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You Aren't Cool

You Aren't Cool

This isn't a judgment on whether or not you are stylish. It IS a statement about wearing cool colors. People have a lot of misconceptions about color. It is an easy subject to get confused about. So let’s start with the basics.

Absolute Temperature

Relative Temperature


While I didn't talk about these terms outright this is what this article was about when discussing orange. These terms are critical when thinking about color. For example, 68°F (20°C) can be warm to some, but to this author that is downright chilly. This is Relative Temperature. Relative Temperature is key in knowing your best colors and in mixing colors.


We know that Skin is always orange, but some oranges are cooler when compared to other oranges. However orange is ALWAYS warm when referring to Absolute Temperature.



Orange, Yellow, Red, Green, Yellow-Green


Strength, Energy, Power, Life, Determination



Teal, Blue, Indigo, Purple, Magenta


Balance, Trust, Intuition, Creativity, Ambition


Each of these colors can be relatively warmer or cooler than another color and can have warmer and cooler undertones within each color space. Much like how ice is always at least 0 °C but ice can also be colder than 0 °C. 


Why is relative and absolute temperature an important distinction to make? Because ultimately, you can wear EVERY color you just need to know the correct undertone to wear in each color group. What does this have to do with why you aren’t cool? Well, that has to do with the fact that almost no one, perhaps no one (we haven’t had one yet) is ALL cool or ALL warm.


First off, cools have a range just the same as color. If you consider a certain pigment range or light range “RED” for example, red can move from APPEARING orange to APPEARING burgundy. BUT the cool spectrum of red moves from that burgundy look-a-like to a true red. The warm spectrum ranges from a red with more yellow in it to more orange-looking reds. At a certain point, red ends up having more yellow than red in it and that is when we go to ORANGE.


Cool Red : Artistic Power 31

Cool red blush, has berry look


Warm Red : Tranquil Power 43

warm red, has orangey look


So you see it isn’t as simple as saying you are warm or cool in your RED because you also need to know what part of that warm or cool composition you are.


P31 for example is ultra-cool in the red spectrum but actually isn’t the very coolest, the very coolest is this strange little undertone that we call P21 and it is also what we call a ‘sensitive’ undertone. A bit too much purple and you end up in a different color group (MAGENTA) and a bit too much yellow and you end up in P31. Can people who are P31 wear P21? Sometimes! Can people who wear WARM REDS wear P21? Sometimes! Unfortunately when it comes to our color system, ebhues, the answer is almost always sometimes. Why? Because everyone is an individual and our palettes are truly personal.


So when you say "I wear cool reds", you could be referring to P21, P31, P11, P32, P12, P13, or P14. Each of these points is a different concentration of red and purple and yellow. P31 and P14 are both cool, but those undertones can vary so much so that people who wear P31 can look terrible in P14 even though it is also a cool red. 



Lipliner Bossy Swatch



Lipliner Scarlet Swatch


You might wonder why I’m taking the time to be really nerdy about discussing color temperature and red in particular, it is because I see things all the time that people with warm skin look excellent in peach (there are cool peaches). Or people with warm skin need to wear warm reds. Or the opposite of that mentality that people with cool skin can’t wear red or should only wear cool reds. While sometimes people with warm skin (remember there is a range of warmth) can wear the warmer side of red, it is also just as likely that they can only wear the cooler side of red! Don’t believe me?



My skin is the warmest side of ORANGE. We call this Strength 417. In the top photo you can see me wearing a Power 31 lipstick, which is the cooler side of red. In the bottom photo I am wearing the warmer side of red, actually JUST a P28, but on me it looks like I’m swatching a P43 lipstick.


The P31 color looks natural and lovely on me. It improves my complexion, even making me look more 'tan'. It doesn’t clash with me or distract from my features.

Elea wearing a P31 Lipstick


The P28 of the same saturation and depth makes me look tired. You don’t see me and the color, you only see my lipstick. My skin looks pale and blotchy. If this was a shirt I would look actually sick. What does this mean?


I can hear you saying right now, so people with WARM skin should wear COOL reds? NO! That isn’t my point. My point is that you are an individual. You cannot use your skin undertone to find your best red undertone. Sometimes people with S417 CAN and DO look AMAZING in P28 or the warmer side of RED. Sometimes people with cool skin look amazing in the cool side of red. Sometimes people with cool skin look great in the warm side of red. So when it comes to the question, “I have warm skin should I wear warm reds”. The answer is actually just…


“It depends”


Want to know your best undertones in each color group aka your best color temperatures? Come visit us! Can’t visit? DIY drape yourself. Your colors are yours for life (after puberty), and it makes the perfect gift! Either for yourself or someone else. Knowing your best colors unlocks the color spectrum in a meaningful, individualized way. It is truly a powerful feeling.


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