How to Identify Warm Blues and Cool Greens


warm blues and cool greens
I was asked how to identify the difference between a warm blue and a cool green.  Warm blues have some yellow in them that moves them towards the green spectrum but they remain on the blue end of the spectrum though are moving into the teal spectrum.  They are the turquoise to marine navy colours.
Cool greens have no yellow in their undertone, they have a bluish appearance, but they are still green.   To see the difference between warm and cool greens check this post out.
Teal is the colour in between warm blue and cool green and can be worn by both warm and cool undertones.

Because warm blue is still a blue based colour, those with a cool undertone can generally wear both warm and cool blues, but people with a warm undertone look best with only warm blues, no cool ones.


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  • Regarding green,

    Imogen, do you know what green this is, property wise?
    (Doesnt the icy grey look a bit off with it? Or perhaps im color blind). 😛

    No matter what I try to pair it with it, i cant tell whether its warm or cool. When worn with greens, its looks more warm green, but if i pair it with grey its looks more cool. I thought itwas a charcoal jacket when i bought it online, but in real it has a stone-y/metal green cast. :-S i can only tell its a soft and dark color, but not the over/under tone.

      • Thanks for answering! :3
        Now it make sense that I found the combination of light/medium grey dresses/bottoms a bit strange with this wool jacket/coat! I do like taupe with both charcoal and darkbrown, but not khaki/stone/greens with cool greys. 😛
        Im going to wear it with my more earthy warm colors instead of grey. (planned to wear it in spring with my grey pieces, but the color combination looked a bit off. My wardrobe is color coded after seasons because I like all colors.

  • Nice timing! Now I know why we wanted a nice teal for some of our neutral but warm leaning living room furniture. It took some searching, but I think it will be worth it.

  • That’s funny – I’ve always thought of warm blues as turquoise and cool greens as teal. That whole spectrum works really well for me so I wear it all

  • I think this sentence, “Cool greens have no yellow in their undertone, they have a bluish appearance, but they are still blue.” was meant to say, “…they are still green”?

  • Hi Imogen,

    I’m still very confused about this. The cool greens look significantly warmer to me than the warm blues – perhaps because the greens have yellow in them – and I was thinking those colors would look better against my warm skin tone (and hair color) than the “warm” blues. Am I wrong about that?

    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful posts and videos. 🙂


  • Thank you for your reply Imogen! I do see the difference between the warm and cool greens. But as a Warm Autumn type person, if I had to choose a blouse from the left or the right side, the ride side colors would likely look better on me, right? Is that correct?

    I’m sure I’m just being obtuse, but I’m so used to seeing the photos with the colors listed as “warm” as the best ones for those with warm coloring, but in the first photo, even thought the blues are warm as far as blues go, they are still cooler than the cool greens which have more yellow. Right?

    Or am I still off in my thinking?

    Thank you so much for your generosity and your insight. I hope you have a wonderful time in Chicago!

    • The blues are blue not green. Greens you have to choose carefully as the wrong ones will make you look ill. Think about them as red and orange. So a orangish red (such as a tomato) is warm and a raspberry red is cool. You wouldn’t wear them both. Your blues are blue still, not green. When you tip over into the green spectrum there is too much coolness in those cool greens for a warm complexion.

      • Oh, okay. That makes more sense. I guess I was mostly just thinking that all blues would be unflattering for me, except for neutral navy. Thanks again for clarifying!

  • Thanks for making a post about this, it is somewhat clearer now. I think the warm blues are a bit bluer then I imagined, making the difference more obvious.

    I am still a little confused about which colours works best with my colouring though. I perceive my colouring to be close to neutral, but slightly on the warm side. I am drawn to this whole colour range, probably because my eyes are a mix of sky blue and teal (with golden flecks). The only colours above I wouldn’t feel too comfortable wearing is the light cool green (mint?) and possibly also the darkest greens close to the face (as I am fairly light). Does this make sense or is it just wishful thinking to be able to look good in all these colours? 😉

  • This is a great post because of the visuals, I need the warm colours but are sometimes confused with the cool greens, some of them I like and then they don’t seem to go with other colours in my wardrobe, now i can see why.

  • My Mom’s variation of “Blue and green should never be seen,” ended a bit differently…”except of course in the washing machine.” ha ha ha! That REALLY put the kybosh on it for me.

    Thanks for your post Imogen. Very helpful. Those colours you’re wearing look fantastic.


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