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How to Wear Black Without the Beard

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

how to wear black when it's not your colour

Now I'm the first person to admit I do love black. Despite my love of wearing colour, black will always have a little place in my heart. However, as a colour analyst I know that black worn up close to my face is not very flattering on me. It emphasises the dark shadows under my eyes, it makes my lines and wrinkles look more prominent and sadly it gives me a 5 o'clock shadow, hence the reference to the beard!

Black is not officially a colour, it doesn't even have a place on the colour wheel. Colour is light and black holds no light, it actually absorbs light, explaining why it is often associated with grief. On the plus side black is also associated with power and often viewed as sophisticated especially when you think of big fashion houses like Chanel using it in their logo.

Black styled correctly can look so chic, it can create a real statement outfit, think evening dresses or an edgy look with black leather. However black can also make you unapproachable to others. I used to hide away in black all the time, it was my safe zone. I had also had an incorrect colour analysis done and had been told I was of a winter palette. This meant I thought black was super flattering on me (it's not) so my whole wardrobe was pretty much black. Friends have now told me that when they first met me they found me quite unapproachable, I'm putting that down to the fact I lived in black not my RBF!

I'm not saying to you don't wear black, wear what you like and what makes you happy but as we get older unless you have a cool skin tone and are of a winter seasonal palette black can throw dark shadows up onto your face making the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and under eye shadows more prominent and emphasising any uneven skin tone. I don't know about you but post 40 I need all the help I can get in these areas.

Before you read on it would be helpful for you to know whether you have a warm or cool skin tone. Warm skin tones have a yellowy/golden undertone to them, also the veins of the inside of your wrist will appear green, they are not actually green but the yellow in your skin makes them appear that way! Where as cool skin tones have a pinky/blue undertone and their veins will be blue.

So for those of us with a cool skin tone black will have a lesser impact on you. But for those of you with a warm skin tone black close to your face is not your friend - sorry! But the good news is you can still wear black, still create those chic or edgy looks just by following a few little tips below.


The way colour analysis works is that colours when worn up close to your face reflect upon your skin either having a positive or a negative impact. The right colours will make your skin glow, your eyes pop and take years off you. The wrong colours can cast a shadow making lines look more prominent or they can wash you out completely making you look unwell. With this in mind black worn on the bottom half of your body will have no impact at all on your skin, in fact it can be slimming worn like this. If you do want to wear it on the upper half of your body just keep it away from your face. A v-neck or a scoop neck will work, as when it's worn like this it will be your own skin reflecting up onto your face helping you glow!


Wearing the rights shades of make up that match your skin tones perfectly will also lessen the impact that black can have on your skin. If you have a warm skin tone (yellow/golden undertones) make sure you pick foundations with the same undertone, and avoid pink/rose blushers as these will clash with your warm skin, go for peachy tones instead. If you have a cool skin tone pick foundations that have a pink/blue undertone but rose blushers will work for you. Another way to lessen the impact is to add a pop of colour to your lips or eyes. This will help to draw the focus to those areas and away from any shadows black may be throwing onto your face.


Warm skin tones favour metallics in gold and bronze where as cool skin tones look better in silvers and platinums. By wearing jewellery up close to the face this can detract from the negative impact black can have. For example, whenever I wear a black top that has a round neck I always wear a short gold chunky chain over the top, that way the gold is also reflecting up on my face making that black a little less harsh on me.


Scarves, wraps and pashminas can be your best friend and saviour when it comes to livening up a black outfit. By also placing one over the top of a black top or dress you are taking away the black from your face. It also adds interest and detail to your look, a really simple way to elevate an outfit.


If you are wearing black on top break it up with a colour that you know makes you look and feel fabulous, the colour that gets you loads of compliments every time you wear it. For example, if you have on a black top of any kind break it up by wearing it with a coloured blazer, coat or cardigan. Then vice versa, if you have a black coat jacket or cardigan on make sure the top underneath is in a colour that lights ups your face and makes you glow.

Like I said at the start, I'm not anti-black. You will often see me wearing it but I know that my complexion looks better when I wear the colours that suit my skin tone and I just follow the steps above to detract from the beard!

If you would like to find out more about my colour analysis sessions please feel free to get in touch. I offer a free style consultation call if you are not sure which service is for you and I'm always happy to chat about style and colour.

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