The article , Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book, talked about the most effective way that I know of matching the colours in your palette. (Edit – about the link not working, very sorry, I fixed it twice and it’s working on my machine but nobody else’s. Here is a new link. Also the link to paste into your browser: http://12blueprints.com/getting-more-from-your-12-tone-swatch-book/)
Terry discovered it. Together, I think we’ve made it into an absolute art form, still recognizing that there may yet be a better way.
Your palette or swatch book is a diagram of the colours in your body separated individually. It’s the board the artist dipped her paintbrush in when she filled in the lines of the sculpture of you. Which is a beautiful concept, IMO.
In the same way that, when I look at you, I don’t see only your eyes or only your mouth, neither do I see only your blues or only your reds. I see everything all at once. Your pinks are not stronger than your greens. When the swatch book is fanned out, no colour is more prominent or more vanishing. Our attention is divided equally.
Looking at a painting with a more prominent colour block – that colour grabs our attention and won’t let go; that block seems to get bigger in our awareness. Black is not slimming on everyone.
Great makeup elevates the composition of your face like it’s been there from the start. Each colour enhances the woman and the rest of the makeup. Wonderful blush intensifies eye colour. Lipstick clears dullness out of skin. Foundation alone should strengthen eye colour. Eyeshadow and lipstick are beautiful together.
When I see you wearing a blouse, I see all of you in that blouse, all the colours in you together with the blouse, hopefully bringing out the best and most in each other. I don’t see only your purples matching the purple of the blouse. Trying to match a blue blouse to one blue dot or square of the swatch book will make a less-than-best choice most of the time.
For one thing, our eyes are not that good at matching colours from single, small samples. Our brains are not good at all at recalling colour accurately. We think we’re good at both but the fact is, we’re not.
Besides, we have many more colours than what’s in those books. iPods came along so you didn’t have to carry around 30,000 CDs. Until we get you the iPod version of your palette, you need a way to figure out all those other colours that either didn’t fit into the swatch book for lack of space or would have looked too similar to other colours to tell apart.
Secondly, the Season concept is holistic. It’s all of you at the same time. Not the blues in this shirt on Tuesday and the reds in your lips on Saturday. All the colours in your swatch book are together for a reason. The Reason for the Season is You.
The reason is your DNA. Applying colour theory to the measurement of human colouring results in 65 connected colours, just as your blues and your reds are strongly united in you by genetic inheritance. What begins our genes and the pigments they code, carries through until we’re dressed and painted. As the visual manifestation of our DNA, we send out energy signals that others translate as beauty and harmony.
When you match a blouse to your swatch book, match the whole swatch book. That’s how we’re going to be looking at you in the shirt. Lay the open book on the shirt. Does one drain energy? Are they even? The matching article linked at the beginnning outlines the rest.
The lipstick below next to the swatch book. How does it feel? Because that’s exactly how it’s going to feel on the face that contains those colours.
Cosmetics, like clothes, should be matched to the entire palette. Our eyes can’t match single swatches to cosmetics accurately. Between any 2 or 3 Seasons, there may be colours that appear similar if viewed individually.
They’re not similar when comparing the entire Seasons. If I transplanted a peachy orange from a Bright Winter swatch book into a Light Spring book, where there are many peachy pinks, I guarantee you’d see it. It would be the only thing you’d see, in the Light Spring book and on the Light Spring face.
Matching makeup to the whole palette works for eyeliner, mascara, bronzer, anything. I think it’s easier than matching clothing. It’s not just me, student analysts pick it up very fast and can place any cosmetic colour within a single Season. In our last analyst training course, a student had swatched one of those “lipsticks that match every woman”. We found that it matched nobody.
Smear or draw a fairly thick application on white paper in about a 2×2 inch area. Use more than you’d ever apply to the face. If a colour is right, it will belong perfectly on the face.
Hold the swatch book alongside the makeup. Anchor the bottom page with one hand. With the other hand, flip through book slowly, opening it up enough that you can see all the swatches. Watch from the side.
Do the makeup and swatches have your attention equally?
Are you looking at one more? If yes, you will be IRL too.
Go even slower when you come to the most similar shades. Do they belong together? Are they truly beautiful, surprisingly so, even inspiring somehow, making you want to pause and look a little longer?
In analyst training situations, we are learning to place a colour in one Season so that analysts can recommend beautiful makeup to their clients. As always always always in colour analysis, you never cancel one till you have a Better-than. Once you think you have the best choice, be sure you’ve compared it to its neighbour Seasons. A colour analyst is always comparing. As Terry has said, “Compare everything to everything.”
The matching images in this article are all with Bright Winter. To make your decisions, you’d have to try Bright Spring for sure. And then you’d say, “Fine, but I don’t own a Bright Spring swatch book.” You don’t really have to unless you’re a colour analyst. If you’re a Bright Winter woman, you only have to decide if you would wear this lipstick, not who would wear it better. I do believe that owning the swatch books for one’s neighbour Seasons can be very valuable, just to have something to compare with.
Whether the identical colour is there or not is irrelevant, as it is with matching clothing, as it is with my drapes. That’s paying attention to the wrong thing. Back up. Bird’s eye view. Telescope not microscope. How does the whole thing look as one composition?
This is Cover Girl 415 Siren with a Bright Winter swatch book (original Sci/ART). Here’s my read of this colour for this type of natural colouring:
- Feels fine. This woman (the swatch book) could wear this colour nicely.
- The pigment purity is good. The lipstick doesn’t look faded or dingy on this face. The dots are not overwhelming the lipstick. Neither are the dots looking weaker, where the only thing we’d see is the lipstick on this face.
- The lipstick is a bit warmer (yellower) than the dots but that’s not necessarily bad. The type of heat is consistent with this palette. It’s pretty good with the center red dot. I like the blues with this lipstick. (The colours in these photos have been adjusted slightly.)
- I would like this lip colour with these colour elements in a print.
Rachel, a recent student whom you’ll meet formally very soon, noticed recently at this line of lipstick holds its colour and saturation when swatched extremely well. Many brands fade and become truly muted. Do they do that on a face? I’m not sure but I’d bet yes to some extent. Another thing to make note of when you swatch on paper, especially if you’re a high saturation Season, and especially a Bright where colour purity is paramount. Does the colour look the same in 3 hours as when you first drew it?
Notice the PinIt button in the lower photo. My new obsession. If anyone uses the button, please do LMK if it doesn’t work. I’m just figuring this out.
My excellent web support, Rick, is adding a detail showing latest Pins in the right sidebar.
If you have a look at the Seasons And Styles board, you can see items chosen for their colouring and receive direction from Rachel about which sculptures (Style Types) wear the designs most beautifully. Feel free to ask questions. You can be as impressed with how very smart and knowledgeable Rachel is as I am.
I seem to be in a groove of seeing so many Bright Winters lately that I figure I’m still supposed to write about it.
The reaction a person has to learning that their natural colouring falls into the Bright Winter group is either delight or despair. Seldom is there anything in between. The reason for most Season misgivings comes from misunderstanding the colours or the analysis process.
Some of the information below may be hard to imagine. It’s the only way I know to explain it. (Analyst who were trained by me will receive the discussion below soon in their Review Topics documents – and it will be even more technical.)
Here some come concerns Bright Winters may have:
Q: If I’m a Bright Winter, why do I look too blue in some of the Bright Winter drapes?
Short A: Because you’re warmer than the drape.
Long A: Depending on the person, this type of colouring is extremely finely adjusted and very sensitive to excessive darkness, redness, and or blueness. Some people handle the blue very well, almost as cool as True Winter can handle, but they become gaunt in black. Others can develop red spots in the cheeks, like a feverish face, in too much blue-red influence but they have no problem with darkness.
To match the exact coolness level of every Bright Winter, the analyst would need approximately 4 blue drapes. And then 4 reds, 4 greens. And then repeat that for all the possible tolerances to hue, value, and chroma of every person in all 12 Seasons. Not reasonable.
Also not necessary. The analyst with a comprehensive understanding of the analysis process is prepared to choose the Season because it’s better than the others, not necessarily it’s the best possible choice of this colour on this person. The client shouldn’t expect every Bright Winter drape to be perfection on every Bright Winter face. You find yourself inside your correct colour parameters. Sometimes, an analyst’s decision feels like a compromise and doesn’t make sense, but it’s still the best and correct decision of the comparison.
I am a Dark Winter.
I need makeup to wear black. Makes sense, black is only automatic on True Winter.
I can wear some medium and dark True Summer colour. Makes sense, True Summer is a little warmer and more muted than True Winter. So is Dark Winter.
True Spring colours clear my eyes better than True Autumn, if the two are being compared. Makes sense, Winter is looking for more clarity than Autumn provides.
I love and can wear Dark Autumn dark colours. Makes sense, I’m more warm and muted than many Dark Winters and darker colours are pretty easy on Dark Seasons.
None of that makes me a Spring, Summer, or Autumn.
If all people were exactly the same within one Season, then all the women of that Season could wear exactly the same lipsticks equally. Not the truth at all. My perfect lipstick colour is dull and disappearing on a cooler, clearer Dark Winter. There are ranges inside each Season. If the information clues were picked up along the analysis path, the right decision will be made at the end. The analyst doesn’t need to have my perfect Dark Winter blue drape in her set to know I am a Dark Winter. There might be versions of blue that I would wear a lot better than the blue drape she might have, but she learned my face, did her comparisons, knew what to look for and how to interpret it. A Season decision is a moving target until the very last comparison.
The Test Drapes are special. They’re measuring and comparing. Don’t look for home in them. Don’t expect to be finally and ultimately perfected. You need only be better than in any other. The same exquisite tolerance to colour parameters happens in all Seasons, but because Winter’s scale is so big and this colouring quite delicate, the disparity gets noticed more.
The public might not always understand. Don’t pay too much attention to the chat room group. They can’t know how it works because they’ve never been shown. All they see is the end result. One appendectomy can look like another if all you see are the people 3 weeks later. What happened in between may be wildly different. One person might never have had appendicitis in the first place. One might finally get rid of abdominal pain that’s haunted her for months. Another might be sure the surgeon made a mistake, but the fact is that sutures are more irritating to her tissues than the average while the surgical technique was exemplary. Her chat room group wouldn’t know any of that, but they’d make judgments and give opinions anyhow in an effort to support her.
clear water, close to white, more icy (Winter)
Q: Why is the bottom half of the face so darkened by black if I am Winter?
Short A: This is a WAY lighter Winter. Even True Winter isn’t all that dark. There are many blonde and light-brown haired True Winters with light eyes. Many.
Long A: Nothing applies to everybody. Some Bright Winters, even blonde haired, blue-eyed persons, are fine with darkness. Others who might be darker to look at will have a definite upper limit for darkness. Some can manage strong darkness in blue or green, but begin having detracting optical effects in the appearance at medium gray. Some are fine with shiny black, as long as True Winter blue is extracted, but are not good in matte black. Texture matters to a composition as much as line and colour do; therefore, texture matters in personal colour analysis (PCA).
The only more ghoulish Goth than Bright Winter would be the Light, True, and Bright Spring. All four types of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, look light, bright, and clean. What about that sounds Goth? They conflict with the dark, depressing, serious Goth look – OTOH, maybe Goth are supposed to look compromised. Glowing and Goth doesn’t match. Bright Seasons are glowy. That’s how their skin reflects light. They look too healthy and vital for Gothness.
From the document that I send my clients:
Bright Winter epitomizes the sugar frosting of snow and sunlight. The innocent fairy tale character could wear shimmery violet-pink eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss, adding even more crispness and show biz with near black eyeliner and big lashes.
Many Bright Winters are blonde and blue-eyed, with a feeling of girl-next-door, like the stereotypic Light Summer, except for the strong, clear, sparking eyes. Other lighter Bright Winters look Scandinavian/Nordic Ice Princess. Although some Bright Springs have the coolness that feels like royal distance, most are more informal, bubbly, chatty, rounded in their edges, and natural in their energy.
more pigment, more gray, closer to pastel (more Summer) – where does icy end and pastel begin?
Q: So Christine, you’re saying that all Brights can always take any level of saturation?
Short A: There is no Always, Must, Should, or Never in human colouring.
Long A: Textiles can be saturated beyond what you’d find in a human being. There are colours that will overwhelm even a Bright. I am saying that on a comparative scale of humans, Brights are most harmonized and flattered in the purest pigments.
icy grays made of B&W (Winter eyes)
Q: What if you said I’m a Bright Winter, which still I don’t believe BTW, and I look really dark?
Short A: Then you are a Bright Winter who looks dark.
Long A: In the colour analyst training course, my students and I spend our first morning proving to ourselves that our eyes are rather clueless about looking at paint chips and knowing their colour dimensions. I guess we could see which is lighter between 2 colours of equal saturation. Change the saturation setting of one paint chip and we lose it. We guess wrong. If we can’t guess a paint chip, how much harder must it be to gauge a human face just by looking. You need a way to measure, a.k.a. drapes.
You look dark, fine. Your most important colour attribute is still that your pigmentation is very clean and clear. You are more clear than you are dark, but no rule says you can’t be both to some degree. It’s knowing the amount of each one relative to the other that’s tricky.
pastel means more pigment + more gray (Summer eyes) – where’s the dividing line between icy and pastel? is there one?
Q: I read RTYNC and Bright Winter felt too zingy. I’m not electric and flashy.
Short A: You can’t see yourself. Compared to a range of other humans, your colouring feels more electric than a foggy day would. I was trying to make a comparison. Who do you know who looks foggy?
Long A: Ignore RTYNC (the blue book over in the right column). I can’t write the sequel because I created what the colour world needed least, 12 more stereotypes. Back then, I knew half what I know today. Maybe there’s another book taking shape that describes the real world better, the enormous variety, how people of the same Season can look incredibly different.
Why write about Seasons at all? Because it’s fun and interesting for us humans to look at one another and see all the possibilities. The stereotypes are like your horoscope. Kathryn Kalisz (founder of the Sci\ART system of PCA) also wrote about how people in the Seasons can look. I asked her once what Season someone was. She laughed and said in the most cheerful voice, “I have absolutely no idea! Until they’re in my chair.”
That book was only intended to help you see who you’re not, give a sense of how those colour energies made me feel so you could ask yourself the same thing, and give you 12 approximate palettes to make comparisons so you don’t have to own 12 swatch books. It got used too literally. The disclaimer at the front says that you will not be able to find yourself accurately, or at all. Should have been in big red print.
The Light Summer to Bright Winter Spectrum
This picture of Julianne Hough (said “huff”) came my way. It reminded me of a friend.
After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the face is like an exaggerated Reese Witherspoon.
Thing is, Julianne can do this. Is the dress wearing her? Is the makeup stronger than she is? By a lot or a little? If the hair were deeper, would she balance the other colours better? The balance is a little off but it’s hard to know what needs fixing and what doesn’t. Too many unpredictable variables. Just like draping a face. Reese were done like this, would the balance be off by less or by more?
Julianne looks to be in that girl-next-door Bright Winter to Light Summer spectrum. Except the eyes. Those eyes are crystal clear. Who knows what her natural hair colour is? From the gallery of images, I see that too yellow hair makes her face too yellow. Too light hair makes her face look puffed with flour. If you think of Bill Gates as average Light Summer colouring, those eyes would be wild in his face.
Reese seems to me a Light Summer. This makes sense. Winter is like an exaggerated Summer. The Warm Seasons are different. Autumn is not a continuation of Spring. It’s a whole different type of warmth. In a Season circle or progression, I would not Spring and Autumn side by side; I’d put them opposite one another.
the blue – too much pigment for icy; too pure pigment for pastel > probably not strong Winter or Summer ; we see this colour in Bright Spring eyes
Q: If Winter is an exaggerated Summer, why not have a Season in between? Like a continuation between Light Summer and Bright Winter, or True Summer and True Winter?
Short A: You’d get no new colours that weren’t already spoken for in one of the Seasons. I see the brilliance of the Sci\ART method of PCA, a genius that I am more in awe of with each client, as 12 stand alone groups. It makes their unique radiances strong and distinct. Smudging them into one another would dilute that and make analysis decisions much harder. Can a client blur them into each other? Absolutely.
Long A: Because real people don’t drape in between Summer and Winter to my eyes, though other analysts that I respect gigantically might not agree. A Soft Summer still looks better in Summer drapes, just a little weak. A Dark Winter still does better in Winter drapes overall if you know what to look for.
Also, making a cool Season overlap into a cool Season is in contradiction with the physics of light. That’s not how sunlight illuminates objects on our planet as interpreted by our eyes and brains.
Would the Bright Winter person look better True Winter’s drapes than True Summer’s drapes? Not always that easy. The light Bright Winter person’s face loves the lightness of Summer.
We can’t look at faces and know if they’re lighter than saturated, more cool than light, more saturated than warm, etc. Our eyes are not capable. We have to put a quantitative measuring system in between. Those are the drapes. Even then, in the early part of the analysis, all the features don’t behave the same way. That only happens at the end.
You will be wildly surprised at what your eyes will see happen with the drapes. The rug will get yanked out from under the feet of what you think Seasons have to look like. There are a lot of technical reasons for decision-making that Terry Wildfong and I train our students in carefully and thoroughly because we measure many markers at once in each face, with each new colour change.
The analyst evaluates many markers, related to line, colour, and texture, and makes a better-than choice. The markers will not be the same in every face. A Dark Winter man may wear Bright Winter saturation fairly well if his colouring is intense, but his face might look very oily. Another Dark Winter man will lose eye energy in Bright Winter drapes but the complexion reflects light much the same between the two. We take a lot of time to learn every face because each reacts to colour in a unique and individual way.
And it can still be very difficult. At this point in my career, although I retain near dismay for how complex a PCA can be, I’m usually pretty confident in my Season decision. I saw a woman recently. We went between Bright and Dark Winter. Back and forth, back and forth. Test Drapes, Luxury Drapes, makeup, back and forth, back and forth. In the end, I decided on Bright for a selection of reasons. Not just one reason. Many reasons, which I itemized in the documents I sent her. All the analyst can say sometimes is, “This is how I saw you today. And this why.”
Was I correct? I hope so. Was she so difficult because she was extraordinarily beautiful, like trying to make a child look bad? Was it because she was of darker complexion? I’ve invited her back to model for a training course because I need fresh eyes, a different day, and some outside opinions. Some puzzles are more enigmatic.
Sometimes, facial features are very tough to prioritize. We see good and bad things in 2 Seasons in most every comparison until we’re at or near the end. This is normal and expected.
many a Dark Season eye
Q: Which observation is most important?
Short A: Depends. Every face is different.
Long A: There’s no such thing as most important. Your eyes are not more important than your mouth. A jaundiced face isn’t more important than an unfocused face. It’s the totality of a face. The answer would be different for every client. Even a well-trained or very experienced analyst can be perplexed.
If a client is much more comfortable in one Season, the best decision might be to have them wear it for a while. Throw out nothing. Buy a gloss and a few inexpensive T-shirts. Adjust the hair colour. In a few months, have another draping.
A Â note before we start.
Personal Luxury Drapes
Buried in a lot of facts and numbers in the last article was a feature that I wanted to be sure everyone noticed.
Remember those Luxury Drapes that included your most beautiful colours, that you watched at the end of your 12 Tone Â (12 Season, Sci\ART) Personal Colour Analysis (PCA)? You can now own your very own set.
The article with more information is linked here. Scroll down about 3/4 of the page, just after the picture of the blue and aqua waves.
How Can PCA Results Differ So?
Let’s talk about an issue that I’m e-mailed about over and over.
A woman has been analyzed by many systems. Could be North American or European. Could be recent or over 15 years. Could have been with a Sci\ART based analyst like me or not. In person and online.
Her colouring has been analyzed by eye, matching coloured cards and fabrics to form a colour booklet. She’s been draped in 20 minutes and in 2 hours, with fabrics pieces, large and small. One company matched her colouring to paint chips from which a computer generated a palette. Some considered skin alone, some hair and eye colour. All of this in 4 Seasons, 12, and 16.
Most of the time, drapes came out with one set of results, often fairly close (say, Light Spring, Light Summer, and Soft Summer), but not necessarily. Could be all over the map. Matching by eye and computer came out with quite different results (perhaps, Soft Autumn, Autumn/Spring blends, and a Bright Spring, or a mix of the 3), sometimes close, sometimes quite disparate.
She is confused enough that to sign up for one analysis after another and find less satisfaction and closure each time.
Before you read any further – though I haven’t studied the fundamental belief behind all these systems, it appears as if they agree that people look best when they wear the colours their bodies contain. If you disagree with that premise, you’re barking up a whole different image consultant tree that I can’t even advise about. The following applied to the folks who believe our body colours are our most flattering clothing/hair/cosmetic colours.
If You’re on The Draping Side
To follow me,
(which I say in that way NOT because I invented the system I use, I didn’t, Kathryn Kalisz did, probably modeled on previous systems in existence, but because I can’t guarantee that all Sci\ART-based analysts reading this would agree with me and I would not presume to speak for the group,)
you have to buy into some central beliefs about human colouring and its analysis.
First is that we have A hue, A value range, and A chroma setting. ONE of each H, V, and C. Every pigment governed by our personal genetic code respects these settings. They apply to every colour we contain, all the blues, greens, oranges, pinks, every one of the thousands of colours in us. They do not deviate very much from their setting. Each of the 12 HVC-based colour palettes holds to its particular settings and does not deviate very much either.
Second. I do not believe that human vision is well set up to understand colours just by looking. Certainly not static isolated colour. It’s just how we are. There’s no point arguing it, any more than disputing that we see cool, muted colour as distance and hear high notes as youth. Human eyes misjudge HVC in swatches let alone the complexity of a face.
What Lauren* said is so clever:
What you see when you look at me is not what makes me, Lauren.
I believe that we are especially limited in our colour perception when it comes to the colours of our body. With David Zyla’s Color Your Style: How To Wear Your True Colors, I could not figure out my finger or vein colour. Wore myself out, as one of my favorite women said. Some might get it but I didn’t know jade from teal, and were the veins slightly purple?
I could get it when I laid my swatch book alongside the body part. Then, it lit right up. Was that wrong or right? No idea. Couldn’t do the finger pinch test even with the swatches. I did love his application of the colours, his individualized usage, and his artistic imagination. I loved that he disbelieves so many of the crazy myths about PCA. I agreed with so many of his words and ideas.
Maybe I have to use drapes because I’m so poor at judging human colouring or they’re just what I’m used to. I can look at someone in whatever their hair, clothes, and makeup is and I can’t find their true colours. All I can usually tell is that something’s off. I could then start adjusting them in my mind. Darken the hair, brighten the lip. Darken the hair, leave the lip, warm up the shirt. Leave the hair, cool the foundation, cool the shirt, and lighten the mascara. It could go on for days, with no answer at the end. Being impatient, I pull out the drapes. Grant me the serenity to know what I can change.
What we are extremely adapted to understand are change and comparison. In bold pinkÂ because that’s how important they are.
Cognitive scientistÂ Dr. Mark Changizi wrote a book that is literally changing my life (I can’t thank Sarah enough for pointing me in this direction.) In The Vision Revolution: How The Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew About Human Â Vision, he hypothesizes that we barely register ourselves as having a colour, a taste, or a smell. This baseline setting is vital because we are particularly tuned in to the slightest change in the baseline. Fevered skin feels very hot, yet it’s only 1-2 degrees above baseline. How fascinating that all human skin of any ethnicity is very close in its reflectance of light in wavelength. Still, we’re far better at registering change in skin colour of our own ethnicity, our zero setting – though we can certainly learn and improve our ability to see colour change in skin of different baseline than our own.
It’s as if our entire nervous system is set to zero where other humans are concerned. That way, we can be especially sensitive to deviation. He speculates that this evolution allowed us to read one another’s condition better by the slightest change in skin colour and that we’re highly sensitive to it. This adaptation in our colour vision allows us better survival as a tribal, social, cultural collective. In specific situations, for instance, survival of the young or assessing the strength of an opponent, extreme sensitivity in reading very slight change in skin colour was a successful evolutionary event.
And then, OMG, it gets better, and I’m only 40 pages into it. At veterinary school 23 years ago, in Principle of Surgery class, we were given an exam question : Explain at the cellular level the physiologic conditions which cause tissues to become white, yellow, green, blue, red, and purple. Dr. Changizi answers the question in terms of the quantity of blood under the skin and its oxygen concentration superimposed ON TOP OF A COLOUR WHEEL!!!! Could barely believe what I was seeing. Got all goose-bumpy. Heart extra-pumpy.
In the course manual for students training to become PCAs, I wrote more than I needed to (what else is new?) about the wavelength sensitivities of the cells in human retinas. It’s so fundamental though. I couldn’t leave it out. It explains the comparison basis of human vision. Why red, green, blue, and yellow have their positions around a colour wheel. Why they’re opposites in the first place. OK, listen to this: turns out that our retinal cells are stimulated by the very wavelength patterns that correspond exactly with how light is absorbed by hemoglobin under skin. Meaning our colour vision evolved exactly to see changes in blood under skin! Meaning that by knowing the stimulation patterns of retinal cells, you could determine the blood oxygen concentration of the person you’re looking at!!!!!!! On page 43, Dr. Changizi says, “That synergy turns out to be crucial to our empathic ability.” You just have to read this amazing book. The windows it will open…
I’m pretty sure the answer to undertone is in here. Bernice Kentner, a personal hero of mine, related it to blood velocity, which sounded a little iffy in the absence of numerical data, but that was 30 – 40 years ago. Maybe this is what she was getting at. Others have related undertone to differences in blood colour or hemoglobin – again, IDK. Could be I just haven’t seen the data. It’s possible. Â We all have different melanin.
But is it probable? Melanin has a different purpose. It doesn’t carry oxygen. We wouldn’t die if our melanin changed a little. We might die if our hemoglobin changed a little. Is Nature likely to allow all primates, and then all races within a group of primates, to have different hemoglobins? It seems as if blood colour would be more rigidly controlled than melanin, with fewer mutations tolerated, because of the life and death implications. Still, I’m open to anything. I think Changizi is on the right path. As often happens, science catches up with art.
Anyhow, sorry, undertone is still one of my BIG QUESTIONS in PCA, back on topic,
change is what we’re excellent at seeing.
And comparison. Â Think about this: As the zero setting ourselves, we serve as the Control group!!!! We compare our hand, which we register as zero, to the hot fevered face, only 1 degree warmer and we say, “You’re so hot! Into bed!” Â My heart beats faster just writing it. The miracle that is Nature.
The book is awesome. Not medical or doctor-y or science talk at all. Written like a story with huge mind-blowing ideas on every page. I owe you, Sarah.
Third, I do not believe that colour is well set up to be understood in the first place because of how much it’s influenced by whatever’s around it, which is why my drapes are a solid colour and a lot of it. Colours change one another. When energy fields come into contact, they change one another.
Even at a distance, they change one another. While a drape is swinging around the client’s head, before it has settled on their chest, the face is already being profoundly altered. A reminder that students have heard and heard and heard: DROP-THE-DRAPE. Drop it right out of eyesight when assessing a face. If your eyes can see it, your perception is altered by it. I might tattoo the words on the palm of my hand or have a really nifty sign made up.
Not All Drapings Are Equal
A person who’s been draped many times will have noticed big variation in drape sizes, colours, numbers, method of interpretation, order of use, colours within any Season or group, and particular name of the Seasons or groups.
Can draping be flawed? God, yes. Everything can.
Wouldn’t it be great if the all the above steps were standardized? God, yes. Or even within one company!
So we’re taking a hard look at it. We’re making drapes in controlled and consistent colours, set after set. We’re talking about alumnus refresher courses from Terry. Finding standardized ways of draping and teaching.
Inside our group, we’re dragging everything out under those brutal full spectrum lamps and taking a hard look at it. Truth matters to me. I don’t care how uncomfortable it is. The hardest part of fixing most problems is knowing what they are in the first place. Giving honest feedback is tough, something I recognize sincerely and feel a lot of gratitude when I receive it.
We’re getting over our fears about change, our embarrassment at having conflicting results, the projects we worked so hard on, what clients will think, and pulling it all apart. In my over-transparency, I’ll put my problems on the internet and let everyone weigh in. There are great ideas everywhere, very often outside the industry.
And everything is getting better.
The consumer’s role
I would like to see the clients take some responsibility here.
When they’re ill, they decide between consulting a naturopath and an M.D. Nobody expects the two to be especially similar. Disagreeing results are actually expected. We’d be surprised if they agreed. We allow them to be apples and oranges. Neither is foolproof. Does it mean that they do not improve our lives? Of course not.Â When it’s good, it can be transforming.
In choosing one, the client must decide what they believe. About having your colouring analyzed,
Do you believe that neutral gray surrounding matters to accurate colour measurement or do you not? Would you say that it is crucial? A deal-breaker?
That full spectrum lighting is the only way to render every wavelength (colour) evenly?
Do you believe that humans can have trouble judging colour by eye?
That computers and photographic equipment alter colours at each step of software translation?
(If you answered No, Maybe, or Sometimes to any of the above, seek analysis services from someone other than me. Before you see them, accept that the outcome will differ wildly from what I might say and that you’re going to be OK with that because you understand that eyes will think they see 5 Â colours if they see 1 colour in 5 different contexts.)
Ask the analyst if you’re not sure. Whether they call the groups Seasons or something else is the least of your problems. That barely matters. Before she signs up for one more PCA, the consumer needs to ask,
- what is the source of the colours you’re giving me?
- how do the groups of colours, whatever you call them, get eliminated or selected?
- what’s the basis for the groups? why are those colours part of that group?
You’re going to have to decide. I’m not here to put down anyone else. I explain the core beliefs of my practice. If other systems could do the same, I’ll link to it. I’ll post it on this site. We all have something to add.
I simply suggest that various methods can’t be dovetailed together. There is no point in wondering why they can’t find common ground. You might as well stop trying. We diverged way back at the beginning. You’re comparing the Big Bang Theory to Let There Be Light. It’s a square peg/round hole relationship. It ain’t gonna happen.
Maybe you’ll say, “Well, how ‘m I supposed to know? I’m the consumer. It’s all you analysts out there who have studied colour theory. Why can’t you guys figure it out and tell us, once and for all?”
Great answer. True answer.
The public has not the context, the theory, or the experience to make these decisions, though they love to hash it out online. Unless you’ve watched many drapings and followed the practitioners of the by-eye technique (which I have not), you don’t really get either one, let alone where they might come together. Sometimes different words are being used to describe the same thing, and even that is rightly confusing to the public.
Maybe an analyst who has studied all the systems could find an accurate way to merge them? After all, the systems are all looking for the original body colours. Should be simple.
I’d love to see what someone comes up with. It’s easy to learn all the theory there ever was and find every reason why no system has 100% final say. Sooner or later, to be a colour analyst, you’ll have to pick one for its strengths, learn how to compensate for its flaws, and crawl around down here with us sinners and losers who do our best to analyze human colouring every day.
A certain client, with a broad-minded approach to life, might see both naturopath and MD. She might look for what works for her in the advice of each. She might see them as an extension and expansion of the other, adding more layers of approach and interpretation that are fascinating in themselves. She would look for the strengths in each approach. The advice that didn’t jive, she just sets aside for now with a reminder in her calendar to take another look in 3 months.
Because it is based on what we’re good at seeing: change and comparison in a calibrated measuring system with no other colours present.
Draping takes a human weakness (our ability to see the colours of skin) and turns it into a strength (our ability to register the slightest changes in reactivity of skin when given comparison) by utilizing an ability that human colour vision isÂ massively adapted to see and see well (skin colour alteration from baseline).
The purpose of draping is not to be a wrinkle eraser. It is do determine your baseline. The truth of you.Â
If you’ve never watched a calibrated draping or still believe there can be no blonde or red-headed Winters, I can’t give your opinion much weight. There’s so much more to it than people realize when it’s done correctly. Ask students who have taken the training. I think many were more than a little surprised. And these were mostly people who had studied all the books and websites.
None of the big names in PCA ever warned against draping, that I recall. Bernice maintained that draping always had the final say.
Online groups talk about hair and eye colour. Why? Because it’s what they see most prominently. As humans, they’re not programmed to see the skin colours of other humans (nevermind that cameras don’t sample colours the way human eyes do and therefore arrive at different results). If asked why all the talk about hair and eyes, they’d say, “Because skin doesn’t really have much colour. It’s hard to talk about it.” YEAH!!! That’s the whole point. It doesn’t. But when it changes, even slightly, we have seen it over thousands of years of evolution linked to our very survival. Cameras can’t do it but human vision is all over it.
Why draping? Because it’s the best way of compensating for the tricks our brain plays all day long as it adjusts what our eyes take in. You don’t believe that all we see are adaptations of reality? That what we see is highly inaccurate? Google ‘optical illusions’. Vision isn’t designed for accuracy. As Dr. Changizi points out, evolution doesn’t care about accuracy. Evolution cares about spreading genes around.
Hair and eye colour are relevant to PCA and human colouring determination, but not in the way folks think.
Hair is a body colour and contributes to overall harmony, no doubt. But hair is only melanin, a limited representation of our colouring that doesn’t change a whole lot with clothes. It’s made of many colours. Some analysts may be excellent at finding its true colours, but the public seldom is – either because they’ve altered it with their clothing (a Dark Winter wearing Soft colours) or don’t see it as others do (a Bright who thinks she has mousy hair because it’s medium beige brown). We’re not really good at seeing hair changes. Could be why hair is limited to so few body parts in humans.
Eyes? The lines can be informative, but they’re not tight data. Colour is somewhat useful, more its distribution patterns than the colour itself. Nobody ever talks about colour clarity. Why not? If we forgot about eye colour per se and approached it as HVC, we might get closer to the truth. Sorry, digression, anyhow, eyes are complex, multicoloured, multilayered entities full of mirrors and windows. Too much physics, optics, and reflection going on. Huge and gigantic importance if you know what to look for and are given comparisons.
A moderate approach
I have the deepest respect all the prophets and visionaries that laid the foundations for modern PCA. So often, a prophet’s words and how they got used differ widely. No seer who came back today would tolerate the labels that got put on him or her since their voice went quiet. Rules get hammered into place that the original thinker never intended so rigidly. Â The focus gets turned around, the dogma is over-defended and over-adhered to, while the creator would have a much more welcoming and tolerant viewpoint.
Decide to just enjoy the process. Consider that there is no person, system, colour collection, medicine, or anything else, that can utterly and finally explain us to ourselves. Enjoy the style, the artistry, the creative excellence of every approach, and the endlessly fascinating opportunity to see ourselves through the eyes of another.
Now that students are being trained, some are finding that their earlier PCAs were not correct.
I analyzed a woman, *Ruth*, Â 2-3 years ago as a Soft Summer. As a part of her training recently (with the excellent Terry Wildfong), she found that she is in fact a Dark Winter.
I have had students myself and found them to be a different Season than previously thought.
It’s awkward for everyone. What is the right path?
Moving through, not away from
My question today is:
As a community of analysts and clients, how will be handle this? It’s going to keep happening for a little while.
Achieving consistency between our analysts is our biggest challenge. (Whether the public finds complete consistency between the palette and their own colouring is another matter, one I worry about less.) Yet, never for an instant would I consider another method.
Can we allow our stumbles to happen openly and comfortably so we can all learn?
At first, of course, the ego takes a little beating. Not a big thing. It’s healthy, not just for me but for everyone who emails me and thinks I’m somehow special or gifted when all I do is write more than everyone else. I’m just more visible. Like models and other meteorites, the idea that anyone is near-perfect sets up a standard that is untrue and destructive for those who think they should live up to it.
If we’re afraid of being wrong, we’re lost. In school and society, we’re taught that we should avoid mistakes but I completely disagree. They’re how we learn. That discomfort feeling is called Experience. There’s no other way to get it. We all have been and will be wrong and should move towards that heat, and then through it. Running away keeps us stuck with our feet like tree roots. I love trees almost as much as oceans but they can’t walk on this Earth. Humans can.
I tell my own students that the best thing that can happen to them as colour analysts is to have been wrong about their Season a few times. Identifying with our clients is how we support them fully. Once we’ve shopped with our Colour Books, we feel what she’s up against.
The analyst’s growth
. First, I get separation from my business. If every mistake feels so personal, I can’t manage it and grow from it. I just get caught up in feeling bruised and sorry for myself. Humiliation is fine and useful, because it’s the light side on the road to humility, a very blessed way to live.
. Get clarity onÂ what I care about. Not my image. Really don’t care about that. I very sincerely care about the Kathryn Kalisz-founded system of Personal Colour Analysis as a fantastic and unparalleled resource for empowering consumers. I care deeply about making your business wildly successful, whatever your definition of successful is, and seeing you having trouble holding in the joy you feel from putting yourself on this path of Personal Colour Analyst, even if you will be wrong sometimes. A wrong analysis hasn’t compromised what I care about. Easy to calm down.
.Â Search for curiosity. What can I learn? Why might this have happened that could give the client and I even more insight into her colouring? The first analyst didn’t just pluck a Season out of the air like a random mosquito swimming by. Terry said,
I don’t wish to see an analyst being referred to as getting an analysis wrong. I see it as analysts can come to different results, plain and simple, by interpreting differently, which leads them down a different path. I analyzed my husband as a True Spring, andÂ he is a BrightÂ Winter. I came to the first result for several reasons, which I have now corrected in my perception. Was I totally wrong? No, he is blended with Spring. Was there a better result? Yes.
The client’s growth
. I ask myself, “What is their work and what is mine in this situation?”Â Before getting all reactive, we both have to think, “What can I do to make this situation work better for you?” We can have a talk. We can re-drape you. Do I give refunds? I’ve never been asked, my clients are so elegant. Would I? I guess I’d do what would calm the person and let them feel validated. I’m not in this for the money and I never make decisions based on money. This absolutely does not set a precedent for other analysts but if someone wanted their cash back, I guess I’d return it, knowing that the communication between us would end right there. The whole “I spend $200, I deserve…” “For $2000, the least I expect…”, we hear it all the time. It’s a 2-dimensional view of the world that wants $$ more than knowledge so we don’t belong together. As a client, I wouldn’t ask for a refund. Lord knows we’ve gotten some sketchy makeup applications and massages we didn’t love and didn’t ask for refunds. Everyone is doing their best. Nobody set out to cheat anyone. Maybe the client should have got better informed beforehand.
. Find gratitude. Ruth brings a very beautiful intelligence to our profession. Her first reaction was to look for something to be grateful for. That’s an impressive being who understands that there’s a bigger plan in motion towards a greater place, and who is able to quietly place her trust in it. I’m often amazed at the assembly of remarkable personalities contained within our group. Ruth belongs among us and is most welcome.
The Biology of Sight
This again. It defines how we see so there’s no getting away from it. Terry reminded us,
I believe there are two major reasons why analysts can have conflicting results. Both reasons are found in The New Munsell Student Color SetÂ under the heading of Observer Metamerism:
1.Â Â Â Â Â No two people see color exactly the same. This is something that can never be altered. There will never be a set of drapes or even training that can ensure the same visual perception will be had by two different analysts.
2.Â Â Â Â Â Our visual perception of a color changes, based on what color was last viewed. Just making up this example: If you are comparing Blue #1 for TW and Blue #5 for TSu, the reactions you see in the mirror are made on that comparison. If I have Blue #1 for TW and Blue #3 for TSu (all technically correct), the reactions I see will be based on that comparison. If Sharon has Blue #2 for TW and Blue #4 for TSu, again technically correct, she could come to a different result.
The closest way two analysts can hopefully come to the same conclusion is to have every test drape exactly the same, which Christine and I have talked about. But even if every drape we make for every set is the same, problem #1 above still exists.
Everything can always change for the better. The Sci\ART system is, in my view, unequaled in its approach, its working instruments (the drapes), and in its accuracy at demonstrating your natural, inborn colours. I know the strengths of the draping system and they are beyond substantial.
The drapes I have from 4 years ago are not without a few drawbacks that I’ve learned over time and today, can factor into an analysis. The True Autumn yellow is extremely saturated, for instance. A Bright Spring could wear it. Was there a reason it was placed in that Season? The person who can answer isn’t here to ask.
Soft Summer and Dark Winter’s red drape is exactly the same piece of fabric. And there are only 3 drapes to test the 12 Tones, and they are not the same colours. I didn’t know it back then. Nonetheless, I should have picked up from the beginning, back in the 4 Seasons, that on Ruth, True Winter was better than True Summer.
Other analysts have other issues. Some are not confident in finding a Light Summer. Some always question some other Season.
It’s this knowledge that went into the drapes that Terry and I offer our students. Â And they will improve. We continue to gather positive and negative data and re-assess. We’re working on standardizing colours even more rigorously and giving you increasingly accurate comparisons. If you bought them, you know that I’ll keep working with you and continue sending additions/replacements until I can’t improve them any more. Which I hope will never happen.
Changing Colouring with Time
Most of us have settled into our Season by age 17.
My True Winter daughter was settled by age 4, maybe sooner (I didn’t formally test her but the eyes were fully black).
Terry’s daughter changed from Soft Summer to Dark Winter in her 20s !!, with a pregnancy in those years.
We darken several times in life, in our teens and our 30s.
We change in our 50s…do our colours really muted or do we just look different, less water, thicker outer layer of keratin…
I don’t believe that most people change Seasons, they just become a new painting from the same paint box. But clearly, some people do move to a new group of natural colouring parameters at various lifestages. Colouring is unpredictable.
The potential of a system can’t be maximized until we acknowledge its weak spots. Until truth is brought into light, it can’t be examined and raised higher. We gotta talk about this stuff with an intent to learn the why and how.
We don’t want to still be giving women different Seasons 5 years from now. Every analyst does it and if I admit freely that I did, maybe others will speak more comfortably about why they feel it happened in their case. Â Then we can get to work as a collaborative, non-judgmental team to fix the causes and leave them behind us.
We can’t be in denial and defense. If we go around like The Human Landmine: An Undetonated Incendiary Device when the imperfections of our process or tools are brought up, everyone will clam up. In 5 years, we’ll be right where we are today. Still strong, still smart, still fragmented.
We need ways to refresh our training with one another. Not re-accreditation for practicing analysts, but organized meetings where we can learn from the fact that every one of us does things differently.
We all have different drape acrobatics. Some analysts move to the Luxury Drapes very early in the process. Some analysts begin with the Red Drapes, before the 4 Test (True Seasons) and 12 Test (12 Tones) drapes. Both certainly correct from my POV. I can’t think of any logistic problem. So why do I begin with 4T? Because my eyes just aren’t ready to interpret the Reds that soon with a new face.Â I wasn’t trained that way. It’s not what I’m used to.
Somehow, these meetings needs to happen. They will help us technically and remind us to be generous with all practicing colour analysts, Sci\ART based and otherwise.
What will potential clients think?
I felt I was able to explain this to my sister because she knows something about PCA; she understands that Dark Winter and Soft Summer can have similar qualities. (It’s not as if I had been draped a True Spring!) … My biggest concern is sharing this with the people in my life who know very little about PCA — people I’ve had to convince that there’s something to this — friends, acquaintances, people at church, business contacts. I’m telling you, I have been an evangelist about this and I have a lot of women (and a number of men) very excited to have a PCA. I am trying to think of a concise way to explain this to them — a way that won’t undermine the validity of Sci\ART PCAÂ or require me to pull out a color clock at dinner.
Communicate the enthusiasm, learning, upgrading, and increasing sense of fulfillment and freedom. If someone chooses to think, “If they can’t get this right the first time then there can’t be anything to it.”, it demonstrates a closed mentality about everything in their life and you might not need them to visit you. What most people want is integrity, honesty, your very best effort, and to be seen and heard.
Whenever we’re learning about ourselves, our physical selves, our spiritual selves, we move forward in steps. If one doctor helps you lot and opens your eyes to a new treatment method but you don’t find full recognition on the first visit, do you never see them again and close themselves to that modality, or try again and see if there’s a way to build higher? For me, it would be decided by my faith in the method and in the person.
If you position yourself to your community as having renewed faith in the method, even despite a correction, it sends a message that the method must be really strong in your eyes or you’d have abandoned it.
I would trust the person with perspective much more than the one proclaiming only success. No medical test is foolproof, not even those that come back Positive or Negative as opposed to the Ranges and Trends types. A doctor who doesn’t know the limitations of a test is useless at interpreting its findings. The No Fail Guarantee is an uneducated assumption that folks sophisticated in a subject released awhile back.
I know the problems and I’d never consider any other process of Personal Colour Analysis. My belief system gets stronger because I have run into problems, given attention and effort to their repair, and acquired a more deeply layered frame of reference, always with room to improve.
Live the conviction that in error, we become stronger, just as surely that in giving, we receive. Both paradoxes, both true.
To draw your attention to a new addition to this website:
If you look in the upper, black crossbar under the website name at the top of this or any page, you’ll see a new Directory.
The Sci\ART Analyst Directory is still there.
The new 12B (for 12 Blueprints) Analyst Directory will be a compilation of Personal Colour Analysts that have been trained in the 12-Tone Sci\ART system. You’ll find links to their website where you can contact them and get information about their services.
Every analyst uses the Test Drape collection created by Terry Wildfong and I, unless Â noted otherwise.
Which swatch books and cosmetics they prefer and anything over-and-above that they provide are questions to be asked to the analysts themselves.
They’re almost ready. Finding a wide variety of stunning colours for the Â three Winters that are not all Prom Satin and Wedding Whites in May and June is not so straightforward. I anticipate the end of August when they become available to purchase.
I want to talk today about the purpose of these Luxury Drapes, how they serve your client and your business as a 12-Tone or 12-Season personal colour analyst. They build value for your client, plain and simple, where most of the decision-making should be based. Your service can offer more, the client receives more, your credibility climbs, and your business name earns its reputation for fantastic payoff for the fee.
Before we get on to their purpose, we could talk about what they are.
Before that, we should clarify what the Test Drapes are and their purpose.
Â The Test Drapes
The Test Drapes are fabrics in colours that are organized into groups. You can call the groups Seasons or Tones or Natural Colouring Type. Each group shares the same or similar dimensions of colour (light-dark range (value), heat setting (hue), degree of pigment concentration (chroma or saturation)). The groups walk us through 12 combinations and controlled levels of the colour properties,Â moving along through a logic tree, comparing a human being’s colouring to themselves, until the best harmony is found. The tag on those Best Harmony Drapes is the client’s group or Season.
The Test Drapes (those I provide to my students and Terry Wildfong’s) are not intended to be a client’s best colours. There are no catch-your-breath WOW OMG colours in the Test Drapes. If there are some, it wasn’t planned, but OMG does happen because synchronous wavelength feels good to be around. We live on a planet of wave energy. We emit it ourselves. Seeing it feels almost like remembering or reconnecting. It’s a form of recognition, as “Oh, so this is how this is going to happen.”, like when a door opens and something you’ve been trying to figure out is suddenly easy and obvious.
People write to me saying they’d love to be trained as colour analysts because they’ve loved colour so much for so long, but they doubt their ability to see the optical effects I write about. Seeing it takes a little practice to learn what you’re looking for, that’s true. Seeing it isn’t the hard part at all. Everyone sees it. That’s the point. That’s why it’s so important to have it done and know your own colouring. The family members watching see it plain as day right from the start.
More requiring is coordinating how to think with what you see. Learning to plug the data that your right brain (images, impressions, emotions, associations, big picture observations) and left brain (measurements) are collecting as you watch the drapes change on the client
into an impartial deductive process that doesn’t overreach, get overly excited too soon, jump to nervous conclusions, or let in thoughts that begin with “It can’t be…” – I will let newly Â trained analysts speak for themselves but I would guess this is the harder part.
The Test Drapes are a ruler. A measuring tape. Instead of measuring bust, waist, hips, they’re quantifying hue, value, chroma. It’s hard to do by looking. Our visual system starts overlapping incoming signals. Warm colours often look more saturated than they are, like True Autumn. We can’t look at a blonde-haired blue-eyed person and see that their most significant colour dimension is highest saturation and know that they’re Bright Winter. If we just look, my belief, we literally can not know, as in not capable of knowing, because our eyes are not biologically set up that way. We have to measure.
Client can feel a little discouraged when they watch the Test Drapes, “You mean to tell me that these are the colours I have to wear????”
It’s natural and normal for the client to see the Test Drapes as potential clothing. They could be, but that’s not the point of them or how they were picked. It’s not the client’s job to understand their purpose. It’s the analyst’s job. We can reassure her that she doesnâ€™t have to wear these colours and yet, with every drape change, she’ll say, “I would never wear this colour!”Â The analyst has to keep saying, “You don’t have to. Youâ€™re not supposed to. They’re measuring you.â€ and be just as patient and happy about it as Beyonce when she climbs onto a stage to sing that same song for the 399th time.
The client’s response has some value, but not a lot. Half the people out there are drawn to colours that suit them and half are not. The analyst has to make independent decisions. Asking the client, “Is there a colour you’d never wear?” tells me more about how permissive Â she is about colours, how defensive, how open to change, or how adamant about not changing. It does not inform me as the analyst about what colours live in her body. Most folks carry too much convoluted colour history to know which colours do or don’t suit them, much less live in them, and they tend to lump them together. “I can’t wear green.” applies to nobody. Many Light Summers won’t wear yellow – yet, they’re made for the right yellow. It’s in them already.
If Â Terry and I picked middle-of-the-Season colours for the Test Drapes, you’ll need to be some Hot, Sharp, and Well-Rested colour analyst to make the right choice. New graduates won’t thank me. I wouldnâ€™t thank me. If I met me at a party, I would give me the cold shoulder for making my job so much harder. Â The colours have to be extremes. They should be a very awkward fit for every colouring but one.
The Test Drapes are chosen to be colours no other type of natural colouring, or Season, could wear as well or at all.
Now if it’s splendid colours you’re wanting, I have an answer for you.
Â The Luxury Drapes
The Luxury drapes are shown to the client once the Season is known and the Test Drapes are hung up. I show them before makeup with the gray scarf still over the hair, since that’s how our eyes learned her colouring, and again after makeup. She sees a selection of her beautiful colours in textile. It helps her make the leap from the swatch book to fabric. This is how she will understand her position within the 3 dimensions of colour in the physical world, how the idea will move from theoretical concepts inside her head to an idea come to life on the stage of her life.
A colour analysis is a huge experience squeezed into 3 hours. The client is taken way back to the most authentic trueness of herself. All the junk and inventions that have piled up over the years get flipped away. The Luxury Drapes are the first step in building her back up again, letting in only what’s real and right about her so she can recognize it forever more.
Sci\ART, the company whose founder, Kathryn Kalisz, developed this most remarkable system, Â used to sell sets of 8 and 15. I only have the 15s. IDK if the 8s were the same Â fabrics or not. I am aiming for 12. They’ll only be sold as 12 sets of 12. I would love to find enough colours to offer 15, but it may be a case of, “You can have them right or you can have them now, but you can’t have them right now.” If I hold out for 15, it will be next year before I can offer them. If sets gets larger in the future, we’ll figure it out with those who bought early. Offering smaller start-up sets isn’t likely to happen. I’d have to keep track of which colours everyone bought in Round 1. I might have all different fabrics once you’re ready to buy Round 2. Or worse, some fabrics may be too close to what you bought in Round 1. Save up. Do it once. Do it right. Don’t look back.
As with the Test Drapes, the Lux Drapes will be available only within the Sci\ART community, with priority given to those who have taken the training course from Terry or me.
Use the Luxury drapes as a means of developing her understanding of how to wear her colours. We can talk about saturation levels till the cows are home, milked, and fed. When she positions her limits is when she sees and feels them, not when she thinks and hears them. Colour is visual.
Seeing her colours as selected by an analyst helps her understand them. They can be compared to neighbour Seasons. Don’t show her Bright Winter periwinkle without showing Bright Spring’s alongside it, even just in the swatch books. Without visual comparison, our brain is stranded.
The Lux Drapes are her gateway to a world of possibility limited only by her creativity. She steps into a pleasure of harmony between her and everything she wears that she has not felt before. When the client leaves your office, it will be from your script as she met the Lux Drapes that she should be able to say a few words to a friend about these aspects of the new wardrobe that she will build and shape in time,
. her darkness range – is she white to black, chalk to pewter, or some other?
. her lightest colours as distance from white
. importance of contrast for her colouring and how to adapt it in attire
. purity of pigment, or saturation, and how to recognize it
.Â the unique radiance or glow that her Tone can achieve more beautifully and believably than any other
.Â use of correct hair and eye colour, explaining why hair colour is not always in our palettes or drapes
.Â her right and real hair highlight
.Â eyeshadows and neutral colours
.Â use of texture and how it influences the dimensions of her colours
.Â most flattering type of shine in fabric and metal
.Â colours of metals that flatter her most
.Â her best version of white and black
.Â what it means to say warm and cool versions of her colours if she’s a Neutral Season
.Â her best red lipstick red
.Â the complementary colours to skin undertone colour
.Â the unusual, unexpected colours
.Â how she will add interest, risk, fun, authority, or imagination to outfits… and look smarter, more trustworthy, and worth more $$
.Â how to begin incorporating the colours she finds more challenging
.Â colour schemes and combinations that work with her and for her
.Â a visual for colours that are not used to test, such as purple
.Â the fact that she has many colours that are not among her swatches, and how to achieve harmonic agreement in shopping situations
.Â that we really mean it when we say every colour goes with every other colour and she doesn’t need to own different makeup for different outfits anymore
.Â what to never put down money for again
. feelings of nervousness about exploring a new world she didn’t know existed, of colours that felt challenging, of some work ahead to make this place into a new home, and feeling that she has the tools she needs, will get better with time, and seeing the road ahead going forward and up
. how empowered she feels in this Â moment by all the knowledge you gave her, by knowing the colours of her parachute
Analysts would probably agree that many clients ‘get it’ for the first time when they see the Lux Drapes, or get how they’re going to do it.
The Luxury Drapes can assist in confirming Season. SomeÂ people’s colouring sits on the 49/51 border between two Seasons. Â Look for the magic. It will only be in one Season. Compare similar colours from each possible Season that the other would not wear as well, a blue to a blue or a red to a red, choosing the extreme versions. Every single Luxury colour has been harmonized to that Tone using the original Sci\ART palettes and the excellent palettes from True Colour Australia. For the client who hasn’t been convinced with the Test Drapes, the Luxury Drapes provide another means of increasing their confidence in their Season.
You can arrive at the correct Tone using the Test Drapes, of which you have 3 more per 12-Test Season than my original Sci\ART sets. You can be in business for a year or two before buying Luxury Drapes, or you may never acquire them. They are the next level investment.
Luxury Drapes are not the place to cheap out.Â I didn’t skimp on fabric. If it was evocative to me of that Season’s unique and unparalleled beauty, I bought it.Â This is the analyst’s chance to shine, to be irreplaceable, indispensable, to tell her things nobody ever has, based on all the scientific testing you just completed. This is where you pull it together for your client. They’re your client’s first chance to see and feel how her colour home will recognize, welcome, accept, and support her. As partners, join her in the first leap from the theory of the Test Drapes and Colour Book swatches to the reality of how they translate into clothing, cosmetics, hair colour…every thing she will buy from now on.
As the analyst, they are your best chance to change her relationship with an idea using something she understands. She doesn’t understand the hue/value/chroma package well enough to really use it in stores. That’s analyst jargon. Of course, it’s important to present it as the scientific basis for the process, but she won’t retain much from a crash course in colour theory, let alone call on it to guide her hair colourist. We need to speak to her in her language, not ours. Understanding how the pancreas secretes insulin is not going to help her manage her diabetes. That’s the doctor’s job. Knowing how to choose her diet and adjust her insulin dose, those she can implement tomorrow to make her life better. Seeing how her colours translate into fabric is what she’ll apply in stores at least as well as her chroma level.
The Lux Drapes are the wave up to which the whole colour analysis experience is building. Let them wash over her. Go slow. Let her soak them up. Use them as the fantastic teaching tool they are. Use them to position your business as a part of her life she can no longer shop without.
A few articles back, I mentioned how a True Winter impressed me so much by focusing what matters to her life into one word: fairness. I thought a lot about it and decided my word would be excellence. After a week, I didn’t feel I’d hit the target yet. Reflection, thinking, and asking found a more sincere and enduring word that holds everything I am and want to be: learn.
If things started out perfect, life would be monolithically boring, like a world without competition, flat, repetitious. That is seeing What Is while thinking What Is. Now, seeing what is and at the same time thinking how it could be more is the brain region that took 4 billion years to evolve. It’s what makes humans different.
When LEARN gets plugged into DREAM, possibility has no limits. We’d never have gotten the iPhone 2, 3, 4, 4S, 5, and 6. Starting out perfect is a tedium that makes my blood run cold. It goes so against something very fundamental about why I think humans are here. There’s nothing I do today, my doctor, my clothing designer, or my colour analyst, that I hope isn’t better tomorrow. Some folks might slot these ideas somewhere between irritating and corrupting and they’re not wrong and I’m not right. We just aren’t meant to be together.
Innovation and improvement are brainstorms come to life so we can touch them. The first time I saw a projection keyboard jump out of a phone, I was blown away.
Sorry, that was a tangent but I couldnâ€™t get stopped. It’s way up there in Topics I Care About. Kerry may be reading this thinking, “Will you please shut up about the meaning of life thing? You’re distracting the readers!”
Right, Kerry, you’re right. Back on topic. But listen, big congratulations for what you’ve done with your swatch books. Thank you for sharing your own growth as a colour analyst to teach us more. I hope to do the same over the years.
The Indigo Tones swatch plume palettes have been esthetically beautiful right from the start. How beautiful is actually quite surprising once you really see them. I wrote about them once before, here. Not only are they lovely to own, they are a highly diversified way of teaching us about our natural colouring. In my dictionary, natural colouring, Season, and Tone are synonyms for personal paintbox, my very own colour wheel, and the pigments that filled in the lines of me. (Don’t hold anyone else to my dictionary, OK?)
The colours are extremely Season-accurate. Each swatch is quite large. This was true in the previous Books.
For those of who see today and the status quo as nothing more or less than a starting point, the new palettes are outstanding. This is definitely not a lukewarm upgrade. All of them are more dense and rich in colour, some (on mine, purples and darks) more than others (where the higher colour intensity is less distinct). The production technology appears to have improved, but that may be just an impression from having more pure colour.
The more time I spend matching fabrics and cosmetics to Season, the more I’m realizing that matching a single swatch to a garment doesn’t work very well. A colour analyst may be able to do it faster with practice because she knows all 12 Seasons equally and is versatile with hue, value, and chroma, but I still shop with my swatch book and compare every purchase I care about. We all have human sight. We can’t tell if we can’t compare. We can’t judge one dimension, say, chroma, when another is extreme. Hard to call the real saturation of something that has low value (darkness), which is why so many Soft Summers get told they contain Winter – because by just looking, we can’t tell they’re dark and muted, not dark and intensely pigmented. Dark colours tend to seem more saturated even if they’re not. The only way to know is to compare their colouring to a known quantity like the drapes.
Personal Colour Analysis has to work for the Person part. You. Your colour-matching success is more likely by backing up a few steps and matching the entire swatch collection to the garment. The idea is detailed more in this article.
I don’t believe we can own too many Colour Books of swatches. The more slants, the more translations, the more tools we have to get our thinking right, the deeper our possession of it. I once talked about owning 2 Books from different companies. Today, I believe that if you could find 8 accurate ones, you should own all 8. Not a single colour would have to be repeated. Every colour system, every colour format, every new interpretation adds something. The less narrow the concept in our head, the more layered, accurate, and interesting the outcome.
You have many thousands of colours. Since you don’t want to carry a wallpaper catalog around when you shop, decisions have to taken about which colours to include. This is like an expansion set. About half of them are new colours, different enough from the original to be two separate colours. Â Those Dark Winter greens that so many clients are finding and enjoying are a great addition.
The balance for the creator is how to give women a wardrobe and a sense of their Season’s colours. If new colours are coming in, old ones have to be replaced. I have both Books because I didn’t want to lose any blues but I love all the extra reds. Some people hide in black. I hide in red.
Right now, I’m learning to recognize the lightest colours in the 3 Winter palettes. They’re complicated. I have a theoretical knowledge of them but finding them in fabric has been hit-and-miss. This rendition of those colours shows them to me in a different way that I can imagine better in clothing. I can picture it more easily hanging on a rack or a bolt of fabric.
The Dark Winter book was changed more significantly than some of the other books in terms of colors. Â While those more autumnish colors are part of the dark winter harmony I felt that they didn’t reflect the overall season best and searched for other threads that did. Â On every book I added some new threads but my main goal was really to reflect the essence of the season in a harmonious layout while providing the most variety in colors possible. So, it’s not going to be true that there are so many more colors in most cases – it’s a different and hopefully better representation of the seasonal tone harmony.
Thank you to Kerry Stich of Indigo Tones for these photographs and the permission to use them.
I will let Kerry talk to you about your own Season’s Book and other questions you may have. You can find her at www.indigotones.com
For someone who knows her colours, this is a gift she would simply adore. Adore and use. What more do we want from a gift?
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,
Â Â 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.Â 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. Â 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 Â not coloured in the same way as objects, and that man-made objects are Â 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? Â 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 Â 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 canâ€™t think of a time when chemistry improves base hair colour from what Nature gives us. Thatâ€™s the colour we had at 25, before we darkened with maturity. Itâ€™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. Â 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. Â 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 â€“ 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?Â I think itâ€™s the casual/automatic assumption that covering grey is an improvement, as a fact, that is the most problematic for me. Â 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.Â 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. Â 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 Â I feel more strongly. On hair colour, whatever rings your bell as long as it’s a good colour for you. Â 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. Â 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 hairÂ 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.Â 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?Â 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 Â 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 donâ€™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 â€“ is there a sense that their hair doesnâ€™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.Â Â 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.Â 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.Â 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 Â Season and have a coordinated closet, practice seeing harmony Â 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.