A PCA Perspective on Matching Foundation

February 27, 2014 by · 10 Comments 

I’ve written about “How To Match Foundation” before, here.

I watched this video and and thought about how it might apply to PCA.

By far, this is the best foundation matching video I have seen. From a colour analyst’s perspective, I agree with so much of what Lisa says.

1. The skin on your entire body is united. Your genetics did not put a different melanin, carotene, or hemoglobin in your hands than your back. The overtones in the face or hands or feet may be different from the rest of the body, but the undertone will not be.

2. The skin contains many colors, reds, greens, blues, and yellows.

3. I fully agree with the importance of self-knowledge, but some types of self-knowledge are nearly impossible to access on your own. You can’t know your red blood cell level without measuring it. You can’t know which foundation matches your skin best without measuring it, meaning comparing several different shades together at the same time. Comparison is a form of measurement that delivers greater than and less than data.

As Lisa says, the apparent skin colour is different for different parts of the face and body. And yet, all of our skin is united in its undertone. Terry wrote about this recently in her article, “What Is Under My Overtone?”

You can’t know your undertone without measuring it. These things are part of our internal biology, extremely difficult to evaluate simply by external observation because they don’t sit on the surface.

Many women have concerns about facial skin texture, areas of uneven pigmentation, rosacea, suntans, and so on. They have asked whether any of these compromise the result of the colour analysis, or if we should be working from neck or chest skin that is more even. The answer is no if the analysis process is analyzing to your undertone, not your overtone.

Warning: BIG digression coming up. It fits into todays’ context and many others.

Photo: livinus

Photo: livinus

 

Defining Your PCA Service

In the last article, some folks heard arrogance from me at the idea that what we think we see is not real.

There is no judgment here. I am not pointing out wrong or right. I truly apologize if it sounded that way. If you spoke to me, you’d know that I’m not 100% sure that  my way is right. I’m always pulling back from that line because I have unanswered questions about PCA myself, Sci\ART system included. In life, there is no 100% wrong or 100% right. There is only lifelong growth. If you’re waiting for 100% locked down forever, you’ll wait a long time.

I do not want anyone to be uncomfortable. All I want is for your clients to be happy with you and my clients to be happy with me. The present situation, full of doubt and misunderstanding, is not good for any of us. Wouldn’t our industry be healthier if clients knew what they were getting and could just enjoy the results? The present situation is keeping us all stuck in the  80s. Feelings are being hurt and business  is not progressing. Someone is going to have get brave and talk openly and fairly. If we, analysts and clients both, don’t put our hands out to steady the wheel, all we’ll ever be is skidding around on black ice.

Every industry exists to serve the public. People have a  desire, a need, and a right to know what they’re buying. You don’t have to agree with how I do an analysis. The point is not to get the public quizzing analysts and making everyone bananas including themselves. The point is to have everyone define how they do things and why. The public can then make an informed choice. The analyst gets the right clients for what they offer. Expectations are satisfied or exceeded.

Isn’t this better than the way it is now, where Personal Colour Analysis implies that we’re doing the same thing and nobody’s ever happy and calm? Why wouldn’t an analyst want her clients to know how she can help them? Why would you, as an analyst, want your business lumped with mine in the public mind, when I cannot offer a client what you can? Businesses define themselves all the time without taking offence or hearing criticism. It’s normal, not harsh or unfair.

If I define my business, what I do and why I do it, it is not to say others are wrong. It is to create a space for everyone else to do the same thing. I get that the transition from  One-Exercise-For-All to Yoga/Intervals/Step/Weights/Pilates/Core/Running/Bosu/P90X  was frustrating, but I believe that someone has to lay out a path for each version can grow and improve, released from the constraints of the pack.

We could distinguish PCA services. They are totally different from beginning to end, though various mixtures have evolved to get the consumer really mixed up. There seem to be two broad categories.

Systems A to D have their colour palettes. The colours for each group are chosen for looking good and belonging together according to that person or company’s taste.

If draping is involved, which drape goes into which Season was decided because it looked right.

As well as judging swatches and drapes for Seasons because they look right, so is the client’s colouring observed on its own, by how it looks.  A – D observes the surface person, believing that, “You truly are what you look like you are today.”

This is one definition of PCA and its desired outcome. A – D have a good argument on side. After all, we are judged on how we appear to look. If you believe in this method, the clients who agree want to know so they can find you. They will be unhappy and confused with my approach, which involves measuring palettes, drapes, and clients by multiple comparisons at every step. On your web page, define what you do and why you believe in doing it that way. Since I don’t understand that way, I cannot do justice to your business. I’d be lucky to match a paint chip from a choice of 100 similar colours, never mind isolate it from a face.

Only you can market and promote your business. I am not tearing anyone down, I am simply defining my business. If my approach sounds flawed to you, I would be first to read about why. Teach me something. That’s what I really want. Convince me of how I could improve. I’ll send you a free book to express my gratitude.

Here’s how it all looks to me: Systems J – M say, “I’m not so sure. First of all, my colouring looks different in every outfit, hair colour, and room lighting. Second, I know that humans are not good at knowing what a colour is on its own, let alone when many colours are mixed together, like in a face or in skin. As soon as colours touch, they change. Thirdly, our colours just can’t be expressed in the top layers of skin, or not only there. It makes no sense. I mean, why is my face is different from my hand from my belly? I need to bark up another tree if I’m going to find the right foundation.”

J – M  then say, “Even if all my body parts were all the same colour, who knows the exact colours in skin? Look at ten people with their hair covered and their eyes closed and tell me the exact reds, greens, blues, and yellows in their skin tone.”

J – M stew some more and add, “One other thing. I think it all goes a bit deeper. The impression of our appearance is formed by many brain areas, not just a 2-dimensional top layer snapshot. Something else is going on here. Believe it or not, human surface skin is see-through to human eyes. Seems to me that that’s where the real information is.” While some human beings are better at eyeballing colours than others, and one does get better with practice, the fact is that in general, we are not consistently good at it. You have to compare them to something unless you’re able to literally measure their wavelength.

J – M say the surface is not enough information, it’s different for different body areas, and it is influenced by everything around it.  If you gauge foundation to the colour you think you see on the surface, even if you pick the right section of surface, you could easily get the colour incorrect. There has to be another way.

Services J  - M look through and beneath the surface at the undertone, thus removing the errors the overtone brings in. This group take the “You are not what you look like you are.” approach.

Well, anyone who has spent 10 minutes on an online colour site knows that the Sci\ART-based systems fit in with J – M but they don’t do things at all the same. Some don’t use the gray surrounding. There is lots of variability in how Better and Worse decisions are made. Some don’t use test drapes. Some take 30 minutes to know your Season, some take 1.5 hours. There is conflict about the meaning and appearance of harmony. Numerous Sci\ART- based analysts practice very close to how Systems A – D do things, by what looks right, with their own reasons for doing so. Not wrong, but different for sure. Too different to match.

None of this is a secret. It ain’t a perfect world. The public thinks we’re all doing the same thing because we stemmed from Sci\ART. This is not the case. It explains why I took down the Sci/ART Analyst Directory. I do not presume to speak for Australia, but in North America, the Sci\ART system has been re-interpreted so many times at this point that the name should go out of usage except historically. Let all analysts stand alone according to their practice, which they explain on their websites. Refer back to differences with me if you like, I’d be fine with it. Take down all the Sci\ART Certified banners. The public will stop expecting the same product. For my students, so that the public can expect the same product, the process isn’t up for negotiation. Discussion, sure. Do I think I can control everyone forever? No, just as Kathryn couldn’t. I can only separate myself from them in a public way.

Photo: sumeja

Photo: sumeja

 

Looking Is A Painting. Measuring Is An Analysis.

If we render what we see, that’s a beautiful painting. Change your clothes, hair colour, and the time of day, it’s a different beautiful painting.

I have nothing against beautiful paintings. A group of interesting colours that depict a version of me would be awesome. I would really love to have this. There are people who work in this way, with extraordinary taste and fascinating colour perception. I would love 1000 of these renditions. Each one is a version of how we are seen through the eyes of others. That stuff is absolute magic.

But that wasn’t why I had my colouring analyzed. I wanted to know what to buy every day for the me that’s always the same. Different question, different purpose and approach, different outcome. I wanted a functional wardrobe.

The consumer needs to identify what they want. It is their job to decide and to stick by their decision. Perhaps they could do their job better if they could understand that they are not investing in the same product. Both great products, but not equivalent. I know colour analysts who feel these are or should be comparable products. I disagree and advise the public to stop trying find a relationship between them. There isn’t one that will redeem the time you took to figure it out.

Here’s why I use my product: My issue with looking: I can’t get it to work every single day, with many outfits and  makeup that is always right on my face.

I meet greenish-gray-eyed Summers that were decorated far too warmly. Her hair is too orange, her clothes are too warm, so the skin turned yellower. It could all go together if we just give her yellower foundation and took time to blend, except that her clothes and eyes create combinations that are unappealing. Therein lies Problem #1, even if we can change our skin, we always wear our eye colour. The colours in eyes repeat the colours in skin, though skin has many more. They’re never different. Nature never colours anybody discordantly. Do your swatches look good with your eyes? Even True Winter and True Summer can easily have lots of yellow in the eyes, lots, but it will be that green-yellow match from their measured palette.

In too-warm clothes or foundation, she could think she has a healthy-looking tan. In reality, her eye colours have dulled and the lip outline erased. Feature definition is the biggest part of looking young (good article linked further down). It’s massively important to decisions others make about us. Me, I’d want an analyst who could talk about that, Sci\ART based or not. Problem #2: too warm colour flattens feature definition. This includes too-yellow foundation. Besides,  a healthy glow doesn’t come about from yellow foundation or a yellow overtone from too warm clothing (not discussing self-tanner on faces here). It comes from wearing clothing and blush that elevate the colour of our natural circulation and from correct use of bronzer.

I meet many brown-eyed, freckled Winter blends who have been observed into Autumn colours. Nobody would decorate a room combining Winter and Autumn colours. This is  not an attractive match. Our eye and clothing colours are seen together and there’s not a thing we can do about it (not discussing coloured contacts here), as is the undertone because human eyes can see through human surface skin. A Winter’s skin colours are not gorgeous next to Autumn cosmetics. A Winter using elephant gray and chocolate brown as the neutral backbone of her wardrobe is not making her best choices. The wardrobe won’t work with her makeup or jewelry. Problem #3: from you to your palette, there has to be a functional and appealing wardrobe of clothing and cosmetics if that is what you were investing in.

I believe that we are not what we appear to be in a million different ways. My purpose is to place you more organically and energetically into your colour palette, on the same wavelength as all of your clothes and makeup, in the colours that you really are as determined by calibrated measurement. Why use the word energetic? Because I believe humans feel energy as wavelength very well if they let themselves. Now the discussion is getting too deep. I direct you two articles back to Can True Beauty Be Diminished? if you feel like wading into the Universal Energy swamp. You can always find me there.

Big digression complete. We can all exhale.

Photo: michelini

Photo: michelini

 

4. The area of the face that Lisa matches to foundation makes sense to me. I like to use the lower jaw and drag it down onto the backside of the neck, for the same reasons as she does. I also test five or six different stripes side-by-side. With colour, comparison is the only way to tell what works and what doesn’t. I would insist on that and never buy foundation from a single test. I meet way more cool and cool-neutral people than warm or warm-neutral. The foundation range out there is way the opposite, not counting all the peachy coloured product that looks like real skin colour under department store light and like candy in daylight.

5. Wear a neutral gray and tie your hair to choose the colour. Deciding your Season or your foundation by looking requires the consultant to take what they think they see, and make more. If what they think they see is correct, great. Some cosmetic consultants are pretty darn good judges of true colouring.

If you went shopping as one of the many Dark Winters who look yellow because of their clothing or surroundings, the only thing that happens is that the error gets magnified. The consultant will make more of what you’re not. Could most makeup consultants explain how to correctly distinguish and identify undertone from overtone, or just define the terms?

6. As Lisa says, once you have a colour that unites the face and the neck, meaning the right foundation for your undertone, the entire face, neck, and chest will blend together. It is the very rare person who needs to adjust foundation to match the neck because they are so disparate in the overtones.

Begin by getting the heat level of any product correct. Heat level is determined by undertone. It is amazing what difference that alone will make.

After that, choose the darkness level, which is determined by under- and over-tone.

After that, be sure the heat type is correct for the skin. Most companies over-warm all their foundations, including those marked Cool. To complicate things further, they use Spring’s pigmentation to do so. Not easy to find a great Autumn foundation.

Imagine being a Caucasian Dark Winter – the difficulty of finding cool colour and Autumn type heat and Winter level lightness. Wearing wrong colour clothing to the appointment makes the job near impossible.

Photo: alba-neag

Photo: alba-neag

 

7. Often women come to a PCA appointment with correctors of various sorts. Once she is wearing her correct clothing colours, she has forgotten all about them. There is nothing that correctors would do or could do that foundation alone has not already done unless there is a particular issue like a birthmark, and even those are diminished greatly by wearing correct colours.

Watching Lisa work is hypnotic. The video on Marilyn’s makeup is great. You will also find this beautiful video for mature skin. Great place for new analysts to pick up some good ideas.

8. I talked above about the importance of defined features for looking younger. This article does a beautiful job of discussing it. Kathryn Kalisz wrote about it in her analyst guide. This is not new information for colour analysts that I dreamed up out of the blue. People say I invented things and changed Sci\ART-based colour analysis. No, I did not. If anything, Terry and I altered the original process the least of everyone, and remain unconvinced to do so. I did notice a few things independent of other things and described them with a new set of words. Maybe folks did not recognize them.

In your correct colours, features are most defined in colour and in shape. It really matters.

Defined in colour… Though they have a place, I am not a fan of nude lips on most types of coloring, particularly when hair or eye colors are intense, or the person is over 35 or 40. It doesn’t have nearly as much excitement on Lisa herself. Why pick the more exciting face? Because why pick the more boring face.

Defined in shape…How does feature definition look young? Because the opposite…think of an eroded statue, an eroded landscape. Signifies wear and tear.

Lately, I am wondering if maturing skin is an overtone change too. The surface layers appear grayer, possibly because we contain less water. In the undertone layers, we test mature women in every single Season, and I bet the very same Season as when they were younger. Many Darks, many Brights. For overtone practitioners, that surface grayness plus silvering hair is the reason they get put into Summer Seasons. Except their edges and colours disappear. No judgment here but I don’t see the visual as being so good. Eroded edges are fuzzy. Looks like blur. Side by side, which of these would look younger?

Photo: giulioplay

Photo: giulioplay

 

Stronger? Healthier? Newer? The focused ones or the others?

Photo: rosa02

Photo: rosa02

 

—–

Season Opinions

January 22, 2014 by · 12 Comments 

I appreciate every comment that has been offered on this site over the years. I also respect that those comments were made with intention to learn, but also with kindness, remembering that there is a human being on the other end.

A Place to Learn Together

By human being, I’m not referring to myself. I welcome all critique. Mostly, I want this to be a safe place to seek and find truth and the highest possible potential for me, you, and colour analysis. This site is also a record of my own growth as a colour analyst. I felt the need to remove all the videos from here and YouTube because I don’t recognize that person as me anymore.

However vulnerable in the moment, old patterns need to be seen for us to separate and leave them behind. We have to recognize mind chatter about colour analysis, as about all our beliefs. Our mind is driven to protect old beliefs that were acquired years ago when that was the best we had.

Photo: kaxmopp

Photo: kaxmopp

 

In what I’m about to say, I am not criticizing anyone. I am offering you a new strength. In trying to follow these new ideas, know that you are very supported by the many who have understood this now.

Kindness in the comments would encourage me to post more photos of how the Seasons of human colouring appear in the real world. Problem is, they end up on 100 Pinterest boards and a million other places over which I have no control. I know that you would love to see them and I would love to post them but I can’t protect the person’s privacy. If you have no concerns about where your photo ends up and have been correctly analyzed, send me your picture and I’ll be glad to post it (christine@12blueprints.com).

Some have said that Hanka can’t be a True Winter (article A Blonde True Winter), or that I am not a Winter of any sort.

The Deal-Breakers

With every respect, how in the world could you know? The computer you’re reading this on denies you every single tool you need to evaluate, or even accurately see, human colouring.

You don’t have a grayed environment. You have a busy background that influences colours. You could be reading on your phone on the subway.

Instead of accurate lights, you have whatever lighting the time of day requires and the room you’re in offers. We have no idea what any person looks like till you see them in full spectrum lighting. Students remark on how surprisingly much faces changes just by switching from overhead room lighting to properly placed full spec lights.

You don’t have access to skin in the photos on this site. They’re wearing makeup. I’m happy to post photos of women with no makeup if you’d like to send me yours, email address above.

You don’t have drapes. Or anything else for the skin to react to. Of the many companies out there offering PCA services, I would have to hope that if we agree on one thing, it’s that the ‘analysis’ part of PCA refers to the evaluation of simultaneous contrast effects. That word, contrast? By definition, it means between two things.

You don’t even have the person! Ever met anyone who looks exactly like their photo? I haven’t.

Photo: stephmck99

Photo: stephmck99

 

Easy to forget about the water. Until something ripples it.

Be careful about the medium. It inserts itself so subtly that we don’t even know it. Media isn’t selling truth. It’s selling the medium. It’s selling itself. The newspaper isn’t selling the news, it’s selling newspapers. Five newspapers have 5 different versions of the news. Only 1 thing happened. People are only 1 Season. But the newspaper changed what happened and we forget that it took up the space between us and the real event.

The lights, the gray room, their purpose is to null the medium, to cancel it back to Zero Effect, so it can’t distort our perceptions in the ways it so very much does.

The Real Basis of PCA

There’s one other thing you might not have. A grasp of what real PCA is actually measuring: colours under the skin in the capillary layer where the blood travels. The so-called undertone layer.

That is where the truth of your colours is expressed and consistent, despite surface changes like suntans. At the level of circulation. That’s what the drapes are reacting to. We’re biologically adapted to see through skin and are hugely sensitive to tiny incremental changes.

Humans are gifted with the ability to see through human skin to some degree, as Dr. Mark Changizi has demonstrated and described in his book, The Vision Revolution (discussed in 12Blueprints article Different PCA Systems, Different Results). A photo or a monitor only gives you the surface. That’s the limit of what it’s capable of. Only real human eyes, connected to a human brain, looking at directly at another living human is capable of see-through vision, or Xray vision, as Dr. Changizi calls it.

That’s why gadgets that take photos of the surface are quite limited, unless I have mistakenly reduced their scope and they are in fact contacting the lower levels of skin. Now, if it’s just a surface photo, this would follow a very different practice of colour analysis than mine. Never mind how many times each step of the software altered the colours between the gadget, the computers, and your eyes. About 4 to 8 times. Kind of hopeless.

When I’m sent photos, I place no faith at all what they show me. I don’t say much because the medium has utterly clouded my analyst’s eyes. I wish women would stop sending me photos. Besides, I don’t believe I’m here to do it for you. I am here to ignite it in you, show you how to do it for yourself, and bring it to your communities.

Surface acquaintance may be why little machines that match foundation did not work for me. Foundation must match surface and undertone. Dark Winter surface skin can appear quite yellow. True Summer skin can tan quite golden, but when analyzed correctly with accurate drapes, the person remains a True Summer. We’ve proven this to ourselves in the training courses, depending on the models we had for that session. The foundation that matches them remains very cool unless they are quite tanned.

Photo: african_fi

Photo: african_fi

 

Amazing what cameras and computers can do.

But, listen, seriously, nothing against your skill. Maybe you’re a genius. IDK what you know and don’t know. You might be fabulous. How would I know how current you are or how many clients you’ve draped with excellent drapes?

I just know the medium is dangerous and pointless. You don’t have access to the lower layers of the skin. So you’re sunk. You have absolutely no accurate data from which to draw conclusions. All I’m saying.

Averages, Meanings, and Old Formulas

So what do you have? All you’re left with are the stereotypes and the patterns to fall back on. That’s all this medium can give you. It took away everything else. You’re forced to use averages. The old, wrong conclusions. You look dark so you must be a Dark Season. These walls need to come down for us all to move forward.

By the way, forget the words, OK? Dark, Light. It’s not about whether you look dark. Has nothing to do with it. There are dark, medium, and light looking people in each of the 12 groups. Sure, Steve Jobs dark is not likely a Light Summer, but Maggie Gyllenhal is entirely plausible.

When someone decides you look dark, they’re looking at your hair and eyes. The old, wrong patterns again. Do you really see Steve’s skin as much darker than Maggie’s? Did you even think about their skin? Dr. Changizi has shown that humans don’t register healthy skin of the same race as having hardly any colour – an evolutionary adaptation that allows us to be wildly sensitive to the slightest changes, and a brilliant one.

It’s not about whether you wear dark. Nothing to do with it. Everybody has light, dark, and medium colours in their native colouring and in their colour analysis swatch palettes. Hanka is a very normal darkness level for a True Winter, seen it numerous times. So is Kim Kardashian. And they go lighter than that. And they can have red hair. And yellow in the eyes. If you haven’t seen that being draped, how could you say if I’m right or not? What if I said that in the photo of Hanka linked above, the yellow hair colour is dulling her skin, lip, and eye pigmentation and from that photo, nobody has any idea what she looks like or what her native colours are?

The meaning of those words refers to how those kinds of colours react to your skin. That’s it. Let your analyst worry about the words. I need you to put your attention in the right place, which is learning to match your swatch book in stores.

Photo: aribertpet

Photo: aribertpet

 

Does anyone see their skin as very different? His teeth are cooler. Her eyes are darker. Wait, looking at wrong things, back to skin tone. Well…I just don’t know what to say. How much has to do with different ages? Between men and women?

We all play the guessing game. It’s fun and interesting. A colour analyst can recognize the mind chatter, that it’s just a reaction, and can clear it out when the analysis begins. She has been taught to recognize the far bigger picture.

We’re stuck in ruts so deep we don’t even know it. We need comparisons. Many different ones. Like training any muscle, we must give our lazy perceptions lots of different relationships, shock them, force them to adapt. If they’re right, they better be ready to prove it before I tell anyone they’re a Season.

12 possible outcomes, equal probability of each.

The guessing is done. The lights go on. The draping begins. You get your answer.

 

—–

Silver Hair and A Powerful Presence

October 26, 2013 by · 22 Comments 

Something I’ve noticed over the past year. She is always a woman between 55 and 65. She is most often one of the 5 Winter blends, simply because the visual effect I’m about to describe is more visible in that natural colouring, but it happens in all 12 groups or Seasons. In 12 Season personal colour analysis (PCA), the 5 Winters include True, Dark, and Bright Winter, Bright Spring and Dark Autumn.

When we meet, the closest description is that the clothes she wears have faded away. By comparison, the woman isn’t faded at all. Her face is lively, her character sparkly. Her hair is silver or in the process of becoming. There’s lots of life in her eyes and her conversation. Why can’t I see her clothes or makeup?

Photo: sfireoved

Photo: sfireoved

Beyond cute, but are those eyes real? Would Nature on her own have paired these windows with this house? Do coloured contacts look easy and calm or do they (do you) feel manipulated?

 

Photo: klssmith77

Photo: klssmith77

This character ‘s windows balance the house.

 

Fading Away

It’s the clothes. They make no impression, as if there are no clothes. I’m used to meeting women who dress very neutrally on the day they have their colouring analyzed. I’m used to outfits where one or two items might be great, but the rest are too much or not enough in some way, though I don’t know how before we see what happens with the drapes. Without PCA, nobody can get every item to be in perfect harmony with every other.

When we visit at the beginning of the session, it takes too much effort to notice the clothing, which you can’t do and stay current in the conversation.  It’s too distracting to keep going back and forth. Speaking with her while looking at her feels like listening to English and answering in German.

You have to tune out thinking about the clothing out to stay sane. Whatever those clothes cost, they might as well not be there. The head feels connected to a sheer, pale beige shirt and acid-washed light blue pants. The image is so unbalanced that one suspects it can only be intentional. Like the day Lady Gaga was interviewed on 60 Minutes in a skin coloured bathing suit/bustier sort of affair. It was a head with no body, on purpose. An interesting visual and psychological manipulation, of which Gaga is quite masterful.

Our woman often says, “I don’t get service in stores.” She doesn’t mean good or bad. She means not any. The store staff isn’t rude. They literally can’t see her. She looks a little see-through. If we touched her, our finger might not hit solid bone. It might just keep going. She looks like her apparition version, ephemeral.

Photo: brunarte

Photo: brunarte

Absolutely beautiful but does it feel real? With two misty green eyes at the top, it’s like beauty from another dimension. Change the eyes to powerful aqua, amber gold, or yellow green. Will you notice the rest of the scene? Will it feel solid?

 

Who is the woman we look at and who is the one we look through? If she’s a Dark Autumn or a Bright Spring wearing Light Summer colours, we will look through her. She’s coming down the hall but not in the room yet. I can see her there on the other shore but some part of her soul is delayed, not yet embodied. I’m in the field with the flowers and she’s way over on the other side.

Photo: jurgen

Photo: jurgen

How much can you make out over there when you can barely see the flowers on your shore?

 

She seems suspended, as if we have to wait for her. If we interact with her, she won’t hear, she’s too far away. If we do speak with her, we’ll hear an echo. Distant objects are muted, cool, and less defined. Close objects are more intensely coloured and well-defined.

Photo: Ayla87

Photo: Ayla87

We evolved to associate cool and muted colour with distance.

 

Visually, she’s literally ‘not all there’. That expression has a lot of meanings. Subconsciously, we apply them all. If we look not-solid, then we look airy. Airheaded? Vacuous. Vacant. Shallow. Drained. Emptied. This is not going in a good direction.

If there’s another woman in the room who feels fully present, we’ll be more aware of her and we’ll speak to her. She’ll get faster better service in stores. She’ll get promotions, responsibility. We think she’s smarter. People will expect more of her and put more of themselves into their communication with her. They’re not rude. It’s just that they see her better.

The Space Between Us

I saw Eva*, a Soft Autumn woman recently. In the wholeness of her eyes (the trees), her skin (the lighter statues), the small amount of water (Summer) and the solid stone (Autumn), the fluid and blur effects (Soft Seasons), she looked like this fountain.  You know that the fountain has to be hard for the whole image to work. You clearly see its 3 dimensions. 3D is tremendously important in translating Autumn.

Photo: Operabilus

Photo: Operabilus

Could this scene be conveyed in the beach colours (Light Spring-ish) up above in Brunarte’s photo? No. The magic only takes effect when the truth has been found, when the lines and the colours belong. Would shade and fog colours (Soft Summer) work? Or does this feeling require its warmth? 

 

Previous analysts had found Soft Summer and Light Spring. One analyst saw the softness, one saw the lightness and warmth. The missing piece was a solid bone structure. In Light Spring, she was evenly lit and illuminated, but without solid-looking bones. I adored this woman.

Eva didn’t fuss or drag up any negativity. Instead, she chose to pick up the trail of breadcrumbs. In seeing the puzzle pieces separately, and then adding back the final one, she understood so much more about her colouring that if the answer had been right the first time.

She could see the relative importance of the parts.  TMIT has been talked about before. I used an over-simplification to illustrate something, and it may have ricochet’d around as shortcuts sometimes do. Every element matters.

A colour analyst is always balancing and comparing.

We want the geometry of the face to be solid, but we stop before it gets severe.

The substance of the bottom half has to match the substance of the top half.

The illumination of the bottom half has to match the illumination of the top half.

The wrong colour: The features are un-united. If the red is too red, white is too white, blotches appears, the face looks scattered apart.

The balance: The features all belong to the same face. For some people, their truth is to have strong reds and blues. That is their right colour.

How do we know what’s real? Our sense of vision has no idea. Until it gets a comparison. We talked about this a lot in the last article, Different PCA Systems, Different Results.

 

Photo: african_fi

Photo: african_fi

Eyes are the focal point of the whole person. Eyes are everything. We’re magnetized to them. Nothing, nothing should get in the way.

 

Our eyes truly are the window, the two-way mirror, the story, and the soul of who we are.The surrounding face should be stable and secure, not floating and vanishing. The eye is framed by the browbone above and the cheekbone below. Both facial structures should be in focus, solid and well-defined on the face. A brow that blends into the skin and a cheekbone that is collapsed weaken the presence and our awareness of the presence. The jaw and chin must balance. Too much weight on one end and the scaffold of the face tips over.

As we have said, our woman’s head isn’t faded at all, even without makeup. The intensity of the eye colour is very high in the face. Something may be highly dramatic.  The hair might be big, easily belonging to bone structure that’s stunning, all sharp angles, like she walked off the set of Dynasty. Or, her features might be lush, all swoopy and dreamy, with an gorgeous man-magnet shape. To meet, she’s fun and funny, interesting and interested. She is way more than her clothing choice. Her head is fully there but her body isn’t.

Finding Ourselves

I thank my dear friend Adele* for explaining to me that in her own life, her disappearance has been necessary, voluntary, and temporary, intended to create a space. She is holding and honouring a place that represents a letting go of all that needs releasing, and trusting that what comes next will be right. By making a place inside that’s a little blank, she announces herself open and hospitable to anything. We see her as incomplete on the outside because she is incomplete.  For the moment, this is the truth of her.

At this stage of life, many of us women in our 50s sense a disconnect where the exterior is no longer communicating the rich interior. We can’t figure out how to get the two on the same track again in this new phase of life. Adele is hiding while she tries to figure something out. I love that she knew when the time was right to remove the cloak. Sometimes, the shelter is too safe and we stay there. Not Adele. She did the releasing, the waiting, the becoming. When she was ready to know her most basic truth, she had her colouring analyzed. Bright Spring.

The change back is a little tricky. Adele is now used to visual neutrality. In her head, she knows that Bright Spring colours are where she looks most present. She knows they don’t look overly bright on her. They look normal. Next to her, it’s all the other colours that look faded. True Spring’s juicy coral looks tired and old under her face.

Adele should run a women’s support group. She is so clear on this topic. She feels no weakness or compromise.  The inside needed to be neutral gray for a while. The time for that has passed. Now, she is holding back from shopping and seeing how many old choices were just old habits. Makeup and hair colour changes are waiting to get clarity about who’s underneath it all.  She’s been amazed to see that her silver hair is quite yellow.

Adele and women like her have been among the most fascinating self-healing journeys I’ve seen. They’re so smart that I just have to sit down for a minute. I see a conscious decision to retreat from our bold, bossy world, to float to wherever she is taken with trust, to feel her way through things instead of always thinking, and seeing what her real self could attract from the inside. This is why I love what I do beyond telling, that it brings this enrichment into my life while I still have so much time to become more from it.

From the remarkable quotes on this page, words by Jiddu Krishnamurti, far more profound than a mere statement about the human capacity for recursive thought,

The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgment.

Silver Hair and Warm Colouring

I’d be a bigger fan of colouring hair if there were better colour advice out there. If the best hair colour were easy enough to achieve (Dark Seasons, Light Seasons). If silver didn’t look so very good on certain colouring (Brights) or so natural and easy on others (Cools and Softs).

Plus, some of the most chic hairstyles I know are on the Pinterest pages of the silver hair sites. Send an email if Google doesn’t find them for you. There are about 4 or 5. Best hairstyles ever, regardless of hair colour.

Reader Q: I was once analyzed as a True Autumn and lived that way for many years. Now the colours feel too intense for True Autumn. Is Soft Autumn now better?

I don’t follow people over years and life changes, or know PCAs that have, so I’m not certain of what really happens. I do believe we soften a little and cool a little as hair shifts to white, and skin probably shifts accordingly. We must project colour differently as we contain less water. Mostly, the answer is the same one you’ve heard many times: It depends on the person.

I also believe we stay in our Season most of the time. The very odd person who was right between 2 Neutral Seasons but closer to the warm might shift over to be closer to the cooler one, but that’s rare. I see women over 60 still quite equally spread among the 12 groups. Often, I think the change isn’t so much in the best colours as the best neutrals. The darker browns and grays are replaced with the medium to lighter ones to repeat the hair.

Photo: criswatk

Photo: criswatk

This beautiful face would dominate Soft Autumn colour today and probably always. 

 

A True Autumn might shift a little closer to Soft Autumn without going that soft in the colours. She might not. I know some silver haired True Autumns. It’s visually amazing. Powerful, rich, hot, strong. On that woman, Soft colours would look faded. It’s only next to Soft Autumn that those colours attain their highest energy. She still needs the hot orange, the golden greens, whisky and burnt sugar, for her clothing to look energized and for her to look energized in it.

That look of blending into our clothes is too-often misunderstood as harmony. Disapperance is the opposite of what harmony looks like. Harmony looks like the highest energy the two can bring out in each other, so perfect is the synchronicity. It feels like singing at the top of your lungs. It feels like the fullest, most extravagant concert, every instrument at once and still perfect pitch, harmony, and melody. No part of the story is stronger or weaker. The balance is heavenly. Synergy means a combined effect which is greater than the sum of the two separate effects.  Your clothing, cosmetics, and hair colour bring out more of you, and you of them, than either would if seen separated.

Defining Your Business

It has been a gift to meet so many women who participate in the various silver-haired forums and online groups. So much power and support, I can tell you that it’s been an eye-opener. Many would like to be involved in the training course to become PCAs (more info here). Some hold back because they feel that they don’t know – or want to know – enough about makeup.

In this business, you are whatever you present yourself to be.  Just be clear about it up front. Your clients will find you if you tell them who you are. Tell them what you believe. Giving people logic doesn’t make them call you. Giving them sympathetic emotion, “She really knows how I feel because that’s how she feels.”, sure does. The market for people looking for the metaphor or vehicle that reconnects them with themselves in an honest, loving, meaningful way is bigger than you can imagine. We are all in this boat to some extent.

I welcome the students whose purpose they can clearly state as helping others, celebrating the person that we are, finding peace in the package we were put into. Our outsides are as they are for a reason. Honouring that takes us 55 years. The freedom is like walking onto a sunny beach after being in a dark, smoke-filled room for a week. We can help everyone find it.

Own 12 lipsticks or glosses and blush, some pressed powder foundations.  Between Avon’s endless range and continuous sales, Revlon’s no-animal-testing, and beautypedia.com’s advice on where to put your $, you can be set up without a big expense.

Develop what you love. Find ways to support the massive market segment that Adele represents. The knowledge of how to do it is already in you. Figure out how to give her what you need.

 

———

Randomness

My friend, Rick Beckman, takes care of this website. I’d be so lost without him. He comes in now and again, he looks things over, he cleans up what needs cleaning. He is a blessing in my life. Together, we’ve begun a big upgrade to improve the navigation, make it easier to find articles and topics, and create more separation between the blog, the training course, the drapes, and any new things that might come along. Rick has already begun installing things behind the scenes. If you log in one day and notice some oddness, know that it’s temporary. The next day, it might be replaced with new oddness. Like free and fun side-show.

———

Different PCA Systems, Different Results

October 14, 2013 by · 290 Comments 

A  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  (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.

 

Photo: briercrest

Photo: briercrest

 

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.

 

Photo: gul791

Photo: gul791

 

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.

Right on.

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 pink because that’s how important they are.

Cognitive scientist 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  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.  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.  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!”  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.

 

Photo: Joanie49

Photo: Joanie49

 

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.

Photo: neluskita

Photo: neluskita

 

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.  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  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.

Photo: hairuo

Photo: hairuo

 

Why draping?

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 is 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. 

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.

Photo: big_foot

Photo: big_foot

 

Hair&Eye Colour

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.

Photo: cempey

Photo: cempey

 

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.  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.

—–

When Does Wearing Black Harm Your Brand?

October 4, 2013 by · 8 Comments 

Alan Weiss is the authority on solo consulting. A colour analyst is in many ways a solo consultant. I own several of his books.

I enjoy the balance of his very linear approach with my very eclectic one.  I admire that he listens to his own drummer, as far from locked down by how the majority thinks as it’s possible to be.  His idea of success is not the corner office and all its trappings. Neither is mine.

Because I would like to upgrade this site this winter, I went to the source. I’m reading his new book, co-written with online strategist, Chad Barr. The book is Million Dollar Web Presence: Leverage the Web to Build Your Brand and Transform Your Business. I appreciate how rich the content is. The advice is to be provocative and re-inventive.

In the earlier Million Dollar Consulting, pg. 327, Alan is discussing what a speaker should wear when filming a video from the speaker’s perspective. He asks the question, what’s not to like about black?

The short answer is that there is no colour, cosmetic, diet, vaccine – nothing that works equally well on everybody.

(Edit October 9, 2013: Alan and Chad get the influence that colour has on the impression we create. On Pg. 112 of Million Dollar Web Presence, they recognize the importance of colour analysis to look like a true professional.)

Since I’m incapable of short answers, I’ll be provocative and take on the question about black, one that almost every client asks a Personal Colour Analyst. Our clients know their best version of black.

12 Reasons for 12 Different Blacks

1. With respect to anyone who feels otherwise, I disagree that “black is always stylish and it’s slimming, plus all accessories go with it”. It isn’t, it isn’t, and they don’t. Not for men or women.

2. The fact is that black flatters very few people’s natural colouring. Black can’t be at home with most types of natural colouring because it isn’t there in the first place. The native pigmentation doesn’t darken that far. Black just sits on top, out of sync. For those of us looking at it, it’s the visual equivalent of riding 50 miles in a car with an out-of-tune radio.

3. The slimming myth is a myth. A fashion propagandism. Black is not slimming unless that darkness exists in the natural colouring to provide balance and context for it. Without those, the black block gets bigger. On the bottom half, the black block looks heavy. Bulky. Fat. Fuzzy. Sweatpants.

On the top half, the shoulders appear wide and the head small. That looks weak, especially in a man, since women can often balance the picture with bigger hair. In video, where scale and proportion can be distorted without the rest of the body and background to re-align things, it’s especially noticeable.

Even in a little photo, a Facebook profile or a head shot, we feel it. In black, Man #1 in black looks

  • calm,
  • settled,
  • present,
  • and intelligent.

Man #2 in black looks

  • shiny, which comes across as sweaty and anxious,
  • has a redder nose than the rest of his face = unhealthy, and such an easy thing to alleviate in right colour,
  • and really needs a shave.

If Man #2 now did a video wearing a so-white-it’s-blue shirt or jacket, his complexion is corrupted, as if wearing too-light foundation. We’re distracted, almost suspicious, like there must be a reason for the distortion. Result: We can’t listen to 3 consecutive sentences. All because of the shirt he wore, here comes this background feeling of “He’s never on. He’s always off.” Only one natural colouring can make that white look normal. Even on Dark and Bright Winter, the clearest, cleanest, freshest, most accessible skin (which are extended beyond skin to the entire person in the perception of others, of course) require a better choice.

Would a man react to the images of Men #1 and #2  in the same way as a woman? Not sure. Given two options, most men would likely pick the better one.  Many men are well tuned in to what they see.

Sarah asked if men pick up global cues or individual feature changes better during their colour analysis. Depends on the guy. They have fewer voices in their head regarding appearance to wrestle down than women do. Once they get it, they’re often really good at it from both wide and narrow angles. Photographers are terrific because they know already how much perception can be altered by visual information and that it’s an illusion, nothing to get nervous about.

4. On the wrong colouring, the woman looks more childlike than ever in black. There was an editor of Allure magazine who probably lived in NYC, wore the black uniform, probably paid a fortune for it, and looked immature and little girly. Angela Merkel could fit into this group as well. It’s hard enough for women to get taken seriously.

5. Black is so dense, dark, and cold that many people completely disappear. Say, Kelly Ripa, a woman whom the show’s producers already make hard to see on a small screen for some reason. Her image always looks vanishing, but much more so in black or against a very dark background.

6. It changes the skin colour of many people to gray or green or red or blue, sometimes more than one at a time. Health is a definite power player. Telling the world anything else is detracting.

7. Black ages most people. I do not believe for one second that youth is a power player. Authority can increase with age in both men and women. There are many powerful ways to age but appearing fatigued or gaunt is not one of them. No faster way to look old and weak than sink your eyes back in their sockets, compliments of black.

8. Only one type of natural colouring is 100% enhanced and complete in black. Alongside a distant colouring, black causes the expression to be severe, the opposite of team player, counselor, guide, or teacher. The face above the black says, “I am abrupt, humourless, and unfeeling.” Clothing communicates. It tells our story and it tells it inside 20 seconds. It’s worth getting our clear message out in every way we can. Truthful self-expression is so important. Ask any blogger or forum contributor. It’s what keeps our tribe together, how we discover our shared purpose. It’s how our best-fit clients find us.

9. All-black is boring, overdone, and monotone. It expresses neither imagination nor creativity, both of which feel nimble. How does this guy look like he’s feeling today?

Photo: mzacha

Photo: mzacha

 

Isn’t it better to tell others that you feel like this? Dark grey pants, pearl grey shell or shirt, dusky gold blazer or stripe in a tie, and almost white accents. Extra ordinary. Energy. Lift. Sparkle.

Photo: SailorJohn

Photo: SailorJohn

 

10. Black might make textile look more expensive but usually the opposite happens. An expensive choice looks cheaper. On women, there’s a Baboushka effect. Sheryl Sandberg looked much better in the gray and black she chose for her brilliant  talk at TED than she would have in all black.

Colour is inherently young and expressive. Black plum, dark espresso, the soft gray on the underside of a cloud that’s sunlit on the top, golden barley, crisp teal, stormy Atlantic blue, do not reduce professionalism. They’re a visual attraction in the best way. We in the audience LOVE to see that. We feel a little more cared for or like we’re already friends. You went the extra mile for us.

11. Black is a space hole, a blank. On too many people, it creates no impression. People’s attention flits over and past us. We become faceless and nameless. It’s hard enough to get noticed. How often have we seen this coming at us across an urban intersection? How often have we connected with each face, or any face? No accident these faces are blacked out.

Photo: ljleavell

Photo: ljleavell

 

12. Light women, say, Sen. Hillary Clinton, can appear to have beard or mustache effects. Light coloured men can look as if they haven’t shaved in days. Or took a punch under the chin.

 

Our Eyes Are Our Focal Point

I agree with Alan is that clothing shouldn’t be distracting to be audience. Busy prints, whites that glow, colours that brighten under the lighting, are not the best choices. TV news and sports anchors are an amazement of clothing, hair, and cosmetic distraction.  The women’s appearances are going in a thousand directions. The men’s shirt/tie/jackets can be eye boggling.

Our eyes should settle on the eyes of the person with whom we’re communicating within a few seconds. Our eyes are the focal point of our entire being. When the viewer’s eyes keep traveling around with no place to rest, it’s like a painting full of details with no centre of attention. Our eyes get tired and move on, looking for the relief of a resting place that feels better.

A face without a focal point is like watching a buzzing fly, waiting for it to land. Annoying just thinking about it and annoying to look at.

Photo: bigtel

Photo: bigtel

 

Solid black shifts the distractions up to the person’s face. Break down the order of what you recorded in the next ten people you see. In order of appearance, on a person who could have spent their money on a much better version of black, customized to their own colouring, we will see

face,

black,

lips,

shadow under chin,

black,

eyes,

red eyelids,

eyes,

oily shine,

black,

jewelry,

red eyelids again, how come they’re red?? must suffer from allergies,

black,

hey, nose is red too,

black,

eyes, why can’t I just stay here? weird

red nose again…on a woman, it’s wrong hair colour but why a guy? you think he drinks?

around and around, where it ends, nobody knows,

OK, I feel tired,

now they’re making me think, which I never signed up for, BTW

I need a rest,

look at somebody else.

There. Him over there. That’s a relief.

I like him better.

 

Professionals should have their colour analyzed in their first year of school, and the Media Communications class first in line. Second in line: Real Estate Agent class. You know how the real estate companies post all those profile pictures of their agents side by side in the newspaper ads? Oh, boy.

Whose face and eyes can you make out? DiCaprio’s or Federer’s?

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be so much better. Below, I can see the guy and the clothes. Not the guy or the clothes. He’s apart and defined by clothes but I like that they’re there. His pocket square is interesting and says something real about him, in the right amount. Would he be better in black? Doubt it.

Justin Theroux is on the cover of October 2013 GQ, with some great photos inside. Nice choice from the style editor. His image has energy and substance, almost like having him here with me. I don’t read this publication but maybe I should. I have many male clients and get great satisfaction from analyzing the colouring of men. I wonder if GQ dresses all the men this well.

Photo: GQ magazine cover October 2013

Photo: GQ magazine cover October 2013

 

Your PCA gives you the most becoming black alternative. Neutral colours are great on video. Just knowing your best black and gray is miles ahead of the appearance game. Wolf gray and stallion black-brown are interesting and strong. Colours of smoke and shadow are dimensional, full of character.  Grays are moody, thoughtful, mature, and profound. They work well against the light and dark backgrounds of day and night.

Photo: SBillBerg

Photo: SBillBerg

 

What can you do to learn if black works in your favour or against you? And what to replace it with?

By doing the same thing that Alan Weiss and Chad Barr’s clients do. They hire an expert with an excellent tool kit.

 

J.T. Used to Look Dull (but really wasn’t)

Having your colouring analyzed is a brand investment.

J.T.* is a personal trainer.  He loves blue and summertime. As he walked in,  our reaction was medium. Hair was medium, height: medium, appearance impact: medium. Most noticeable were nice blue eyes and a very fit body. His clothes said exactly zero, as in “I could be anybody.”

Looked like Lance Armstrong in a vague way. We analyze him to find Daniel Craig in an obvious way. Sparklers for eyes, tight skin, gorgeous circulation and vitality in his skin.

A man can dull himself down in wrong colour something unbelievable, and gray his hair to looking 10 years older. Clean, sharp gray is great. It’s electric. Dingy gray is hardly hot.

I react much more strongly to my husband in his right colours (True Winter). In his usual garb, I barely notice him. He’s like a washed out person that I mostly ignore, which is easy because he’s not a big talker. He’s just gets easier to ignore, like he’s camouflaged himself. Hey. Waaaaaaait a minute. Maybe he’s doing it on purpose to be left alone. Oh, dear, is he really that clever?

J.T. looks Spring/Summerish. It’s great to have that colouring, but a Bright Spring pays a very high price to try. J.T. looked like Lance A. will in 20 more years. Buy personal training from him? Don’t think so. He looks like he can’t walk a mile himself and wouldn’t be an ounce of fun.

About himself, he said, “I always have a song in my head.” The colour analyst’s job is to help J.T. show that to the world. That’s the guy I want to meet, not the dial tone guy.

By wearing Summer clothing colours, he’ll never have the incredibly calm eye of a True Summer, with the fantastic reflectivity in eye and skin that Summer colouring attains. Light will never play off the angles of his face with the same silvered edges that a True Summer could have. Never will he look heavenly, as Summers do. In Summer colours, all he can ever achieve is medium. God’s sake, why be telling people that about yourself? It’s a sad day when Daniel Craig drops himself down to “yeah, whatever, I’m pretty sure he has blue eyes”.

Is Craig a Light Spring? Soft Autumn because of red hair (nobody still believes in that, do they?)? Who knows? We’ve just trained two new analysts. The experience was warm and sharing, with a huge amount of new learning about what PCA is, not what it was. They saw first-hand how wrong we are when we guess. I know they would confirm for you that we can’t eyeball human colour dimensions. We can’t even eyeball a paint chip accurately because the biology of our eyes gets confused about colour levels once any colour dimension changes. Comparisons are the key.

And this is before we talk about having any other colour nearby – makeup, walls.

And before we apply hue, value, and chroma to the emotional and cognitive psychology of a human being. PCA is so much about human connection.

Craig’s blue eyes…Light Season, you think? maybe…what are the differences between icy colours and pastels? (Dearest Graduates – rhetorical Q, don’t chime in.) We’ve got your really light Bright colouring people and your really light Light colouring people. Until colouring is put to a measured test by draping, knowing its frequency on the saturation scale, or heat scale, or value scale, is beyond my sense of sight. I do know for sure that it matters a serious lot when they all go shopping.

 

Photo: Annie Leibovitz, cover Vanity Fair, October 2012

Photo: Annie Leibovitz, cover Vanity Fair, October 2012

In the Vanity Fair article, J.T. and Craig seem the same exact man, a little strict but great sense of humour.

 

Colours and humans are so alike. The moment they get close or touch, they both change. It’s all about relationships as energy fields come into contact. They can’t not change. It’s not in the Nature of living energy fields to be frozen. The frozen kind would be called photographic images.

Could Winters change less? Summer reacts the instant someone walks in the room, offers tea, brings in a chair, suggests we sit on the porch where the breeze is so nice. Winter will notice you 15 minutes after you get there and say Hi 10 minutes later, when they’re done focusing on that pin point.

No, no, joking, that’s not true, everybody’s colour changes the same amount. Everybody and everything is about relationships. True what I said about them noticing you though :)

After a day together, students see where my analogies come from. The best one to date has to be from R., about a True Summer in school bus yellow, “You look as if you’re about to burst into flames.” We laugh, we relax, the client has fun, and the analyst has fun.

By the time he left, Bright Spring colours in his pocket, my entire assessment of J.T. had shifted from medium and ‘Buy a workout from him?? No way. He looks like he needs help getting his groceries into the car!’ to potent, spiritual, would really care about helping me, funny, fun, energized, pain free, a man who looks like he’d deliver.

Today, J.T. is an ad man’s dream: a 3D, living, breathing ambassador for Brand J.T.

 

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Does Foundation Warm When I’m Tanned?

September 14, 2013 by · 16 Comments 

Excellent Q from a reader:

I’m a Bright Winter and have always felt that I had cool undertones to my skin but also have some freckles which makes it less obvious.  When Prescriptives Cosmetics was in business, I tested as having Blue Red undertones and I used their foundation with cool undertones for years.  I recently decided to try Bare Minerals foundation.  Two different people who sell this brand have tested me as a Neutral undertone.  This could make sense since I’m a neutral season but I’ve always known myself to have cool undertones. I have a little bit of a tan right now.  I’m not trying to tan, but I play tennis outside and despite my sunscreen I get a bit of color.  Would it be possible for me to seem like I have neutral undertones in the summer when I have some tan and then seem to have cool undertones again the rest of the year when I don’t have a tan?  I’m just wondering if I should wear a neutral foundation in the summer and a cool foundation the rest of the year.

 

Photo: arinas74

Photo: arinas74

 

Your undertone is fixed and determined by your genetics, and is shared by all your colouring including your tan. Your Season doesn’t change with a tan, though you might have different colour preferences, for the higher contrast with the lighter choices, for instance. Many Bright Winters can find black too severe or their coolest colours too shadowing, and a tan might change those tolerances enough to feel more comfortable.

When you’re tanned and look warmer, the undertone might seem warmer. Whatever undertone means, it doesn’t mean ‘overall feeling and effect’. This is one of those “It looks warmer and feels like it should be warmer, so therefore it is warmer.” conclusions that are not necessarily sound.

Even pure cool Seasons can tan very golden looking. They look more yellow, but when their colours are tested, it’s still the same cool yellow their genetics always produced. They may have more melanin, which contributes red, brown, blue, and/or black, depending on the type of melanin, but it’s the same colour of melanin that it always was.

PCA determines where your inborn colours sit on 3 scales. Every colour, every body part. (In illness too? IDK, I’ve never draped a Before/After and don’t know anyone who has).

The heat scale. Warm/cool/neutral? Neutral on the cooler side, the warmer side, or 49/51 between fully warm and fully cool?

The saturation scale. How concentrated were the pigments that you were painted with? Very, or were they a little more dilute?

On the darkness scale, you don’t have a setting so much as a range. Do your inborn colours go all the way from white to black? Only 1 of the 12 does, the True Winter. I’m a Winter but don’t reach fully to pure white. Mine is a tiny bit dirty white. A woman might hug chalk to pewter. If she wears black mascara, it’s railroad tracks because it’s outside what her natural colouring can balance. If she over-lightens her hair highlights, it will never look natural or real because only processing could achieve that much lightness in her body.

 

Photo: vassiliki

Photo: vassiliki

 

The hair of a yellow haired Light Summer can seem very yellow. She’ll go online and get told she’s a Spring of some sort. A clerk will give her warm foundation. Wrong. Unless they measure it, how could they know that the yellow in her body comes from Light Summer’s less saturated and subtly cooler palette, not Spring’s?

A salesperson has no way of measuring people’s settings on the 3 Colour Scales. Even the most experienced colour analysts can’t eyeball the settings.

Depending on how the line of products they’re selling is coloured,

(do they have access to foundations warmed by Spring yellow and Autumn gold separately? as we know, warm can include yellow, beige, peach, orange, gold, brown, etc.)

(are those bottles labeled cool/warm/neutral really so, and in the same way that a colour analyst means it?)

(is there consistency in the cosmetics industry regarding pigments and terminology? if not, one company will call you warm, the other will say neutral)

(is the salesperson highly discriminating, nitpicky, rigorous, fussy, and particular? these are the people you want; I’ve been foundation-analyzed by the head of training for North America for a huge company within the last 6 months, the result was not good)

…a cosmetics salesperson could separate cool/neutral/undertone by matching foundation. The same foundation colour is the best match on the same Seasons in 3 in 5 women of the same race. It’s just not rock solid.

Foundation is a mixture of your heat level, darkness level, inherent saturation, plus surface pigments. As Dark Winters (my assumption), Mrs. Obama and I have the same heat level, darkness range, and saturation of inborn pigments. She has more melanin but it’s the same colour as mine if we test it. She has more melanin in the outer layer and wears different foundation.

 

Photo: garwee

Photo: garwee

 

Big Disclaimer: I made up all of the above. That’s only how it makes sense to me. I do not know what undertone is or where it is. Is it a layer by itself that you could isolate and dissect out of the skin? I doubt it. Is it simply the difference in people’s hemoglobin? IDK. Is it just a mixture of all the body’s pigments, if you poured equal amounts together in a bowl and stirred, bluer in Summers, redder in Winters?  Does it even have a colour or is just a gray that’s cool, warm, or neutral? I don’t know and am not aware of the scientific testing that offers proof. This is one of my remaining Big Questions in PCA.

I am pretty certain that what a makeup company means by cool-neutral-warm is different from a colour analyst meaning. One story is probably part of the other one but they don’t fully overlap. We’re all using the same words to mean different things and consumers can’t sort out the facts. Therefore, the Q above would also be a good one to ask a cosmetic pigment expert.

I do not change the heat level of my foundation in summer. I do use a product that sits darker in my own darkness range. Both products are cool neutral on a heat scale.

The answer to the reader’s Q is one of those It Depends. Theoretically, she has a cool-neutral skin undertone and will always wear that choice in foundation. However, depending on where she finds the best foundation match, it might be labeled otherwise.

Remember. I invent answers to these questions till I can live with calmly.

 

Can My Hair Colour Be Warmer Than My Palette?

May 9, 2013 by · 17 Comments 

Anyone who knows what personal colour analysis is, rather than what it was, lives with a growing sense of how well it works and how much it can improve your choices. The system divides human colouring into several groups, 12 in the one that I use. Since there are far more than 12 kinds of colouring once you get into the subdivisions, not every aspect of each group will apply equally to every person in it.

As you find your private garden and arrange the flowers and furniture to suit you, you ask some excellent questions. L sent me this,

 

    I’ve been very happy with my Soft Summer colors and they’ve made a

huge difference overall. The issue is though, that my hair color is just so

much warmer than my palette that many of my neutrals don’t look that great.

I stopped coloring my hair a couple of years ago and it’s neutral medium

brown at the base and the lengths are quite warm, perhaps a light chestnut

color would be accurate with even lighter ends.  This warm brown just

doesn’t look that wonderful with all the grayish-taupes which make up the

majority of my neutrals. As an interior designer I wouldn’t put these colors

next to each other, so it bothers me to do so when getting dressed.

According to old pics and my mother, this is my natural color. I had

forgotten that since I’ve been coloring my hair for over 30 years. I’m just

tired of trying to use toners and shampoos trying to cool it down.

I’ve been looking at other companies SS and Summer fans and found wonderful

browns in the CMAS Summer fan, and Lora Alexander’s (www.prettyyourworld.com) Soft Summer fan.

I was just curious about Sci-Art’s and your opinion about hair not being that

great with the palette since you cover it during the consultation.

Overall, I’ve discovered that I lean a bit warm within Soft Summer and I

really wish [the present palette] would give a wider range of neutral browns. I

own the Soft Autumn fan and I don’t need to go that warm, but just a bit

redder, rosier than my [present] fan.

 

Photo: artunet

Photo: artunet

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.

 

Photo: Krappweis

Photo: Krappweis

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.

 

Photo: Krappweis

Photo: Krappweis

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.

 

Photo: dododront

Photo: dododront

Ah, back to Soft Summer eyes, neutral but cool, and soft soft soft.

Only dyed hair is, or approaches, all one colour. Natural hair has many colours to make an overall tone. You might see one colour but the rest of us don’t.  How it reflects light and shows its colours requires its true colours to reveal the correct tones. Soft Summer has a drop of gold in her hair, not yellow. She is not a great blonde. A True cool Season in even slightly warm clothing or makeup has yellowed, dingy colour. If it’s silver hair, it looks like smoker’s yellow-gray instead of their beautiful clean silvered gray. The foundation colour must be accurate, hard to find in today’s overly yellow base makeup selections.

Others don’t see the discrepancy in our hair as we ourselves might. We don’t see hair as an object of one colour like a wall or a pillow. You might not pair those objects but they’re not coloured with hemoglobin, carotene, and melanin. We sense that living things are  not coloured in the same way as objects, and that man-made objects are  not coloured in the same way as Nature’s inorganic objects. Despite the difference, we are able to find the harmonizing colours and the relationships between them, as us and our clothes.

We can bring colours into our harmony too. Because it’s applied to our face, makeup interacts with the pigments in the skin. A lipstick that swatches on paper as Light Summers might fall flat on some Light Summer and be lovely on some Light Springs. This is called Making The System Work For You. Clothes don’t change so much. No question, in the same way that the drapes have an effect on us and we have an effect right back on them, so do we change our clothing colours somewhat, just not to the extent of makeup because of how it’s used. A Bright Winter can change True Summer’s beautiful, cool yellow into a grayed piece of cloth that’s been washed too many times.

 

Photo: Krappweis.

Photo: Krappweis

What kind of eye is this? Soft or saturated? Neutral? How Neutral? Spring’s yellow heat or Autumn’s gold? Of the 3 colour dimensions, which one matters above all?  I have no idea. This is why I can’t look at photos and know Season. I have no comparisons and no ruler. All I can say is what I always do, whether I’m shown a photo or a real person in front of me: “Could be this or could be that.” If it’s a real person, I can say, “Where’s my drapes, lights, and gray background when I need ‘em?”

L. knows that I would never advise any woman to colour her hair ever. Her natural colour will always be her best colour. Sometimes we can decorate up a little and keep the balance, and that’s good too. My advice is to save herself the time and money and wear her natural hair. Once  her hairs grays, she’ll only look better. Gray is what the Soft Summer does better than anybody because gray is inherently cool, as they are, and they start off with more of it in the natural colours that define them than the other colouring types.

If L.’s discerning eye prefers to warm a few of her clothing browns, excellent. She has to feel well in what she wears. There will be no repercussions as long as the harmony is maintained (more on that in Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book). There would be more substantial repercussions if she tried to alter her hair colour.

What about L.’s question about the colours present in the Sci\ART palettes? Without stirring up a nest of hornets that have finally gone to sleep, I’ll take a guess. Only a guess. Please don’t come after me on this, I have no valid opinion to offer so I won’t say much. I do not know what was in the head of the person who designed the palettes. I’ll take a shot: As I understand the history, at the time of her passing, Kathryn Kalisz was adjusting the Season palettes, as she probably did a few times over the years for different reasons. She deeply wanted people to feel comfort in their colours, but some of the feedback sometimes said that the colours were too much, probably more in the saturated Seasons. Part of the reason for the choices may have reflected this, though I doubt it was the bigger part of it in this particular instance.

There was (is) also the question of whether the Neutral Season colours should be closer to the parent Seasons, as Soft Summer to True Summer, or to the other Neutral with which they share the most important colour dimension, as Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. Is one right and one wrong? Does there need to be a hard rule? I would say No and No as long as the dimensions of each Season is respected, though I’d be thrilled to talk about it. Where does one cloud in colour space end and the next begin? Is there an overlap? How big is it, what’s the rule? How big should it be, different question? You have thousands of colours. Maybe one day, someone will make 4 Colour Books of swatches for each Tone, not just 1. Smart woman that L. is, she found other options that contained what she was looking for and she knew how to select those that applied to her.

This completes my long-winded way of saying that L. made great choices and decisions on her own :) Nothing I love better than a woman empowered to work through the many choices about her best self, in any context, and come out right. Discernment is a beautiful thing.

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Becoming Bright Spring

January 21, 2013 by · 13 Comments 

I met with Chantal* and Rita* within a month of each other.

Chantal’s hair is cut in a short, wash and wear style. The top layer is very yellow, while the hair beneath is medium-dark brown, entirely natural. She is in her late 50s and will probably still have yellow hair in 20 years. Makeup took away 15 years and showed us a very defined bone structure, with high cheekbones and a nose that tips up at the end. Her expression is focused, questioning, and very alert. A personal colour analysis (PCA) long ago said Spring, which we agreed seemed reasonable. She loves colours. Where most women arrive wearing black or no-commitment colours, she had on a lovely green blouse.

Rita expected to hear Light Summer. She does appear fair, with blue-looking eyes and medium brown hair, coloured to a red-gold colour that works surprisingly well, a bit like rose gold jewelry. Although seemingly light of skin, hair, and eye, it was something about her expression and the shape of her features that put the geisha image in my head. Young, exotic, yet apart, on a Caucasian woman in her 40s.

These women have a lot in common. They live practical lives and make practical choices. Both are sensible, serious, organized, quiet, thoughtful as in pensive, and introspective. Neither is rapid in their movements, impulsive, random, giggly, youthful (except to look at), overtly cheerful, or chatty. Nor are they blunt, direct, or sharp in the slightest. They are very polite, pleasant, and hold their cards close.

On meeting them, the impression is light and warm, except that the intensity of the eye in the face is compelling, rather than blending evenly into the face and equally with the other features. The eyes seem like ‘more’. This is not an impression I get from the brown-eyed Bright Spring, maybe because hair is usually darker and the overall look is more balanced.

In the world of 12 Season colour analysis, the natural colouring known as Bright Spring takes its pigmentation from the Spring qualities of colour (warmed by yellow, pure colours, not very dark). Winter has a little say, causing the colours to be cooler, redder, bluer, darker, and even more pure than Spring alone. Bright Spring is a colour rush.

Accepting Bright Spring, or any Season, from the draping is usually easy. It’s a done deal by the time we’re finished. 9 in 10 people can easily see their appearance change. It is what it is. The makeup is harder to accept. The conundrum of “I don’t recognize myself.” and “That woman in the mirror looks fantastic. Why is she acting like me?” takes time to sort out internally.

The book RTYNC (in the right column) and the documents I send clients  (similar to the book, but they continue to evolve as I learn and widen my own experience) suggest that Bright Spring looks most consistent with their natural appearance when they dress as activated, energized, bursts and squirts, crazy zigzags, a sunny morning after a freezing rainstorm,

combined with the delicate, a chandelier, gold foil, tinsel, cinnamon heart candies,

and the young,  a large or small shiny coloured purse (Bright Spring is not medium), hairbands, sheer coloured tights, and mod looks. A little sharper than Twiggy daisies.

Cirque du Soleil. The motion, physical vitality, and adrenaline of the trapeze. Coloured spotlights. Body paint.

What if you’re really a denim and khakis, Old Navy T-shirts, practical jacket, medium black purse, brown suede slip-ons kind of woman? What if you just like to look medium and not one of those qualifiers connects with you at all?

Some questions came up.

 

1.  Can you confirm that colour 3.3 (from the True Colour Australia Colour Book) is a very dark brown? What would you call it?

Yes, but to me equally gray as brown. I think of the colour of a seal. Bright Spring’s grays and browns are uncommon, very hard to find in cosmetics, and don’t have easy associations for names. They’re just colours I memorize and look at again often. Most important, the colour is not earthy.

 

Photo: darrendean

 

2. What is the difference between black and coal?

The image of coal is to illustrate the darkest black&white gray possible before flipping to solid, dense black.

 

3.  I noticed that you show lots of gray shoes in the emails while the book suggests using hair colour to choose shoes – I would feel more comfortable with the yellows and browns of my hair colour as I’m not a big fan of gray – do you see that as a good choice for me?  And is this boot close enough to my hair colour, which is darker underneath?  I’m not sure I can see myself trying to find or wear light yellow boots/shoes!  If this is too tan, too earthy, is there a way to work with that?  

Boot at Roots

 

The boot Chantal asks about, above, is here at Roots Canada.

Overall, I think they’re fine. No two women will wear their colours the same way. I like that the boots are not too dark, orange (a bit orange, but lots of yellow), or lumberjack, with heavy treaded soles or cowboy feelings. Your energy isn’t really mesa or Cheyenne. These just feel natural, which is how you feel to interact with. You have no pretense or drama in what you choose to share. So in that sense, I like their authenticity and ease. The boots don’t feel like they have something to prove and neither does Bright Spring.

They are quite warm in colour, warmer than you are. They may not go perfectly with your new clothes colours, even if the clothing style is great with the boots. Wearing your hair and eye colour is one of those areas where women have to decide for themselves. I find that it can get you into problems when you interpret your hair or eye colour incorrectly, which we all do, all the time. Eyes have 20 colours in them at least. Hair is not a good indicator of Season, but it does have the same warmth setting as everything else about your colouring. This is common with True Winters who have apparently warm eyes and hair – if they wear those colours, their skin turns yellow, and there is conflict with the rest of the outfit.

For Bright Seasons, hair colour is the most difficult to understand and replicate. If the colour swatches show more gray, it’s because you are at that coolness level. Brights look poor in brown eyeshadow unless it’s the cleanest colour (no orange, no muted, no earthy). True brown can become mud on these faces. The clarity of your pigments can turn even medium browns into looking heavy and clumpy. But it’s important not to discard every item – I would wear these boots for sure, just with the warmer colours of your palette so they don’t seem like outsiders.

 

Black boots at Roots

 

How about the choice above, linked here, also at Roots Canada?

 

4.  I’m having trouble seeing myself as a high contrast person.  Is this something that I take on faith as revealed by the drapes or can you help me to recognize this in myself?

No. 1: If we define contrast as distance between lightest light and darkest dark, then you’re a medium to medium-high contrast person. You don’t go to white or black.  That’s value contrast. Now, your eyes are extremely intense in your face, giving a sense of a pretty wide span from light to dark, as you have, but not maximum.

Position white and black in your head. Now put a dot at a darkness level around medium. That’s the overall darkness effect you’re aiming for. You’ll achieve it using a span from yellowed-white to coal. Clearly, light and medium colours will be necessary, and the more dark you use, the more light you balance it with.

 

Photo: iudit

Above,  medium value contrast, yellows with blues, sharp line distinctions in the foreground. Bright, sunny, warm. With every bit of black that’s inserted, the whole thing dies a little. Save it for tiny bits just to sharpen the edges and bring focus.

 

No. 2: There’s also colour contrast, distance apart on the colour wheel between two colours. You are colourful to look at. Your natural pigments are quite far apart (yellow hair with blue eyes, on some, we see light skin with golden brown eyes), which is why I find complementary colours so good to look at on warm Seasons. They are a logical extension of the natural appearance.

 

Photo: Didok

Medium value, sharp edges, a trace of black, neutrals with colours, the pants and T-shirt, the blouse and the earring.

 

No. 3: I like to see very sharp, clean edges between colour blocks on Brights because that’s what you look like, not all fluffy and blended and soft. That’s not contrast per se, but sharp divisions look more contrasting (is there line contrast?), it’s just a way that clear colours look good. You are moderately sharp to look at (bone structure, eye intensity, haircut is not feathery). Clean edges are a logical extension of the natural appearance. If you follow the guidelines you are made of, your clothes become yours for a reason. They seem connected with you.

 

Photo: RedVari

This is Bright  Winter – simpler, symmetric, darker, colder, with only a faint warmth. Black is half or less of the whole or the whole thing dies a little. Black sucks in light in itself and steals it from everything around it – almost shameful with the purity of the Bright Season colours, and a delicate balance even for Bright Winter because the light is faint and will lose the fight with a black wall.

 

You really can mix and match quite freely in your Colour Book, aiming for an overall darkness effect that’s about medium (there! a medium thing about Bright Spring). Allover light or dark isn’t so good. You are not monotone to look at. Inserting a colour somewhere is always necessary. Inserting a big colour block plus another one is even better.

Whether it’s lightest with darkest or medium with medium doesn’t matter too much. Your Colour Book duplicates your inherent lightest to darkest range exactly so you’re safe moving around in it. If I were to do the Colour Equations again, I’d lighten Bright Spring up even more, with bright blue, stone,  or white pants. The only groups that  make any sense to me in white pants (their white) are the Brights. True Winter, it would depend on how it was done.

In the client’s document, I changed two paragraphs to read this way:

This is Spring-like colour worn in a Winter’s way – meaning that you will wear your bright, clear, warm colors best, but using 2 or 3 different colours at once, and with moderate contrast, not as high as a real Winter would wear. Contrast defines how much distance exists between the lights and darks.  High contrast implies that you wear the lightest lights and the darkest darks together. You are fine in these combinations, and equally good when combining your midtones.

With colour this bright, especially if the line between the colour elements is very crisp, they will look contrasting. They will not be like a watercolour swirl, which creates the problem of grayed colours when complements combine, quite opposite to the properties of the colours you are made of. You probably have medium-high extremes of lightness and darkness in your skin/hair/eyes, so you would repeat that in clothing and makeup to look balanced. Your palette does the thinking for you in this regard in that it comes close but not all the way to black and white.

 

5.  You didn’t mention pearls as a choice for Bright Spring – I have a simple strand – will it work?

Anything will work. Like diamonds on a Soft Season, it’s not a natural fit but that doesn’t matter. Wear them anyhow if you love them. This is how you make your Season yours, your personal brand of dissidence that lets us know you better. It has to work for you, not the other way round. I know a Light Summer woman, the epitome of gentle grace, who wears the most beautiful, large rounded oval, slightly dangly, super sparkly, aquamarine earrings. It’s brilliant. It says to me “I love my life so much that I can’t hold it all in.”

No matter what we do, as gardeners, cooks, doctors, Seasons, we learn the discipline, we figure out the shortcuts and what we can get away with. Then, we decide how we’re going to break the rules or mould them to suit what we bring to the game. That’s just life lived with complete freedom of expression.

 

6.  I have a sweater in yarn that combines several bright colours, alternating the colourful yarn with stripes in a dark / neutral colour. Would it be more flattering to stick to a solid colour?

Brights look great with many colours at once, just not blended together (blending colours causes either a watercolour effect, or the graying of mixing complementaries that makes the muted colours of Autumn and Summer). Side by side complementary colours or with a neutral colours, both are terrific on you. Stripes give energy.

There is a taste factor. You might like your colours blended together and that’s not wrong, just not what my eye prefers because it’s hard to maintain the high purity of each pigment.  Be careful that the yarn isn’t comfy/chunky/heavy looking, especially if you’re working in neutral colours. It risks getting too homemade looking in that Autumn homespun way. Pick something young, Angora, sparkly, smooth. It should not look back-to-the-land. It should look brand new. Fun colours are always better on you, since colour is like your neutral.

A blue-eyed Bright Spring is very colourful to look at.

 

Photo: cassie_g

 

Your hair, eyes, and skin come together like this. You are beyond just colourful. You are coloured in complementary colours (blue eyes, yellow hair). That’s an extreme, or a type of contrast. So is light, warm hair on top, dark, cooler hair beneath, another type of contrast. The warm-cool in the colouring at once is true of all Neutral Seasons, but quite bright and alive here. To the viewer, it feels energetic and young.

On Bright Seasons, colours seem more at home than neutral grays and browns. Colours become your neutrals. Every Season has its extremes and only that type of colouring is completely at home and at ease in them. As Susan said so well, black is dressy, but only on True Winter is it casual wear. That’s what ‘at home’ means. It is that easy that it becomes your anytime, anywhere, the one thing you don’t plan around, where you can hide and relax. Having said that, nobody is at their best in head to toe black. Nobody.

Black is only thought to be dressy. Usually, it’s detracting. It can make textile look more expensive, yes. It is easier for marketers to sell us a ton of one thing than have to keep changing production lines, yes. The Dark Winter wears it well enough since it’s dark, but it begins to transform into the solid wall that it is on everyone but True Winter, so they warm it up. Walls are not entirely foreign to Dark Winter’s energy.

On Bright Winter, there are no walls, there is excitement. They are better in white than black, and a so-slightly yellowed white. Black shouldn’t be more than half the overall look. Thankfully, both Chantal and Rita knew to avoid it. As Bright Springs, a thin stripe of it here and there is fine but not more than that or it does what it always does – makes the colours dead. It sucks in all the light around it, which is an absolute shame for Bright Spring, the clearest, brightest colours that exist. The overall effect is gasping for sunshine.

 

7.  I was very surprised to read that Spring is strongly associated with triangles and diamond shapes.  I feel more drawn to squares in fabric (linen plaids, cotton madras, cotton checkerboard print) and rounded shapes in jewelry (beads, hoops, circles).  Any comments?

Your preference. Those shapes are what I feel. Some see triangles as a Winter shape. Squares express more practical, natural, durable, serious, productive energy – maybe truer to how you have seen yourself for the last 20 or 40 years. Could be that the next 20 will be a little different.

Four years after my PCA, I was able to pull in the drama of Winter and could tell where the Enough line was. I couldn’t have done it 3 and 1/2 years ago. It cannot be assimilated in a week, a month, or a year. But you do continue to move closer to your center, hear your guides more clearly, and choose what is and is not the real you.

 

8. I’m having trouble thinking in terms of adding fun to my clothing.  Suggestions of nylon, satin, trims, ruffles!! sound very girly, not a look I’ve ever worn or feel very comfortable with – any suggestions as to how I can approach this?

Bright Winter and Bright Spring read the style suggestions and see this

Photo: Ayla87

 

or this

Photo: dreamphoto

 

or this

Photo: african_fi

 

 

All I’m saying is that you’re not this. She is beautiful on someone else.

Photo: creazine

 

Start with the colours. Only the colours. Stay inside the lines you are comfortable with today. Pretty soon, they will loosen up and you’ll find some extra breathing space inside them.  You might try yoga clothes instead of gardening clothes, as an example. The clothes at Lululemon, Athleta, Title Nine, MEC are often superb on Bright Spring and way better than rugged wear.

There is no need to ever get fancier than that. Nylon is a windbreaker. Satin might be a scarf. Forget trim and ruffles, and glitter. Not everybody does everything. The point is to get energy, as movement and saturated colour, into your look. Workout clothes give you that.

 

9. My biggest challenge is with the repeated descriptions of Bright Spring as light, delicate, charming, and adorable. When I read these descriptions it starts to feel like maybe I’m not really a Bright Spring after all.  Could we have made a mistake?

The most aggressive woman I know sees herself as nurturing. It shocked her beyond belief to learn that in the character assessment at work, every single person pulled out the Highly Competitive card. A very controlling Soft Autumn. Bit odd. And yet, she is absolutely nurturing.

A True Summer of very classic proportions, in fact quite straight in the hip, sees herself as extremely curvy. In her view, she is aggressive, masculine, direct, bold, a walking firecracker. Yes, well, I could go with endlessly seeking. She has no risk aversion though, which is not really a Summer thing.

We get mixed up about ourselves. More important, we are hugely complex. There are only 12 Season groups. Just playing the numbers, factor in 100 personality traits at high, medium, and low levels, parenting, environment, birth order, experience – you wouldn’t have 12 possible combinations, you’d have 12, 000, 000. Still more important, the 12 groups are not organized around character, they’re organized around colour.

Could I have made a mistake? Sure. Anyone can, anytime. But I don’t think I did. We’ll drape you again if you want. Free. Just bring someone with you. I don’t talk much the second time unless I think I got it wrong.

You have a great deal of Winter in your character. You are certainly curious, analytical, and interested. You have the youthful appearance/hairstyle/feature shape associated with childhood, so there would be great continuity if you wore that but you don’t have to. You may find some of that a year from now. You may prefer to express more distance and reserve and less party, just as you are.

Don’t struggle or try to chase it, you’ll just push it further away, like chasing money. Try not to overthink it or you’ll extinguish all your abilities to feel it. Leave it there and explore stepping around your borderlines in ways that feel good. Release any effort at trying to control it. Trust that it will happen, don’t feel that you need to know how. Your mind took it in when your eyes did – remember how that happened during our PCA session? We were learning it together just by seeing it happening. A few words at the beginning and then we could feel it.

 

10. If it sounds like my thoughts and feelings are whirling around – they are!

They’re supposed to. In our short time together, we had to pull apart everything you thought you knew about your colouring, right back to absolute zero, to the point where you could say, “I do not know what is going to happen next.” Then, we built it all back up again with the blocks lined up correctly. It is a lot to take in.

To learn, you have to unlearn. What we think we know pretty well is usually where we are weakest.

To learn truth, you must surrender what you believe to be truth. Ask anyone who’s had a PCA. You get enough proof to get rid of a lot of stuff fast and make space for the real and the right. It’s a shock to the system.

To gain control, we must first surrender control. Control is only an illusion. Trying to get it is what keeps us tired.

To gain power, we must surrender power.

To empower ourselves with new truths is bound to evoke resistance. We will come up against it every single day. In detaching and deciding, we become free and open thinkers.

I know that I overwhelm you with information during and after a session with me. Everyone learns differently and I don’t know what will click with you. I want you to leave a different person than the one who walked in, on every level, not just your lipstick choice. These reflections, the expansion, the open-ness, the wonder and the wondering, they will carry over into every aspect of your life.

Begin with the colours, bringing them closer to your body as nail polish or a beach towel. To the viewer, they still look like part of your energy field. In time, less serviceable items may be easier to replace with brighter combinations or prints that feel too risky today.

Keep asking me questions. I need it to know where you could use some help. Helping you in real and tangible ways is what I am here to do.

And remember the whole point of your personal renovation (Chantal’s excellent words):

Add Joy to the Journey, to every little glimmer, every success, every little deeper understanding.

 

—–

The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring

January 2, 2013 by · 14 Comments 

In any change you want to effect, three questions matter:

1. What do I want?

2. Where am I now?

3. What am I willing to do to get what I want?

 

What Do I Want

Very hard question. Most of us are schooled in what we don’t want. You might want to develop the full edge and potential of your appearance. If your idea of great makeup is to take what’s already there and make more of it, as mine is, Winter’s best makeup might have your redefining your position. The colours in the face are a lot and now we’re going to add a lot more. Adding just a little more doesn’t move Winter very far from the start point, or nowhere close to the max point, but maybe you just want to know a nice eyeliner and gloss and that’s all. There is no right or wrong answer.

There is nothing wrong with being a Winter without makeup. The important thing is to channel what you do towards the outcome that you want. Too often, we’ve never identified either what we want or what we do to help or hinder that. If you’re a Winter, the time has come. No face is more altered with makeup. As in life, the good and bad are equal. As in all things Winter, they are also simultaneously at both outer limits. Other types of colouring tend to look more similar with and without makeup, which is a definite good thing. But it’s the Winters who can go miles from where they started, and that’s good too.

I like a lot of colour on Winter, a lot of makeup, a lot of drama. The face is that way already. I want every woman to be all they could be. Would our 80-year-old selves excuse us for having been less than that? Would our reasons have been good enough? Hint: no excuse or decision based on fear or negativity is ever good enough.

This is good.

Shiseido banner

 

 

I know it’s hard. This is the group whose language is power, a currency that women have been un-trained to deal in by every force in their lives. Power is not second nature to us.

 

Where Am I Now

Even harder question. Unpacking our own luggage and seeing what’s really in there can be scary, especially if the zipper has been jammed for awhile. Lots of people can’t admit their height and weight and those are facts. As the oft-heard quote states, “Reality is an acquired taste.” And slowly acquired at that.

All those Winters from the 80s, which seem to have been in the majority, are very seldom Winters, which is fine because they’re usually wearing Summer colours. The real Winters are buried among every other type of colouring. Their road back is a longer one for the Tone you might think would be the easiest to analyze and dress. They don’t see it coming unless they are very dark of hair and eye to begin with.

Once, I’d love the Winter to walk in who is overdone in her Winterness. The young ones are, even without makeup. They’re bringing it. More eyeliner (that we remove), thigh high boots (brown, but they’re trying to be bigger and it’s good), cape flying, doing something luscious with the hair, more ME-ME-ME. In our fifties, we women have toned ourselves so far down that we can lose our discernment of what is just normal and right.

Especially in our later years, when our faces finally carry all the power that took 50 years to build, isn’t it time to stop being so careful? I get that not everyone wants to present a heavily made up, dramatic face, but it’s not even about drama in makeup. There is so much caution to shake off. Drama and glamour haven’t been added for a long time and yet, this is where they are most at home, most normal.

Personal Colour Analysis is a gateway to Here’s Who You Are.

 

What’s In A Winter Face: both extremes at the same time.

To be more specific:

1.  Contrast. You saw this coming. It means that there is a lot of distance between everything and everything else, such as:

Features from skin.  The skin is very even, smooth, and quiet. Insert into that landscape a mouth, cheeks, eyes, and eyebrows whose colours create a big and sudden jump from the background. That Shiseido banner up above.

Light – dark levels of contiguous colours. Eyeliner is dark (it contains more black than any other group). The eyeshadow next to it, the lid colour, is a fair bit lighter (lid colour is medium on the other groups). The next band, the eyeshadow contour, is quite dark by comparison (more about that later). The eyeshadow highlight is icy light, nearly white (not the case for pastel on Summers and creamy on Warms).  The brow is quite dark (but not darkened more than Nature designed on anyone), very sharply defined, and dramatized extra (crisp, arched, lengthened, whatever works on that face, which is simply to see what’s there and make more of it).  For sure, any particular face might need these adjusted a little, but this is the generic look.

Textures, ultra matte to ultra shine. Quiet skin. No special effects. Snow White’s face isn’t contoured (which sets up lowlights for Autumn), dewy (sets up highlights, best on Spring), or cottony (sets up fluffy, just right on a dreamy Summer). On a Winter face or a winter landscape, those look muddy, busy, and trivial, a million miles from Winter. You want foundation whose coverage is opaque enough to make a very even blanket. Powder the whole face evenly.  Add lots of eyes, lots of mouth, more blush or less (both can be good). Done.

The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring is: Even.

 

2. Drama. It’s like a deficiency when drama is left out of a Winter eye design. Not wrong. There is no wrong, no answer that works across the board, even within a Season. Winters I’ve seen, they not only balance drama, they are enhanced further with it. It doesn’t look even dramatic, exciting, stimulating, theatrical, or otherwise extraordinary. It looks normal.

 

Photo: Krappweis

Photo: Krappweis

Would the image above make sense with a soft and gentle eye colour or shape (expression)? Winter’s is not a gradual, blended, or soft face.

When Summers buy cosmetics, look for products that have a gentle application. Remember when we applied your makeup and we divided the foundation with moisturizer, as I do on every Summer and Spring, because heavy and matte products look like a mask on your delicate skin texture and softened colouring? The same principle applies to all your cosmetics. Having said that, we also showed you that when a colour is correct, you can apply almost any amount of it and it just blends believably into the skin. That’s true, but these are two different ideas. Summer begins with a product that swatches like a watercolour. Winter is looking for oil paint.

 

3. Keep the number of cosmetic colours low. 1 is good. Colour is subtracted from winter landscapes. Many steely dark grays, many icy grays or icy colours (means nearly white). Very little colour activity. And suddenly, a deeply flushed cheek. A red or purple mouth. The colours in the face are shocking enough on a still and quiet energy.

Remember how on Lights, dark colour takes over? On Winters, it’s colour itself that becomes too much too quickly.

Photo: pixaio

Photo: pixaio

Would this be more effective if we added a buttercup, a bluejay, and a lilac? No, the red would lose its voltage. There are thousands of these photos out there because they make sense to humans by reinforcing something we already know and recognize.

 

Photo: Nossirom

Photo: Nossirom

 

4. Intensity. Don’t leave any features behind. Enhance each one to the same degree. Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy. Apply a lot of colour to each feature and don’t blot any off till the whole face is done. Each part looks like too much on its own but it all works together when all the pieces are in place. Blend nothing till every part is done or you’ll overblend that feature back into cautious and unbalance the face.

Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy applies equally to concealer as lipstick. The blues and purples in the skin are so saturated that a sheer concealer won’t hide them nearly as well as a product with good opacity. My favorite is Arbonne for that reason, plus it stays where it’s applied, it lasts amazingly well all day, and it dries fast so I can apply foundation over it immediately without overly diluting it or smearing it everywhere. I am very fussy about where concealer goes but I use a lot of it. For reference, I wear Arbonne Medium.

 

What Are You Willing To Do

Look very different to yourself? Exchanging a plaid duffel coat for a black and white herringbone is a step. Wearing bigger jewelry than all your friends? Be the only one of the girls to wear a fuchsia red mouth?

Draw a lot more attention to yourself? Stand out and apart? As many have discovered, getting noticed for being different isn’t easy, even is it’s a good different.

Wear your real true This Is Who I Am hair colour?

No right or wrong, just questions. Everything looks easy from the outside. Try it, you may find it takes some effort. What are the conditions on what you’re willing to do?

Would you wear twice as much makeup as you wear today? Most Winter women accept the eye makeup fairly easily. Lips can always be sheer. Winter’s sheer is Spring’s “Oh, dear Lord, too much, wipe it off, start again.” Winters, pick sheers with a lot of colour or save your money and buy Chapstick. Where you hear the brakes screech is with the blush. They feel like clowns for a week. What everyone else sees is a pulled-together face. Not in how much, which you can decide, but in how red. Blood on snow, right?

 

The Nature of Reflected Light

The Spring, Summer, and Autumn articles  preceding this one are linked in their names. The idea is that our natural colours have a way of reflecting light. Beyond just the colours of the reflected light, the wavelengths have properties that reach our other senses, as texture for instance. In Chinese medicine, our fingers are entry and exit points for energy. Of course. How could they not be? They touch everything. They’re up and down-loading who we are all the time. Each of our sense organs is doing the same. Each of the 12 Tone colour collections speaks a certain language, is evocative of certain emotions, reminds of certain landscapes, and makes sense if consistent in colour and touch and sound and scent and taste. It’s all happening at once. The knee bone is connected to the neck bone.

Summer’s soft, gentle, serene, muted colours don’t make sense in leather pants. Skin with that colouring has reflective properties truer to the surface of an opal, not a mirror or an elephant’s hide. Soft Autumn skin reflects light like felt and its colours are more beautiful in that texture than done up in Mr. Freezies. Do colours bounce light in certain ways that tell us texture? Or is it that skin painted in certain colours also carries other qualities that bounce light in a way that impresses texture?

The True Winter surface is smooth and hard. Dark Winter is smoother than Dark Autumn but not 100% smooth; it’s also thick, and not quite as hard as True Winter. Bright Winter is very smooth, shinier, and semitransparent – Dr. Sheldon Cooper, as opposed to Autumn’s Magnum P. I. Though some will cringe, I’m still going with rubbery for Winter skin by comparison with the other Seasons.

So far, we’ve said:

Bright Spring: glass

True Spring: persimmon

Light Spring: petal

 

Light Summer:  peach

True Summer:  cotton

Soft Summer:   flannel

 

Soft Autumn: suede

True Autumn: velvet

Dark Autumn: leather

 

Dark Winter: Vinyl

If we start at Dark Autumn and move along to its cooler side, we arrive next at Dark Winter. These are both Neutral Seasons. Dark Winter has more in common with the True Season parent of True Winter, but does share the most important dimension of colour, darkness, with the Neutral it’s paired with and whose descriptor it shares, that is, Dark Autumn.

We begin with Autumn’s canvas, which is strong and textured. As Winter settles in, the skin texture smooths out. Dark Autumn’s leather is transitioning.

Dark Winter skin throws light back like vinyl.

 

Photo: RAWKUS

Photo: RAWKUS

 

Not just record vinyl, but inflatable products, dominatrix gear, and tarps. Maybe even a car. Industrial, tough, shiny, smooth, waterproof, and useful. Good Dark Winter words. Not bad words for their jewelry and belts either. Dark Winter takes Dark Autumn’s gypsy/Rustic Opulent and shifts it to gladiator. A sweater in black or dark grey metallic looks like chain mail. Stud, armor, and heavy link effects are a natural fit here, scary elsewhere.

Dark Winter is mysterious. It’s Christmas Eve, the dark jewel-toned ornaments, the fireplace, the night, the lights in the windows. Very nice, but there’s something bigger going on. The feeling of waiting for something. Waiting for the reason behind the pretty. Deeper, even darker. Sinister.

Nude lips on Winter looks tired and old. Dead lips, a good friend calls it. My new favourite lipstick is Shiseido RD 305. It is just pink enough to not be red-lips. It is beautifully saturated with the touch of brown that Autumn adds to make your colours less cold and more natural than True Winter. That brown is essential to create the encompassing harmony that only a colour analyzed appearance can give. You are coloured with a little of that brown, where brown is dark orange, and your hair, skin, and eyes have some gold-amber-orange tones. If your skin is light to medium, this colour may be your best natural lip.  It’s not dark, often the case with Dark Season lip colours. It’s fresh daytime believable natural lip colour. Not ready for it yet? Top it with clear gloss.

Bronzer can play a tiny part because Autumn has left behind the slightest texture or roughness. Contour carefully, with powder that has enough red to disappear into the skin (eleablake‘s Miss November is great). Follow the 3 shape at the sides of the face and down the sides of the nose bridge, using a small amount, more to carve more geometric drama into the face than to warm it up.

Soft Summer’s darker foundation trick to contour is too wishy-washy here. More colour is required to be noticeable and achieve the outcome. It’s not a bad option as you learn or if you want a very subtle effect, just be sure the darker powder is as cool as your foundation or you’ll look yellow. It takes a lot of colour to make any difference on the intensity of this inherent colouring. A few shades of beige this way or that will make less difference on Winter skin. Carefulness is plain pointless.

Darkness works. Smoke is natural, like the Autumn muting in the skin. Smoked eyes make sense. The lighter lid eyeshadow can equally well be fairly dark. Any Season can do smoked eyes, but it’s most at home on the Darks. Even the other two Winters are best to exercise caution in darkness so it doesn’t look heavy. They look better in clean and silvery.

 

True Winter: Ceramic

Even smoother and even harder.

True Winter: ceramic. Like a white sink. Impenetrable, tough, and enduring.

 

Photo: nade

Photo: nade

 

Clean. Picture the makeup colours from your palette painted right on that white sink. Dark eyes, red-violet cheeks, red-violet lips. No fuss, no frills. Not smoked (Dark Winter) or clear, as in translucent (Bright Winter). Can you tell this before they’re draped, by looking at them? Absolutely not. True Winter is always the draping surprise for me, even more so than Bright Spring.

For True Winter, that very quiet blanket of skin without a lot of cheek colour, or with an icy light cheek, is excellent, like the picture at the top. For Bright and Dark, colour on the cheek is better, I find. It adds to Bright’s liveliness and Dark’s intensity.

Eyeliner is dark. Eyeshadow is quite light and silvered. Under brow highlight is near white or some icy (near white) colour. Contour and back corner eyeshadow is quite dark. Darkening the outer back corner of eyes looks good as a way of adding drama. Use a dark gray/black eyeshadow. Go over the eyeliner to fill in holes. Drag the dark shadow out past the crease. Turn around and start pulling in inward above the crease, not in the crease. This enlarges the apparent size of the eye and recedes the skin above the crease that can close in. On eyes where the upper half of the lid is smaller than the lower half, the crease is shallow, or the eye prominent, you would omit this effect. Deposit some dark shadow at the outer lid corner.

Other Seasons will use a darker shadow that isn’t much darker than the lid colour or skip the effect altogether. On a Light Season, where dark colour takes off, the eyeshadow contour can just be the medium lid colour packed on a bit more heavily. On a Soft Season, the liner, lid, and contour are quite close in darkness level, as in medium, with contour only slightly darker. They distinguish their roles by being of different colours in similar darkness levels, rather than Winter’s variations on one colour (gray) in extremes of darkness levels. On a Winter, light means really light and dark means really dark. You are it already. So be it, as P. said so cleverly.

I do not know how bronzer can improve this face but I’m willing to see it if anyone has good products or ideas. You wouldn’t want to dull that spectacular opposition of The Purity and The Darkness that only this colouring incarnates.

Winter’s sheer is Spring’s almost-opaque. The best Winter gloss I can think of comes from Lora Alexander at Pretty Your World. The texture, finish, and amount of colour are excellent, with good clarity. Glama and Hot Lips lip colours and Fast Track blush are great (I own them). From this compare page of the Cool Winter selections, Diva looks super good too.

Though True Winter is very red-based and looks great in blue-based red apparel, I find their most natural fit for blush and lipstick is somewhere in the pink-fuchsia-purple spectrum. That may be because true red lips are like true black eyeliner, somehow harder and more dramatic than human faces really are. Dark Winter’s burnt rose red and Bright Winter’s strawberry or pink red alleviate the pure redness. True Winter does the same by using violet, meaning clear purpled pinks. Arbonne’s Raisin gloss is a very impressive purple. Lauder’s Raspberry Pop is good but gentler, as is Merle Norman’s Raspberry on Ice.

 

Bright Winter: Silicone

How about Bright Winter? That amazing special blend of innocence with a dark, brittle edge. The geisha could span the Bright Seasons. Once the delicacy feels almost too rare to conceive on this Earth, the hummingbird, a membrane-thin gold foil, we’re into Bright Spring.

Spring has a hand in Bright Winter. Therefore, we need a sugar coating, shiny, fun, and ornamental. Pink frosting on lids, cheeks, and lips, lilac highlights, more play (more colours at once), more theater (cat eye, a few false lashes, fine winged brows, bright lips, hats with veils, cloche hats with beautiful ornaments, because hats and earrings are face accessories). Below, the haircut, the dress print and line, all awesome.

 

Shiseido2

 

Definitely a lighter palette than the other Winters.

The skin’s reflectance had me searching for an analogy. Fine china with that near-transparent edge? Thinking, thinking,…mostly Winter, therefore rubbery and even, but a little softer with a transparency in the outermost layer… oh, you’re going to love this, jellyfish! Not good? Soft boiled egg? Maybe. Yes.

But jellyfish is so good. Stay with me here.

 

Photo: drakemata

Photo: drakemata

The flamenco dancer.

 

 

Photo: bofft

Photo: bofft

Heavenly and magical.

 

 

Photo: zoel

Photo: zoel

You see where I’m going?

 

How do we translate this to makeup? You don’t have to do a lot, you have this smooth and rubbery (all Winters) clarity (Brights) already. Clear silicone skin. Increase it with  intensely coloured products, pigments so pure, you would swear they’re transparent. Brush powders with the slightest finest shimmer effect on all exposed skin. Don’t stop at the jawline. It’s a sprinkling of fairy dust, that sugar topping, an overall crystalline effect.

Bronzer? A little icy gold uplight, sure. Baby peach, always good on Brights. Very little.  We feel no bronzer per se here:

 

Photo: Andreius

Photo: Andreius

 

Chanel Glossimer in Jalousie is nice. Bagatelle is a light, pretty peach, Clarins Crystal Violet and Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie could be shared with True Winter. Stila Lipglaze Raspberry Crush is very good.

 

Recap: The skin is calm and even in colour and texture. By using strong lines, bold colours, intense pigment deposits, and big distance between light and dark, both adjacent and separate, we create very clear feature definition. There is no question about where one ends and the other begins.

For Summer, we said: The skin is soft and dry, setting up gentleness and gradual muting. The features are blended into the skin with colours that create a soft flow or diffusion instead of sharp definition. As colours flow into each other as hazy mists, it feels difficult to tell where one feature ends and the next begins.

For Autumn: The skin is contoured, setting up lowlights. The features are defined from the skin by colours that are warm and velvety and the judicious use of metallic glints.

This was Spring: The skin is dewy, setting up highlights. The features are fresh, lively, distinguished from the skin by being very colourful, moist, and vibrant.

——

The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring

November 12, 2012 by · 33 Comments 

Feeling Imbalance

I went to a meeting. As the women arrived, one woman distinguished herself immediately as a leader in any crowd. Her physical presence was noticed first because she was quite tall and strongly built. Her face was equally strong, in the colours of coffee, cream, and golden piecrust, with clove brown eyes. Wearing bronze eyeglass frames with copper glints, her only makeup a beautiful deep cinnamon lipstick, she was striking and beautiful.

She moved through the crowd with confidence. She had the business savvy to put in a plug for her company as smooth as could be. Her natural qualities of character were as manifest as her beauty. Her choices in clothing and jewelry, although of high taste and quality, were confusing.

Nobody is ever unattractive. Every woman is truly a beauty in her face and her heart and I can look straight in your eyes to say that. But there are better choices. Better ways to spend our money that look more truthful and less artificial. In a white dress with splashy flowers in primary colours, suddenly, the random blonde hits in her hair stood out as disorganized. The coloured glass bead necklace looked plastic because our energy modifies not only colour but also texture and everything else that comes near it.

In the white jacket, our needle skips into a groove of wondering about skin that’s seen too much sun. It’s uncomfortable now. We have thoughts we don’t want to have. During your colour analysis, we’re going to see what the drape colours do to your skin. We are equally going to observe what your own colours do right back to the drapes (and so to your clothes and jewelry choices). Next to our woman’s colouring, white ages her skin. She in turn alters simple white to become strident and look, well, a little cheap. Thoughts we don’t want to have.

We love this woman. It doesn’t feel right that we can’t settle in her presence but our visual system is on a roller coaster with too much to process. I’m always reminded of a light-coloured person wearing those Christmas sweaters in strong reds and greens with shiny ornaments appliquéd on the front. Like wearing garland. We’re feeling effort and distraction.  Subconsciously, we’re scanning the room for somewhere easier to be. She is an Autumn, probably True Autumn, wearing colours and feelings made for another woman.

Where’s the balance? How can we know the way to enhancing what we are in a way that attracts people into our presence? By wearing the colours and lines that we are.

Soft Natural True Summer

One of our group wondered about a Polyvore using the True Summer palette, adapted for a Soft Natural body.

 

Classic bodies are people who are medium in their proportions, like me. Nothing really out of the ordinary,  in the center of the National Standards charts. Natural bodies are similar, with a heavier bone structure and more muscular tendency. The other groups belong to those body shapes that strike you as ‘not average’. They are Dramatics (long and lean, Keira Knightley, or long and curvy, like Bond girls, Ursula Andress), Romantics (smaller curvy, like Adele) and Gamines (Mighty Mites).  These are very loose versions of the 13 body types outlined in David Kibbe’s 1987 book, Metamorphosis. If you can find yourself, it is brilliantly good.

I am not brilliantly good at Kibbe’s interpretations. This is my take on SN. It won’t match anyone else’s.

 

True Summer Soft Natural
True Summer Soft Natural by christinems featuring turquoise jewelry

 

Classics dress head-to-toe. Natural means separates.

No Croc, Brahmin, Python…Summer isn’t lizardy, futuristic, or obviously modernistic. Even on a Dramatic, they are more of a high breeding and ancestry group. Those other words are too cold and hard. They seem oily to me, moving into smarmy. Great on the right person though. We’re just looking for your normal. If you look like you’re wearing a costume, you’re in the wrong Kibbe and/or the wrong colours for you.

Choose coloured handbags. The choice in this item is endless. Gray or black ranges from sensible to serviceable to kind of depressing. Water colours, berry pinks, gorgeous blues, these are beautiful places to pick up the makeup colours. Trust me, we’ll see it, even in a fingernail. You would on someone else, right?

Cool Shimmer

Summer skin is most beautiful when it’s smooth, silky, and dry. This colouring is not at its most beautiful glossy or frosty, slick or metallic, which boomerang us back to wet, cold, and hard.

True Summer skin’s way of handling light is the diffusion of moonlight. There, we can find no sun, no hardness, no glitz, no wetness. There’s no winking like fireflies (that’s Bright Spring), no sharp gleam of platinum (True Winter), no dew (Light Summer), not iron and lead (Dark Winter’s gray feelings), and on it goes. Moonlight is not blingy (that’s Bright Winter’s normal). Moonlight is very cool and very soft. In a morning sky, it’s a sheer cloud-white curtain moving in a breeze. At night, a cloak of pearly, silvery light.

Vision theory moment: Moonlight is a combined reflection of sunlight, starlight, and reflected earthlight. It is neither blue nor silvery. We have colour sensitive cone cells in the retina whose highest sensitivity is to yellow light. But when illumination levels are low, the cones fire less. We become almost colour blind. The very light-sensitive (but colour-insensitive) rods take over and they happen to create more impulses in response to blue and green wavelength light.

 

Photo: Bongani

 

In the way of Summer skin to mirror the colours and textures it wears, it will shimmer in brushed silver. The way to iridescence in skin is in brushed shimmers in pink, lavender, or blue, since these are the notes found through the entire palette, including the grays. You look amazing. The shimmer is an even veil. Put a Winter in those colours and textures and you’re looking at the skin through a window that needs cleaning.

Even satined makeup requires caution. Satin on Summer skin can convert into cold and frosty because these colours are already so extremely cool and the complexion is delicate. On Winter skin, frost is just skin, in the same way that Winter’s so-white-it’s-blue white will be just-white on a Winter and aggressive-colour-under-oily-face on a Summer. Only you see your clothes on a hanger. The rest of us see them compared to your own colouring right under your face. Again, just looking for what looks like normal white on you.

Textile that mutes colour is effective. Not the stronger thicker textures of Autumn colours (and skin). This is the much softer side. Summer isn’t thick, straight, or hard. It’s swirly. Spring is sweet and scattered, moving towards pointy and buoyant. Summer is grounded. It sweeps like a porch swing, a branch in a breeze, the lines created when you pour liquid slowly into liquid. The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring: , dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. (Light, True, Soft :))

Summer colours are light (compared to Autumn and Winter), cool, and soft. Summer surfaces look muted and lightweight (Spring, who goes from frothy to floating, is closer to weightless), with brushstrokes or a gently buffed texture. The softness is feathery. Fluffy is good. Downy is great. Good dreams have fleecy edges.

Shiny surfaces shift colour to appear lighter and brighter. That’s great on Spring but makes no sense with Summer’s colours. They don’t cooperate. Since those same colours exist in Summer skin, it won’t cooperate either. White feathers can be almost blue in moonlight but they’re never the colour of lightning (Winter).

The True Season Analysis

If you’re a True Summer, remember when the analyst saw that drape on you right at the beginning of the PCA and stopped for a minute? And changed drapes and went back to the silver, and kept going back to the silver without telling you why?  She saw something. She didn’t move the drapes that way on your Bright Spring daughter.

Finally, she said, “I see today’s session is going to be a little different.” A True Season analysis is quite singular. In the True Summer silver drape, the face is perfect right from the start. Skin is evenly coloured. The eyes are so huge, you’ll think I’ve lost my marbles, I wonder if the colour analysts will recognize this, I am reminded of those glowy pearlescent white alien forms with great big eyes like from the Close Encounters movie.  (Read the story – no accident that Spielberg put 6 year old ballerinas in those outfits. The man had a handle on Summer.)  In some ways, with a True Season analysis, you begin at the end. Most remarkable, regardless of which of the 4 True Seasons you see.

More True Summer. They always look like this to me. The eyes are all you can see, the skin is so cool and quiet.

 

Photo: prima_vera


 

Photo: ilco

 

The Summer Skin Finishes

Integrating Summer into the Spring and Autumn we’ve already done,

Bright Spring: glass

True Spring: persimmon

Light Spring: petal

 

Light Summer:  peach

True Summer:  cotton

Soft Summer:   flannel

 

Soft Autumn: suede

True Autumn: velvet

Dark Autumn: leather

 

True Summer

>> paper to pearl

Use face powder. Translucent.

Use a foundation brush that makes the product a thin even layer. If I’ve applied your makeup, you know I’m selective in the extreme about where concealer goes and how foundation is applied. It’s fast and simple but there’s a way that I think works best.

What I don’t do for lack of time is follow with something I do on myself, and everyone could, which is to buff the skin a bit more. The Body Shop Extra Virgin Kabuki brush is my favorite (found it on beautypedia.com of course). It’s much too general to be the first foundation brush to my picky preference, but it leaves a superb buffed finish without moving the concealer and foundation from their zones.

The Shine Stopper at Paula’s Choice is very good. It works well on the T-zone.

The lips should look about like unpowdered, natural skin or just a bit shinier. Gloss = goop in a heartbeat. I’m not telling you to have powdery lips, just stay with reasonable, believable lip moisture, not a whole lot extra.

The colours of water are so important in True Summer – wear this type of jewelry, scarf, and movement near the face.

Navy mascara, soft not intense sapphire (Dior Icone Blue 268). Grey is hard to find, but the various Soft Blacks and Almost Blacks are fine. Black equals railroad tracks.

Stay with calm, fresh, gentle contrasts. Summer’s light colours are pastels, meaning more pigment than Winter’s light colours that are much closer to white. Avoid too much distance between lightest and darkest elements in hair, cosmetics, and clothes. Keep them closer together.

It’s quite important to settle in your mind how far from white your lightest colours are. Look at them and notice that it’s a long way to white from your coloured pastels for all three Summers. The eyeshadow highlight for Winter is some version of ice. On Summer, I use more colour under the brow bone, as muted (grayed) shell pink, where the amount of graying depends on the Season. True Summer might wear Merle Norman Ballerina, while Soft Summer could wear Merle Norman Mist.

Use eyeshadow instead of eyeliner or diffuse the liner well by applying shadow over it.

 

Light Summer

>> pearl to petal, as daisy, as butterfly wing. A little more fluff than Spring, a little more dry-down.

Photo: mcoot

 

The True Summer section applies. There is more warmth here as a first warm weekend in May. Outdoor glows are great but controlled. A pale pink gold gloss or an uplight on the cheeks is plenty. You are a Summer, not a Spring, so restraint is needed. A May picnic isn’t the same as the beach in July. As a Neutral Cool colouring, remain cooler than warmer in everything you add. The Mineral Glow in Shimmer at e.l.f. is a nice choice without a lot of heat or a silly price.

On the Light Seasons, the lightest colour is plenty. The lightest application is plenty. The sheerest sheers will look so much younger. The blush by e.l.f. called Shy is one I love. It would set you back 2 whole dollars.

Face powder still applies. Use translucent, perhaps with a slight yellow tint.

Wondering what else to invest in at e.l.f.? Go to beautypedia.com. Click Search All Reviews. Choose Brand e.l.f. Cosmetics.  Down in Skin type, click all the types. Down in Ratings, deselect all the boxes except Paula’s Pick on the left side.  Why spend the same money and not get the best? Scan down the price column. Not bad. Now go back to the Search and select the Very Good box. 4 pages. Even better considering what’s coming next month.

 

Photo: przybsz

 

The best makeup takes the lines and colours you already have and makes them more. It doesn’t work to superimpose someone else’s lines or colours on yours. Carol Tuttle of Dressing Your Truth taught us to consider the slant of a straight line drawn across outer – inner – inner – outer corners of our eyes. Position the outer corner of your eyeliner along that straight line.

The Spring stroke in Light Summer often places the outer corner higher than inner. Follow that. Don’t add cat eye effects unless you’re under 20, going to be in a music video, or are a Bright Winter Theatrical Romantic, and even then, it’s better in eyeglass frames than eyeliner.

Many True Summers have a very round eye, almost square. If the outer eye corner seems to pull downwards, then don’t extend the line at all, just keep it close to the rounded outer corner of the eye.

One of the many places to use concealer is to cover the red and/or downward crease at the outer corner of the eye. Blend the concealer up, not down. Everyone should do this. Nobody over 20 should use frost.

 

Soft Summer

>> pearl to flannel

From our textures above, Soft Summer becomes more woven, drier, and thicker as we move deeper into Autumn. Cotton to waffle weave. Light Summer will wear L’Oreal Peony Pink lipstick, while Soft wears Spicy Pink.

Soft Summer is not the dustings of icing sugar or flour above. It’s a dusting of dust. Contour with powder 2 shades darker than foundation. It looks like believable sun without seeming dirty or yellow. Clinique Superpowder Double Face makeup in Matte Tawny 06 is an option. Your choice is still cooler than warm, like a foundation but  a few shades deeper.

Use it as contour, as we began discussing in the Autumn article previously. That means in a 3 shape around the forehead, where the bone is most prominent, around the temple, under cheekbone so the blush can be blended above it and nearer the midline, and a little under the jaw. If the nose shape is not sharp, add second contour by beginning at the inner corner of the eye and go down the sides of the nose bridge, just off the midline, not down on the nostril. The deeper eyeshadow that goes above the crease is diffused away as it approaches the midline, at a level about where this second contour placement would go if extended under the eyebrow.

 

Photo: riceguitar

 

During the cosmetic colour section of your PCA, we focus on what right colour looks like on your skin. I really want you to see someone very new to you and also, that when cosmetic colour is correct, you can apply it and pack it on and apply more. It just melts into the skin. You can be a lot less careful than you’re used to with wrong colours. Some steps are left out for lack of time and small learning opportunity. Lipliner is one. I never use coloured lipliner anyway. I use a clear sealant to keep lipstick in place. Paula’s Choice makes a great one. The Lip Lock pencil at e.l.f. is another.

The cosmetic selections for Soft Summer are unlimited. You could fill pages and pages. At e.l.f., the Mineral Blush in Plum mixed with Pink or Joy to get the right darkness level, looks like it would be pretty.

For eyeshadow, look at the Endless Eyes Pro Mini in Everyday. You won’t use them all but for $5, it’s almost ridiculous.

 

On Summer, application is gentle and swirly. There are so sharp lines or edges.Diffuse one product into the next. The canvas is drier, using powder to ensure that products don’t catch and jump. If using cream products, apply them to the skin before the powder so they appear from within.

 

Recap: The skin is soft and dry, setting up gentleness and gradual muting. The features are blended into the skin with colours that create a soft flow or diffusion instead of sharp definition. As colours flow into each other as hazy mists, it feels difficult to tell where one feature ends and the next begins.

For Autumn: The skin is contoured, setting up lowlights. The features are defined from the skin by colours that are warm and velvety and the judicious use of metallic glints.

This was Spring: The skin is dewy, setting up highlights. The features are fresh, lively, distinguished from the skin by being very colourful, moist, and vibrant.

—–

 

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