Response to Incorrect PCA Article
August 25, 2013 by Christine Scaman
I thank you for your thoughtful comments to the previous article about an incorrect PCA (personal colour analysis) result and for telling the stories so openly and clearly. We are more the same than we are different in our shared curiosity about a topic we love and our desire to find improvement. If we don’t tackle these problems, we can’t wrestle them down and away.
What do PCA and blood tests have in common?
A blood serum chemistry profile reports the level of 20 to 40 substances in blood like calcium, glucose, and others. Reading a single value in isolation without considering the other 39 results and the relationships among them will cause the diagnosis to be missed or only partially understood in 90% of patients.
Seeing red blemishes appear on cheeks snaps a reflex decision that the colour must be too cool or dark or wrong in some way. It might be, but the entire face and its 39 other features and reactions have to be considered at the same time. Getting rid of the red can be made to happen easily by bringing more yellow into the skin, but a price will be paid in the perfection of the other features and overall appearance.
Maybe the truth of that face is simply that there are small blemishes and in one’s own Season colours, we see them as the colour they really are. And the eyes as they really are, and the lips as they really are, and you as you really are without additions or subtractions, challenges and conflicts. Just you, just fine the way you are.
I love the woman who could learn something about her colouring with each step and reflect on the elimination process led her to the answer. A Bright Spring that becomes a Dark Autumn makes lots of sense. Quite fascinatingly so. Both warm-neutrals. Both begin from a True warm Season and add the same amount of the same kind of coolness (Winter’s). These people can look alike. Their eyes can be extremely similar in colour and reactions to colour. The analysis can be confusing because both skins say, “Give Â me lots of heat and a fair bit of saturation and I’ll work with you.” You’d think one is so much clearer and brighter, it should be so obvious. Yes, well, you’d think. Every Season has overlaps with every other, like Venn diagrams. There is a shared space.
Is error- free even real?
Some professions inherently contain a lot of risk and financial commitment. Are they more error free, because they should be if they cost more, shouldn’t they? No.Â Stockbrokers. Humans can only be standardized so much. I’m happy for it or we’d lose the magic we each bring into this world.
Zero error tolerance isn’t usual of most people (expectation or ability). If a person feels that it would be a completely reasonable assumption, I would like to know first so I could advise them to seek a PCA with another analyst and not be disappointed by me. I want that disclosure in an email, “Hi, I’d like a PCA but I allow no error margin.”
I guess if it said “Hi, I’d like a PCA, I allow no error margin because I am able to provide that to my clients.â€ I could feel that message was more balanced.
There has to be a safe place for all colour analysts to be humanly fallible. Perhaps clients shouldn’t throw anything out for a few months. That’s a good suggestion. The changeover should be a gradual process. Our perceptions can’t change that fast, nor can our friends’ or family’s. We can’t tell if the first one was better or the new one is worse for weeks or months.
Where we seek validationÂ
Folks need to stop needing their fb community to confirm the result. They are limited by compromised photos, by focusing on the wrong thing, by not having seen the comparisons, by being denied the mass of information of meeting a real person, that locking into place of “Oh, so this what you really look like”. I could not set up a situation to fail more effectively.
I’m sorry to say it bluntly but these groups just have no idea. Lately, I worry if they do more harm than good. How screwed up perceptions can become is a mess. Intentions are the best but outcomes are not in alignment with that.
Maybe if a woman had a year to get it all in order and then posted her pictures with the Before comparison, there Â might be value. Running home and showing the group you wearing a piece of fabric, with brand new makeup, looking hopeful and a little afraid, smiling into a point-and-shoot camera with weird lighting – this is going to tell anyone anything?
A soft face that has beige brown hair, soft green eyes, muted skin, and the gentlest expression will get told she’s a Soft Autumn. For sure she will in person too, if her EQ is off the charts. No way she’s a Winter blend, just can’t be, right? Whether we experience the world by putting physicality first, by speeding and touching and preferring revealing clothes, or by placing emotion ahead and withdrawing/protecting physicality in turtlenecks, or we approach life analytically, or some of each, can be found in any colouring group and any body line.
IRL, we might see or feel that something was off balance, in this case that the eyes were too much relative to some other part of the appearance.
Do the analysis. She’s a Dark Autumn. The eyes make sense. Now add Dark Autumn makeup and it’s too much. All Facebook screaming, for sure. Her group is there for her and they said so, in private messages even. Â And they’re right. The makeup does look like too much.
The fact is that nothing is wrong with her face, eyes, makeup, or character. The hair needs to come up to meet the rest. The whole thing works together. You can achieve colour perfection but pull on the wrong hat and it’s gone.
Online colour groups
Situation A. You have a concern. You meet a doctor, trained for 8 years. She looks and listens; already a wealth of information is shared between humans. She examines your body and tests thoroughly. She gives you her professional opinion.
Situation B. You have a concern. You have a faraway friend you’ve never met. She is a brilliant chartered accountant who has read widely about health, has watched every episode of Dr. Oz, and practices what she preaches. She glows with health. You send her some photos of you now and over the past few years, tell her how you feel, that you think your blood sugar must be low, and your co-workers say that you are pale lately. She gives you her diagnosis.
Whose advice will you take?
Please. The doctor is not infallible but she has context of person, of theory, and of application.Â Your friend’s love and support for you are genuine but is she really helping you by assessing your health? Are you helping yourself by giving her listening priority?
The Sci\ART process does follow a series of steps in the same way, very reproducible. I can’t speak for other Sci\ART folks, but I’m pretty sure they have an order, though it might not be mine. Doctors are the same and there is not a more standardized education or deductive process.
Like medicine, colour analysis is not a perfect science. Can anyone name a perfect one? Does it mean we shouldn’t make use of science quite yet, we should wait until we get it just right? To each her own, but applied with context and judgment, their potential to make life better is already gigantic.
I guess humiliation at being incorrect is a decision. One could make another choice. “I’m learning, I’m seeing in ways I couldn’t previously, how cool is this, I wish I could show you what my eyes took in.” Believe me, you get desensitized to getting things wrong and feeling embarrassed for longer than 8 seconds.
The endless complexities of vision
How we see a colour reaction depends on what the pigments the eyes last saw. It’s quite freaky.
Example: I put a very golden drape under a face. My eye sees her face as being a certain colour. I switch to a slightly cooler gold. By comparison, her face is a little cooler, bluer, grayer. Is it wrong to choose the grayer face as worse? Could it be better but the heat that my eyes saw last makes me think the face is grayer than it is? Or gray at all?
Well, I’m going to have to trick my eyes into giving me an accurate read. I need to do different comparisons to let the colour pigments in my retinas to fade back to neutral. And then repeat that first comparison in the opposite order.
Many other ways of checking too. We need Continuing Ed meetings to find the best order and the correct way of measuring results so we’re all doing it as effectively as possible. We can share each other’s ways of troubleshooting and improving interpretations of 20 to 40 features that are all changing at once, simultaneously with 3 dimensions of colour and the client’s reactions.
I agree with Paisley and Sarah. Our eyes get tired of looking at imbalance all the time and working to compensate for it. An analyst builds up stamina and recognition, but after too many, one can feel that one can barely function.
I am so with Denise about how the colours are worn and body line influence. It totally affects how we see colour. A crewneck, mid-hip, softly belted, fluffy sweater approaches the ridiculous on me, coloured right or not. I could not be taken seriously, while the garment is superb on a more rounded Dark Winter.
One day, we’ll have an analyst in each town and folks can be re-draped. I get it about the $$$. That’s a real problem.Â I encourage students to re-drape at no cost. It’s great practice in humility, at getting over yourself, and forcing yourself to see with stark objectivity.
Living with it for a few months before tossing out things is crucial. Realizing that your Season is a platform from which you acclimate and find your comfort and beauty zone is insightful. I love the woman who can adapt it to suit herself. That’s the success story.
I agree that once hair silvers, black is no longer the best choice on most people, even Dark Seasons. I won’t generalize and say all people because that wouldn’t be true. Black always needs some adjusting on everyone except True Winter or a Dark Winter that runs near True, at any age. Black is never fully easy on Bright Winter, regardless of how light or dark they appear to be in hair and eye.
Ineke – thank you. Thank you for being optimistic, intelligent, sensible, and human. Ditto Alexandra.
True about analyst taste regarding certain colours. That settles down. With time, practice, and reading your drapes over and over, you treat them like a microscope or a set of surgical instruments.
True that my eyes see a person grayed, maybe another set of eyes sees her not gray. I see a woman jaundiced, she sees herself normal and glowing and her family agrees. I see one shade of jaundice yellow, while another analyst sees another yellow. This isn’t so big a deal because we’re measuring many other factors at once. If the yellow isn’t her yellow, like the green-yellow of True Summer being thrown up into a Light Spring face where that shade of yellow does not exist, we have other ways to check. Still, we don’t all taste, smell, hear, or see the same stimulus in the same exact way.
The exception that’s really hard is the occasional 49/51 person right on the border between 2 Seasons. Most often I see this in the late 50s and on, where she is still the original Season but a gentler version. You have to pray the 49/51 is up to a little adaptation as long as the analyst can answer the why. Neutral Seasons can run very close to each other, especially the Softs, but the distinction isn’t usually so hard to make in people under 50. Thankfully, many women over 50 have found peace and life’s priorities. They can accept and allow. I love being around them.
True that listening to a client is a great way to go down the rabbit hole. There are times to pay attention, but not in terms of deciding what looks better. They don’t know. They’re untrained in what to look for or how to look at it.
Right, Denise, when I teach students, a long time is taken on the first comparisons collecting data, both gold/silver and True Seasons.
Mimi, the men’s fan reflects that men are often more intensely coloured than women in the same Season and seem to handle more darkness. Also their professional clothing demands more dark choices. But many women are buying the men’s books and loving the expansion. Of course, we all have a thousand colours. The palettes can easily have not one repeating colour and still be perfectly harmonized with the colour dimensions of the Season. I kind of like that no colour repeats, it means a whole new set of colours. I have 4 or 5 books for my Season, love them all, know them all, barely any colour repeats.
Me&Terry are Dark Winters
I doubt Terry was incorrect about the analysis I wrote about in that previous article. It’s possible and she would freely admit it, but she’s the most perfectionistic, critical judge of colour I know and has the sharpest sense of when things are out of kilter. The woman is exceptionally skilled, far more than I am, and I freely admit that. I have other strengths. Every analyst brings something unique and personal of value to clients and students. So do highly capable hairstylists. So do the members of every profession.
When Terry wears Soft Summer colour IRL, it’s a little flat and safe COMPARED to seeing her in Dark Winter. Even colour analysts don’t fuss every day, not all love to shop, and we all get fed up with looking for our colours and lines in stores. We all wear True Summer white, it’s easy to find. Terry’s inherent colours areÂ more than skim milk white and the balance isn’t quite there. Big deal. It’s barely off since her colours may have softened somewhat with time.
She is completed, balanced, defined, and right in Dark Winter. She, like me, wears some Soft Summer navy. I also wear a fair bit of True Summer because I see Dark Winter and True Summer as being actually closer than DW and Soft Summer. True Summer offers that extra saturation and coolness. True Summer colours, although fully cool, still seem warmish COMPARED to the True Winter colours, at a level pretty close to DW.
In my neutral gray working blouse and Dark Winter makeup, the makeup looks too strong. I just gotta go change my shirt.
I get this from photos and videos too, “I’m sorry but your colours are wearing you, you’re not a Winter.” Many of you have met me now. ?
When I’m working or she’s being photographed, we wear the Dark Winter clothing and makeup. And lo and behold, whaddaya know, the picture screws up the viewer’s perceptions up a little and a conversation starts up about how the Season must be off. Things are not what they seem in photography. Maybe that’s the point of the art form.
What Dark means
It thrills me to realize something new. I’d rather the pain of being wrong if I get to adjust my understanding, than be comfortably right all the time.
Being a Dark Season means Dark colour looks good, yes. Only partially does it mean that. The most important thing to realize (my present belief, could change tomorrow) is that it means darkness is what it takes to look normal on you. To look like I have normally defined and pigmented lips that belong in my face, if we smeared that lipstick on paper next to what it would take on the other 12, mine would be among the darkest. I’m not especially dark to look at. OK, this is hard to explain, I have to write more about this. I’ll call it What It Takes To Look Normal.
Again, I thank you all very sincerely. We have come so far together. It is you whom we are here to serve. We need your help to make it the most it can be. In time, we’ll work through enough issues that it will feel less personal. We’ll fix them by listening to one another, carry on, and look back on them as Remember Whens.
Keep moving forward. Keep moving towards the tension.
PCA asks the Q, “Do this person and these colours bring out the best in each other?”
By extension, “Does these analysts and these clients bring out the very best in one another?”
Let’s simply work together to make it so, striving to hold ourselves to a standard of open minds and open hearts. From that vantage point, the rest is downhill.