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    Default Question about hair colors, cool tones vs. warm tones

    Does anyone know of any links that talk about different ethnic skin tones and the differences between warm and cool, and colors that go with each skin tone type (warm/cool), that aren't heavily skewed toward caucasian skin tones?
    I find links that say things like, most brown and dark skin tones are warm, and I can tell you that nothing can be further from the truth.
    I find links that basically say if you're brown, you're stuck with plain boring colors for your hair that are akin to what you probably already have and no thanks for that. I can decide what I'd like to risk in terms of breakage and boldness and strikingness all by myself. I'm a grownup.

    I find links that a tiny little paragraph about brown skin tones, but seem to oversimply for brevity's sake. Like, if you have yellow undertones, you're warm. WEll, nope. I have yellow undertones, and I look like a godforsaken fool in warm-toned makeups and colors. Warm shade lipsticks of any type make me look like the joker or somebody. Scarecrow. all of my jewelry is silver and my wardrobe just incidentally consists of blues and grays and cool shades. What does it all mean?

    I find plenty of links discussing cool vs. warm sades that ignore us altogether. Or put is mainly in the warm category, leaving a bunch of us cool-toned sisters out to dry. I have a helluva time in the store trying to find non-warm makeup in brands that are made mainly for dark skinned people.I'm thinking of a little color in my hair, and I'd like to see a few different options and ideas and it's so hard to find what I'm looking for just for a few ideas to take to my stylist.
    Last edited by coalblacklocs; 04-04-2014 at 06:13 PM.
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    Onnica's Avatar
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    @Coalblacklocs Now those are some very good questions. I find all that Warm\cool, skintone and undertone information very complicated to say the least. I like most colors on myself so I don't bother much with it. However I was stumped when it came to foundation.(shrug) I asked someone at a make-up counter what my undertone is and I hold onto that for dear life when I purchase foundation and concealers. I already have my mind set on a shade of reddish brown for my locs this Spring so I'm good to go. You may need to make a trip to a colorist for assistance or visit one of those sites that allow you to try different looks virtually before making the committment. Maybe Ms.Clairol or some other hair color companies. I can't direct you but they are out there. I said too much to not have the answer.Aww, shoot. Share what you find out. I think it will help a lot of us. Peace and Blessings.

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    You're right, it's probably a good idea to share what I already know.

    I do know that the best way to tell if you're cool or warm is to put on a plain white shirt, and then put on some jewelry, first try gold, then try silver. If you look better in silver, then you're most likely cool. If you look better in gold, you're most likely warm.

    You can use other indicators, such as your veins on your wrists (if they look green, you're warm, if they look blue, you're cool) but plenty of us cannot see our veins well enough to determine that shade.

    It is said that if you have blue eyes, you're probably cool, and if you have green eyes, you're probably warm.

    Putting the umpteem million extremely thorough descriptions of varying European skin shades aside, what I find seems to say that if you have more or less of a peachy undertone to your skin, you're warm. If you have a goldish undertone, you're warm. However, if you have a pinkish undertone, you're most likely cool. Yellow gets iffy, and where I get confused. If it's a sallow pale yellow undertone, it's most likely cool. (Many people of certain areas of Asian descent, such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, etc, tend to be cool) but if it's more of a gold bronzy undertone, then it's warm. If you have a dark blueish undertone, you're most likely a cool. However, if it's more of a bronzy chocolatety dark brown, then it's warm.

    But a lot of things that most of us have are neutral, like dark brown eyes could really go either way and are not a good indicator.

    See, all of that above gets confusing to me, so I like the jewelry test better. I know what color jewelry I always wear, and it's always silver. Always.


    If you're warm, then you can wear makeup shades on your lips such as warm reds, corals, oranges, chocolae browns, etc. You most likely look nice in hair colors that are gold colored and warm fiery reds, and chocolate browns, in general.

    If you're cool, you look better in makeup with either silvery or blue, possibly pink undertones, or plum, etc on your lips and cheeks. I love silvery darker browns on me, which I find difficult to find, so I normally just wear clear stuff on my lips. all the lipsticks I find (And it should be noted, I'm not one to spend over $5 on a lipstick, sorry) is always chocolately warm or red and look ridiculous on me. For hair, you'd probably look better in shades of black with blue undertones, or cool sandy ashy dark browns. Burdundies and dark reds are good that have a blue or purply undertone. A brighter red is good too, as long as it has a blue-based undertone instead of a gold. For blonds, you'd look better in sandy ashy blondes or platinum type blonds, which could be harsh on hairtextures such as ours though.

    I'm unsure where honeyblond falls into the equation. I think it could go either way, depending on the undertone used, but it kinda makes me think of warm.

    Also, there are people who are neutral who genuinely look ok in either shade. And there are others who vary, who might look better in cool shade hair colors, yet warm shade lips, or somesuch variation.

    the info is there, i guess, but it would be nice to see pictures black people of varying different shades with varing different hair colors to look at. instead of all manner of warnings at black people over dyeing their hair, because dontcha know black hair is OH SO FRAGILE and needs to be treated with KID GLOVES and maybe you should just learn to love the hair color you already have. Which, none of that is particularly untrue, but it's particularly patronizing, when just a few sentences above, when the info directed at people of European descent, the same patronizing warnings are not trotted out.

    And i found article after article worded that way.
    Last edited by coalblacklocs; 04-17-2014 at 02:08 PM.
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    @ Coalblacklocs. Now we could all learn something from all that. I sure did. Sukey Sukey! I can go either way with the jewelry wearing a white shirt. In particular prefer silver with white. I'm a chocolate lady with a bit of cream. My wrist are my lightest area and I have green veins. I learned that I do have yellow undertones and I am warm. Reds browns golds oranges, and earthtones are all my go to make-up shades. I love blue eyeshadows. I need to tone that blue shadow down a bit though.(lol) I bet you would do well with a nude lip too. Even nudes have to match your under tone though. If not you will just look washed out. Thx for the info. I can't wait to dye my locs redish brown. I'm going to find a professional colorist. I can be too sloppy applying colors on flying locs and the clean up alone will make it worth the money I will spend to pay someone else to do it. Besides I have been a D.I.Y from the beginning so I will look at it as a treat to myself. Permanent color forever as long as my locs are healthy enough. Just once a year an rinse to maintain. Those rinses really keep color fresh specially after the perm color as been deposited. Using no sulfates and those color enhancing poos may help too. I would still dilute before using on my locs. Peace and Blessings.

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    Oh. I hope yall can see my Avatar pic. Notice how the locs are so thin you can see all that scalp especially in my crown area.Then at the bottom of my locs you can see the color of my jacket through them. Like I said before I will still try to post before and after pics next week. I'm taking leaps and bounds by just being able to switch my Avatar. YaY! for me.

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    One trick that Soul Rebel suggested to know your undertone is to step outside on a sunny and hold a plain white paper against your skin and see what colour is reflected on the paper. I have yet to try that trick As for the jewellery trick, I suppose that gold blends well agains my skin but I will wear white metals as well, instinctively I'd say I'd go for silver or white gold with a white T. But I think you just need to find a knowledgeable colourist to help you out with figuring out what colour goes best with you and then use your regular stylist to maintain it.


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    That's a good tip, about the paper, I have to try that next.

    Maybe the white shirt/jewelry test was another one of those things that was more catered to the lighter skin of those of European descent?

    Maybe for us, a black shirt would be better, more akin to a nude, or more neutral than white? Or maybe a brown shirt? Like, in my mind, I can see how some darker people wearing a black or brown shirt could look better in gold jewelry, and others in silver. whereas, when I think of plain white on a darker skin person, my mind instinctively goes to silver too, (in a way that doesn't when I think of a white shirt on a white person,) because of the cool contrast of a white shirt on dark skin.

    In any case, it's always a good idea to go to really good professional. However, as a diy kind of person who is super nosy, always researching, and having to be resourceful in an area where not much in the way of professionals of that nature are available (or jobs that could cover such a cost), I'm always interested to know how the professionals do what they do.

    also, it still would be nice to be able to find more resources for pictures of more darker skin people with different hair color examples, from subtle, to bold and striking, with cool vs dark comparison so we could get a better ideas through visuals. I am able to find different pictures of black people in different hair colors, but it is often difficult for me to determine if what I'm looking at is a warm vs cool tone person. I also see many many pictures of black people in hair colors that I absolutely think don't suit them and I could never quite place why, until I read about cool vs. warm and realized that they are obviously wearing a color opposite from their type.


    Seeing a vast array of pictures of all sorts of hair colors comparing cool vs. warm on pale-skin people (along with maybe two gratuitous pics of black women thrown out there for good measure, usually Halle Berry and Mary J. Blige) doesn't exactly help people of skin tones like us.
    Last edited by coalblacklocs; 04-19-2014 at 03:39 AM.
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    @ Onnica, I replied about your locs in your av in the other thread.
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    I had skipped this thread because I don't have anything worthwhile to contribute -- I've only "officially" colored my hair once, I hated it, I haven't colored since -- but after reading it I have to say how much I appreciate the information being shared.

    I always assumed I had cool undertones because I'm dark-skinned but it's good to see more detailed tests. Based on those you posted, coal, yep, I'm definitely cool. And I'm a member of the Blue Vein Society...how funny is that? <-- history joke

    I started wearing silver jewelry when the door-knocker earring craze was at its height. To this day I only wear gold jewelry on very rare, usually dressy, occasions. I also remember when they first started trying to group women into different color "seasons." They said "All black women were winter" and lost me immediately. Later on they tried to come back with more nuance but I was already gone...

    Lastly, this discussion reminds me of a recent Huffington Post article (can't find the link) that discusses how photography and photography film wasn't designed to include the different nuances of skin color. I feel as though it's one more example of the New Colored World we're about to head into...
    It's 2020...do you know where you're going to?

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    Right, I feel like any skin coloring system that groups all people with dark brown skin into one category, is basically saying, "This system is not for anyone who is not white, and wasn't made with any real thought or effort put into it beyond the skin tones of white people".

    Anyone who spends 10 minutes looking at different darker skin people on the internet could be able to see that even though we are all brown, we all vary widely on our shadings and undertones. Anyone who just sees a bunch of brown people all in one category obviously just doesn't care, and I wouldn't be interested in their system.
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