - Bright blues, emeralds, and deep purples will look great, along with frosty shades of lavender, ice blue, or pink. If you have this undertone you are either Winter or summer colour palette.

What colours are best for warm skin tones?

The best colours to dress warm skin tones richly reflect nature. Go for brown, ivory, and yellow green. Reds, corals, ambers, and golds also look stunning. If you are going for a cool-toned look, try warmer versions of cool colours like olive, orchid and violet-red. If you have a warm undertone you are either a Spring or Autumn colour palette.

Does white look good on warm skin tones?

True white tends to favour cooler undertones, while warm undertones look better in off-white. Warm undertones also tend to complement brown hues, while cooler tones look better in black.

White shirt and warm tones

In general, vibrant, pure, deep, warm, bold, golden colours are fantastic on you. Black can look quite good on you, but it is not your best colour. Your natural colouring is deep, dark, earthy, golden, and warm. The colour of your eyes and hair, and at least the undertone of your skin, is rich and warm.

Does black look great on everyone?

Little black dress

Black can really make everyone look amazing. ... Black is elegant and chic; black is slimming; black looks good on all skin tones; black looks good with all hair colours; black looks as good on men as it does on women. BUT here are some golden rules of wearing black.

  • Black is best suited to Cool toned people and most of all WINTERS
  • Other seasons can wear black, but you need to dress it up and accessories so that the black is not reflecting on your face as this can make some people look dull, grey, and sluggish.
  • Black is slimming and can give the appearance of taking kilos off you.
  • When wearing blacks, it is important that they flow e.g. the same fabric in a dress and jacket, unless mixing it up with a pattern.

At V for hair and beauty Merivale we pride ourselves on giving thorough consultations to our clients. You do not have to be a salon client to come in for an initial consultation, we would just love to help.  We also invite you to book for a colour consultation to discover your natural undertone and seasonal palette. You will leave with a colour fan for your colour season and knowing what colours compliment and suit you.

This service is available with Master Stylist Vicki and Stylist director Kumar.

Master stylist quote V for Hair