"Some colors work for all skin tones and hair colors, because they fall into the middle of the color spectrum, meaning they're not too warm or too cool," says Leatrice Eiseman, author of The Color Answer Book ($10, amazon.com) and director of the Pantone Color Institute, the international authority on color. Case in point: eggplant (Pantone 19-2311 TC). Eiseman calls the tone "the perfect purple" because it is extremely versatile, almost like a black, a dark brown, or a navy.
2 of 4Deborah Jaffe
Flattering Color: True Red
Designer Bill Blass once said, "When in doubt, wear red." And he was right. Not only does red stop traffic but it may also make you a winner. In a study conducted at the University of Durham, in England, researchers found that athletes in combative sporting competitions who wore red were more apt to win than contestants wearing other colors. Pantone 19-1664 TC flatters everyone because it "resides in the center of the color spectrum, in between a cool cherry red and a warm, orangey tomato red," says New York City makeup artist Sonia Kashuk.
3 of 4Debora Jaffe
Flattering Color: Indian Teal
Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel enhance each other, which is why strawberries look so good packaged in green containers, Eiseman says. It's not surprising that this teal―Pantone 19-4227 TC, the color-wheel opposite of pink―plays up a healthy flush in the skin. Plus, it's more versatile than a bright, summery turquoise, so you can wear it well into the fall with black, brown, and other neutrals.
4 of 4Deborah Jaffe
Flattering Color: Mellow Rose
Sorry, Pretty in Pink fans, but Molly Ringwald did not look all that great in her bubble-gum pink prom dress. She should have opted for a more sophisticated shade, somewhere between a light pink and a peach, which looks more like a neutral than a pastel. The subtle color (Pantone 15-1515 TC) highlights the natural flush of one's face, says Kashuk, giving anyone who wears it a glow. No wonder Kashuk recommends a similar shade of lipstick to all her clients.