How Our Colors Change as we Age

How Our Colors Change as we Age

Do you know your best personal colors? Several of you have asked me to talk about our personal coloring and how to know what flatters us. Can our coloring change as we age? You bet and that means our most flattering color palette will too. Can you go from warm to cool or vice versa? Yes, but more likely your coloring will simply soften as your eye, hair, and skin loose pigment. 

Many older women reach for colors without worrying if they look flattering or not. They choose bright colors because it makes them feel visible and happy. I’m doing that more than ever yet when I catch my reflection in the mirror I’m reminded that wearing a flattering color smoothes my complexion, brightens my eyes and takes years off my face. Nothing wrong with that!

Most of us have had our seasonal colors “done” which classifies you as warm or cool and soft or intense.

A simple test to determine your temperature is to look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they’re blue, you are cool, if they’re green you are warm-toned.

Most women intuitively sense which colors look best on them. I would encourage you to listen to your gut and wear what feels right.

As we age our skin, eyes, and hair loose pigment which changes the contrast between them. Even if you continue to color or drastically alter your hair color, your skin and eyes will continue to change and that affects your contrast.

Here is where my professional color training varies from simple seasonal color typing.

Several of you have commented that I must be a winter because I can wear black. The truth is I couldn’t wear it when I was younger. If you look at my coloring you’ll see I have very low contrast and very cool skin, which should type me as a summer. That’s too simplistic and in fact, I’ve been typed as a soft winter because although my coloring is soft, I have a strong personality.

The level of your personal intensity plays a large role in colors that flatter you. That may be why many older women are attracted to and reaching for bright and strong colors. They feel more confident at this age and feel like they want to make a vibrant statement.

Has your personal intensity changed which altered the colors that look good on you?

Has your coloring changed dramatically as you’ve aged?

Please share in the comments.


If you would like some personalized advice and tips with your style, I have a solution. Click here to learn how I can help you.

Thanks for reading ladies and have a great day!

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  1. Betty
    May 24, 2020 / 6:50 am

    Hi, my skin color is a combination of olive and yellow. I live in the Island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. It’s been very hard for me to be sure what colors are the best for me for years . I’m 65 now and my hair is been with blonde tips for years and still, I never use yellow , pink , reds , violets or green . most of the time I wear warm colors , and blues,( navy and light blue ) I do wear kaki , blank and love white and jeans . Finally I found a site that talks about colors for your skins . I can’t find exactly what color is on my wrist ! Can you please help

    • Jennifer
      May 24, 2020 / 12:30 pm

      I will be sharing more about color very soon.

  2. Janice
    April 28, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    Fabulous blog Jennifer and satisfying to read there are readers in my age group 69. Draped as soft autumn premenopausal but cooling down to summer leaning on light summer now. I am a trained colour consultant and did this successfully on others but being objective about yourself takes more work. Different systems have different shadings too. I’ve ended up personalising my swatch with those shades I’m happy in. Very pleased to have found your work Jennifer.

    • April 29, 2018 / 4:05 pm

      Welcome Janice! It is hard to be objective about one’s coloring. There are so many systems out there with varying results for women which can confuse the results.

  3. Doreen
    March 9, 2018 / 1:55 pm

    HI. Love your blog. Enjoy every one. I am happy and young at 88 years. A great life and I learn more every single day. Read this blog re colors and realized your ladies are trying to understand their best colors. Found your info most informative about changing thru the years. The makeup line Look Fabulous Forever will be of interest to many of ur readers. It is now just coming into the US and their product was included in the academy awards gift box last Sunday. It eliminates all questions regarding what looks best on you plus it is a well researched top line product with good price points. You may want to research this. It’s fantastic and the approval rate is over joyous ! Be sure to remember to play dress up no matter what your age and enjoy this great life ! Be comfortable but also be brave enough to dress how you feel not just to please others. We are all so unique. There is no there like you and never will be. That is a gift to be celebrated. Have fun! Doreen

    • March 9, 2018 / 10:07 pm

      Thank you for sharing Doreen, you bring up some excellent points.

  4. Julie F
    March 9, 2018 / 11:53 am

    When my hair was still brown, heathered gray was great on me. Now that my hair’s mostly gray/silver, it washes me out & heathered charcoal gray is better.

  5. Cheryl Ann
    March 9, 2018 / 7:03 am

    Thanks Jennifer…your insight on color is helpful to me. I get so confused about all the expert advice and am surprised when it doesn’t work on me. Thanks for the reminder that we are all our own best decision maker…just look in the mirror and decide if the expert advice is still working for us or not…how does it make us feel. Love your blog!

  6. Allison
    March 8, 2018 / 4:07 pm

    I am a hard core winter with the bluest veins, dark hair, fair ( pinkish) tone skin and true aquamarine eyes. Black is my best-y, but so is fuschia, scarlet red, emerald green but not sapphire blue! If I had true blue eyes I could wear it but that weird eye color throws it off . If I want those eyes to pop and have strangers stop and ask if I wear coloured contacts I wear purple. Not wine or claret but deep, royal purple. Apparently it’s a one of the rarest eye colours according to my optometrist so I should be pleased!! But it makes choosing lipstick difficult.
    A hundred years ago I had my colours done with a professional group I belonged to.
    I was the only winter which I thought was weird but a colleague( who had been to this colour representative’s presentations before) told me that the rep always determined that people were either summer or spring. I won’t repeat the expletive my colleague used but it made me laugh and never trust that process again. I trust what works for me…I mean you just know right? People are either complimenting you or asking if you are not feeling well.

  7. Susan W
    March 8, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    Three color analyses had me every season except winter. My hair is back to natural–mixed dove gray and mixed–I think white, but it looks like blondish highlights. Surprise, and angry I ever got talked into coloring those first gray hairs. My veins are blueish with a tint of green. I’ve always felt I was more neutral, hazel eyes and kind of reddish hints in medium brown hair.

    Still struggling with color. Now I’m in my 70s I prefer to wear colors I like and make me feel good. This includes black. I’m going to save your post and reread it when I am ready to go.

    • March 8, 2018 / 1:50 pm

      You do sound predominantly neutral with medium contrast.

  8. Sandy Andry
    March 8, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    I’m a “winter” and it’s difficult for me to buy ANYTHING that doesn’t correspond to that season. So many years of buying those colors! If it’s grey, white or black, I’ll buy it. How is it that my favorite color to wear is grey? How boring is that? Yet – it’s what I love.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Grey is one of my favorites too!

  9. Julia
    March 8, 2018 / 11:24 am

    I think I am very fortunate in having had a very good sense of what colours suit me from my early teenage years. Indeed, I have a few scraps of fabric from when I started sewing my own clothes in the late 50’s and early 60’s and it made me smile to see most of them, with the exception of navy which has become a staple as I have got older, are the colours I still wear!

    However, ‘my colours’ never seem to be around when I need to buy new clothes! Over the last few years I have really pared down, and now desperately need a few pieces. I have spent about 4 hours today trawling various online shops to find a simple jacket – in a shade of green which suits me – without success. Some gorgeous pastels, and lovely blush pinks, but they make me look dreadful. Like Laurel above, I shall have to keep an ‘eagle eye’ out all year round and snap up ‘my colours’ whether or not they are suitable for that particular season.

    I am also very petite and finding a good fit is so so difficult. Ah well, back to the sewing machine, but it would be so lovely to sometimes to just buy something and wear it immediately!

    An interesting post and comments, thank you everyone.

    • March 8, 2018 / 1:52 pm

      Colors do come and go do I snap mine up when they’re popular. Several years ago my best, dusted aqua was everywhere do I bought several accessories in it!

  10. Lynn F
    March 8, 2018 / 10:02 am

    So far at age 67 I don’t feel my colouring has changed much. I colour my hair to the same warm dark brown it was naturally when I was younger. I don’t have a lot of grey and feel it’s just dull if it’s not coloured but when I have more grey I will let it grow out. I chose warm colours even before I had a colour analysis to say I was Autumn. I don’t wear pastel colours well at all. I tried a lighter grey sweater and it looked terrible on me!! I stick to deep colours and can wear black but don’t usually wear it right at my neckline. I think when I let my hair go grey I will need to soften the colours I wear but for now I wear deep colours I love.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      You should never where a color you don’t love just because it’s supposed to flatter you.

  11. Susan
    March 8, 2018 / 9:35 am

    what a great post, and the comments were fantastic. I’m soon to be 53 and have noticed a big change in what looks good on me. I seem to look better now in softer colors with brighter cheeks and lips, the opposite of 10 years ago! I’ve had a big weight loss this past year and I’m enjoying redoing my wardrobe with my new “colors” The one constant has been to wear any outfit with confidence and smile, smile, smile!!

    • March 8, 2018 / 1:56 pm

      Congratulations Susan! It’s fun to redo your wardrobe and choose new colors.

  12. Eileen
    March 8, 2018 / 9:34 am

    I’ve had my colors done also, when I was younger it was Summer, and lately I’m getting a Spring reading, my hair is turning a very pale grey/ blonde. I get good comments when I wear a pinky/ peach, which I guess is a combination of Spring and Summer? I admit to feeling overwhelmed by too dark, or too bright colors and have a preference for mid- to light tones. It is an interesting subject, color in makeup, hair dye, and clothes, to flatter each of us.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:50 pm

      You could also be neutral

  13. Margot
    March 8, 2018 / 8:30 am

    I had my colors read when I was young and was told I straddled spring and summer colors. Red based colors tend to go orange on me – berries are better – and I tend to avoid the clearer shades of yellow, green, and orange.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:49 pm

      You sound cool to me. I turn things with any warmth orange.

  14. March 8, 2018 / 8:28 am

    I need brighter now. I used to wear grey and wear beige lipstick: now I’d look like a ghost. Colour is so helpful as I age. Your posts are always a good reminder for me (as I sit typing in a grey shirt!!) Xx

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:48 pm

      Beige has always been tough for me and it’s not getting easier the older I get.

  15. Judy Raffl
    March 8, 2018 / 8:15 am

    I turn 60 in a few months. My color has not changed. I am a Spring but wear a lot of fall colors that are more intense too.. I am hoping this does not change. My mother had little grey in her hair and I do not either at this point. Your blog has made me think about what I will do if I do go more grey. Is there an age when one becomes more grey or is this heredity? Thought are welcome on this.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:47 pm

      I think it’s herediary but how we care for ourselves counts too. Eating unhealthy foods, lack of sleep and stress talke a toll on us everywhere.

  16. Dot
    March 8, 2018 / 8:04 am

    When I was younger with warm chestnut coloured hair I tended to look best in warmer tones. However since all the previously warm tones in my hair are now grey those warmer colours no longer suit. I had my ‘colours ‘ done a couple of years ago and was diagnosed a cool and deep. With turquoise blue eyes I find that is my best colour and wear it frequently in the summer months. Jade green and fuchsia pink are also good. During the winter I like the jewel tones, amethyst, emerald and sapphire. Basics neutrals are black, navy and grey. I got rid of everything beige in my wardrobe! If you are unable to have professional help it is really a case of trial and error. If possible try the scarf department in a store, putting them close to your face to see if they wash you out or make you glow! Above all, wear what makes you happy! X

  17. beth byrd
    March 8, 2018 / 7:41 am

    Your post is so timely for me. I have several bright colored tops in my wardrobe that I hardly ever wear. While I love the colors, brights just don’t look good on me. While purging and re-organizing my clothes closet this past weekend, I suddenly realized that muted colors are best for me and are the items I wear most often. Your blog always has such helpful information! Thank you!

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:44 pm

      I’m glad you’re here Beth!

  18. Theresa
    March 8, 2018 / 7:19 am

    I have found for me personally. It’s not only the color choice but the shade choice. On Valentines day we went out for dinner. I wore a bright red top for the occasion after looking at a picture of myself. I was very disappointed because I really like the top but the color was to off. It would have looked better if it was more a raspberry color something with more pink in it.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:42 pm

      If I ever do wear red it needs to be closer to raspberry too.

  19. Donna B Oliphint
    March 8, 2018 / 7:12 am

    Well, looking at your latest blogs I’ve been thinking you are a summer rather than a winter. The pastel blues, pinks and even that yellow you didn’t like made your face light up and look much softer than the blacks you have been wearing–at least in the photos. I’ve kept my hair pretty much the same color as when I was younger, and still get far more complements when I wear the summer palette.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:43 pm

      I definitely have summer coloring.

  20. March 8, 2018 / 6:19 am

    Well, they’re green!! My veins. Now it’s finding the right colored clothes that flatter me. It’s frustrating because I’ve yet to go shopping and I’m running out of clothes to wear for my weekly videos. Some of the tops I thought were flattering make me look like a Mississippi barge floating around the kitchen. There is a misconception that really loose clothes make you look thinner — wrong!! So the only solution, as I’m trying to lose weight, is to try the clothes on. *sigh* Now it’s finding the time and the places to go. I really do love your tips.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      Congratulations for losing weight!! That’s awesome. Trying on over and over will eventually teach your eye to know what’s best for you. Trust your instinct.

  21. Laurel
    March 8, 2018 / 6:08 am

    There are colors that I wore when younger that absolutely wash me out now. Sadly, some are favorites. But I’ve purchased them and regretted it, so now I stick with colors that I know ‘pop’ my eyes and hair. I also find myself feeling more upbeat and happy when I wear them, so I’m gravitating toward them more and more. And when they come up in fashion trends, I tend to buy and keep them now vs when I was younger and didn’t appreciate how long it can take for ‘my colors’ to circle back. 🙂

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      It does take a while which is why it’s smart to stock up when you see them. Bright colors are happy colors, no question.

  22. Cynthia
    March 8, 2018 / 5:43 am

    I find that now colors like black, white, gray, denim blue, khaki , olive green & true reds, look the best in me…pastels or bright colors only in small doses. But I’m still at a lost in the makeup & hairstyle department. Been to a few free makeovers but always walk away feeling that my face is always over done for my age.

    • March 8, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      I never like how others do my makeup. They just put things in the wrong place!

  23. Mary Ann
    March 8, 2018 / 4:45 am

    You are right about how our color changes as we age. I was “color coded” warm when I was younger with auburn hair, brown eyes, freckles, med skin tone, Now…with silver hair and faded freckles I have no idea what I am. I do know the colors I wore when I was young do not look good on me today. It makes shopping a struggle as I have yet to find what colors look best now that I am older.

    • March 8, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      It sounds like your coloring has cooled and you may be more neutral now.

  24. March 8, 2018 / 4:07 am

    I agree that our coloring changes. It’s a struggle between not wanting to look washed-out with soft colors (clothes and makeup) vs. not wanting to look harsh/loud. It really depends on the individual–what looks good, what makes you feel good (if you like bold colors, then wear them anyway, I say), even the lighting.

    • March 8, 2018 / 11:57 am

      Soft colors eaft wash many of us out. I agree, we should wear what we love!

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