K-Beauty & Health

Korean Beauty: A Guide to Personal Color

New to makeup and don’t know what colors to use? Or do you feel as if the makeup you do now doesn’t suit you? In recent years, the usage of personal color analysis has become a large trend in the Korean beauty market, helping everyone find the colors and styles that suit them perfectly. Most Korean girls now purchase makeup according to their own personal color; likewise, many beauty influencers recommend products based on the four color types. 

Though many undertake a personal color test carried out by a professional analyst, it has also become common for people to guess their own personal color, aided by multiple apps and websites. 

Though one might argue that fashion and makeup is a way of expression that one should not limit themselves in – and I wholly agree! – personal color exists as a guide to those who aren’t satisfied with the way they already do their makeup or to newbies who don’t want to take potentially-embarrassing risks. It’s not compulsory to follow the guide, but it gives definite help to those who need it. 

Here’s a very brief introduction to the world of personal color, along with some well-known, non-specific advice. 

Personal color tests

Tests carried out by professional analysts often include draping, pouch analysis and sometimes even image counselling. Personal color tests are always carried out barefaced, so the analyst can give accurate advice to the customer. 

During the draping portion of the session, large pieces of fabric in multiple colors are draped across the shoulders of the customer, allowing for an effective display of the effect each color has on the person as well as an easy comparison between colors. This is the section in which the analyst will be able to discern the customer’s personal color, by looking at the range of colors they suit best and worst. 

Pouch analysis involves looking through the makeup items used by the customer and advising them on items they can continue relying on, as well as items they can try out. This involves anything from base makeup to eyeshadows and lips – most time, the customer will bring a lot of products with them so they can get an opinion on everything they normally use. 

Analysts often recommend specific colors to their customers based on their wants. Request for the image you would prefer to have, whether it be stern and serious or lively and youthful, and the analysts will guide you through the outfits you can wear or the colors you can utilize to appear so. 

Warm vs. Cool 

Personal color types are commonly divided into two larger groups: warm and cool. This is slightly more obvious to the untrained eye, though some may still need help discerning between the two. Warm-toned people are commonly categorised by a yellow tint to their skin, olive green veins at their wrists and an affinity for gold jewellery. If you are warm toned, you are likely to suit orange rather than pale pink, and brown rather than gray. On the other hand, cool-toned people are more likely to have a pink flush to their skin, blue or purple veins at their wrists and a preference for silver-sheened metals. People who fall under the cool tone banner likely suit colors such as light blue, forest green and pure white. 

The Four Seasons 

The four main color types often used in Korea are named after the season; Spring Warm, Summer Cool, Autumn Warm and Winter Cool. In my opinion, the types are aptly named; you can probably imagine the color palette suggested to each type by its name. Under the larger umbrella of warm vs. cool, the type you fall under will be tailored more to your overall coloring, including the color of your eyes and hair. 

For example, Spring Warm people are known to suit lighter, pastel toned oranges than Autumn Warms, who typically look better in brownish-orange instead. The lighter colors typically favored by Spring Warms often bring to mind the gentle hues of flowers in bloom, while many Autumn Warm people suit the foliage colors their type brings to mind. 

Many Summer Cools look their best in cooling, bright colors such as sky blue, soft lilac and pure white; while deeper, striking colors like forest green, wine red and black suit Winter Cools perfectly. Though both Summer and Winter Cools can pull off most colors on the cool spectrum, the lighter, brighter colors often find more favour with Summer, and heavier colors go well with Winters. 

Finding out what colors suit you can serve your wardrobe well; by utilizing the colors you like and that look good on you, anyone can dress to impress!


I’ll first say what everyone in the K-Beauty world has been claiming until very recently: Warm-toned people have the most fun with makeup. A large percentage of crowd favorite K-Beauty eyeshadow palettes and sought-after blushes have been warm-toned, serving the Warm community with so many options to try. In years past, this left Cool people with meager few options that suited them, and that were often prone to discontinuation. However, brands have recently started taking heed of the demands of the Cool community, leading to a long succession of Cool-appropriate palettes being released in Spring ‘21. The trend now is soft mauves and lavenders – something the Cool community is overjoyed about. 

Warm-toned eyeshadow palettes include Romand’s Dry Apple Blossom and 3CE’s Overtake palette, while cool-toned people have famously enjoyed using Romand’s Dry Buckwheat Flower and Clio’s Botanic Mauve palette. 

Meanwhile, orangey-red lip products like Peripera’s Ink the Velvet in Inkrush have always found favour with warm-toned people, while Romand’s Zero Velvet Tint in Icy and Burnt Heart is commonly liked by cool-toned people. 

Personal color can do wonders for a person’s look; allowing them to express themselves in a way more accurate to their wants. What season will you find yourself blooming in? 

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