How to Pick the Undertone of Greens


How to Pick the Difference Between a Warm and Cool Undertone Green

Dear Imogen,
I love reading your blog and have learnt so much from you. I have a question regarding colour and hope you could help me to add some more colour into my wardrobe. I’m a cool brunette with green eyes, but after arranging my clothes in a rainbow, I realised the only garments in green are two worn out tops. How can I start, by choosing a scarf, a top, printed or solid? And also what kind of green to look for?
Thank you and best regards, Jelena

colour wheel overtone


Many people get confused about green and whether or not it’s warm or cool.  Undertone is one of the three main properties of colour.

Many people think of all greens being cool because the overtone of green is cool (as is the overtone of blue and blue/violet).  But the reality is, you can make a green warmer or cooler colour when you play with its undertone.


undertone of green

To make green warm, add yellow to make a yellow-based green.

Warm greens are commonly called names like olive, khaki, chartreuse, lime, pistachio etc.

To cool green down and make it cool, add blue to get a bluish-green.

Cool greens are often called names like forest, emerald, bottle green, seafoam etc.

Discovering the Undertone of Green


Choosing Greens

As a cool brunette you want to look for cool greens. You will probably find that the medium to darker cool green colours work best for you.  This green top that I’m wearing is a great cool green that would most likely work for you as it has some depth.  The lighter green necklace is also a cool green.

How to choose the undertone of green - which are the right ones for you?


For what to choose that’s up to you.

You could find a scarf with some greens in it and then find clothes to match.  Scarves are a great way of adding in colour to your wardrobe and also brilliant for helping you put together interesting colour combinations (like I wrote about here).

Or just go straight for a top that really brings out your eye colour. Repeating your eye colour in a top or scarf (and jewellery too) draws attention to your face and intensifies the colour of your eyes (and as I always say “if you’re looking in my eyes you’re not looking at my thighs“).

As someone with green eyes, you should look to finding a green that matches your eyes and makes them pop!  That’s your eye enhancing green that will be a fabulous colour on you!

More Green Tips

Psychology of Colour – Green

Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen

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  • I’m the same, cool brunette with green eyes rimmed in a slate blue colour so blue-green shades always look better on me.

    I think many shades of yellow/green, like the ones you picked, just aren’t for me as they are not as nice as the blue-greens (and I LOVE blue), so I steer away from limes (although I like/have it in jewellery) and olives (not a nice colour).

  • A scarf, a bag and earrings, necklace or ring (or any other three items) which tone with one of your base colours would be a good way to add a
    new accent colour to your wardrobe.
    I’ve just got rid of items in my wardrobe which were the wrong colour (bought online and then kept, which was a mistake) and now find, paradoxically, that I have more choices and more to wear! Imogen, would you be able to make suggestions about how the overall wardrobe has to work together since this is the big issue for most of us…

  • Imogen,

    First of all; thanks for your fabulous blog! It is such an inspiration and great resource!

    I have a question related to overtone and undertone; and what suits people with warm and cool colouring: How does cool green differ from warm blue? Both bluegreens, right? I have warm colouring and feel very confident in all sorts of bluegreens, but I will also happily wear yellowgreen. Green-green on the other hand… not my colour.

  • Thank you! I’ve found a scarf in solid pine green and it looks like a good way to going greener 🙂 I used to opt for blue altough my eyes are green, never knew why… Probably psychological matter, anyway I’ll try the scarf and see how it works.

  • Although I don’t have green eyes (mine are medium slate-blue) I love wearing the darker or bright shades of blue-green like teals, because cool pastel wash me out unless teaming them up with gold and dark browns.
    Warmer light colors seems to go better with my warm-ish pink (powderpink) skintone, but with darker colors I always prefer going for the more cooler color. (my natural hair color is mousy blonde or ashy brown but it is more “brassy” now, but I still feel more comfortable in brighter and darker cool colors even if my skintone is slightly warmer).

    BTW. Although I can wear warm pastels like lemon yellow, peach and very pale limes, lighter shades of warm browns like tan and camel wash me out, making my skin look muddier which is a little bit strange…

    Is Tan/Camel a soft or bright neutral?

    • There isn’t a colour wheel with undertones sadly. The colour wheel you see is just a regular colour wheel you can buy from an art shop. The colour palettes that I give my clients in a colour analysis already have the correct undertone so that you can easily match the colours on the store and see what is the same undertone as the colours that suit you or are different.

      • That makes sense! Thanks so much for this blog post; I had never before understood the difference between overtone and undertone. You’re the bomb. (Just in case you don’t say that Down Under, it’s means you’re the best!)

  • My eyes are “sea color” according to a woman who did my colors a few years ago. They are blue-green, grayed if that makes sense. Colors with grey added suit me near my face as well as blues and greens. Do you have a name for my eye color? Also, what colors other than blue and green would “go” with my coloring? My skin is light and my dyed/streaked hair is ginger, silver and blonde.

    • Blue-green colours are often called Teal. Colour naming is pretty arbitary Barbara! If you have a colour swatch then the other colours in it should look great on you. Without doing a colour analysis myself in person, read up the posts I’ve written on signature colours.

  • Teal and turquoise are confusing me a bit. Perhaps, because I have moved more toward Intriguing colors which seems to sit on the cusp of warm and cool. I love turquoise in all shades including the green turquoise. How do I know if I have a warm turquoise or teal. Even if it is not warm is it that far off the mark?

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