Well this is certainly exciting! Apparently, the new thing is to wear warm AND cool tones of makeup together, all at once. Are you down?

YSL spring 2011 makeup

So here’s the thing. I’m a big fan—big, BIG fan!—of the tone-on-tone look for hair. Yep, I’m happiest when the base colour and the highlight colour(s) get to play happy families because they are from the same family, with only the slightest variation between them. It’s simply more on trend, and also more natural-looking. And you will notice that it tends to fool people, especially men, into thinking that you were born with your artificial hue of choice. See here, and here and here if you have not yet embraced this.

HOWEVER. You maybe should forget everything I just said when it comes to the subject of makeup.

That’s right! The NEW thing is, apparently, to mix your warms with your cools. Not literally—that would just create some vile brownish greenish grey—but as in wearing makeup in both tones at once, on different areas of your face, at the same time. YSL’s official makeup artist told me so this morning, so it must be true.

Let me explain.

So it used to be that you were a “warm” or a “cool,” and that was that. (Yes, we’ve talked about this lots before, most recently in this post about how there are no more colour rules… which fits in nicely with today’s theory.)

Anyway, the old way of thinking was that you had to stick with makeup in the same colour family as your skin tone. Broad generalization alert! This basically meant that warm types had to get cozy with browns and bronzes and peaches… and cool types were saddled with pastel pinks and blues and lavenders.

Now, I’m not saying that can’t work. I think we all know how ace someone like Jennifer Lopez is at the glowy, golden, tone-on-tone thing. Here she is earlier this week:

Jennifer Lopez Hope for Children Charity 2011 Well this is certainly exciting! Apparently, the new thing is to wear warm AND cool tones of makeup together, all at once. Are you down?

And then there are cool-toned chicks like Heather Graham, who last week looked ravishing in a cool (well, technically “hot”) pink lip and icy, shimmery shadow:

Heather Graham Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer 2011 Well this is certainly exciting! Apparently, the new thing is to wear warm AND cool tones of makeup together, all at once. Are you down?

I love both of these looks, I really do. But if you want to be just slightly ahead of the game—and remember, you heard it here first—the cool kids are pairing warm WITH cool.

The best examples I can give you come from YSL’s campaign shots. At the top of this post is the spring collection visual, which I’ll repeat again here:

YSL spring 2011 makeup Well this is certainly exciting! Apparently, the new thing is to wear warm AND cool tones of makeup together, all at once. Are you down?

You can see how the cool pink on the eyes and the lips is paired with a very peachy blush. Because more pink would’ve been overkill, obvs.

And along the same lines, here’s a first look at the fall collection campaign (the prodz aren’t out until September), which is pretty much all about cool blues and greens and purples on the eyes, and purple-ish lips…but again, a peachy cheek.

YSL fall 2011 makeup Well this is certainly exciting! Apparently, the new thing is to wear warm AND cool tones of makeup together, all at once. Are you down?

It’s interesting, non? (I couldn’t find any YSL pics of a pinky cheek with cool eyes/lips, but theoretically you could do that as well.)


The other tidbit I gleaned today (which you can use even if you’re not planning on stepping out of the house with YSL-style fuchsia or teal eyeshadow) is that you can use your EYE COLOUR to guide you on your CHEEK COLOUR.

Yes. I know there are tons of mascaras and eyeshadow kits out there designed to enhance your eye colour by pairing it with the opposite shade, but personally, I’ve never really dug their colour palettes or even felt like they made much of a difference. YSL suggests this instead.

If your eyes are more of a cool tone—blue, grey, deep brown, black—then it’s way more interesting to wear the opposite colour of blush, i.e. a warm peach or coral, and go for cooler tones everywhere else. Witness how doing this makes Alexis Bledel’s eyes stand out even more than usual:

Alexis Bledel Well this is certainly exciting! Apparently, the new thing is to wear warm AND cool tones of makeup together, all at once. Are you down?

But if you have warm eyes—green, golden brown, hazel—then you can shake things up by wearing a cool, pinky blush and going warm everywhere else. You know who is a master at doing this constrast thing? Eva Mendes:

Eva Mendes 2010 Well this is certainly exciting! Apparently, the new thing is to wear warm AND cool tones of makeup together, all at once. Are you down?

So tell me:

Do you stick with your prescribed warm or cool colours all ovah?
What do you think of this new mixing ‘n matching micro-trend?
Have you tried these blushes yet? Because you really, really should. (I alternate between the pink and the peach, and I use ‘em every single day.)


Thursday, June 9/2011 at 6:57 pm

I always noticed the blush thing when my beautiful blue eyed friend wore coral blush, but I never connected the dots! Pretty brilliant, I must say! And I was never a fan of products “customized” for my eyes, either- I don’t want to wear blue and purple for my brown eyes!


Thursday, June 9/2011 at 9:42 pm

I saw you on my way out of The Room this morning. Too bad I was running to work; I would have introduced myself and probably mumbled something stupid and fangirl-y. LOL! One of these days, I will.

I’ve never heard of this mixing of warm and cool shades in makeup either. I like the effect though, so I’ll try it out in the next few days. :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, June 10/2011 at 9:59 am

Oh noes!!!! You were there? I’m so sad we didn’t get to meet. One of these events, it MUST happen!

I’m going to try his advice tonight… definitely doing a peach cheek but not sure if I can handle a purple eye… we’ll see. :-)


Thursday, June 9/2011 at 10:03 pm

The Narciso Rodriguez spring 2004 runway makeup—http://bit.ly/l5wRAF— is in my Beauty Look Hall of Fame for precisely this reason. It was the first time I saw a makeup look that so boldly flaunted this cool/warm mix and did it so well. Coppery-gold eye makeup paired with icy cool pick lips = perfection, and so interesting. It may be 5 years past, but I still replicate this look on occasion to this day. Hmmm… maybe I’ll do it tomorrow!


Thursday, June 9/2011 at 10:05 pm

Plus, it’s equally pretty on brunettes, as in the link above, or blondes: http://bit.ly/l9KH6K


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, June 10/2011 at 10:03 am

Wow you have a good memory! Thanks for the links to these pics – they totally remind of the Donna Karan look for F/W ’11: http://beautyeditor.ca/2011/02/16/new-york-fw-11-toldja-orangey-eyelids-were-a-thing-but-are-they-wearable-for-real-life-you-tell-me/. Except I think it works better at Narciso with the darker pink lip.


Friday, June 10/2011 at 12:20 am

I’ve always worn both because I’ve always been a little confused about what to wear. I have cool fair toned skin with pink undertones, but green eyes. So, I’ve gone back and forth with warm to go with eye color and cool to go with skin tone. I’ve never known what to do!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, June 10/2011 at 10:05 am

See, that’s the problem with the “rules” – there are a bunch of us in the middle who can go either way, warm OR cool. So I would just have fun and experiment (and see this post: http://beautyeditor.ca/2011/04/26/newsflash-there-are-no-more-colour-rules-when-it-comes-to-makeup-and-maybe-even-hair-too/)


Nomadic D
Friday, June 10/2011 at 2:43 am

Very interesting. And timely! For me at least. Because while I usually try to keep at least my lips and my cheeks in the same family, lately I’ve been watching myself (as if in an out -of-body experience) mix it up and reach for a sweet pink blush when I’m going with orangey lips. Or throw on a pink red lipstick after I’ve got my coral cheeks going. I thought it was very odd, but kind of loved the result, and now here you are, confirming that it has been validated by the makeup greats. Hooray!



Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, June 10/2011 at 10:08 am

Haha, that’s awesome! I always find that with trends… there’s always something in the air where multiple people are arriving at the same thing independently.


Friday, June 10/2011 at 7:25 am

You know, I’ve never paid much attention to the warm/cool thing, but I DID notice that my blue-grey-green eyes definitely “popped” when I wore brown eyeliner/shadow.


Friday, June 10/2011 at 7:58 am

I never picked up on the cool tones for warm skin either! BUT for years I have been wearing the Lorac blush/bronzer duo in Hot Flash which has a very cool pink blush, and I have naturally olive skin/brown eyes. Totally works! Hooray Eva Mendez!


Friday, June 10/2011 at 9:51 am

Alexis Bledel is such a pretty girl. Gilmore Girls is literally my favourite show EVA! Also I can’t BELIEVE how much of a contrast it makes between her blush and her eyes! Really striking.

Huge fan, fellow blonderexic Thomas xx


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, June 10/2011 at 10:09 am

Agree, her eyes are incredible!!


Friday, March 16/2012 at 8:21 pm

I am new to the tones and shades thing. I was trying to find my “perfect” hair colour online but realised that I have Cool Skin tones (Olive Complexion) with Warm Eyes (Green/Blue with specks of yellow around the pupil). This baffles me as I cannot find anywhere that matches my specific tones.
What colours would be best suited for me?


Friday, June 21/2013 at 10:04 am

I am big into color theory, simply since learning about the color theory was the first thing that helped me pick colors that are much more flattering for me. I was really floundering before, in part due to hair dyed a color that was just not suited to me. I found that many people in the field are operating with very basic knowledge. It took many attempts, but I finally found a consultant with more advanced insight, and that made all the difference.

I am not your standard cool or warm, I am a mixed type, and this is in part why it has been so hard for me to figure out what colors are good choices. And as such I can and SHOULD be mixing my cool and warm colors.

For haircolor I am supposed to be mixing cool and warm highlights. I have seen very skilled hair color specialists who have executed this fabulously, mostly in magazine makeovers, but do not know of a local hairdresser with these skills or have the budget to get such highlights regularly. Therefore I prefer to do highlights in the same color family as my hair, when I rarely do them, there is less chance of error. As of recently I am taking your advice from a previous article, I tone my hair all over with a warm golden rinse, even though I tend more to Winter, since I agree that in general (there are some exceptions) it is younger looking and more flattering.

Where it gets interesting is in make up. I was told I have warm Fall skin, but cold Winter eyes and a cool lip. It is this mixture of warm and cold that make me a mix. And it is also this that shows me which colors look the best on me where. So my foundations and blushes are in warm colors and all my eye shadows and lips I have in cool colors. Of course I play around and vary my make up colors for fun, but I find I look the best when working with these guidelines. (A quick sidenote, this is why dying my hair warm or cold can push me more in either direction.)

I think the typical monotone look that people associate with the color theory is what scares people away from it. My consultant said that yes, it is the beginning basis of the color theory, but expertly working with color you need to advance further into mixing colors and beyond, otherwise it is a very bland and lifeless look. (Although monotone looks can be used artistically to make a striking look.) I think it is the color theorists with less understanding that try to convince clients to stay within hard and fast basic rules, and give the whole field a negative reputation, especially to make up artists who cringe if you mention your season.


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