Choosing Colours When You Have Grey Hair But a Warm Skin Undertone

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Don’t forget to adjust your contrast levels for your new colouring, you may, if you had dark hair before it went grey, need to lower your value contrast as your hair lightens.  You may also find that you need to lower your colour contrast as you become more neutral.

It’s much easier to mix colours with similar intensity and value.  Your new colours will be soft and smoky, as your hair has become softer and smoky (greyed) you need to follow suit with your colours.  Notice how these colours go with each other so well.

warm and soft



This post on choosing neutrals for grey hair (both warm and cool versions) will also give you some tips on finding flattering neutrals that work with both your skin and hair.

Accessorizing your grey hair may also be different from how you used to add those finishing touches.

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  • This is quiet strange but very interesting post, because even though Im in my mid 20’s and not close to having grey hair, the examples you showed in the first page seems work alot better on me than the ones I “suppose” to look good in.

    My natural colorings are either warm or cool on each of the hair: Like, my skin-tone is warm pink, not cool toned pink or warmed toned yellow, eyes are a deep blue-grey color while my hair is a mousy deep blonde thats neither ashy or golden (my natural hair that is, I havent dyied it for ages so my natural hair have show up again). Soft colored, Medium value Contrast and Medium color contrast.

    If going for only colors that are warm and soft, It make my skin looks orange-ish or give me a green cast, but wearing colors that are cool and soft, I end up look alot paler and washed out.

    But colors that are neither too cool or too warm and when pairing colors with different coolness or warmness, such as warming up the cool soft smoky colors with warm neutrals and wearing bronzer or “cooling” down warm colors with more neutral colors and wearing cool toned makeup, I don’t look washed out or jaundicing and it start to make sense why I find peach/corla or yellow with grey or taupe so appealing. :3

    Even though being young, I have found this interesting, the grey hair/warm skin tone seems to be very similare to my own dilemma. Red-violet, Teal, Rosegold/Pewter, Icy but warm pastels such as lemon along with most “smokey” colors have always been my favorite. Cool toned Burgundy, Warm-grey (taupe or stone), Powderpink and Gold has been one of my favorite color combination to wear for a long time. Occasionally substute burgundy with teal or coral. :p

      • Lina, I feel the same as you, only at first glance I have high contrast. Dark hair and pale skin. But my skin is a pale neutral olive leaning warm and my hair is cool bronze with warm red highlights. I have to stay right in the middle with my coloring on all fronts: not too cool, not too warm. Smoky, not too bright, not too toned. Muted, not too light, not too dark. Else I look like a gothic vampire or 20 years older washed out. I’m in my late 30s and this post captured my shopping rules for the first time on the internet. Very helpful to see it with examples! Thank you Imogen!

  • Imogene, My hair is gray/silver with some pewter towards the back. Right now I have been adding a light blonde tint to it. So it’s a gray and blonde mix. My skin is very pale and yellowish warm with my eyes being a very dark brown. I’ve been going back and forth as the brighter colors seem to set off the blonde and make my eyes pop; making me feel vibrant and visible. The ones you’ve shown here do soften me down but I feel more invisible with them as they don’t set off my dark eyes. Is that what softening does? Would I still use these types of colors even with the blonde in my hair?
    Was so excited to see this post waiting for me.

  • I have bright white hair, not color at all and finding colors that look good on me now has been a challenge. I already wear lots of gray, but finding colors that work for me has been a bit of a challenge. I dislike pastels, but love the softer and smokier colors you’ve chosen. I read through all of the links as well. I have very dark brown eyes but I have never really ‘taken’ to brown. I still like wearing black, but maybe I should work away from wearing it near my face!

  • I was so anxious to read this post as I have olive skin and almost white hair. I have definitely found my wardrobe has to be adjusted. Chartreusy green used to be my most favorite but have now found it brings out any yellow that I might have in my hair. Gray is my best friend as well as white (which I could never wear before). I cannot imagine teal, blush or any of those colors being flattering on me and taupe seems to wash me out. I find purple and fuschia to be flattering but apparently I don’t know what I am doing! Wow this was quite interesting…

    • Oh and there are warm versions of fuchsia as well as cool versions. Plus some people when their hair is white (not grey) actually brighten up again and move past the smoky colours to clearer ones again.

  • Great post – am hoping that you will do a similar post of greying with cooler tones. : )) ps if you have already done one and I’ve missed it, please feel free to point me in the right direction. Thanks Imogen


  • This post is very interesting, I love grey hair on some people, as long as the cut is current and had never thought of warm skin tones with grey hair.

  • Great post! I will be going grey in the next year or so and I have yellow based skin. Interesting to learn about the transition before it happens. Right now I prefer light grey camel to taupe (hardly any yellow) but I can see taupe coming into its own when my hair becomes grey. Thanks.

  • I found this post fascinating, as eventually I will have to go completely grey (at the moment my hair is coloured every 5 to 6 weeks) so it’s interesting to see what colours I may have to work with. Are there many “universal” colours that suit those of us who are warmer as well as those who are cooler? I would find it helpful to see a series of outfits based around universal colours for those of us who are H shape, A shape etc.

  • Very helpful and informative post! I didn’t know much in regards to grey hair care and how it compares and contrasts with that of regular hair, but this makes sense. I will definitely be taking advantage of my newfound knowledge!

  • Never too late to comment! I was on the train today and saw a lady with grey, nearly white hair, greyed blue eyes and she had warm tanned skin. She rocked! She had a soft white shortish stylish jacket on, black pants (probably black shoes) and a wonderful black-white-lots of grey swirly whirly patterned top. So the clothes went with her hair and eyes. All her accessories (rings, watch, maybe earings and bracelet) were gold. Black handbag. I was so impressed.

  • I have olive / orange tone to my skin. I see some beautiful gray hair colors. I color every 4-5 weeks.. my stylists doesn’t want me to go gray because the lighter my hair gets I looked washed out. I wish I could go gray because I get tired of spending money to have the gray show after three weeks

  • Imogen, have you written about ladies with natural red hair as they age? They don’t go grey, but certainly seem to soften in intensity of ‘warmth’. How can we choose colours that are flattering?

  • I am fair skinned, 66 years old and dye my hair every 5 weeks. I dye it very dark brown, almost black and like the contrast with my skin tone. I wear it very short. I have a lot of yellow in my skin. I’m tired of dying my hair, my roots come through after 2 weeks. I’m considering letting it go grey but no sure. I look young for my age and afraid it might age me. I really don’t know the undertones of my gray and thinking about dying my hair gray. What shade should I go for. I’m thinking a darker shade, like a pewter. Please advise. Thanks!

  • Finally! I’ve been so confused by the seasonal method that puts me in Winter because I have graying hair and blue eyes, but l have skin that is warm and winter colors are not good on me. I probably used to be a Spring when my hair had gold and red highlights. Warm skin and gray hair seems to be ignored in all the color charts I find.

  • This is helpful and I seem to gravitate to some of these colors in the image above. Most of the time, I wander around the stores not knowing what to get, though. My silver is almost blonde and if I use purple shampoo to get the yellow out, the strange shade I get looks weird on me. Too bright of any color washes me out. How do I find neutrals? White/black no longer look good. Stone (light gray/taupe) seems fairly nice, but hard to find.

    • Work with the colours in your hair today – getting what you want in stores can be tricky – as colours are part of overall fashion trends – this is why having clothes made is sometimes an option to get what you want in the colour you want.

  • I have salt and pepper hair, but a flushed complexion, and dark eyes and eyebrows. I find it hard to know what colours suit me.

  • I would like to see the color pallet for going grey warm tone spring- I had gold blonde hair, have slightly olive skin and grey green eyes- hair undertone red and I am successfully coloring and might like to quit. ( or highlight in one way or another to grey accent) Color brows? keep coral and terracotta lip stick- you mention a pallett? Hair is now steely going soft grey silvery. My color is light golden brown from my bottle- I might go back to the silvery- with a little help-

    • You are probably going into what I call the Intriguing palette – but without seeing you it’s hard for me to judge. Many “Spring” people’s colouring changes in this way. It’s warm, but not as warm as you used to wear, and more smokey and subtle colours. I do colour analysis in my 7 STeps to STyle program if you’re interested.

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