What Is Your Primary Neutral Color

By Jan Hawken

What color can you wear with anything, for any occasion, at any time of day? Which one will always look good on you? You may have “had your colors done,” by a professional, or you may have attempted your own personal color analysis following the steps outlined in a book. And still, you may not feel confident about which “season” you belong to. You may not even feel confident that the underlying rationale for the establishment of the seasonal categories makes sense. There is, however, at least one color that you can always count on to make you look good. That color is your Primary Neutral Color.


Your Primary Neutral Color is your natural hair color. Your natural coloring is beautiful. You can always feel confident about your own natural hair color(s), eye color(s), and skin tone. To see the significance of what I’m saying, just look around. Observe the people around you. Isn’t it obvious that hair color plays a prominent role in a person’s overall appearance? The only catch is, hair dye may not be harmonious with an individual’s natural coloring. So, we are just talking about natural hair coloring.

If you look carefully, you will begin to see more than one shade in a person’s hair coloring. You will see shadows and highlights, perhaps sun bleaching, and possibly even some transitioning color. In effect, you have several Primary Neutral Colors to choose from. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective about our own personal color analysis. It would help you over this hump to have a photograph of yourself, taken in good natural lighting. Take that photograph to the paint department of a store, and match up some color cards to the hair color(s) you see in the photograph. These will be your Primary Neutral Colors.

Now that they are identified, what can you do with them? You could select the one you favor and build a basic wardrobe around it, or select your shoes, purse, belt and other accessories to match this color. For diversity, supplement with other hues that are flattering to your complexion. The point is, you can never go wrong with your Primary Neutral Color. It will always work for you.

Keep in mind that you are not adding a new shade when you wear your Primary Neutral Color. This color is already on you. You are simply using it elsewhere on your frame to give you a “pulled together” look. The human eye looks for continuity of hue and/or value (lightness and darkness). When it finds that continuity, it recognizes it as “a good thing” as Martha Stewart would say. The eye “rests” on the simple harmony of repeated Primary Neutral Colors. In essence, you have performed a simple personal color analysis on yourself, and you now know the basic shades that will always look good on you.

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Interesting article, but what happens when your Primary Neutral Color/natural hair color changes from warm reddish brown to salt and pepper? Now is my Primary Neutral Color gray??
Please let me know.

ooo this is a really good question. I want to know too.