The Color Psychology of Pink

What the Color Pink Means

Color psychology suggests that different colors can have an impact on our moods, feelings, and even behaviors. The color pink, for example, is thought to be a calming color associated with love, kindness, and femininity.

Many people immediately associate the color pink with all things feminine and girly. It might also bring to mind romance and holidays such as Valentine's Day. Some shades of pale pink are described as relaxing, while very bright, vibrant shades can be stimulating or even aggravating.

The Color Psychology of Pink

Verywell / Cindy Chung

The Color Psychology of Pink

Pink is a light red hue and is typically associated with love and romance. It is often described as a feminine color, perhaps due to associations people form during early childhood. "Girls' toys" are usually pink and purple, while "boys' toys" are often red, yellow, green, or blue. People associate the color with qualities that are often thought of as feminine, such as softness, kindness, nurturing, and compassion.

Pink is also the color of Breast Cancer Awareness month, during which people wear a pink ribbon to honor survivors and those who have died of the disease.

Pinkwashing is a term used to describe practices that appear to promote LGBTQ+ rights or breast cancer awareness to downplay negative aspects of a corporation or political entity.

The term pink tax is also used to describe the fact that women often pay more for products marketed specifically for women.

Pink is thought to have a calming effect. One shade known as "drunk-tank pink" is sometimes used in prisons to calm inmates.

While pink's calming effect has been demonstrated, researchers of color psychology have found that this effect only occurs during the initial exposure to the color. When used in prisons, inmates often become even more agitated once they become accustomed to the color.

Sports teams sometimes paint the opposing team's locker room pink to keep the players passive and less energetic. The Iowa Hawkeyes have a pink visiting team locker room at their Kinnick Stadium conceived by Iowa coach Hayden Fry, who had majored in psychology at Baylor University. He believed that the all-pink room would mess with the minds of the opposing teams. 

What Does the Color Pink Mean?

It is important to remember that color associations are heavily affected by individual experiences and cultural influences. Color preferences are often linked to past experiences.

People who are drawn to pink (or any specific color) tend to have pleasant memories of the color, while those who don't like it may have negative or unpleasant associations with it.

Pink symbolizes:

  • Femininity
  • Healing
  • Innocence
  • Peace
  • Playfulness
  • Romance
  • Sweetness
  • Tranquility
  • Warmth

The specific shade of pink can affect associations and meanings. A light pink is often viewed as soft, healing, and peaceful, whereas a hot pink might be seen as bold, exciting, and alarming.

How does pink make you feel? Do you associate pink with certain qualities or situations? You can discover how other people react to the color pink in some of the following responses that readers have shared over the years.


Some readers have described pink as a color that evokes feelings of joy and happiness. "Although green used to be my favorite color, pink has the strongest and deepest emotional influence to me," wrote one reader.

Another said, "The color pink to me has a deeply joyful vibe to it. Like being 'home,' A familiar friendly place deep within everyone's heart where there are no worries, you are never lonely, you have everything in life that you ever wanted. You are loved and accepted by everyone."


For other readers, pink gives off a creative and artistic vibe. "I do not wear pink but I am drawn to it for my study where I do not have to compromise with my husband," said another reader. "It is a happy color and it makes me feel creative. For the first time in my life, I am decorating with pink, hot pink."

Feminine and Vibrant

Many readers have written to suggest that pink is both feminine and lively. Readers describe the color as feminine, attractive, and vibrant.

Verywell Mind Reader Response

Bright or pale pink makes me feel flirty, astute, and like I can accomplish what I need to that day. I associate it with 'sugar and spice and all things nice.' Flowers, romantic gestures, and kindness."

— Verywell Mind Reader Response


Some people have a less positive view of the color. "It really seems to represent every single little girl on the planet (according to television), which has a very profound effect on kids. That would also explain why every toy, doll or dress my little sister has is..guess what? PINK! It's almost like to little girls it's 'if you don't love pink, you're not really a girl.' On the contrary, little boys hate pink," wrote one reader.


"Pink makes me think of springtime flowers and all things fresh and new. It seems like a really inspiring color. If I could, I would paint my room all pink so that I could always feel that sense of inspiration and renewal." explained one reader named Gemma.


One common response from readers has been that different shades of pink can evoke different moods. For example, one reader explained:

Verywell Mind Reader Response

"Hot pink is vivacious and joyous. I think that hot pink embodies who I try to be as a person: full of life and character."

— Verywell Mind Reader Response

She continues, "I didn't really gravitate toward this color until my late teens; as I was initially a lover of red. However, red comes across as harsh and overly bold, while pink comes across as gentle and feminine."

"Another reason I love pink is that ​it is versatile. More muted pinks represent youth and innocence while loud forms of pink elude sexiness and boldness. Every time I come across anything in my favorite pink shade, I can't help but stop and admire its inherent beauty. Pink is my euphoria."


Pink evokes a range of responses. Your own individual response can be influenced by a range of personal and cultural factors.

A Word From Verywell

While people often respond to the color pink in similar ways, it is important to remember that the psychology behind any color can depend upon many different factors. Past experiences, cultural influences, personal taste, and other factors can all impact how a person feels about a particular color, including the color pink.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bakhshi S, Gilbert E. Red, purple and pink: The colors of diffusion on Pinterest. PLoS One. 2015;10(2):e0117148. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117148

  2. Kurt S, Osueke KK. The effects of color on the moods of college students. SAGE Open. 2014;4(1). doi:10.1177/2158244014525423

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."