Following on from my post for those with blonde hair on finding their neutrals. Today we’re looking at neutral options for brunettes.
Your hair is a fantastic colour to repeat, or look at the highlights contained in it and work with them. Think:
- Marine Navy
- Dark warm grey
You are the people that black suits because black is a cool and dark colour, and you have cool and dark colouring, so it harmonises beautifully. If you suit more muted colours, rather than a harsh black opt for charcoal. Your neutral options include:’
- Many Shades of Grey
- Deep Teal
- Deep Aubergine
- Bitter chocolate brown
I’m wondering if our neutrals change as we age. My hair is now quite silver, almost white. I love it but I’m befuddled about the proper colors. I used to be a cool brunette.
Martha, yes you may find that your colours become more smokey as you go grey and then when you are bright white they will lighten and brighten up.
Will you be doing a third piece in the series on neutrals for redheads?
Yes please for redheads!!
I’m a real-life warm brunette, currently fake (bottle) auburn with pale freckled skin. Colors like green and browns are easy to choose because I can wear almost any shade. But I find it really hard to determine whether something is a warm blue or warm purple. Can you write about that some time?
Tracy – I certainly will!
Firstly, loved that post! Thank you!
I am a brunette (light brown with auburn ie reddish henna tones). That would make me a warm bruinette – would you agree?
I love black (it contrasts nicely with my skin, and a black v-neck makes my skin stand out – I was complimented on that). I noticed that the warm brunette list of neutrals included charcoal, not black. Should I ideally choose charcoal rather than black?
Yes you sound like a warm brunette. Black will draw attention to your body, less your face. The younger you are, the easier it is to get away with black, as you get older you’ll find that it really highlights lines and wrinkles.
I experimented – looked at how my face looks in dark olive-gray (not quite black, but dark!) vs black. Yep, that colour looked softer, and black in comparison looked harsh! Thank you!
Elena – great! I’m so glad that you can see the difference!
Oops – the charcoal was for cool brunette! I so love black though, and being warm, do I have to choose between blue or brown? Or can I still wear my beloved black? Would greatly appreciate your thoughts!
Elenda – I’ll do another post on black for you
I think it can be tricky to determine if brunette hair is warm or cool, am I right? If I wear cool clothing, my brown hair appears more ashy, when I wear warm browns, highlights in my hair are brought forward! 🙂
Gigi – you tell if you’re warm or cool from your skin, not your hair – you need to do a colour analysis of your skin to figure out whether you’re warm or cool. Hair can easily throw yellow and red as brown hair has red or yellow pigments in it.
I’m golden brown with green eyes so I’m warm, yet I find some browns make me look yellow and sick. At least when I had long hair. Now I have short hair it seems to have changed a bit.
The four pieces of brown clothes I have are two stripe tops, one with gold, and one with a biscuit colour, an animal trench, and an animal faux fur vest. I also have animal hat, bag and shoes. If the brown is mixed with other shades I think I look good, but just brown on it’s own doesn’t seem to work well.
I’m also not a fan of olive, caramel or camel, those shades just don’t appeal to me as colours but blue does so the marine navy could work.
Jewel – there are so many different shades of brown, like green or red, you have to get the right shades that suit your complexion.
hey Imogen! love your blog, I stumbled onto it a few days ago and I’m hooked 🙂
would you do a “neutrals” redheads/auburn-haired girls like me?
Abby – redheads will be covered next week
What about neutrals for the gray and going gray among us? I have cool medium brown hair with silver streaks, blue eyes, was always cool but have grown increasingly sallow in my forties. I seem to be able to go cool or warm with makeup, while cool clothes still look better.
Grey is coming next week Sara
It’s funny — I do well in only some from each group. From the cool group I’m great in black, aubergine and silver greys; from the warm group I love that marine navy, oxblood, caramel/rust. You’ve neglected the pale neutrals though. Certain taupes, palest yellow and blush, ivory and white.
I actually have real trouble with colors — any way you categorize, it seems like I favor only certain subgroups of multiple categories. I was in a boutique recently, bopping back and forth from deep reds and aquas to cream, yellow and lavender and the owner was stumped by my weird color “territory”.
Cynthia – Marine Navy is a universal colour that everyone can wear. Some Oxbloods are too, as is taupe, though it looks better on blondes than brunettes.
I didn’t include white as I’ve done other posts on white https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2011/02/which-is-your-best-white.html
Hi Imogen! I love your blog and use it a lot! I am a natural brunette with light brown hair that turned gray. I am tinting my hair medium brown neutral. Which of the brunette palettes (warm or cool) can you see me wearing the best? Based on my picture:
Hi! I love your blog and use it a lot! Can you look at my avatar and help me decide which brunette palette to use? My skin is MAC NC30/Bobbi Brown #4/Revlon Warm Golden/L’Oreal Warm Sand #5. My hair is light brown turning gray, which I covered with a medium brown neutral tint.
I forgot to say, I have light green blue eyes, aqua color, very bright.
I have black and curly hair, dark brown eyes, and brown skin. I’m a bit stumped as to which neutrals I should go with. I think I’m warm. Should I do olive-greens as my main neutral?
Olive or marine navy would look great if you’re warm
Is denim (blue jeans) considered a neutral?
It is these days!
I’m wondering which example should I follow (brunette or blonde) if my hair is somewhat in between. Darkest ash blonde or lightest ash brown, could go either way and it depends on the light.
Yes you’d go somewhere in the middle – not the really dark or really light colours.
I was going to ask a similar question. My hair is colored a very neutral brown that is neither cool nor warm. It’s the closest to my natural color that my hairdresser can get. What neutrals should I choose? It’s Paul Mitchell 6NN (double neutral to keep my hair from pulling red).
It depends on the undertone of your skin – whether that’s warm or cool. You may need a professional colour analysis to find that out if it’s not obvious to you.
Thanks. I had a color analysis years ago, when I was in my 20s. I was categorized as a Summer, but that was when we only had 4 seasons. I wasn’t happy with the makeup or color palette I was given. I looked washed out, and people commented on it. I know I’m not a Winter, though, and I very seriously doubt I’m warm. I suspect I’m one of the Soft seasons; maybe Soft Summer.
I’m not sure what a soft Summer is as I never studied the seasons – only science of colour – but there are so many more options these days – plus your colouring changes with age – it may be worth getting another colour analysis for this stage in your life so you do know what suits.
How do I know if I’m cool or warm? I wear a ‘cool ivory’ foundation (having been ‘matched’; and it suits me perfectly) but I know that the warm brunette colours above suit me better than the greys and charcoals of your cool palette above….!
A professional colour analysis will tell you this – I do have some “self-help” advice in these posts https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2009/10/discover-your-colours-warm-or-cool.html
Thank you for all your advices. I thought oxblood (it’s a kind of burgundy, isn’t it), navy, caramel and olive were color and not neutral. This is the basis of my wardrobe, so it seems that my wardrobe is more neutral and less colorful than I thought. I have dark hair (brown), light skin (peach) and medium (green). My wardrobe is schizophrenic, based on these colorful neutrals and more vivid colors for my personal life, but I have to wear black and white in my professional life and it’s a problem for me because it’s too much contrasted and not colorful enough.
They are what I called “coloured neutrals” where they act as neutrals but are more coloured than black and grey and brown!.
Love your blog! I would love your input on my thinking about choosing my best neutrals. I am a warm, dark brunette with medium value hazel brown eyes with ruddy skin overtones and warm undertones in a low value. I believe I am high value contrast but not sure with ruddy complexion and greenish brown eyes if I am medium or high color contrast. Also I am greying to a whiter grey, so I would like to choose a light and a dark neutral that transition well to all grey (changing the proportion of dark to light basics as I grey) For dark neutrals I like a brighter olive ( wonder if it suits my ruddiness), warm chocolate brown (might transition better), or marine blue. Then I fell apart on picking a light neutral to go with each dark nuetral-HELP PLEASE! I know thats a lot, but your feedback would be so helpful!
Hi Renee, without seeing you I can’t do colours – if you’d like my professional o[inion I give it as part of my 7 Steps to Style Program – https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system