Have you ever walked into a shop and been immediately attracted to a particular colour, whether clothing, home furnishings or even a new car?

If so, you are not alone. A report in Psychology Today questions how rational colour preferences are but accepts that they are a deep-rooted emotional response.

When it comes to clothing and makeup – whether a grey maxi dress or a red lipstick – the colour choices we make will greatly impact our overall look. How are your colour preferences determined and are they the right choices for you?

Warms and cools

Colour is often split into two key categories – warm tones and cool tones. For warm, think of colours with a yellow or golden undertone; for example, orange, red, caramel or even khaki colours can be classed as warm colours. Cool tones have a more striking appearance – think bold shades of blue, pink and green alongside statement shades such as black and white.

What does this mean for colour preference?

Here comes the interesting part, as studies have shown that we are inclined to favour our own natural colourings when it comes to colour preference. This has been proven in art studies that indicated those people with warm tones – such as auburn hair, warm complexions and hazel eyes – were more likely to opt for warming colours in their paintings, while those with cooler tones – such as ash blonde hair, a pale complexion and dark eyes – used cooler colours. This has been proven through art but is also prevalent in colour choices extending to clothing. In short, we instinctively favour colours that are similar tones and hues to our own natural looks.

What does that mean for colour choices?

Those with cool undertones could opt for a grey maxi dress this summer, while warmer tones should embrace tans and burnt reds/oranges to bring out their natural glow.

How to tell what your tone is

If you are not clear about whether you are warm or cool, let’s spell it out for you. If you are warm, your hair colour is probably a warm shade of brown, red or blonde with an eye colour of brown or hazel. Cool tones are likely to have dark brown, black, ash blonde or grey hair with fair skin and dark eyes.