Anyone who knows what personal colour analysis is, rather than what it was, lives with a growing sense of how well it works and how much it can improve your choices. The system divides human colouring into several groups, 12 in the one that I use. Since there are far more than 12 kinds of colouring once you get into the subdivisions, not every aspect of each group will apply equally to every person in it.
As you find your private garden and arrange the flowers and furniture to suit you, you ask some excellent questions. L sent me this,
I’ve been very happy with my Soft Summer colors and they’ve made a
huge difference overall. The issue is though, that my hair color is just so
much warmer than my palette that many of my neutrals don’t look that great.
I stopped coloring my hair a couple of years ago and it’s neutral medium
brown at the base and the lengths are quite warm, perhaps a light chestnut
color would be accurate with even lighter ends. This warm brown just
doesn’t look that wonderful with all the grayish-taupes which make up the
majority of my neutrals. As an interior designer I wouldn’t put these colors
next to each other, so it bothers me to do so when getting dressed.
According to old pics and my mother, this is my natural color. I had
forgotten that since I’ve been coloring my hair for over 30 years. I’m just
tired of trying to use toners and shampoos trying to cool it down.
I’ve been looking at other companies SS and Summer fans and found wonderful
browns in the CMAS Summer fan, and Lora Alexander’s (www.prettyyourworld.com) Soft Summer fan.
I was just curious about Sci-Art’s and your opinion about hair not being that
great with the palette since you cover it during the consultation.
Overall, I’ve discovered that I lean a bit warm within Soft Summer and I
really wish [the present palette] would give a wider range of neutral browns. I
own the Soft Autumn fan and I don’t need to go that warm, but just a bit
redder, rosier than my [present] fan.
Neutral to warm? Neutral to cool? Who knows? We’ll have to measure it somehow. That’s what the drapes do. Our eyes alone are not able without imposing some errors, because of how eyes and brains work. And because of the most misleading thing of all…assumptions.
Many of L’s comments could apply to all the Seasons fans. In any Tone, the likelihood of including even half the possible hair colours is less than 50/50 since hair colour is only moderately tied to Season. Why is that? My guess is that it’s because hair colour comes from melanin. Skin colour comes from melanin, hemoglobin, and carotene. Hair colours are an incomplete version of our truth, though what’s there is real and harmonized with us nonetheless. Just not detailed enough to do a PCA with. Hair also doesn’t change enough in response to colour to take accurate measurements. Skin tone does, therefore we use it to guide a colour analysis.
Soft Summer doesn’t tend to vary as widely as some but it certainly ranges in darkness, though it remains on the cool divide of neutrality. In all 12 Tones, eye colours seem to me to be more closely resembling the skin colours contained in the colour analyzed swatch palette, and yet they can appear very warm in persons of this Season. Test them and they still have the best energy in the cool-neutral Soft Summer drapes, not the warm-neutral Soft Autumn drapes. Why isn’t eye colour tightly linked to Season? Similar reasons to the hair, adding in the Rayleigh scattering that makes the sky blue, and other aspects of the physics and biology of an eyeball, such as how it’s pigmented, where its blood layer is located, how it reflects light because it’s in a water-based jelly, and many other factors.
Soft Summer eyes can be darker, lighter, warmer, cooler. As long you give them what they care about most: colours that are soft.
A warm-eyed Soft Summer must mean that though we see lots of warm colours of yellows, golds, and oranges in the eyes, these are present in their cool-neutral versions and are outnumbered by the greens, grays, and blues of Soft Summer. You would think the two Soft Seasons’ yellows and golds to be quite different until you try to harmonize a colour palette and realize how close they actually are.
Soft Summer is also a Season where the Neutral persons are often quite warm, on the 49/51 divide between the Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. An analyst needs to be on her toes and own a seriously good set of drapes. They say that our hair and eye colours are among our neutral colours but I agree it is so if you know the real colours of your eyes. If you match what you think you see, which is never what colour really is, you’ll go too warm for your skin and turn yourself a little dull and jaundiced.
Whoa now, that’s a Winter eye! Same colour family, cool-neutral hues, similar value level (lightness/darkness), but what’s different? That third colour dimension. And the type of heat, which appears more Spring-yellow than Autumn-gold. Whole different feeling.
How can True Winter or Light Summer be a redhead? Combine their yellow and their red, I would think. Every Season has both in their own versions. The hair tends not be orange, it’s redder than that. But both have yellows, nearly primary yellow in Winter’s case, which is why their green drape can look so yellow in some situations.
L. is colour savvy enough to sense the best solution, which is to move very slightly to a warmer place without losing the harmony. Soft Summer skin is happy to negotiate on warmth of hue as long as the colour stays soft and dusty, not intensely saturated. In my Sci\ART drapes, there are 3 drape colours, identical fabrics, that are used in 2 places. The Soft Summer and Dark Winter burgundy red test is the same. The Soft Summer face is not as flattered as it could be. The client notices that. Seeing the difference is a better learning opportunity than if I just babble on about colour dimensions, because the client sees that she needs to buy dark&dusty, not dark&densely pigmented, and that darkness is not her shopping challenge issue. Saturation is. It’s a strength of the drapes, not a weakness. Makes me now wonder if I should put a few ‘don’t go here or here’ among the Test and Luxury Drape sets that I assemble. But no, you saw those during your 12 Tone colour analysis session.
Ah, back to Soft Summer eyes, neutral but cool, and soft soft soft.
Only dyed hair is, or approaches, all one colour. Natural hair has many colours to make an overall tone. You might see one colour but the rest of us don’t. How it reflects light and shows its colours requires its true colours to reveal the correct tones. Soft Summer has a drop of gold in her hair, not yellow. She is not a great blonde. A True cool Season in even slightly warm clothing or makeup has yellowed, dingy colour. If it’s silver hair, it looks like smoker’s yellow-gray instead of their beautiful clean silvered gray. The foundation colour must be accurate, hard to find in today’s overly yellow base makeup selections.
Others don’t see the discrepancy in our hair as we ourselves might. We don’t see hair as an object of one colour like a wall or a pillow. You might not pair those objects but they’re not coloured with hemoglobin, carotene, and melanin. We sense that living things are not coloured in the same way as objects, and that man-made objects are not coloured in the same way as Nature’s inorganic objects. Despite the difference, we are able to find the harmonizing colours and the relationships between them, as us and our clothes.
We can bring colours into our harmony too. Because it’s applied to our face, makeup interacts with the pigments in the skin. A lipstick that swatches on paper as Light Summers might fall flat on some Light Summer and be lovely on some Light Springs. This is called Making The System Work For You. Clothes don’t change so much. No question, in the same way that the drapes have an effect on us and we have an effect right back on them, so do we change our clothing colours somewhat, just not to the extent of makeup because of how it’s used. A Bright Winter can change True Summer’s beautiful, cool yellow into a grayed piece of cloth that’s been washed too many times.
What kind of eye is this? Soft or saturated? Neutral? How Neutral? Spring’s yellow heat or Autumn’s gold? Of the 3 colour dimensions, which one matters above all? I have no idea. This is why I can’t look at photos and know Season. I have no comparisons and no ruler. All I can say is what I always do, whether I’m shown a photo or a real person in front of me: “Could be this or could be that.” If it’s a real person, I can say, “Where’s my drapes, lights, and gray background when I need ‘em?”
L. knows that I would never advise any woman to colour her hair ever. Her natural colour will always be her best colour. Sometimes we can decorate up a little and keep the balance, and that’s good too. My advice is to save herself the time and money and wear her natural hair. Once her hairs grays, she’ll only look better. Gray is what the Soft Summer does better than anybody because gray is inherently cool, as they are, and they start off with more of it in the natural colours that define them than the other colouring types.
If L.’s discerning eye prefers to warm a few of her clothing browns, excellent. She has to feel well in what she wears. There will be no repercussions as long as the harmony is maintained (more on that in Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book). There would be more substantial repercussions if she tried to alter her hair colour.
What about L.’s question about the colours present in the Sci\ART palettes? Without stirring up a nest of hornets that have finally gone to sleep, I’ll take a guess. Only a guess. Please don’t come after me on this, I have no valid opinion to offer so I won’t say much. I do not know what was in the head of the person who designed the palettes. I’ll take a shot: As I understand the history, at the time of her passing, Kathryn Kalisz was adjusting the Season palettes, as she probably did a few times over the years for different reasons. She deeply wanted people to feel comfort in their colours, but some of the feedback sometimes said that the colours were too much, probably more in the saturated Seasons. Part of the reason for the choices may have reflected this, though I doubt it was the bigger part of it in this particular instance.
There was (is) also the question of whether the Neutral Season colours should be closer to the parent Seasons, as Soft Summer to True Summer, or to the other Neutral with which they share the most important colour dimension, as Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. Is one right and one wrong? Does there need to be a hard rule? I would say No and No as long as the dimensions of each Season is respected, though I’d be thrilled to talk about it. Where does one cloud in colour space end and the next begin? Is there an overlap? How big is it, what’s the rule? How big should it be, different question? You have thousands of colours. Maybe one day, someone will make 4 Colour Books of swatches for each Tone, not just 1. Smart woman that L. is, she found other options that contained what she was looking for and she knew how to select those that applied to her.
This completes my long-winded way of saying that L. made great choices and decisions on her own Nothing I love better than a woman empowered to work through the many choices about her best self, in any context, and come out right. Discernment is a beautiful thing.
I wrote this back in The Emmas Are True Springs Part 2.
Besides covering grey, I can’t think of a time when chemistry improves base hair colour from what Nature gives us. That’s the colour we had at 25, before we darkened with maturity. It’s the most believable, flattering, low maintenance colour we can wear.
I don’t agree with the first sentence, or how I said it. I am thankful that it was pointed out to me. I still agree with the second sentence, having not been given better evidence to the contrary. Like this entire website, I await and welcome all evidence to the contrary of anything I write to help me find truth. Maybe that why Winters are so often colour analysts, because we’re so convinced about our own judgments. Not necessarily a good thing but very willing to change my mind.
Kate* saw two issues with my words:
1. Improvement? Says who?
2. 25? Why 25?
For some women, the result of a colour analysis doesn’t come as a big surprise. It didn’t for Kate. She had figured it out herself and just needed to join the ends on her entire palette by understanding what all of her colours and her colouring have in common. As all women with their natural hair colour, the road to wearing her colours and bringing the whole picture together will be shorter and easier.
When hair colour needs adjusting, as it did for me, the road gets longer. There’s this crazy thing going on where your brain can’t believe what your eyes just saw, you’re pretty sure you look like a clown in the makeup, being a Winter, you’re ignoring what everybody around you says, you know You best, and after all, your colourist is a colour expert, it can’t be, it can’t be, and yet, there is your phone in your hand with your finger dialing the hair salon before you’re out of the colour analyst’s driveway. Your colourist fits you in, miraculously gets the colour right the first time, but you can’t see that either yet, you’re questioning the whole deal now. Your husband is trying to help, he sees your Feng Shui is in a mess, but he can’t remember the words Feng Shui, he knows it’s not Shih Tzu because he said that one time and you laughed at him for days, so he tries again, “Don’t let your hair screw up your Shit Zing, you look gorgeous to me.”, and you want to drive your fingers into his eyes and rip off his nose. Useless, he’s just useless. You ask your friends even though you know there’s an element of performing for each other, which as a Winter, you resist, but such are life and compliments. They’re swept up in making you feel better, I could go on for pages because this does go on for months, do you send your analyst an email? will she be pissed? she might as well be because you sure are, so you see, it’s easier to start off with easy hair.
Meeting a Soft Summer who recognizes the perfection and specialness of her inherently dusty hair colour is always such a pleasure. This hair is as special as Bright Season hair in being misunderstood, under-appreciated, and difficult to get right from a bottle. Without that dusty quality in the hair, the harmony of the whole image is elusive. Kate’s hair had a few silver strands. Not only were they hard to see, once you did notice them, they absolutely added to the perfection of her own colouring, as if she’d reached a higher level of her colours, not just Lavender Smoke, but Lavender Silver Smoke.
Kate said to me,
It feels like everything you say flows organically/logically from the Sci/Art system, except these conclusions about grey/silver hair, and that your best base colour is when you were 25. I know you state in different ways that our nature-given colouring is never less than perfect, the genetic paint box is the same for skin, hair and eyes. That makes total sense to me – but seems to be contradicted by a statement that the hair colour we had at 25 is the most perfect? How can that be? The genetic coding that determines our paint box also determines our hair silvering pattern/tone/rate, and as well, the softening of our skin colour as we age, no? So, provided our hair and we are healthy, and the colour is not artificially affected by chlorine/sun/ hot iron damage etc, would not our current natural hair colour at whatever age, truly be our most perfect hair colour for us? I think it’s the casual/automatic assumption that covering grey is an improvement, as a fact, that is the most problematic for me. If we could see how young many people are when get silvers, we really would lose that association.
It’s important to me to be exact in the words I choose. In no way do I believe that covering gray is always:
A. More flattering – Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Many (like me) are not ready for partial gray because the white hair is obvious on the dark background. Transitions are not always easy. On lighter heads, the white hair virtually disappears and hair colour would gain the woman nothing. To my eye, it absolutely does look younger and more exciting to have the right hair colour on about half the women who colour. On the other half, no colour, even their own at 25, would look better on them than gray.
B. Necessary – My statement above, “Besides covering gray, I can’t think of a time when chemistry improves base hair colour from what Nature gave us…” should be followed by, “…if you don’t want gray”. In that case, chemical colour is an improvement on base hair colour, as in the case of me, because it’s getting me something I want. My situation is therefore improved, if not my hair’s colour.
Summers gray very easily. But nothing applies equally to all women, not even within a Season. Women need advice they can use because they’re going to colour their hair anyhow. I sure am, whether my natural hair colour is theoretically perfect for my genetic colouring or not. I lift my face with makeup and I’m going to lift my hair. I can fully agree that it should not matter to me, that I should welcome the gray, and that many real people gray quite early in life. But the fact is that I am not willing to put my money where my mouth is on that topic. I should be glad to have one lipstick when women in Africa don’t have food. Yes, but I don’t live in Africa. I buy a box of $5.99 colour and invest 20 minutes every few weeks. The payoff outweighs the inputs. If 3 hours and $120 every month were my only option, I’d rethink it, I promise you.
I may not be the right person to talk about the silvering of hair. There are topics about which I feel more strongly. On hair colour, whatever rings your bell as long as it’s a good colour for you. If I ever sound defensive, the women I’m (over)reacting for are those for whom silver hair, or silver in hair, would not be the best choice. For instance, the woman who had children in her 40s and is tired of being asked if she’s their grandmother. To her, leaving her hair silver is someone else’s crusade. To the woman who had an illness after which her hair came back gray/silver, who felt that she’s missed a decade of her life in illness, silver hair makes her feel like she’s missed two. When life spins you too hard, hair colour, like tattoos, is a way of saying, “This one thing, this one part of my own flesh, I still control.”
Many of our choices are redirected from another problem. A cat is ticked at the stray that gets into the garbage Tuesday nights, so he attacks the other cat = redirected aggression. A person taking it out on you because they’re having a major Bad Hair Day has nothing to do with you. They’re redirecting aggression. A woman colouring her hair because illness stole part of her life isn’t making a social statement about Colour Is BetterYoungerPrettierSexier Than Silver. She’s trying to get back some time. Redirection of energy towards distant and seemingly disconnected outcomes consumes huge behaviour resources, the intention as much a mystery to the redirector as the redirectee. I guess this is what psychologists do all day. It’s not just appearance, it’s healing.
A colour analyst sees people closer to undisguised reality than many professions. You just never know someone else’s story. How much of it they want to share is their business but there is always a story, and often it’s a truly hard and heartbreaking one. Humans are vulnerable enough and carry around enough hurt. Sometimes laying the gray hair card on the table along with all the others is one card too many. I’m not defensive of my own hair colour, but the discussion does seem to spark some need to protect all these people I see. And yet, I know that nobody is even remotely attacking them. Quite the opposite.
There are online groups most of them are only too aware of their view of grey hair not too long ago, and besides, they just want women to do what makes them happy. The banding-together/sense of sisterhood comes about not because they think their way is best /only way, but rather because of the sense of being judged by society / many women who colour.
I try to speak to all sorts of women and I try to keep it real-world, no pretty or ugly, no right or wrong. I don’t judge or control your appearance, I just want you to choose from many options demanding equal time and money and be able to pick out those that will really help you.
Anna* is a True Summer in her late 30s with fine hair, a spot on her face that won’t go away, weight that won’t move despite all the work at the gym, trouble sleeping, a recent divorce, and a personal commitment to live up to her greatest potential. To run her company and appear in front of young women, to meet men, to feel like a powerful leader, she feels better with coloured hair. Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter, she looks younger, more vital, and much stronger. On that woman at that stage of her life, her life will not change for the better with thin, white hair. She’ll age visibly and she’ll age mentally. I wonder if hair can lose colour before skin. It’s only coloured by melanin, not hemoglobin or carotene. Anna’s skin is not a day over how our culture perceives 30.
June* is a True Summer with silver hair. It’s magnificent. She is magnificent with it. She’d be out of her mind to come near it with hair colour.
It’s a choice. I so often come back to this great, great question Darren asked: What is it that you want to communicate and to whom? That’s where your answer lies.
Georgette* is 18 with some early graying. Should she have the moral fiber to just wear her real hair colour, despite having heard “What a shame” once too many times, which is to say, once? 18 is shaky enough. If I were Mom and she wanted to colour it, I’d drive her to the store and help pick the colour.
No firm basis, except thinking it looks good on most women. Once dye came along, this 25 colour is often the last looked one that looked just right on most heads. It is a time when we are shown our custom-colour. Sure, our silver is our custom-colour as well, but now we circle back to the top. When women show me their grad photos, I love the colour I see. If I’m being asked for hair colour advice, I request the grad photo, and there are the hue, value, and chroma for your head. It is a specific and more interesting colour, not ‘medium to dark ash brown’. It’s a colour that stylists can use to get that woman right and happy, not wrong and even older looking.
Kate said so well, that
Any diminishing in vitality with silver hair is a perception in the eye of the beholder, driven by society. I get that many women feel differently from me, that it is a personal choice, that lots of women will colour and therefore direction on that is good, and I cherish that each woman has the choice… just so long as it’s not a choice driven by fear, to quote you about not using makeup.
To me, accuracy requires the word silver instead of grey, because each hair that loses pigment is silver/white/colourless, so the overall colour we see on the head depends on the colour(s) of the still-pigmented hairs, and % of silver. Society uses grey for everyone, but that is so not correct. I, for example will never be literally grey, as I don’t have the black hair needed to add to the mix to make grey.
Q: I am curious what happens when silver sisters take off that grey cap at the end – is there a sense that their hair doesn’t belong, the same as many women with chemically-altered hair experience?
A: I wouldn’t say that silver haired women need to adjust after the cap comes off. They adjusted long ago. They’re just looking at a picture they’re used to. Even on True Autumns, the gray is stunning against the warmer clothes. Stunning and strong and interesting. I love these unexpected contrasts and comparisons. They are visually so inspiring.
Q: Once hair begins to silver, do the grays of the palette become better neutrals in clothing, even replacing black for those whose palette included it?
A: Depends on the person and the colour of gray. What colour are the eyes? What type of gray is the hair? A Dark Season with a strong iron gray hair and black eyes remains striking in black, with makeup that looks better than ever. Every feature is like a rhinestone. A Winter with a lighter, softer gray hair may find black too dark. She is more regal, yet still austere, in sharp gray, wearing black in smaller areas if her eyes appear black. At any age, black does define, refine, and outline the colouring and features of Winters, it’s part of how you came to be Winter in the first place, but the amount of it you wear will vary by the woman, even inside a Tone.
For the other groups of natural colouring (Seasons, Tones), for everybody, wearing your hair colour looks good. It looks organized and connected. Your clothing makes perfect sense on you. It feels good to look at. Wear more gray. Should it replace your taupes or beiges? Again, it depends. A Light Spring with creamy silver beige hair still look gorgeous in her ivory and milky peach beige.
In beauty, even within a Tone, there is no one-size-fits-all. If there were, it would mean that there are 12 types of women. Nope.
As you leave your personal colour analysis, you have a gorgeous little booklet that contains 65 colours that harmonize to perfection with the colours in you.
You head straight for your favourite clothing store. Within 10 minutes of being there, you notice that matching those swatches to real clothes isn’t quite so straightforward. Is close enough good enough? It wasn’t when you were sitting in front of the analyst’s mirror.
The harder you try to match those swatches to clothing, the harder it all gets. Maybe there’s another way to go about this. Forget about the little swatches. Look at the entire palette all at once. That’s how you look to others, all your blues, reds, yellows, browns, whites, all churned together at once.
One of the greatest gifts in my life, one that humbles me because I feel I did nothing to earn it, is the woman who trained me. Four years later and I’m still learning so much from her. She is an amazing colour analyst. Terry took a break from PCA. She’ll soon be seeing colour appointments and training again (in Western Michigan). You’ll meet her in an upcoming post. She showed me this most excellent way of appointing a colour to its Tone or Season.
>> Fan the Colour Book all out.
>> Lay it on the fabric.
>> Better yet, look around the store or your closet for two items in similar colours. Even once you get practice at this, without a comparison, our visual system just hangs there, thinking, “So? I’m waiting for your next move here.” Give it a comparison, any comparison, and it gets (gets both in the senses of ‘to understand’ and ‘to fetch’) what you want. We have no idea what a colour is anywhere, in a fabric, in an eye, or in a person’s face, how cool, how dark, how anything, until we compare it to something. If you happened to compare the colours of a face to a calibrated colour ruler, why, now you have a Personal Colour Analysis worthy of the capitals.
All those salespeople who feel they have enough experience to match your foundation by eye, who can “just tell by looking at you”, are the last folks I’d purchase from. That’s not because I don’t trust them from a theoretical POV, even though I don’t. It’s because I’ve wasted more $$ on those cosmetic purchases than any other. They may be the North American Head of Training for Whatever, doesn’t matter. May have more experience but they have the same eyes as everybody else. I’d buy from the new person who would feel better if she tried a few to compare. The more experience a colour analyst has, the more they’ll insist that you have a seat in front of the mirror and watch some drapes change.
Let these random thoughts float through your head:
>> Do these two things belong together, even if the exact colour swatch isn’t there? Often, it won’t be. Why not? Because you have many blues. If the book included them all, there would be no space to show you your span of greens. Or reds.
>> Does the palette look like more than the fabric, as if the swatches are separating from the fabric, or the reverse, where the palette looks dull and easy to ignore on that fabric colour? They should bring out the best and the most in each other. The eye should feel rest and ease, aware of both palette and fabric equally and happily.
We’re looking at a True Autumn 12-Tone Colour Book (from www.truecolour.com.au) on Light Spring fabric. Even though neither the swatch nor fabric colours are exactly as they appear to an eye, you can see that the Autumn colours are rendering the fabric to might-as-well-not-even-be-there. Overpowering clothes do that to us. As you see, they are not bringing out the best in each other. The swatches are separate, pulling up off the fabric, not blending comfortably with it.
>> Look at the reds. Could you make some beautiful lipstick combinations?
These swatches come from the Light Spring book. Again, the fabric in the photo is far more grayed than it really is. Still, they belong. They feel good on the fabric. The lipsticks work, both warm and cool options. Did you feel yourself relax when your eyes moved from the upper photo to this one?
>> Find the oddest, most extreme colours for that Tone. Do they work well with the fabric colour or would you never wear them together? When the harmony is right, there are no unpleasant combinations.
>> Are the neutral beiges/whites/taupes/grays really enhanced or boring? Or changed in some way, like greeny?
These are Light Summer swatches on that Light Spring fabric. Me, I wouldn’t wear the mauve taupe with the yellow green fabric, and it’s way more yellow green in real life.
>> Look for the complementary colours to the fabric colour. The pairs should be downright exciting.
>> Make some colour schemes. Monochromatic, analogous, contrasting. It should be easy.
Light Summer swatches again on Light Spring fabric. Close but no bell ringing. Those greens aren’t great together. That’s not a monochromatic scheme that works.
Are you thinking, “There are no right or wrong answers here. How am I supposed to know if I got it right?” How very astute of you. In French, they say, “Les gouts et les couleurs, ca ne se discute pas.” It means, “There’s no accounting for tastes or colours. Let’s talk about something else. How about religion or politics?”
It means that you can’t be wrong. And from there, you will settle in and get better. If you know your Season and have a coordinated closet, practice seeing harmony there before taking it into stores.
Beauty and belonging are where your eye sees them. Do you know what a split complementary colour scheme is? It begins with the usual red-green, blue-orange, or purple-yellow pair and shifts one of them just a little on the colour wheel. Much more interesting, dimensional, and stimulating than the straight red-green formula.
From your colouring to your Munsell positions on the 3 colour scales to your Tone’s book of swatches, you create your very own piece of art.
Art is partly a formula. Without some feeling, individuality, or expression, it just stays a formula. That’s where you come in.
Another update. Maybe it will just be a stream of updates instead of a Grand Opening.
The first session of the course has taken place. From my perspective, it was all that I hoped it would be. I think that the student, now my friend and colleague, would agree but would not presume to speak for her. She has graciously agreed to speak with anyone who would like to know her impressions. After three days with me, she knows that I insist on brutal honesty instead of compliments and flattery, which just make me suspicious. She’ll tell you the truth because I asked her to. e-mail me and I’ll pass on her contact info. If you call, needless to say, be sure that it’s on your dime.
From the previous update:
The Training Guide info still applies. I’ve decided to have it bound into a book. More waiting. I’ll send you the manuscript and replace it at my cost with the finished book. It is wordy. So am I. It is written for left and right brain learners, which means that your reaction to large parts of it may be, “I have no idea what she’s talking about.” That’s a good open-minded starting point. You will have plenty of ideas by the time you leave and learn more each time you re-read it. If you’re a person who learns better by paring things down to bullet points without all the flowery words, you will be happier with a different trainer than me.
The Course Schedule still applies. We will spend about 4 hours working with colour matching exercises in Munsell charts, the 12-Tone palettes, textiles, and cosmetics. These exercises will involve the practical use of hue, value, and chroma progressions and developing the skills to recognize and feel harmony before they’re applied to a human face.
Certificate, same. I NEED TO KNOW your name exactly as you would like it to appear on your certificate at least 4 weeks before the course.
Lodging is still at the Comfort Inn on Richmond Avenue in Chatham, Ontario. When you book the hotel room, tell them that you’re coming for the PCA Training Course with me. Let’s work together to give future students the best rate and service possible.
Food when traveling is never easy. I’ll gladly take you to a grocery store to stock your room (fridge in it) with your preferences. You’ll need to arrive early enough the day before, between noon and 5 PM if possible. We won’t have time once the course starts. We’ll always have a kettle and access to tea and coffee. There are quick and easy restaurants within 5 minutes walk. My tired, hungry student ordered in a hot meal. Smart idea, comforting result.
Cost, same. The cost of the course is presently $3000. This does not include the drapes or any other supplies or equipment. The price can change at any time unless you have reserved a spot (the deposit need not have been paid but canceling without giving 2 months notice may mean a long delay before another spot opens up).
Change some $ at your bank to CDN currency for taxis. Merchants here often take US money but the exchange rate isn’t reliable. Your Visa can be used for most things including food but your ATM card may not be recognized. If you have extra US currency when you leave, I’m happy to buy it back at a 1:1 exchange for amounts under $50 when the exchange hovers at 90 cents to $1.10 for both currencies. Banks can change it more fairly probably.
The RobertQ airbus will bring you across the border, and into Chatham from Detroit or Toronto. The taxi ride from the Chatham drop-off to the hotel is expensive ($15). If you get into Chatham between 8 AM and 8 PM, I can meet you and bring you to the hotel 5 minutes away.
If you do need a taxi, when you get here to the Truck Stop of the Robt Q, taxi phone numbers: (dial all digits in Ontario; first numbers in SW ON are 519 unless otherwise indicated)
Chatham Radio Cabs: 519-351-1232
Courtesy Cab: 519-352-2300
Ace Taxi: 519-352-1000
Expect a modest farming town. We are on the edge of an industrial park. There are million dollar homes but not where we will be. Expect also lower prices, no traffic, no distractions, no temptations, and short distances. If you were hoping for shopping, shows, restaurants, or any other fanciness, you may be disappointed.
You need a valid passport for yourself and anyone you travel with.
If someone is traveling with you, they can come in the room with us and watch the analysis and they would be welcomed as draping models, or they should bring some reading. I have a magnificent hair stylist. I get Guided Facials from a woman who can plug into where my life is at that moment and what I need to hold in my thoughts and heart to feel and find the right path. Love her, love her product (www.nancykbrown.com). We have an awesome used bookstore. I buy 2/3 of my clothes at our Value Village.
I NEED TO KNOW the URL for your business website. There will be Directory of 12 Blueprints Analysts on my website. I’m not sure yet if it will be set up like the present Analyst Directory for Sci\ART analysts, or differently. Open to all ideas to make it nifty. We’ll cross-link our websites.
I will have a neutral gray analyst coat for you to wear. You can try on two sizes of those for sale. There are samples of neutral gray fabric in your course package if you prefer to purchase clothing or have some made. Caps, capes, and headscarves for clients are also available, or you can make your own. Be sure to get the colour right. It can’t tend pink, blue, yellow, or green. You should be able to see no colour in it at all.
I NEED TO KNOW whether you fit into a size US 6-12 (S-M) or US 12-18 (M-L).
Being able to say to every single person, “You are fine just the way you are. If you never change a thing, I would love you just as much.”
Releasing every single person from, “If you make yourself the way I want you to be, I’ll like you more.”
Until we get there, we can’t say the same thing to ourselves. Now we’re cut off ourselves off from being a happy human and a free one.
When the client leaves, they do not want to be anyone else and neither would you.
Happy and free humans.
This was a right brain digression. You can only live in one brain hemisphere for so long.
With your permission, I will introduce you to the person taking the course with you once the deposits are paid. Please don’t share your Season if you know it or your colour story. Each of you can pretend to be the client for the other.
We will drape a model or two before draping you. As my first student said so perfectly, “You should continue to do that. They will know what to look for, and they will be able to see themselves more objectively after having opportunity to encourage others to do so.”
We will drape both students (2 max per session), which means appearing without makeup for a half-day. I understand if you would prefer to schedule this when we’re not meeting clients, while others won’t care. I’ll need to schedule draping models around your own analyses. Please LMK if you have a preference, for instance one evening or first thing in the AM before we meet the public.
These private individuals have kindly given three hours of their time. They do appreciate that this is your training, not their draping.
They have been asked to discuss their real situations with you. Feel free to ask if you can take pictures for purposes of later study only, with absolutely no sharing of the photograph. Ask the question before the draping session begins. It is the models’ choice to agree or decline.
Should one of these photos ever make its way onto an online colour site or anywhere else but your private library, this privilege will be retracted for everyone, as will any personal or professional respect or support from me for the person who shared them.
No recording of the training or draping sessions is permitted, neither audio nor video.
You are free to use a digital camera to photograph equipment and set-up. Once I got home from my training, I couldn’t recall all the details of the lighting adjustments, the chair design, etc.
Intensity (Or How To Merit Distinction)
The student said, “You should probably warn them of how relentless this will be.”
She’s right. What a fantastic analyst she is now and will grow into.
We will work from 8.30 AM to 8 or 9 PM for 3 solid days. We will take a one hour break for lunch and supper. You may visit nearby restaurants, and they are not fancy, or have food in your room. There is a fridge in the hotel room at the Comfort Inn. Coffee and tea are available all day. For these 3 days, no time will be available for dining out or sightseeing. You will not need to rent a car.
You will be physically tired. You will be on your feet for hours on end, meeting strangers.
You will be emotionally drained. Among my intentions is to blow any leftover stereotypic ideas about how each Season looks to Kingdom Come, among the greatest gifts my trainer gave me.
You may or may not arrive figuring that you’ve read all the books on colour and the training is a formality – and you may have to accept that it isn’t so. You may be someone who takes a look at an arriving client and consciously or subconsciously decides what Season they look like. We’ll see how deadly and deeply wrong of a pattern that is.
If you thought they were a certain Season, we’ll work to disprove that one above all, for you and for them. Within a week of being back home, the folks online or the aunt who did colours in the 90s will get into their head with, “Oh, you just can’t be a Soft Autumn. That lipstick is too strong.” Your client will be able to say, “I know what I am and you’re wrong.”
And when we drape you and you get back home and the folks online get into your head…but they won’t. You’ll never listen to them again. If you do, I’ll revoke your certificate (just kidding) (half-serious). They don’t mean harm. The problem is that they have never seen a thorough analysis or enough real, regular, everyday people who have been correctly analyzed. They have an excuse. You won’t.
True story. On the phone, I once asked Kathryn Kalisz how she responds when asked what the Season of friends might be. She laughed, “I have no idea.” That’s the only correct answer. To know an amount of something, the choices are to guesstimate or to measure against something calibrated like a ruler. Suppose the amount in question is the hue, value, and chroma in a human being, which is the Tone, after all. Hard enough to judge one at a time in a paint chip, wait till you try to do all three at once in a face. You can guesstimate, but after enough apparent Soft Autumns leave you a Bright Winter, you’ll be laughing too. Or you can measure. The drapes are the ruler.
Am I relentless? Maybe. I hope your training is rigorous. If my name is on the certificate hanging on your wall, I want the public to know that your training was tight and meticulous. Sloppy is not how we will work. I’m not rude or harsh. You don’t need any special aptitudes. Success is 90% perspiration, right? All you need is love, passion, willingness to be wrong, and commitment to learn truth.
You can do this. Part of doing it with excellence, or even competence, is to know when you’re being careless. We’ll examine ourselves if we slip-slide into carelessness. If the public expects any human or machine to be 100% accurate all the time, they need to get over that unless they want to be righteously indignant all the time. I want you to be known for excellence. In your town, if someone wants a PCA, I want the word to be out, “Just get her to do it.”
As a colour analyst, you will notice that until you deconstruct everything your client believes she knows about colour and herself in colours, she can’t release wrong beliefs and the process can’t move forward. Everybody’s stuck. I’ll do the same to you. Until you can say, “I can accept any outcome. I do not know what is going to happen next.” you can’t be open to every possibility equally, 1/12 for each one.
We’ll learn to fight back when assumptions (“Her hair is so light, she can’t be a Dark Season.”) drive decisions. That’s when theories twist facts. If the facts are, “Her lips are good here, her skin there. But that can’t be, can it?” we’ll learn what to do and what to never do.
We will learn to never skip steps, figuring that you can anticipate a result – what if some of our previous facts were actually incorrect? You can’t know what you don’t know but you can learn to know when you don’t know. It will make you 1000 times more accurate in the end. The world of PCA is fraught with error because we look at what the person’s colouring should be or resembles or reminds us of. We ignore what it is until we are shown how to see.
You will be mentally drained. There is value to you in working through challenging situations with me while you’re here. I’ll set up logic roadblocks and you’ll learn how to navigate through them with me to help you. We’ll practice the algorithm in as many of its permutations as possible and put you in real life situations that we can work through together so you can be clear and correct once you get back home doing it alone.
You will leave convinced of how very dissimilar people of the same natural colouring group can be, in looks, personality, size, everything. Our genetic code doesn’t read our colour textbooks. A doctor will tell you that maybe, maybe two in ten cases of pancreatitis will present identically. Some will have 4 of the 20 symptoms in the books. Some will have 0. With experience, you develop an innate feeling for the disease but will misdiagnose cases that didn’t read the textbooks unless you remain aware of our human tendency to pigeonhole and then convince ourselves afterwards that we were right to do so.
We’ll see that personality is irrelevant and misleading to guiding a PCA. We don’t know anybody well enough, least of all ourselves, to pre-judge people. The character of the colours is one thing and it is relevant in terms of the language and responses with which they communicate to us. The character of the person is neither here nor there in helping find their Tone. Neither are the keywords in each Season chapter of RTNYC (blue book in right column on this page)
Together, we will learn to look at each new person, beyond outward appearance, and find the true colouring they hold. Help them imagine a different tomorrow. Imagining sparks excitement and possibility. This is a life of service to others in doing something that you love, and discovering that your own growth is wrapped up in the same package. It is only in helping others that we can help ourselves.
I am asked, “Do you only know beautiful people?”
Yes, I do. And so do you. I will show you how to discover that they are more beautiful than you or they ever dreamed possible.
Every time I apply the 12 Tones of colours to a different medium, it’s like learning it all over again. Once you’ve learned to choose clothes, you figure makeup will be easy. Not so. It’s a whole new sorting experience. Students who come for the Analyst Training Course will bring a page of makeup swatches that we’ll classify to Season. We will also have a bag of fabrics and we’ll organize those. And they’ll think, “Does this ever get easier??” This is partly why I feel that those who are serious about their colours should own their swatches in more than one format.
Shopping in the Theoretical Universe
When one of the three colour dimensions (hue, value, chroma) changes in a colour, so do the other two. Maybe you’re looking at a green item and it seems a little less pure and more heathery than your swatches. You’re really not sure if it’s still in your Tone’s chroma range or not. Compare the item to your swatches based on something besides chroma.
Darkness level can be useful. If the Tone has definite upper value limits, like the Light Spring and True Spring (though really, they all do except the 3 Winters), this can exclude certain Bright Spring colours. The pastels of Summer have a fair bit of pigment, much more than the Winter icy light colours, so giving a light colour to Summer or Winter isn’t hard. The Winter ones are much closer to white.
Sometimes, the distinction isn’t so easy, especially between neighbour Neutral Seasons, meaning the 2 Softs, 2 Lights, 2 Darks, and 2 Brights. We have to go after what makes them most different. You have to get colour-specific because they’re too similar in terms of the 3 colour dimensions. Is one redder, greener, yellower, etc? Even with Trues and their 2 Neutral Seasons, it would be hard to distinguish True and Soft Summer by darkness. For some of the colours, the saturation difference doesn’t seem obvious, though it is there, because both are muted. True Summer is cooler, but ‘cooler’ is too generic. True Summer is bluer than Soft Summer. Even the blues are bluer.
Neighbouring Neutral Seasons are more accepting of one another’s colours without interfering with the overall harmony. They have the most important colour dimension in common – Light, Soft, Dark, or Brightness. They’re similar in value. The heat setting is close, one cooler, one warmer, which musn’t be discounted. One definitely looks better and one definitely looks worse, but there’s some willingness to compromise.
True cool Season palettes share no colours with their Neutral neighbours because the Neutrals contain a little heat, the one dimension where True cool Season skin won’t negotiate. There are definite detractions from appearance.
True warm Season palettes share no colours with their Neutral satellites because their Neutrals contain a little coolness, the one dimension where True warm Season skin won’t negotiate. The person doesn’t look as good in many little ways that, when added into a bigger picture, make a big difference.
So, why couldn’t the True cool Seasons share colours, like a True Spring wearing True Autumn colours, since they both respect the need for warmth? The theory seems sound enough – as long as the theory only recognizes this one single dimension, which isn’t how colour works. The result reminds me of one of Sherlock Holmes’ more famous quotes, from A Scandal in Bohemia,
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
Any two True Seasons have only one colour dimension in common: heat (Spring and Autumn), high saturation (Winter and Spring), coolness (Winter and Summer), low saturation (Summer and Autumn), lightness (Summer and Spring), and darkness (Autumn and Winter) . In an analysis, a person who looks good in Autumn and Summer is probably enjoying the softness of the colours. It’s the only thing the two Seasons share. The fact is that they differ in the other two. All three have to be bull’s eye perfect for ultimate harmony. True Seasons do not share colours no matter how dark blue the True Summer’s eyes are or how blonde the True Winter.
Winter colours on Summer people stick out. It’s hard to see anything else. Summer colours on Winter people are weak. Maybe a couple of each could slide by but the whole thing isn’t right. It fascinates me to no end how the Sci\ART drape colours that Kathryn Kalisz assembled are not always exactly to be found among her swatches. And yet, the harmony with the Tone is unmistakable. I think of True Autumn’s famous schoolbus yellow, beloved by many who have been draped with it. It’s not exactly in the True Autumn swatches. You might even think it’s in the Bright Spring group. Lay all the fabrics out together and you’ll see that the colour belongs with True Autumn.
So many of Conan Doyle’s character’s quotes apply to PCA. From The Sign of Four,
I never guess. It is a shocking habit,- destructive to the logical faculty.
Colour analysts do not guess. You know or you don’t. If you’re not absolutely sure, don’t call it. Say the truth, “I don’t know.” Fine, we’ll figure it out some other way, but don’t bring in a mistake that will carry through the rest of the analysis. People send me photos and I say, “I do not know.” When I was in medical school listening for heart murmurs, the students would say “I think I hear a murmur.” And the Scottish professor who had seen it all or the genius woman who led the surgical department, they replied, “Pick one. Either you hear it or you don’t. Commit.” Colour analysis is not guesswork. It takes some confidence. You have to know when to open-mindedly yet politely ignore the client the way a doctor does with rambling medical histories and pages of internet self-diagnosis. It’s not that the ramble contains no value or truth, it’s just that given the facts of the patient’s condition (or colouring) and the facts of symptoms and illness (or colour classification), some of their conclusions cannot be correct. In our training, we will cultivate the strength of your convictions.
And from so many of the stories, the most immortal quote of all, for the I-look-just-like-my-Soft-Autumn-sister who drapes to be a True Winter:
“… and when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
The Neutral palettes will compromise on heat level as long as their important dimension is respected. Keep colour dark, and Dark Autumn skin says, “A trace cooler, a trace warmer, a trace more saturated, I’ll play along. Your total look won’t fall apart.” If colour goes light, Dark Autumn skin says, “Sister, get it right or you’re done like dinner.”
Keep colour light and Light Summer skin says,”Stick with the cooler of Light Spring’s colours and it won’t be a big deal. They’re all pretty light in the big picture of white to black. Yes, OK fine, Light Spring is a bit yellower, so don’t plant a big block of it right under your chin, but your harmony won’t self-destruct.” Once colour goes dark, Light Summer skin says “There will be no good choice. We won’t like anything we see in the mirror. You did pretty well in the True Summer drapes, arguably your closest runner-up, till they turned dark and we took a wrong turn.”
Back to the topic, choosing blue for True Spring. It’s kind of tricky because blue is inherently associated with coolness. Many have trouble with True Spring blue. I would guess that the difficulty arises between True and Bright Spring. The other Seasons’ blues are quite different. Is Bright Spring blue just bluer? Yes, partly, and as the amount of blue increases, so does the darkness. Other things change too. Red is arriving in Bright Spring. Yellow is moving out. Pigments are not being muted. They’re so pure, they’re almost synthetic. True Spring still looks from-nature, without the sense of the Brights’ “Whoa blue.”
By the time we add enough yellow to colours to create a True Spring group, the most yellowed colours of all, there’s not much blue or red among the swatches. They’ve turned into turquoise and coral. But True Spring does have some blue that harmonizes perfectly with the other colours. It’s very blue but not as blue as it could be (which would be closer to Bright Spring) and not very dark.
Bright Spring blues are not just more saturated than True Spring. They’re redder by the arrival of Winter (so purplish) or less yellow (so without a green or teal quality that True Spring’s darkest blue has) . When you compare them side by side, the individual colours in the palettes are not as similar as the whole palette appears to be. This is a hard call though, if you only look at one palette. So if there’s one palette where you get hung up, buy it. Make sure you know the difference. Learn to trust your eyes and your taste too. If the blue item doesn’t disrupt your beautiful harmony, then it will probably be just fine, especially if the colour block isn’t too big.
Shopping in The World As We Know It
Got all the talking out of my system. I’m scanning the Polyvore layouts looking for True Spring blue.
I want colour. As I look, I think ‘lots of blue, lots of blue’.
There should always be more colour than darkness to perceive in all of True Spring. More colour and a feeling of sunshine. Yellow sun shining down on blue would make it look a little green IF you compared the blue to a redder blue. It leans a little turquoise/teal, not red/violet, to harmonize with the rest of the composition, or palette.
Remember that colours on every monitor look different. We’ll think more about comparisons than absolute colours. I started this post about 10 times and kept changing everything till I only worked on it in the same two hour slot each day. Imagine how long that took.
1 looked pretty good, but too dark. It’s saturated, so must be Winter or Spring. Spring’s blues aren’t red. If anything, they’re greenish, presumably from all the yellow in them. Winter’s colours are redder. I’d put this in Bright Spring as their second-darkest blue.
2 is too hazy for True Spring. It’s too dark for Light Spring and a little too saturated (too much blue) for True Summer. It also has a green quality, meaning it must be heated with yellow or gold, which True Summer isn’t. It’s in between the warmer and cooler darkest blues of Light Summer.
3 is not saturated enough for a Spring. It’s also more pink-mauve. I’d put it in Light Summer.
4 is interesting. It’s reddish, making it look a little purple. Means Winter. Too light for Dark Winter. I’d see it between True and Bright, closer to Bright.
5 doesn’t have the slight greening of True Spring’s darkest blue. Looks to me like Bright Spring’s darkest blue. A true blue that is obviously no black.
6 is more saturated than 3 but not enough for True Spring. I see haziness. Must be Light Spring. Amazing how hard it is to gauge colour in different lighting, ay? And across different textiles.
7 is hard. Doesn’t seem red enough for True Winter. The saturation is very high, leaving the Brights and Dark Winter. It feels too saturated for Dark Winter. Not sure. Probably be alright for all 3 Winters. I’d need to see the item surrounded by gray under full spectrum lights to decide for sure.
8‘s shine is making it look lighter than it is. I could imagine Light Spring’s darkest blue. Looks like it could be bluer, like it’s not at full saturation. It’s not True Spring blues which lean to green, and not dark enough to be Bright Spring’s dark blues. Bright Spring dark blues are greenish or reddish. This is pinky, like Summer’s mauve undertone.
9 is heathered. It lives between Light Spring and Light Summer.
10 is a good contender. It could be Bright Spring too, better if it were a trace more violet. Bright Spring is a Neutral Season. Like all Neutral Seasons, they have warm and cool version of colours including blue. Bright Spring has a greener blue and a redder blue.
11 is nice, ay? makes me think of Japanese art, those blossoms on branches. The blue could be good for True Spring. The flowers that go to white and black moves the item into Bright Spring or Winter, but the blue doesn’t have the red-violet quality of Winter’s effect on blue.
12 has yellow and significant haze, so a Summer. It’s a sunny day, not a shady one, so Light Summer. But it’s too desaturated for Light Summer. Maybe it’s at the low end of that Tone. If we pretend the light on it is a little cooler, it would be True Summer.
13 has yellow and more pigment, still hazy. It feels better in Light Summer.
14 is a little too saturated for Light Summer, it could be Light Spring.
15 is yellowed too much for Light Summer, looks like Light Spring.
16 is very close to white. One of the Winters get that.
17 Well, gosh, Light Spring? It’s a little too red for Light Summer and a lot too red for Soft Autumn. Not dark enough for True Autumn. My gosh, are you feeling exhausted? In Light and True Spring, those orchid purples appear. But it’s dusty. Maybe Light Summer is better. I feel all tired out now. In the same way that there are lines of garments that make sense on nobody, I guess there are colours that are right in none of the 12 Tones. That colour is making me feel weird.
18 isn’t lots of blue. What I get first is dusty, then dark. Soft Summer. Thank you, goddess, easier one.
19 could be True Winter. It’s not at full max sat like 22 and it’s reddish. You’re not alone in finding this really hard and I have all 12 Colour Books.
20 True Spring, oh, please? Nope. Not greenish and a little too dusty. If I had to say, does it lean green or purple, I think, “Shoot (or a word with similar first sound), I don’t know.” I hold up the True Spring swatch book and the blouse turns pinkish. I see a marketing opportunity here. We could sell pieces of cool, neutral, and warm gray. You could hold your garment up to it and watch them change each other. This top looks like Light Spring.
21 is Soft Autumn, right? I’m not so sure. It’s a little too colourful and not dark enough. Amazing too how hard it is to judge one colour dimension when the other two aren’t constant, as in, how hard it is to tell which of two colours is lighter when their saturations are not the same. Soft Autumn is less saturated and more dark. Light Spring purple is more decided about itself, it’s is either bluer or redder. Light Summer? Yes, probably.
22 could be True Winter in the light areas, aggressively blued with definite black feelings. The saturation is so high that I think of a Bright Winter. Shopping in the real world is like searching for the lost world of Atlantis.
23 is True Summer. I pick up no heat, or hardly any. It goes a little darker than True Summer at the bottom and the top blue part is not quite as freshly cooled. Soft Summer would be fine here, though her blues are a touch warmer, and her lighter blue-gray is less blue. Whatever. We are going to have no clothes unless we cut ourselves a little slack.
24 could be True Spring quite well (or Light Spring). The aqua writing is too blue for True Spring (would be greener) and works better in Light Spring.
25 Stark white, high contrast stripes means there’s Winter in it. The blue is too blue for True Spring. The two Bright Seasons could manage this but they would want to add sunshine to the overall look. Too saturated for Dark Winter. Could be True Winter.
26 Light Spring. Groan. I have to believe this is getting easier. For True Spring, it would need a faint green tinge and no dusty quality. This has a red tinge. I know that because I held the True Spring book up to it and the item looked even redder. But I gotta say, it’s so close.
The other confusion might be with True Autumn, but there’s no problem here. True Autumn blue is redder (purpler, actually), duller, and darker. I figure the purple must come from making gold (Autumn) from the yellow primary, since gold is added to Autumn colours. Adding purple would mute and darken yellow. Then, adding gold (purpled yellow) to blue makes darker, muted, purply blue. True Spring’s darkest blue is not as dark as True Autumn’s, and it’s a little green (from all the yellow of Spring), not a little purple. Autumn mostly has teal and brick, what happened when all the gold was added to blue and red.
27 Enough fooling around or we’ll be here all night. 27 is good. I’m using 36 as my reference red-blue in this panel. 27 one leans green.
28 is one of those pieces that would keep me wondering why. Why does it look like a strapless dresss with an undershirt? That orange stripe would captivate my attention and I’d be stuck. Not everything has to make sense of course. Like my liking of yellow-beige stone with plum doors for a house. Just put it here randomly.
29 Bright Spring. Too light for True, and tending red. Plus, details are silver.
30 I can feel a tough one coming on. Too blue for True Autumn and Dark Autumn. Must be an Autumn, though, it feels muted and earthy. What’s too blue for Autumn and still muted? Summer is. This is too blue for Soft and True Summer. Wouldn’t be Light Summer, would it? It’s a trace dark, but as Sherlock says, once you’ve eliminated the probable… Honestly, it doesn’t feel altogether harmonizing with Light Summer’s freshness and it’s somewhat dark. How about Soft Autumn? It’s a little too blue, but it feels more belonging. Is that just the cut? If it were a sheer blouse or shiny taffeta, would I have an altogether different feeling? This textile reflects light in a way that mutes colour. One thing I hoped this post would illustrate: We post photos of ourselves in a Light Summer colour when we’re really in Soft Autumn. I get sent photos of a woman comparing Light Summer and Bright Winter, and the colours she’s wearing are off for both. Maybe by just a hair but it changes the whole skin reaction, just as it changes the perception of a garment. Photos and I don’t get along. My other point: sorting drape colours accurately is hell on wheels. Understandable why analysts have trouble agreeing.
31 is OK. A bit light and better by colour in Bright Spring. The lace is rough, which makes the saturation look lower, which would place it in True Spring.
32 Quite blue for a True Spring or True Autumn. Not enough chroma for the 3 Winters. Too saturated for a Summer blend. Dark Autumn?
33 Heart be still, it seems fine. Lots of blue, not too dark. Navy isn’t something I agonize over. I organize it in fairly dark and dusty (Summer, ease up on darkness for Lights), really dark and saturated (Winter), not dark and very blue (Spring, more dark for the Brights), and there are better choices (Autumn).
34 Thanks be to Jesus!!!, another good one.
35 is good. Lots of blue, not max blue, not too dark. How do I know it leans green? Because I’ve given myself a reference point, which is 36. In a store, do the same. Gather up a bunch of close colours. Your eye will sort them automatically.
36 is a red-blue. Would be True or Bright Winter. It on the darker side and not fully saturated, as True Winter is, but I can look at it again and think, “No, no, Christine, you ding-dong, the darkness is fine for Bright Winter. It just needs a trace more chroma.” Holy cow, who cares? There are 30 million worse blues you could wear.
37 Put the kettle on, dolls. It’s good.
Many have been asking for information about the upcoming Colour Analysis Training Course. Here is what I have so far:
The Training Guide
…is not printed yet. Won’t be too long.
This is a technical document. You are 100% certain NOT to know your Season or anyone else’s after reading it even if you own the Sci\ART coloured drapes. Your odds of telling Season are higher from my other book, Return to Your Natural Colours (RTYNC), over there in the right column. A live colour analysis contains far too much sensory information to be written down. For some of it, there are no words, only feelings. Like surgery, instruction manuals only get you so far. You have to be shown a few times until you can figure it out on your own.
Little or nothing is included regarding personality or clothing styles. Also, besides speculation, there is no information about colour mixing, which isn’t my field. And it need not be yours. Doctors couldn’t go into the lab and formulate your medications but they sure do know how to use them.
The book will be presented in a binder so that updates can be printed as single pages and mailed to all those who have taken the course.
Some may be disappointed (and some delighted) that I didn’t write a simple manual that presents the discipline as it would be applied by anyone using or teaching the Sci\ART colour system, meaning a distillation of the non-negotiable standards that Kathryn Kalisz, the founder of Sci\ART, would have insisted on. I couldn’t do it.
First, I doubt that a consensus would be easy, or possible, to arrive at. It would take a year. I’m not very good with delays.
Second, and I think the biggest challenge we will face if, one day, we can form a Sci\ART-based collaborative, is that even Sci\ART analysts trained by Sci\ART trainers don’t concur on method and decision-making. Women are still being told they’re three different Seasons. That’s a problem for another day.
Third, I always have to tell a story for some reason. If I’d written a How To guide, I’d feel like I’d taught half the course, or only engaged half of your brain, the left side. That’s not at all how I see colour analysis, or anything else, for that matter. It wouldn’t be my course at that point. I wouldn’t be singing from my heart.
This manual does not repeat or resemble Kathryn’s Understanding Your Color. I am hoping that text is and will continue to be available from Suzanna Greif at email@example.com. I have not been able to contact Suzie, so I cannot say at this time. Kathryn’s book remains essential, perhaps a springboard for mine.
Don’t compare these two training guides to RTYNC or to each other. Apples to oranges. They were written for different audiences to be used in completely different contexts for altogether different purposes. Such comparisons have no relevance.
The Guide will not be for sale to the public for at least 6 months after the Training Course is first offered. It will cost $80 to buy. I’m not quite sure when it will be for sale. The thing is, it’s of very little use to you unless you take the course. You won’t be missing anything regarding what you know about your Season or Tone.
The Course Schedule
The Course Schedule isn’t posted because each session will require flexibility, given the private schedules of draping subjects. We will drape a minimum of 6 assorted people, including the course participants. We will spend sufficient time on theory and practical exercises involving the Munsell colour system, but our focus will be draping.
Prior to arriving, I ask that you have read through the Training Guide that will be mailed to you with your deposit, as well as my previous book, Return to Your Natural Colours. I hope that both are self-explanatory enough to save us some time in the classroom so we can move on to the practical applications quickly.
Please bring with you a page or two of makeup swatches on paper (anything and everything except lipgloss which quickly becomes a transparent oily stain on paper). We will look at clothing colours as well, so bring scarves and fabric if you wish.
We’ll end each day with a glass of wine or herbal tea, maybe strongly caffeinated coffee, let me know your preference, and our feet up. Bring your questions. The course will not cover personality or body lines (Kibbe and other dress styles). We will touch on makeup application, but briefly. I am happy to discuss these informally after the day’s session ends.
The course will run over 3 days, whether in Chatham or London, Ontario, depending on whether you’re coming from the Detroit or Toronto directions. I will make myself available for the 1/2 day before and after as well.
Once the course has run a couple of times, we may firm or reorganize the schedule based on student feedback.
I have some sort of built-in requirement to be very transparent. In my usual way of overdoing everything, I’ll probably overdo this next section. Please pardon me for that, but I really want you to know what you’re getting for your investment.
As you know, the Sci\ART system of colour analysis is the one I was trained in and the one that I believe works. I never met the founder, Kathryn Kalisz, though we did speak on the phone and by email several times. By the time I knew what the most profound questions were in colour analysis, she was gone. We never talked about her intentions or priorities for her business.
I have not taken any instruction to become a trainer in that system. The training you receive from me will not differ from what I was taught by a Certified Sci\ART trainer in terms of the analysis process or deductive reasoning that goes along with it – but by necessity, my spin will be on it.
Every ideology has a beginning and then is moulded by each mind with which it makes contact. I will teach you the Sci\ART system as I learned it, adapted only in how I implement the algorithm and application for the client. The closest to the original Sci\ART training will come from highly respected Certified Sci\ART trainers, Amelia Butler and Maytee Garza and perhaps others who are not training at the present time. I am unaware if these women are or will be teaching. You’ll have to ask them. Amelia can be contacted via her website at www.truecolour.com.au. Maytee has relocated and the only contact information I have for her is an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website at www.revealstyleconsultancy.com may still be active as well.
The language gets sticky. Although I can call myself a Sci\ART Analyst, having learned from a Sci\ART trainer, you won’t be able to. Your certificate will say, “has earned the designation of 12 Blueprints Colour Analyst, training based on the Sci\ART concept, adapted by Christine Scaman”, or something similar. That would be fair and true.
If anyone wonders how it’s adapted, they need only read this website. A rare few people actually invented what they teach. Attribution is important and tells everyone where you got your start and the foundation of your belief system. I don’t want to get wrapped around this axle too tight, but you ought to give it some thought and decide your position about it. If it matters to you to be a “Sci\ART Analyst”, you must see Maytee or Amelia, or another trainer if they teach once more.
The Certificate, so beautiful, I wish I had one myself, will look a lot like this. I’m happy to consider different wording if anyone has suggestions.
You can be certified under my name and current business name. The name 12 Blueprints may have changed by then, oh, the excitement about that. Finally, I may have a name I like better, words spoken by a brilliant woman way back when I was getting started. Digression, sorry. My own name probably carries the brand recognition and credibility anyhow. As one practical and forward-thinking woman said, “Who cares what it’s called?” If I change my business name, I’ll mail you a new certificate for free. I’m not diminishing the components, just trying to get something done and keeping the focus on the things that matter.
Tiger swallowtail butterfly.
Business and Marketing
Too many courses give you lots of knowledge and not enough information about how to turn that into a dollar. If you want to do a single PCA per month, that’s fine. My vision is to have an analyst in every city and state who earns a good living. Along with the skills to know Season, a portion of this guide (although not the in-person course) is devoted to getting you thinking about a full time business, sharing with you what it’s taken me 4 years to learn.
In business, you know what the Value Proposition is – what you offer and how you deliver it. I believe that we need to deliver more to the client than their Tone and the swatches. Give her what she really wants. She wants better hair colour. Whatever the product, its final form has to take into account human behaviour, meaning how real people will use it. Make a study of that and then adjust the product to suit the human, just like Munsell did when he made up his colour system. You’ll offer way more value.
For my own clients, the VP is incomplete till she feels guided and empowered, makes better makeup decisions on her own in stores, and has acquired discernment skills regarding the wrong voices that once influenced her. You must choose your own stand on this. The guide contains a section about transferring your VP to your clients in process, support, and professional attitude.
As an instructor, my VP to you is not to pronounce your clients’ Season. That’s not what you want, or not most of you. My assumptions are that you want:
- to be an accurate and excellent colour analyst,
- practicing a skill that you love with passion,
- with the freedom that earning an income will bring to the rest of your life.
I want you to leave me with the horsepower it takes to get reach altitude fast and start earning. The business section in the guide includes appendices to get you one beautiful, slick website along with installation and support for little time or financial cost, contact names for key partners, and the shopping lists you’ll need to open your doors in two weeks. Start thinking of a business name and where you’re going to buy your makeup collection.
Emerald swallowtail butterfly.
The introductory cost for the 3 days is $3000CDN. That price is not guaranteed for any date or period of time. Email me if you are ready to make a commitment and we’ll talk. The price includes the Training Guide, the 12 Season Cycle on cardboard and as a laminated page, and a flowchart of the draping process as a laminated sheet, along with the training.
A non-refundable deposit of $250 is required. The Training Guide will be mailed to you for study when the deposit is received in the PayPal account. The entire amount of the course must be received prior to taking the course.
Should a circumstance in your life require a cancelation, I will refund 90% of the fee up, but only 80% of the fee in the 72 hours prior to the beginning date and time of the course.
Should a cancelation be required because of a circumstance in my life, I will refund 100% of the fee, as well as $150 of the deposit (the remaining $100 of the deposit will cover the Training Guide and shipping fees).
Should a cancelation occur because of weather and flight delays, I will refund 90% of the fee at any time and let you decide about the $150 of the deposit, in case you wish to take the course again in the future. Payments will move through the PayPal account at email@example.com.
I can consider taking Visa but hundreds of people seemed to do very well with PayPal when they bought RTYNC. This is far better for you than exposing vendors like me to your credit info, especially since you won’t be making repeat purchases from my business. PayPal allows you to buy a wide, wide variety of products and services on the internet.
To give you some real comparison, I took the Sci\ART course in April 2009. The training cost 2200 US plus travel expenses. The drapes were 3800 CDN for the full set, excluding Tonal Blacks and the Wedding drapes. Lamps, cosmetics, wall paint, a client chair, mirror, shelving, desk, and so on, all had to be bought. I spent 5K of my own and borrowed 5K that was repaid in a most casual fashion within three years. You can’t be in business for yourself from household expenses.
You can’t be in business for yourself for less than 10K in today’s world – and this does not include the add-ons that can wait, like Luxury Drapes, extended makeup collections, and other non-essential items that you integrate over time. But you certainly can be in business for yourself. This is still way cheaper than 6 months to 3 years at a community college and then the process of job applications and interviews.
The motor on the PCA engine is revving much higher now in the public awareness than it was back then, so I hope you’ll progress faster than I have. I cannot speak for other analysts regarding how many bookings they have. A lot depends on how willing and able you are to move locations – and if you are, you can be booked to the point of exhaustion. I see between 6 and 10 clients each month, but I reserve time for other things (another job, writing, and three teenagers). There are full-time analysts in the US who see 20 to 30 clients per month. Till you get your feet on very solid ground, which takes 4-6-9 months, three appointments per week are plenty to allow you time to think, build, and grow. The job takes emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental stamina.
Black swallowtail butterfly.
The course will take place either in Chatham or London, Ontario. Elsewhere? No idea yet. A work permit in the US takes about 6 months, an immigration lawyer tells me, and without one, you can be barred for 5 years. Not risking that. I adore the US.
Chatham is less than one hour from the US border at Detroit-Windsor. It is about 1hr 15min from the Detroit Airport excluding border crossing time, which may take 15- 45 minutes depending on the lineup. The hotel will be the Comfort Inn on Richmond St. Room rates are $88 (upstairs, 2 stories, no elevator) or $93 downstairs. Check in time is 2 PM, check out at 11 AM. Cancelations are accepted at no penalty before 4PM the day before. If due to weather, the policy is much more free, though I’ll let the staff make those arrangements with you when you book your room. Local phone number is 519-352-5500. Tell Lisa or Brooke on the front desk that you’re reserving with this course.
The drive from Chatham to London is 1 hour, so 2hr 15min from the Detroit aiport. From the Pearson Airport in Toronto, the drive to London is 2 hours. The hotel is the Travelodge at 800 Exeter Road. Room rates are about $70 per night. Local phone number is 519-681-1200. Nicole on the front desk ranks in the top 5 of most helpful staff I’ve ever met anywhere.
You are more likely to need a car in Chatham than London, though really, you don’t need a car. You’ll stay in the hotel where the course will run. There are two restaurants within a 10 minute walk and taxis for about $10. It’s a small town.
In Chatham, winter weather is the same as Detroit. London and Toronto can be the Great White North that you hear about, but they’re still pretty tame most of the time.
A minibus exists (www.robertq.com) from both airports to both cities. It will take you across the border at Detroit-Windsor. In Chatham, it stops at a truck stop that is 5 minutes from the hotel. In London, it stops across the street from the hotel.
Consider arriving early and leaving late in case of weather, time overflow, etc. I will plan to be available for 4 days (1/2 day before and after), though the course will be formally complete in 3 days.
Given enough notice, we can be quite flexible and I’m happy to work around your availability. Monday-Wednesday or Tues. – Thurs. seems reasonable, but weekends are manageable as well. I hope to offer the first session in late Feb. or sometime in March.
Anything else you might like to know?
In any change you want to effect, three questions matter:
1. What do I want?
2. Where am I now?
3. What am I willing to do to get what I want?
What Do I Want
Very hard question. Most of us are schooled in what we don’t want. You might want to develop the full edge and potential of your appearance. If your idea of great makeup is to take what’s already there and make more of it, as mine is, Winter’s best makeup might have your redefining your position. The colours in the face are a lot and now we’re going to add a lot more. Adding just a little more doesn’t move Winter very far from the start point, or nowhere close to the max point, but maybe you just want to know a nice eyeliner and gloss and that’s all. There is no right or wrong answer.
There is nothing wrong with being a Winter without makeup. The important thing is to channel what you do towards the outcome that you want. Too often, we’ve never identified either what we want or what we do to help or hinder that. If you’re a Winter, the time has come. No face is more altered with makeup. As in life, the good and bad are equal. As in all things Winter, they are also simultaneously at both outer limits. Other types of colouring tend to look more similar with and without makeup, which is a definite good thing. But it’s the Winters who can go miles from where they started, and that’s good too.
I like a lot of colour on Winter, a lot of makeup, a lot of drama. The face is that way already. I want every woman to be all they could be. Would our 80-year-old selves excuse us for having been less than that? Would our reasons have been good enough? Hint: no excuse or decision based on fear or negativity is ever good enough.
This is good.
I know it’s hard. This is the group whose language is power, a currency that women have been un-trained to deal in by every force in their lives. Power is not second nature to us.
Where Am I Now
Even harder question. Unpacking our own luggage and seeing what’s really in there can be scary, especially if the zipper has been jammed for awhile. Lots of people can’t admit their height and weight and those are facts. As the oft-heard quote states, “Reality is an acquired taste.” And slowly acquired at that.
All those Winters from the 80s, which seem to have been in the majority, are very seldom Winters, which is fine because they’re usually wearing Summer colours. The real Winters are buried among every other type of colouring. Their road back is a longer one for the Tone you might think would be the easiest to analyze and dress. They don’t see it coming unless they are very dark of hair and eye to begin with.
Once, I’d love the Winter to walk in who is overdone in her Winterness. The young ones are, even without makeup. They’re bringing it. More eyeliner (that we remove), thigh high boots (brown, but they’re trying to be bigger and it’s good), cape flying, doing something luscious with the hair, more ME-ME-ME. In our fifties, we women have toned ourselves so far down that we can lose our discernment of what is just normal and right.
Especially in our later years, when our faces finally carry all the power that took 50 years to build, isn’t it time to stop being so careful? I get that not everyone wants to present a heavily made up, dramatic face, but it’s not even about drama in makeup. There is so much caution to shake off. Drama and glamour haven’t been added for a long time and yet, this is where they are most at home, most normal.
Personal Colour Analysis is a gateway to Here’s Who You Are.
What’s In A Winter Face: both extremes at the same time.
To be more specific:
1. Contrast. You saw this coming. It means that there is a lot of distance between everything and everything else, such as:
Features from skin. The skin is very even, smooth, and quiet. Insert into that landscape a mouth, cheeks, eyes, and eyebrows whose colours create a big and sudden jump from the background. That Shiseido banner up above.
Light – dark levels of contiguous colours. Eyeliner is dark (it contains more black than any other group). The eyeshadow next to it, the lid colour, is a fair bit lighter (lid colour is medium on the other groups). The next band, the eyeshadow contour, is quite dark by comparison (more about that later). The eyeshadow highlight is icy light, nearly white (not the case for pastel on Summers and creamy on Warms). The brow is quite dark (but not darkened more than Nature designed on anyone), very sharply defined, and dramatized extra (crisp, arched, lengthened, whatever works on that face, which is simply to see what’s there and make more of it). For sure, any particular face might need these adjusted a little, but this is the generic look.
Textures, ultra matte to ultra shine. Quiet skin. No special effects. Snow White’s face isn’t contoured (which sets up lowlights for Autumn), dewy (sets up highlights, best on Spring), or cottony (sets up fluffy, just right on a dreamy Summer). On a Winter face or a winter landscape, those look muddy, busy, and trivial, a million miles from Winter. You want foundation whose coverage is opaque enough to make a very even blanket. Powder the whole face evenly. Add lots of eyes, lots of mouth, more blush or less (both can be good). Done.
The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring is: Even.
2. Drama. It’s like a deficiency when drama is left out of a Winter eye design. Not wrong. There is no wrong, no answer that works across the board, even within a Season. Winters I’ve seen, they not only balance drama, they are enhanced further with it. It doesn’t look even dramatic, exciting, stimulating, theatrical, or otherwise extraordinary. It looks normal.
Would the image above make sense with a soft and gentle eye colour or shape (expression)? Winter’s is not a gradual, blended, or soft face.
When Summers buy cosmetics, look for products that have a gentle application. Remember when we applied your makeup and we divided the foundation with moisturizer, as I do on every Summer and Spring, because heavy and matte products look like a mask on your delicate skin texture and softened colouring? The same principle applies to all your cosmetics. Having said that, we also showed you that when a colour is correct, you can apply almost any amount of it and it just blends believably into the skin. That’s true, but these are two different ideas. Summer begins with a product that swatches like a watercolour. Winter is looking for oil paint.
3. Keep the number of cosmetic colours low. 1 is good. Colour is subtracted from winter landscapes. Many steely dark grays, many icy grays or icy colours (means nearly white). Very little colour activity. And suddenly, a deeply flushed cheek. A red or purple mouth. The colours in the face are shocking enough on a still and quiet energy.
Remember how on Lights, dark colour takes over? On Winters, it’s colour itself that becomes too much too quickly.
Would this be more effective if we added a buttercup, a bluejay, and a lilac? No, the red would lose its voltage. There are thousands of these photos out there because they make sense to humans by reinforcing something we already know and recognize.
4. Intensity. Don’t leave any features behind. Enhance each one to the same degree. Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy. Apply a lot of colour to each feature and don’t blot any off till the whole face is done. Each part looks like too much on its own but it all works together when all the pieces are in place. Blend nothing till every part is done or you’ll overblend that feature back into cautious and unbalance the face.
Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy applies equally to concealer as lipstick. The blues and purples in the skin are so saturated that a sheer concealer won’t hide them nearly as well as a product with good opacity. My favorite is Arbonne for that reason, plus it stays where it’s applied, it lasts amazingly well all day, and it dries fast so I can apply foundation over it immediately without overly diluting it or smearing it everywhere. I am very fussy about where concealer goes but I use a lot of it. For reference, I wear Arbonne Medium.
What Are You Willing To Do
Look very different to yourself? Exchanging a plaid duffel coat for a black and white herringbone is a step. Wearing bigger jewelry than all your friends? Be the only one of the girls to wear a fuchsia red mouth?
Draw a lot more attention to yourself? Stand out and apart? As many have discovered, getting noticed for being different isn’t easy, even is it’s a good different.
Wear your real true This Is Who I Am hair colour?
No right or wrong, just questions. Everything looks easy from the outside. Try it, you may find it takes some effort. What are the conditions on what you’re willing to do?
Would you wear twice as much makeup as you wear today? Most Winter women accept the eye makeup fairly easily. Lips can always be sheer. Winter’s sheer is Spring’s “Oh, dear Lord, too much, wipe it off, start again.” Winters, pick sheers with a lot of colour or save your money and buy Chapstick. Where you hear the brakes screech is with the blush. They feel like clowns for a week. What everyone else sees is a pulled-together face. Not in how much, which you can decide, but in how red. Blood on snow, right?
The Nature of Reflected Light
The Spring, Summer, and Autumn articles preceding this one are linked in their names. The idea is that our natural colours have a way of reflecting light. Beyond just the colours of the reflected light, the wavelengths have properties that reach our other senses, as texture for instance. In Chinese medicine, our fingers are entry and exit points for energy. Of course. How could they not be? They touch everything. They’re up and down-loading who we are all the time. Each of our sense organs is doing the same. Each of the 12 Tone colour collections speaks a certain language, is evocative of certain emotions, reminds of certain landscapes, and makes sense if consistent in colour and touch and sound and scent and taste. It’s all happening at once. The knee bone is connected to the neck bone.
Summer’s soft, gentle, serene, muted colours don’t make sense in leather pants. Skin with that colouring has reflective properties truer to the surface of an opal, not a mirror or an elephant’s hide. Soft Autumn skin reflects light like felt and its colours are more beautiful in that texture than done up in Mr. Freezies. Do colours bounce light in certain ways that tell us texture? Or is it that skin painted in certain colours also carries other qualities that bounce light in a way that impresses texture?
The True Winter surface is smooth and hard. Dark Winter is smoother than Dark Autumn but not 100% smooth; it’s also thick, and not quite as hard as True Winter. Bright Winter is very smooth, shinier, and semitransparent – Dr. Sheldon Cooper, as opposed to Autumn’s Magnum P. I. Though some will cringe, I’m still going with rubbery for Winter skin by comparison with the other Seasons.
So far, we’ve said:
Bright Spring: glass
True Spring: persimmon
Light Spring: petal
Light Summer: peach
True Summer: cotton
Soft Summer: flannel
Soft Autumn: suede
True Autumn: velvet
Dark Autumn: leather
Dark Winter: Vinyl
If we start at Dark Autumn and move along to its cooler side, we arrive next at Dark Winter. These are both Neutral Seasons. Dark Winter has more in common with the True Season parent of True Winter, but does share the most important dimension of colour, darkness, with the Neutral it’s paired with and whose descriptor it shares, that is, Dark Autumn.
We begin with Autumn’s canvas, which is strong and textured. As Winter settles in, the skin texture smooths out. Dark Autumn’s leather is transitioning.
Dark Winter skin throws light back like vinyl.
Not just record vinyl, but inflatable products, dominatrix gear, and tarps. Maybe even a car. Industrial, tough, shiny, smooth, waterproof, and useful. Good Dark Winter words. Not bad words for their jewelry and belts either. Dark Winter takes Dark Autumn’s gypsy/Rustic Opulent and shifts it to gladiator. A sweater in black or dark grey metallic looks like chain mail. Stud, armor, and heavy link effects are a natural fit here, scary elsewhere.
Dark Winter is mysterious. It’s Christmas Eve, the dark jewel-toned ornaments, the fireplace, the night, the lights in the windows. Very nice, but there’s something bigger going on. The feeling of waiting for something. Waiting for the reason behind the pretty. Deeper, even darker. Sinister.
Nude lips on Winter looks tired and old. Dead lips, a good friend calls it. My new favourite lipstick is Shiseido RD 305. It is just pink enough to not be red-lips. It is beautifully saturated with the touch of brown that Autumn adds to make your colours less cold and more natural than True Winter. That brown is essential to create the encompassing harmony that only a colour analyzed appearance can give. You are coloured with a little of that brown, where brown is dark orange, and your hair, skin, and eyes have some gold-amber-orange tones. If your skin is light to medium, this colour may be your best natural lip. It’s not dark, often the case with Dark Season lip colours. It’s fresh daytime believable natural lip colour. Not ready for it yet? Top it with clear gloss.
Bronzer can play a tiny part because Autumn has left behind the slightest texture or roughness. Contour carefully, with powder that has enough red to disappear into the skin (eleablake‘s Miss November is great). Follow the 3 shape at the sides of the face and down the sides of the nose bridge, using a small amount, more to carve more geometric drama into the face than to warm it up.
Soft Summer’s darker foundation trick to contour is too wishy-washy here. More colour is required to be noticeable and achieve the outcome. It’s not a bad option as you learn or if you want a very subtle effect, just be sure the darker powder is as cool as your foundation or you’ll look yellow. It takes a lot of colour to make any difference on the intensity of this inherent colouring. A few shades of beige this way or that will make less difference on Winter skin. Carefulness is plain pointless.
Darkness works. Smoke is natural, like the Autumn muting in the skin. Smoked eyes make sense. The lighter lid eyeshadow can equally well be fairly dark. Any Season can do smoked eyes, but it’s most at home on the Darks. Even the other two Winters are best to exercise caution in darkness so it doesn’t look heavy. They look better in clean and silvery.
True Winter: Ceramic
Even smoother and even harder.
True Winter: ceramic. Like a white sink. Impenetrable, tough, and enduring.
Clean. Picture the makeup colours from your palette painted right on that white sink. Dark eyes, red-violet cheeks, red-violet lips. No fuss, no frills. Not smoked (Dark Winter) or clear, as in translucent (Bright Winter). Can you tell this before they’re draped, by looking at them? Absolutely not. True Winter is always the draping surprise for me, even more so than Bright Spring.
For True Winter, that very quiet blanket of skin without a lot of cheek colour, or with an icy light cheek, is excellent, like the picture at the top. For Bright and Dark, colour on the cheek is better, I find. It adds to Bright’s liveliness and Dark’s intensity.
Eyeliner is dark. Eyeshadow is quite light and silvered. Under brow highlight is near white or some icy (near white) colour. Contour and back corner eyeshadow is quite dark. Darkening the outer back corner of eyes looks good as a way of adding drama. Use a dark gray/black eyeshadow. Go over the eyeliner to fill in holes. Drag the dark shadow out past the crease. Turn around and start pulling in inward above the crease, not in the crease. This enlarges the apparent size of the eye and recedes the skin above the crease that can close in. On eyes where the upper half of the lid is smaller than the lower half, the crease is shallow, or the eye prominent, you would omit this effect. Deposit some dark shadow at the outer lid corner.
Other Seasons will use a darker shadow that isn’t much darker than the lid colour or skip the effect altogether. On a Light Season, where dark colour takes off, the eyeshadow contour can just be the medium lid colour packed on a bit more heavily. On a Soft Season, the liner, lid, and contour are quite close in darkness level, as in medium, with contour only slightly darker. They distinguish their roles by being of different colours in similar darkness levels, rather than Winter’s variations on one colour (gray) in extremes of darkness levels. On a Winter, light means really light and dark means really dark. You are it already. So be it, as P. said so cleverly.
I do not know how bronzer can improve this face but I’m willing to see it if anyone has good products or ideas. You wouldn’t want to dull that spectacular opposition of The Purity and The Darkness that only this colouring incarnates.
Winter’s sheer is Spring’s almost-opaque. The best Winter gloss I can think of comes from Lora Alexander at Pretty Your World. The texture, finish, and amount of colour are excellent, with good clarity. Glama and Hot Lips lip colours and Fast Track blush are great (I own them). From this compare page of the Cool Winter selections, Diva looks super good too.
Though True Winter is very red-based and looks great in blue-based red apparel, I find their most natural fit for blush and lipstick is somewhere in the pink-fuchsia-purple spectrum. That may be because true red lips are like true black eyeliner, somehow harder and more dramatic than human faces really are. Dark Winter’s burnt rose red and Bright Winter’s strawberry or pink red alleviate the pure redness. True Winter does the same by using violet, meaning clear purpled pinks. Arbonne’s Raisin gloss is a very impressive purple. Lauder’s Raspberry Pop is good but gentler, as is Merle Norman’s Raspberry on Ice.
Bright Winter: Silicone
How about Bright Winter? That amazing special blend of innocence with a dark, brittle edge. The geisha could span the Bright Seasons. Once the delicacy feels almost too rare to conceive on this Earth, the hummingbird, a membrane-thin gold foil, we’re into Bright Spring.
Spring has a hand in Bright Winter. Therefore, we need a sugar coating, shiny, fun, and ornamental. Pink frosting on lids, cheeks, and lips, lilac highlights, more play (more colours at once), more theater (cat eye, a few false lashes, fine winged brows, bright lips, hats with veils, cloche hats with beautiful ornaments, because hats and earrings are face accessories). Below, the haircut, the dress print and line, all awesome.
Definitely a lighter palette than the other Winters.
The skin’s reflectance had me searching for an analogy. Fine china with that near-transparent edge? Thinking, thinking,…mostly Winter, therefore rubbery and even, but a little softer with a transparency in the outermost layer… oh, you’re going to love this, jellyfish! Not good? Soft boiled egg? Maybe. Yes.
But jellyfish is so good. Stay with me here.
The flamenco dancer.
Heavenly and magical.
You see where I’m going?
How do we translate this to makeup? You don’t have to do a lot, you have this smooth and rubbery (all Winters) clarity (Brights) already. Clear silicone skin. Increase it with intensely coloured products, pigments so pure, you would swear they’re transparent. Brush powders with the slightest finest shimmer effect on all exposed skin. Don’t stop at the jawline. It’s a sprinkling of fairy dust, that sugar topping, an overall crystalline effect.
Bronzer? A little icy gold uplight, sure. Baby peach, always good on Brights. Very little. We feel no bronzer per se here:
Chanel Glossimer in Jalousie is nice. Bagatelle is a light, pretty peach, Clarins Crystal Violet and Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie could be shared with True Winter. Stila Lipglaze Raspberry Crush is very good.
Recap: The skin is calm and even in colour and texture. By using strong lines, bold colours, intense pigment deposits, and big distance between light and dark, both adjacent and separate, we create very clear feature definition. There is no question about where one ends and the other begins.
For Summer, we said: The skin is soft and dry, setting up gentleness and gradual muting. The features are blended into the skin with colours that create a soft flow or diffusion instead of sharp definition. As colours flow into each other as hazy mists, it feels difficult to tell where one feature ends and the next begins.
For Autumn: The skin is contoured, setting up lowlights. The features are defined from the skin by colours that are warm and velvety and the judicious use of metallic glints.
This was Spring: The skin is dewy, setting up highlights. The features are fresh, lively, distinguished from the skin by being very colourful, moist, and vibrant.
Visible darkness, the eyes are near black, but how much darkness exactly? How near black?
Is that muted skin (Summer or Autumn) or sallow (a Winter)?
Is she sweet (Spring) or graceful (Summer)? She’s both if you know her. Who expected her to pull off so much drama?
In Jackie, are we finding Summer’s ‘quiet-till-you-know-her’ or Winter’s contained?
If I am completely uncertain beforehand, she’s usually a True Something or a Bright Spring. I’ve seen Jackie at her work many times. She chooses a lot of cool, muted colours, like a Soft Summer or any young woman in today’s retail offering. Sometimes she wears black, which clears, defines, and comes close to overpowering. No way she was warm enough for a Spring, even a Bright Spring. No doubt that the B&W of True Winter would be too sharp. I had never seen her wearing makeup.
In 12 Season (12 Tone) personal colour analysis, Bright Winter is the Neutral Season, or group of natural colouring, that takes most of its colour properties from Winter, with a small, but so important, contribution from Spring. When the two Tones of highest chroma come together in one person, our senses feel the hit of the purest pigments, offered in a most gentle presentation.
I didn’t imagine she would balance Bright Winter. A colour analyst has the same comparison-based sense of vision as everyone else. We can guess but we know how much money you will part with based on our advice. We don’t guess. We measure. She balanced it and then some. Her eyes were clean and crisp – what happens to part of the face happens to the whole face. It’s just that some features are better markers for it. If your eyes are clear, so is your skin. If their edges are clean, so are the rest of your features’.
Beginning with how a person looks, dark, light, etc. is only a little more secure than naming Season based on character. Especially the True Seasons. It takes a certain amount of guts to pronounce True with drapes, let alone without. Especially the True Spring and True Winter. They never look like the averages. Those we think we know from media are usually very altered.
Was I looking at a curvy faced Summer with sleepy eyes and swoopy lines? Or a Theatrical Romantic (TR) (as per David Kibbe’s fantastic 1987 book, Metamorphosis), with sharp curves in the face and the frame? All of Mr. Kibbe’s 13 body types appear in all 12 groups of natural colouring, but when I see TR, I think of Brights. What they have in common is slenderness. When you really look at them, they’re narrow from left to right, like the frames you imagine models must have to photograph so well, but much more feminine in the curves. Of the Brights I see, half or more are TR.
She couldn’t be Soft Summer. The connection that the black in the eyes made with Winter drapes was one thing. Only brown eyes in one of the 5 Winter-influenced Seasons will do that. Plus, just moving ideas around before the analysis, her character wasn’t right. The Softs are Brights are both gracious but contained. Soft Summer is steadier. She is thinking about keeping the ship on course, attending to the work of the day. She gave the analysis some thought and gathered a list of questions. She is going to get it right.
The Bright Seasons just show up for the experience. Winter thinks their way through it, Spring feels it. Brights are sparkly, not the first adjective you might think of for any Season on the Autumn side. Jackie is very sparkly once her right colours are near her, with the points of the sparkles in her nose, her chin. Anyone could have thought that was Summer’s doll-like face, small chin, beautifully shaped nose…but nobody can link character or facial features to colouring until the drapes find the truth of the colours. After that, a lot more starts to make sense.
Colorants remain pure in apparel and cosmetics for Bright Seasons because the native colours are pure. Saturation in dyes can go, and will go, as high as chemistry can take it, higher than Munsell saw back in his day. I have never seen the colour that can overpower this skin in purity. Darkness, yes. Chroma, no. Maybe if you wrap them in a neon tube, but I bet Bright Winter would just look better. Part of what sets them apart is the potential for extravagance that takes everyone by surprise, them most of all. Placing this skin in soft colour, meaning muted, meaning blued or pinked greys, meaning pastels, you wouldn’t do it if you’d watched what happens in real life with your own eyes. You’re looking at a face in a dirty mirror.
Colour saturation is extremely high in the Bright Seasons. Too often, we darken when we saturate colour in our imagination. The 3 Colour Scales (hue, value, chroma) are independent, meaning that when a colour is altered, the other colour dimensions are necessarily affected, just not necessarily in the same way. Bright Winter has higher chroma (more saturation, pure pigments), higher value (lighter), and warmer hue than the other Winters. (One could argue that theoretically, the overall value is mid range and the range reaching fully to B&W, so the same as True Winter. It is hard to accurately judge value when colours have different saturations and/or hues. My eyes think they see Bright as lighter than True, just because the yellow in the Bright palette looks lighter.)
I look for colours with incredible pigment purity and yet, some transparency. Coloured crystals, coloured glass. Jackie was too comfortable with Clinique Kissyfit lipgloss, magnificent that it was. I want you a little uncomfortable, especially Winters who don’t like to give up control. Many are pretty sure that they know their own best presentation better than anyone else (more Darks and Trues than Brights). They come in telling me they already have their best hair colour and they won’t wear pink or orange. In truth, they see themselves accurately to the exact same degree as anyone else, which is to say, maybe 50-50. Jackie had the perfect mindset. She wouldn’t put her foot on the brakes no matter what. She could see her appearance getting better and better and she just went with it. A little nervous? Maybe. Did it anyway.
I’ll keep adding till we push open those doors. As you know if I’ve put makeup on you, I’m not stingy or careful with the amount. I want you to see right colour fuse with your face and to give you balance. Never get in the way of your own glamour. Of your own anything. We moved on to Tarte Nuria gloss. Jackie could see that it was a lot more than she’s used to, but she couldn’t look away or say that it didn’t look superb. Each building block of makeup on a Winter looks like too much on its own. You need it all to balance. Eyes with this intensity need a mouth with something going on, or the face is off kilter.
We used a charcoal liner and lots of it and L’Oreal Blackened Smokes eyeshadows. Pulling the dark sparkly black shadow over the grey liner was magic. Black mascara. I’m coming to notice that Bright Winter often has ridiculously gorgeous eyelashes.
Lighting is variable in these photos and many are taken in a mirror. The colours may not be what you expect for Bright Winter. These photos have gone through four digital machines before you see them. Besides, they are surrounded by too many other colours and uncontrolled lighting to know what they really are. To know the truth of a colour, it must be surrounded by neutral gray. The walls of the room are painted neutral gray but they sure don’t look it, do they? Correct colour analysis requires neutral surroundings. For me, that’s the first non-negotiable standard.
I believe that the best beauty is the easiest for others to see. The minute something doesn’t fit, we feel it in our gut. The person has altered themselves, as if they couldn’t trust themselves the way they were. If they couldn’t, should we? People are more relaxed and honest with us if our appearance speaks the truth of us.
The beautiful girl in these pictures is at ease with herself. Jackie is easy easy for us to look at. She’s wearing lots of makeup but the colours feel like an effortless, natural part of her face. Most important, her expression shows us that Jackie feels happy and calm. We, in turn, feel happy and calm. Humans are highly empathic, women especially.
What I want to give you is what Jackie has in these photos, a feeling of being fully satisfied and grateful with what she was given, of knowing that her gifts are perfect, plenty, and enough for anything she chooses to do. I love to analyze young women so they can experience this no-turning back moment. May they carry it for a lifetime and never fill a makeup bag with colours made for anyone but their own true selves.
I am thrilled when I meet women who present themselves as they are. I have a lot of respect for the fact that when we meet, clients are without their makeup. I am given the enormous privilege of a blank slate and the permission to take it where I see the most genuine beauty. Some women don’t wear makeup and never will, and that’s fine as long as the decision is made from consciousness or hope, anything but fear (and if it’s fear, I will help you).
What happens when a woman loves sweats and denim jackets, sees herself as a student, say, or scientist, not a bombshell, dresses in Summer’s colours, and finds out in one short afternoon that she is a Bright Winter?
Annie is a stunning, and I mean stunning, Bright Winter with medium brown hair and aqua turquoise eyes. Big similarities to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, with a little lighter hair colour (see the hair colour photo in next section). Annie works and studies, loves her jeans, runners, and hoodie, and has all her gear in a backpack.
Like Jackie, she found it hard to look away from her face in lovely makeup and her own, perfect colours. Once she got back home, it came to her that she wasn’t at all sure she wants to go around being stunning. Annie is discovering what many of us have, that being noticed for our great beauty surprises us by being awkward. We get over that. Then we have to put our clothes together.
She read all the adjectives about energized, dynamic, and sharp, thought about the Snow Princess analogies and heard this. It’s too loud. Bright Winter is not brash. No Season is. Each one finds a balance. The darker, the quieter. The bolder, the more minimalist. The purer, the more crystalline. The brighter, the sweeter.
This is too hard. Close in many ways, beautiful and powerful face,
Both of those forgot two very important elements that have to show up together: delicate (missing above) and happy (missing below).
In the meantime, Annie just wants to be this. Also beautiful, but Annie looks like this about as much Sophie E-B. There are aspects that are right but it’s probably not the best fit.
Some of these are personal adjustments, as Annie feels her way to being at home in brighter colours. I recall going in to work my first day after my ‘adjustment’ and thinking everyone would notice and comment. Nobody said a word. We move into our new direction too slowly for others to really pick up on it, but to us on the inside, those first few steps feel almost earth-shattering.
But also, Annie is right in that Bright Winter walks a fine line. To say Snow Princess and leave it at that emphasizes the cold, the regal, all true, may be easier if you have Nordic genes, but forgets Spring’s melt. The Bright Seasons are a world coming alive, fresh and young, the activity of life great and small on the forest floor, in the trees, and in the fields. The lid is still on, this is still Winter, and now getting ready to fire on all cylinders. That building up is the stored energy of Bright Winter, the flash of a yellow silk tank or lining in a dark tuxedo.
The contradiction of Bright Winter is in how it will fire: as babies, with all their innocence disguising a powerful intention to live. When we choose clothes, we want that element of extreme youth, even before birth, earliest dawn. Baby colours on Winter’s dark background. Sounds of bells when the sun comes up. A jeweled silver locket. Dangling crystal earrings. A thin, shiny, sugarplum belt. Yoga pants with a line of sequins down the leg. A pink scarf with gold and silver metallic threads. Sun is still an afterthought in the early hours. Like a child’s tiara, it doesn’t have to be big and heavy. Accessories are a great way to bring your energy closer and keep the detachment you need to not feel threatened while you absorb it.
The image below is closer to Bright Spring. They still have Winter’s darker reserve but it sneaks away from them. Many more giggles. Fireworks are delicate and temporary, true of all Spring, but there’s too much movement for Winter.
This is better. The feeling is not so much delicate as fragile. It is delicate as intricate. The colours are the same. The faces too.
Need not be complicated or expensive. Need not be a big area. We see small areas just as well. A bright pink tank top with a little pink sequin detail, an ice grey hoodie in an athletic knit instead of sweatpants fleece, dark jeans, runners with a turquoise swoosh, little diamond earrings for $7, and a backpack with a red zipper.
I can’t think of a store that does inspired style with a big nod to adorable better than J. Crew. Search the Women’s page. Icy boatneck tees, an awesome handknit mixed media sweater, bright cashmere…but these girls aren’t done up and fancy. They’re not Ice Anything. Somehow they still look a little special. They’re uncommonly accessorized. Kate Spade has sweetness too, but usually too perky for a Winter. Is Crew too safe? Maybe so, but by the time these women reach their 40s, they’ll be ready to pull out more stops.
What we do is just proof in the physical world of what we believe. We cannot change our beliefs instantly, regardless of how strong the argument and the evidence. We live through that shape shifting time when we saw one thing, we consciously know it’s true, but everything else is catching up.
Give yourself the time. Invisibility was a kind of superpower in its own right, just maybe not the one you want for the rest of your life if you really think about it. Once you’ve seen yourself in your best colours, going back to invisibility feels like letting yourself down. You feel your way into your new colours over a few months. You have time to wonder, “This is just clothes. Why is this affecting me so much?” You’re doing this for you, always the hardest person to convince. Once we believe in us, everyone says, “What took you so long?”
Tea and Coffee Hair
Bright Season hair is uncommon. It’s glassy. It’s lighter than True Winter in many cases. The mistake is made of assuming it’s light to medium brown because what else are we going to call it? Wearing wrong colour, it can appear to have the dusty quality of Summer ash brown. Once the colours of clothing are adjusted, your hair looks as different, improved, and cleared, as your face.
Bright Season hair is never ash. If I were a hair colourist, I might know how to create it, or maybe it can’t be done. I have never seen it improved by hair colour. The colour is always too dense and heavy. Maybe it’s because the hair colour industry’s way of making choices for women is broken, not the fault of the stylists who are the nicest people. Maybe because Brights should just leave their hair alone. Colour chemistry hasn’t caught up with the specialness of it. I do wonder about Laminates though. They may have a place, as coloured cellophane, consistent with hair that is basically already that.
I’ve likened Bright Season hair colour to tea and Autumn-influenced hair to coffee. Bright Season hair is not only lighter in colour, the colour is lighter in density.
Annie’s hair, Earl Grey Tea with lemon in it.
Dont mess with this hair. This is not medium brown hair. It’s magic.
Often, a Bright Season tip-off is hair that is not as dark as eyes, when eyes go to black. Not always. Asian people often have hair and eyes of equal darkness. We have another Bright Winter article coming with hair that is as dark. We’ll show you root beer and black tea.
Here is one reality.
Many aspects of her face remind me of Jackie’s. The shapes of the eyes and smile particularly.
Who knows what’s real? Are the freckles? The hair colour? But what colouring.
Use of Images
The images contained in this article are of private individuals, not celebrities. I consider the permission for me to use them as a privilege. It is my intention to protect these women’s privacy and generosity. If you use any of the photos without permission, I will seek legal counsel. I do not want to have to reduce the beauty and detail of the photographs with watermarks.
This is a learning site. You are free to use any of my words so long as they are attributed back to the page you got them from (meaning entire URL, not just the site name), in every instance of their use. If you mix up my meaning and get the message wrong, feel free to omit any reference back to me.
The first draft of the Training Guide came back from my wonderful editor. Iryna, my equally wonderful book formatter, is waiting to start but I still have some work to do. I’ve been keeping my head down and not attending to posting articles and answering comments as I should. My apologies for that.
I should sound more excited because I am. I’m really looking forward to these training events – maybe especially the part where we put our feet up at the end of each day, have a glass of wine, and share some informal conversation. That and going across the street (from the hotel in London ON) to swatch makeup at Sephora. It’s going to be good.
I’m not going to talk much today. Many have asked for the 12 Colour Equations from the book, Return to Your Natural Colours (linked over in the right column) to be posted all in one place. Here, they be. Any that have appeared previously have a link to that article posted with the title. Explanations are in the articles and/or the book itself.
A reminder that these palettes went through Photoshop’s colour model, my computer, the servers, and your computer before you saw them. At each step, they changed a little. No two readers are seeing the same thing. Don’t use them to buy clothes or makeup. Use them as comparison with the eleven others. To choose your colours and know your true darkness range, use your 12 Tone swatch book. Nothing else is calibrated right.
Use them to notice how my taste prefers to see neutral colours used, the overall degree of colourfulness, the use of complementary colours (to each other and to the skin undertone), and the gradual or sharp flow between colours. The geometric figures make it hard to impossible to illustrate watercolour diffusions between colour blocks, so for that, you need to read the book or other sections of this website.
If you see light icy gray, feel free to sub in diamond and platinum, certainly neutrals for you. These also can be used in place of white to set the high contrast range with black.
Very purple, this Tone. Not much red, but a lot of pink, fuchsia, and purple. No. 5′s purple is also a near neutral colour for True Winter, more magnificent than black against the skin tone.
In the article Colour Equations Dark Winter.
Easy one. Shoot the sat up to 98-100%. Small areas of complementary colours. Something has to be happy, which means a little random (repetitive=predictable=work=Autumn)
, but not too happy. If it gets too happy, rein it in. Move it darker. Make the pattern repeating. Bright Winter is the “Life is a party. So, how come I’m not having fun?” paradox.
Something has to be delicate too. Add significant jewels profusely. Jewelry is your normal.
And shiny shoes and purses. Super shiny is also your normal.
The original is darker and more saturated in Photoshop. They lose when they’re uploaded. As dark as the belt inset in #1 feels right.
In the article Dark Autumn CE and Apparel.
In the article Light And True Spring Neutral Colours at the Office and CE.
True Spring is a (2 colour + 1 neutral) or (2 neutrals + 1 colour) look. Actually, that’s probably everyone’s best way to use neutrals, but when you wear the 2 colour, they can both be equally sized if you choose (others might use 1 large and 1 smaller block), and they can be complementary or at least quite different colours (others would wear colours of the same family or neighbours on the colour wheel). When you wear the 1 colour look, make it a bright one, not one of the gentler ones.
In the article Light And True Spring Neutral Colours at the Office and CE.
Not happy with that one, it uploaded at the very low end of the saturation possibility. The bigger problem is that it looks too warm. True Summer hinges on absolute coolness. Try again to give a better sense of the darkness and saturation levels. Darn, now Soft Summer looks too light. It’s all about comparison.
In the article Light Summer CE and Being Not Pale.
Also in the book RTYNC, I write an equation called Undertone Colour for each of the 12 Tones that describes how I see my version of the 12 undertones happening. The undertones are shown in the top right corner of the 12 colour layout pages. Below is a graphic that shows the colours I saw as the building blocks of those undertone equations.
To be really clear, I am not a colour mixing expert. This is only how I figure it in my head and much of it is probably incorrect. You gotta start somewhere. This colour chart is a good guide to the colours referenced.
Blue = French Ultramarine
Red = True Red to Alizarin Crimson
Blue = Cobalt Blue
Pink = Rose Madder Genuine looks right. In the photo below, I used Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, and some yellow to make the colour at 6 o’clock, True Summer.
Gray = is gray really added? As a product of black in pigments, a single drop can take over a mixture. Is the muting of the Tone done with complements alone to preserve the blue-pink undertone? I don’t know. In the colour circle below, no black was used, even for the Winters.
Yellow – the daffodil, the buttercup.
Gold = Raw Sienna to Gold Ochre.
Practicing The Undertones
A year ago, when I was thinking about the Undertones for the book, I did this. The white page at the top gives you a white balance.
I have many watercolours. If I had one straight that felt right, I used it, though it could easily have been made from the neighbour colours.
True Winter: Winsor Violet + Ultramarine Blue.
Dark Winter: Crimson Lake + Sepia.
Bright Winter: Permanent Red + Cadmium Yellow.
True Summer: Cobalt Blue + Permanent Rose + Spring yellow.
Light Summer: Cerulean Blue.
Soft Summer: True Summer’s mixture + Sepia.
True Spring: A mixture of Cadmium Yellow, quite warm on its own + Lemon Yellow hue.
Light Spring: Permanent Rose + Spring yellow + trace of Cobalt Blue.
Bright Spring: Permanent Rose.
True Autumn: Burnt Sienna.
Soft Autumn: True Summer + Yellow Ochre. I like yellow ochre, it has a thickness and opacity that reminds of a strong Soft Autumn visual I have, which is fudge.
Dark Autumn: Brown Madder (and maybe some red or blue, I don’t recall)
Answer: No. Never. They can appear to conflict until your colours are correctly analyzed.
I get 3 or 4 emails each month about this. So let’s talk about it, framed around pieces of conversations with real women. It’s the practical application of my digression in the earlier post, How To Match Foundation.
Palette and swatch in this post always refer to colours found within your particular group of colours in the 12 Tone system of colour analysis developed by Kathryn Kalisz. Some of the Tones or Seasons may have similar or identical names with other companies but if their origin isn’t Sci\ART, their colour collections are different. I don’t know how other organizations developed their palettes, what their colours are, or what the desired outcome of their PCA process is. It’s not my place to answer questions about them.
The eye photos in this post are just lovely pictures. They are not textbook examples of the words or the ideas.
If hair/eye colours are not in the palette
I am a Bright Spring with dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, and light skin.
Yes, Spring under Winter influence is often brown eyed, from a glowy topaz jewel yellow to black brown. Many persons of Asian and Celtic origin have this colouring of darkness in hair and eyes and lightness and brightness in skin.
Since this is predominantly Spring, not Winter, the person is sometimes not conspicuously contrasting, though they certainly can be. A brown eye with light skin or hair is fairly contrasting in itself. Sometimes, the Bright Spring eye is so light brown that it’s yellow, like a wolf. It’s quite a thing to see. Or to be, I would think.
not this, but notice the coat colours and the eye-coat harmony, animals are just like us,
The color of my veins, lips, and cheeks are all in my color swatches and flatter me. However, the brown in my eyes and my hair is not in my color swatches and does not flatter me when I wear clothes of that color. How can I wear brown as an eye and hair color but not anywhere else without looking washed out?
You’re wearing the colour you think you see, which is never what colour is. Here is one reason for why it’s harder to figure for some Tones.
There is variation in hair and eye colour in most Seasons, but nowhere more than True Winter and the Brights. I’m not sure of the answer from a genetic perspective. I don’t think anyone can answer the magic of how harmony happens in spite what our eyes think they see. Maybe the mysteries should remain mysteries.
The way I reason it is that we don’t know the exact pigments that make up our hair and eyes. If I showed you 20 brown eyes, could you pick out your own? Would you pick the same brown as your friends would choose? Would you pick the same browns, yellows, oranges, and other colours, that the drapes (consistent with the Sci\ART colour calibrations) identify within your colouring? Probably not, on any count. We do not know which colours make up our final colours until one is draped. If you knew and wore the ingredients that go into your total hair and eye colours, you’d be utterly flattered.
Bright Spring has many yellows, beer and clear cider colours. When they have dark hair, it’s usually root beer and black tea. It is never coffee, which only looks heavy and thick on a colouring that is as far from those as you can get. Lighter brown hair is herbal tea, not orangey-muted-gold, not velvety-dense-brown. It might look ash brown or medium brown but it isn’t. It is clear. While clear means high chroma, and transparency is not a quality by which we define colour (because colour can be bright or soft and still see-through), this hair is like coloured cellophane.
People with green, blue and grey eyes seem to always look great if they match their clothes to their irises.
I would not agree. Blue eyes will match blue drapes or blue clothes in any Season but the best match is only in one. It’s not even a difficult decision. Some aspects of a correct analysis are challenging for a woman to perceive on herself. Achieving the ultimate eye colour is usually easy.
The colour a woman has matched to her eyes all her life is never the best or correct one in my experience. She needs her Colour Book to direct her to her turquoise and only then will her eyes become all they could be. I see women hope they’re wearing their eye colour all the time and most cases, they’re barely in the ballpark.
Blue eyes under Spring influence (one of the 5 possible Seasons) are seldom blue. They’re turquoise, aqua, or cornflower (light blue with very little green, the cornflower being one of the few truly blue flowers, but to me, appears a little violet). It’s a beautiful thing when you find it.
Not just me but a lot of brown-eyed people can’t wear brown.
Quite right, many brown eyed people are Winters of some sort and have very little brown in their palette. And when they’re draped, darned if much of the brown in the eyes suddenly turns black and then they’re wearing their real eye colour at last.
Hair and eye colours as they appear are often not in the True Winter, Bright Winter, and Bright Spring palettes. I think the way it works is that the contributing base pigments are there but the mix isn’t.
You could say to me, “OK then, if I could take colours from my palette and mix them, are you saying that I could theoretically make my hair and eye colour from the swatches? ”
I think so but the truth is that I don’t know for sure if any and every mixture would still guarantee that the hue/value/chroma remain constant. If you mixed complements, you would mute the colour if either of the originals contained the complement of the other. You’d mute the resulting colour into a more muted Season.
To make clear green (say, Winter), you need a blue and a yellow without red, I would think. Could it be done? Winter colours contain red, but are there a blue and a yellow without red? I’m not enough of a colour mixer to know.
Thinking out loud now…To make clear orange (Spring), you’d need a red and a yellow that contain no blue. That seems possible, Spring colours are not blue-based, though some contain blue.
Clear violet – needs a blue that leans red and a red with some blue in it, neither of which contain the complement of violet, yellow. That could make a brilliantly clear violet, even a violent violet, if it’s necessary – sure it is, for Winters. How is that done for Spring where yellow appears in every colour? Haven’t figured that out yet.
Can I make amber or warm brown eyes with a True Winter palette? I think so. True Winter contains yellow, very saturated, a little blue without turning it green. It also contains the other primaries of red and blue. Three primaries make brown.
True Winter and the Bright Tones are intricate and unique types of colouring. Not inconsistent, just complex. Which is why I suggest they think twice before colouring their hair. I have never seen it be improved enough to balance the cost, time, and upkeep.
I can match clothes to the rim around my iris (which is sort of a dark periwinkle) and it is quite flattering but if I wear clothes that are the same brown as my irises I look washed out.
So it’s not the right brown that you’re wearing, it’s just the one you think you see as the amalgamation of all the many colours in your iris. Good call to notice that the rim of the iris is different and if you can match it, a superlative colour on every person.
How can brown-eyed people can be any Season, but only Autumns can look great wearing brown clothes and makeup?
There are a million versions of brown eyes. Brown eyes can be in any Season, but they won’t all be the same brown. Same with the 12 Tone palettes. Many Tones have brown choices but they’re not the same brown.
Nine in ten women only find out their real eye colour when they are draped. Those brown-eyed people you refer to in your question and the browns that you refer to looking great on Autumns… very unlikely the same brown.
Are cool hair and warm skin possible?
I was snow white blonde as a child, but am now a dark, ashy blonde. It’s a cool colour.
Dark ash blonde could be found on a cool, neutral, or warm person. Apparent hair colour isn’t tightly tied to the true heat level of your colouring, though your overall contributing colours and appearance are always 100% in harmony. Every person. The true heat level of your hair is perfectly consistent with the heat level of your skin and everything else.
We could take your dark, ash brown hair and place it next to five other dark, ashy heads. It would be interesting to see whose is cool, whose warm, and whose is neutral in between cool and warm. I would guess that your hair wouldn’t be the coolest if we compared it on a scale. It might be cool-ish, but that’s not Absolute Cool.
Because you know, Absolute Cool and Absolute Warm, they’re rare in human colouring. Kind of extreme. I haven’t seen a True Autumn or True Winter in ages. I see several Neutral Season versions of Autumn and Winter every month. The thing to wrap your head around is Neutral. What does it mean? What does it look like?
Just playing the odds, you are neither warm nor cool in skin and hair. If you’re like eight or nine people in ten, why wouldn’t you be, you’re a Neutral Season that might lean towards cool.
Whatever you are, cool, warm, or somewhere in between, the setting is the same in all your features. One genetic code governs your paintbox.
But I have medium light skin with golden undertones and no rosiness in the cheeks. All I see is yellow. Wouldn’t that be warm?
Colour analysis, which guides every colour decision you will make, isn’t about what you look like or appear to look like. Your natural colouring group, Tone, Season, is determined in the one way that can truthfully reveal it: how the colours in you react to other colours. Nobody can know their truthful colouring correctly without testing their own skin’s reactions against an organized and measured set of colours in a colour-neutral environment. If your colours react the way you expect them to, you would be that one person in 50 who knew ahead of time what was going to happen. That’s why it’s so hard to do from books and photos and impossible from verbal descriptions.
Your skin probably is light-medium. What colour your undertone is, or even whether it’s warm/cool/neutral, nobody knows till we test and measure it. Why am I so sure? Because nobody who comes to a colour analysis appointment is ever wearing their correct foundation – until we solve that question forever more and show you how to make the best choice.
If my hair is overly golden, my skin looks red. When it’s natural dark ashy color, highlighted with platinum, it looks tanned and alive. Just natural it is bland. Dark red wasn’t good. But when I went a more natural dark blonde with subtle red tones, I got many compliments. Dark golden blonde, more of a caramel, washes me out, as does all over light blonde with no contrasting darker pieces. Can someone have a seemingly warm complexion with cooler toned ash hair?
Actually it’s really common. Usual, in fact. Though there’s lots of good colour observation here, the description could occur in many of the 12 types of colouring. Sounds to me like you have cool-neutral skin with a little warmth, but placed next to wrong hair colour, it will look warmer than it really is. You may have a false yellow overtone, like many cool Neutral Seasons, and be interpreting that as your golden undertones and yellow warmth from the previous question.
Too yellow hair does make faces red, especially True and Soft Summer, I find. But then, there’s a disconnect in your comments. Dark ash with platinum sets up big distance between lightest and darkest, which I find looks right on nobody.
On Summer, their light/dark range isn’t this wide, since it goes from pastel to mid-dark, not icy light to very dark (which is Winter). And so it follows that their best highlight is not that far from the base colour, or else they look striped and severe.
On Winter, they do have this big light/dark range but putting it in the hair is only disruptive, breaking up their force. The randomness looks messy when placed on a colour language that is very far from random. Of course, nothing applies to everybody and you can’t generalize about hair colour across an entire Tone. Some Lights are not flattered by highlights either.
3/4 of women would say their natural hair colour is bland. Not remotely true but media has taught us that it is so they could sell us hair colour. The hair industry, ay? Their biggest problem is that they think they’re fine. Many women would not attest to that – the same ones who bought $40 a bottle of wrong foundation colour. Women love their colourist most of the time. We feel real friendship and loyalty. But regarding our faith that we really are wearing our very best hair colour? Not so sure. Hair is a trend-driven industry – highlights, lowlights, we’ve never tried copper, let’s go lighter. We only have one skin colour. It is illogical that we could be flattered by five hair colours. Become the expert of your own appearance.
Until you are wearing your best clothes and makeup, your natural hair colour will not appear as beautiful and perfect as it is – so I advise women after a PCA to make one trip to the salon to get the heat level set right and come closer to their natural colour. Then leave the hair for a few weeks and work on the clothes and makeup. Your eyes need time to readjust to the real original you and to absorb how your better colours affect your apparent hair colour by making it look perfect and ideal. Then you can really see your hair colour and you can go back to the salon, hopefully only one more time, and finish the fine tuning.
Also, once a woman has had many hair colours, she and those who have seen all those colours can’t make a solid judgment any longer. There’s just too much history swirling around. Someone outside your box needs to touch the reset button. I nominate your friendly neighbourhood colour analyst.
I am at a loss as to what color to dye my hair.
I’m at a loss too till your colours are accurately analyzed. You are like 98% of the real people in the real world who seem conflicting. You’re not. Nobody is. Everyone’s colours make complete sense.
Once we have your Tone understood, every single aspect of your colouring and the colour decisions to follow are consistent and coherent. It’s not even hard. Once we know the truth, each one of us is very logical and connected in our colouring.
But. Even knowing your Tone, I still couldn’t give blanket hair colour advice that would cover every woman equally well. Everyone makes her own darkness adjustment within a Tone. Not everyone is necessarily improved by departure from her natural hair as it grows out of her head. And for nobody is this more true than the Bright Seasons.
Art and Science
Not being able to explain a thing doesn’t make it not true.
C. said it so beautifully here,
…the science of light, the discovery that it is both particle and wave and how it behaves erratically when observed. So nature is evasive and we can not reduce everything in the world around us to neat mathematical equations
….artists working in isolation through history have been representing through symbol what scientists have been discovering in the lab at the same(ish) time and not even known it. Think of the cubists and surrealists relating back to Einstein’s new world of curved space and the theory of relativity, or the complex inherent patterns in Jackson Pollocks’ work reflecting a new understanding of the complex, previously overlooked patterns in nature.
It seems artists, at least revolutionary ones, had/have a deep unconscious understanding of the stuff of the universe and represent it through symbol before we have the words or the science to explain.
All of these threads…point in the same direction. Colour theory, it seems, is not about finding the best lipstick. It is recognizing we are made of the stuff of the stars and finding our place in the universe.