A Guide to Colors in Spanish | Everything You Need to Know


Believe it or not, Spanish colors are part of an essential set of words that we use in our daily conversations. Think about it: this vocabulary can help you describe the objects that surround you, the colors that you like (duh), and so much more. 

Since colors in Spanish are really useful, in this guide, I’ll teach you the most important colors that you need to know. I’ll also include some rules that you need to know to apply these words correctly as well as some examples so you have a better idea of how to include this vocabulary in your conversations. 

Guide Contents

By the end of this, not only will you know how to say all of the colors in Spanish, but you’ll be able to use them like a native speaker! 

Common Colors in Spanish

Since today they’re many combinations and shades, when starting to learn the language, many people wonder what are the basic colors in Spanish. 

The basic colors in Spanish are:

Spanish colorEnglish color
AmarilloYellow
Anaranjado / NaranjaOrange
AzulBlue
BlancoWhite
Café / MarrónBrown
GrisGrey
MoradoPurple
NegroBlack
RojoRed
RosaPink
VerdeGreen

These basic words can be used to talk about someone’s color preferences or to describe the color of something. 

(Determiner) +  [Spanish color] + [complement]

A mí no me gusta el amarillo. 
I don’t like yellow. 

El vestido de Suzy es verde esmeralda. 
Suzy’s dress is emerald green

El rosa y el azul son mis colores favoritos. 
Pink and blue are my favorite colors. 

Mi camisa es blanca y mis zapatos son negros. 
My shirt is white and my shoes are black.  

¿Has visto una botella de agua anaranjada?
Have you seen an orange water bottle?

Hair Colors in Spanish

As mentioned earlier, the basic colors that you learned before are meant to describe objects. This means that you won’t be able to use all of these words to describe someone’s hair. Many hair colors have different words in Spanish. 

These are the most common hair colors in Spanish:

  • Canoso – Grey-haired
  • Castaño – Chestnut / Brown / Brunette
  • Rubio – Blond
  • Güero – Blond (Mexican slang)
  • Negro – Black
  • Pelirrojo   Redheaded  
  • Rojo – Red

Keep in mind that these are natural hair colors in Spanish. What I mean is that, in these times, there are so many different and crazy hair dye colors. So if your hair is morado, you’ll use basic colors in Spanish to describe your hair. 

Here are some examples of how to use hair colors in Spanish. 

[Verb conjugated] + [Spanish color] + (adjective)

Mi cabello es largo y negro.
My hair is long and black. 

Letty se quiere pintar el cabello rojo
Letty wants to dye her hair red. 

Creo que Paola tiene el cabello castaño claro. 
I think Paola has light chestnut hair. 

La novia de Paco tiene el cabello muy güero
Paco’s girlfriend has very blond hair. 

El cabello de Lexi es rubio platino.
I think Lexi’s hair is platinum blond.  

Take Note: Güero is a Mexican slang word that, on top of referring to blond hair, can also be used as a nickname for blond or white people. 

Eye Colors in Spanish

Although some basic Spanish colors might be used in this context, when describing a person’s eyes, there are other colors that you also need to learn. Notice that, in Spanish, the word ojos (eyes) is plural. So, in this context, the colors you use will necessarily need to be pluralized

Here are some of the most common eyes colors in Spanish

Spanish colorEenglish color
AzulesBlue
Cafés / CastañosBrown
GricesGrey
Miel / AvellanaHazel
NegrosBlack
VerdesGreen

When it comes to describing a person’s eyes, you can use two different phrase structures. 

[Subject] + [‘tener’ conjugated] + los ojos + (adj) + [Spanish color]

Tus primas no tienen los ojos azules
Your cousins don’t have blue eyes. 

Katarina tiene ojos grandes y negros. 
Katarina has big black eyes. 

Mi bisabuela tenía los ojos de color miel
My great-grandmother had hazel eyes. 

¿De qué color son tus ojos? Parecen verdes
What color are your eyes? They seem green

If instead, you want the word ojos to be the subject of the sentence, you can use this structure. Now, in this case, you’ll need to use Spanish possessive pronouns

[Possessive pronoun] + ojos + [‘son’ conjugated] + [Spanish color]

Mis ojos son cafés
My eyes are brown.

Tus ojos son muy grises
Your eyes are very grey. 

Bruno es alto y rubio. Sus ojos son grandes y azules
Bruno is tall and blond. His eyes are big and blue. 

Related Resource: Adjectives to Describe Someone in Spanish

Rules for Colors in Spanish

Although learning vocabulary for colors may not be very challenging, there are certain rules that you need to keep in mind if you want to apply these words correctly. Now that you know some basic colors, let’s see some grammar tips that you should follow.

If you pay attention to the examples below, most of the time Spanish colors are placed after the noun that they’re describing. Check this:

[Noun] + [Spanish color]

Ese cuaderno es azul
That notebook is blue

Me compré unos lentes rojos
I bought some red glasses. 

Mónica perdió su blusa rosa. 
Mónica lost her pink blouse. 

¡Qué ojos tan verdes tienes!
You have such green eyes!

But sometimes in conversational Spanish, the color can be placed before the noun if your sentence is working as an expression of surprise. Check these examples below:

¡Qué + [Spanish color] + [verb conjugated] + [noun]

¡Qué azules tiene los ojos!
Her eyes are so blue!

¡Qué negros están los plátanos! ¡No te los comas!
The bananas are so black! Don’t eat them! 

Do colors in Spanish have gender?

Spanish colors are masculine if they are working as nouns. However, if they are describing an object (adjectives), their gender will change to match the number and gender of the thing that they are describing. This is not applied to colors that end with consonants, ‘e’ or ‘a’. 

Oftentimes, learners get confused about the gender of colors in Spanish. The thing is that if you’re using these words as nouns, without exception, they’ll always be masculine. To put it in “non-grammar-freak” words, if the color is the subject (the main focus) of your sentence, then, it’s a masculine noun.

Here are some examples of Spanish colors working as nouns. Notice that, in this context, you’ll use masculine definite articles or demonstrative adjectives. 

[Determine] + [Spanish color] + [verb conjugated] + [complement]

El rojo no es mi color favorito. 
Red is not my favorite color. 

Este verde está muy feo, ¿buscamos otro tono?
This green is very ugly, should we look for another hue?

Celine me dijo que el rosa combina con el gris
Celine told me that pink goes well with grey. 

If colors in Spanish are adjectives, their gender will change based on the object that they’re referring to. So, if you’re using colors to describe something, you need to make sure that they match the gender and number of the objects described. 

This doesn’t apply to colors that end with ‘e’, consonants, or ‘a’. Examples of this include colors like ‘rosa’, ‘gris’, or ‘azul’. 

[Noun] + [verb conjugated] + [color]

Creo que el cuaderno era rosa
I think that the notebook was pink

Mi teléfono es morado y mi bolsa roja
My phone is purple and my bag red. 

La camisa de Benny es azul con rayas rosas
Benny’s shirt is blue with pink stripes.  

Take Note: When it’s clear what object you’re describing or referring to, you can omit it and simply use the corresponding definite article and the color that would best describe it. 

SpanishEnglish
Tú: ¿Qué camisa te gusta?You: What shirt do you like?
Tu amigo: La rosaYour friend: The pink one

Describing colors in Spanish

Colors in Spanish can help you describe different objects and things. However, colors can also be described. So, if you want to be more specific, there are certain words that will allow you to describe the shade or color tone that you’re talking about. 

Some common words that you use to describe colors in Spanish include:

  • Bajito – Soft. 
  • Brillante – Shinning. 
  • Cielo – Baby. Only used with azul. 
  • Claro – Light / Pale. 
  • Fuerte – Intense / Dark. 
  • Oscuro – Dark.
  • Pálido – Pale / Light. 
  • Pastel – Pastel. 

Here are some examples of how to use these adjectives to describe Spanish colors:

Tu bolsa es café oscuro.
Your bag is dark brown.   

A Cindy le gusta el rosa pastel
Cindy likes pink cake

El cuarto de mi hermano es azul cielo
My brother’s room is baby blue. 

Mis lentes son morado bajito
My glasses are light purple.

Notice that in this situation where you’re using adjectives to describe different shades, Spanish colors will remain singular

Spanish Idioms with Colors

This vocabulary isn’t only helpful to describe objects. In fact, there are some common Spanish idioms with colors that you could include in your conversations and that will help you sound more natural when speaking Spanish. 

Ponerse rojo como un tomate is used to describe that a person is blushing because he or she is embarrassed about something. This standard idiom is close in meaning to ‘to blush’ or ‘red as a beetroot’. 

Sacar canas verdes is a Latin American Spanish phrase. It is used to describe that someone is upsetting or making another person worried because of their actions. It can be translated as ‘turn someone’s hair grey’.

Estar verde is an informal expression that is used to describe that a person has no experience with something. It can also be used to express that a person, vegetable or fruit is not mature. It means ‘to be green’, ‘to be unripe’ or ‘to be new at something’.  

Quedarse en blanco means that a person forgot something or that he or she has no more ideas. This expression can be translated as ‘to go blank’. 

Dar luz verde is an informal expression that means that someone gave his or her permission to do something. It is the direct translation of ‘to give the green light’ or ‘to give the go ahead’. 

Key Points

Colors in Spanish is a basic set of vocabulary that you need to know since it can be applied in a wide variety of conversations. For that reason, in this article, I’ve provided you with different colors that you can use when describing objects, hair and people’s eyes. Additionally, you’ve also learned some important rules that you need to follow when using these words.

graphic showing basic colors in spanish

When it comes to Spanish colors, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • If working as nouns, Spanish colors are always masculine
  • Colors working as nouns are preceded by definite articles or demonstrative adjectives. 
  • When describing an object, colors need to match the gender and number of the object. 
  • Colors that already end with ‘e’, consonants or ‘a’ do not change their gender. 
  • As adjectives, colors are placed before the noun that they’re describing. 
  • To describe different shades or the intensity of a color, we use adjectives. In this case, the color will always remain singular. 

Now, you have everything you need to know to start incorporating this vocabulary into your daily life conversations. ¡Buena suerte!

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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