Anyone who knows what personal colour analysis is, rather than what it was, lives with a growing sense of how well it works and how much it can improve your choices. The system divides human colouring into several groups, 12 in the one that I use. Since there are far more than 12 kinds of colouring once you get into the subdivisions, not every aspect of each group will apply equally to every person in it.
As you find your private garden and arrange the flowers and furniture to suit you, you ask some excellent questions. L sent me this,
I’ve been very happy with my Soft Summer colors and they’ve made a
huge difference overall. The issue is though, that my hair color is just so
much warmer than my palette that many of my neutrals don’t look that great.
I stopped coloring my hair a couple of years ago and it’s neutral medium
brown at the base and the lengths are quite warm, perhaps a light chestnut
color would be accurate with even lighter ends. This warm brown just
doesn’t look that wonderful with all the grayish-taupes which make up the
majority of my neutrals. As an interior designer I wouldn’t put these colors
next to each other, so it bothers me to do so when getting dressed.
According to old pics and my mother, this is my natural color. I had
forgotten that since I’ve been coloring my hair for over 30 years. I’m just
tired of trying to use toners and shampoos trying to cool it down.
I’ve been looking at other companies SS and Summer fans and found wonderful
browns in the CMAS Summer fan, and Lora Alexander’s (www.prettyyourworld.com) Soft Summer fan.
I was just curious about Sci-Art’s and your opinion about hair not being that
great with the palette since you cover it during the consultation.
Overall, I’ve discovered that I lean a bit warm within Soft Summer and I
really wish [the present palette] would give a wider range of neutral browns. I
own the Soft Autumn fan and I don’t need to go that warm, but just a bit
redder, rosier than my [present] fan.
Neutral to warm? Neutral to cool? Who knows? We’ll have to measure it somehow. That’s what the drapes do. Our eyes alone are not able without imposing some errors, because of how eyes and brains work. And because of the most misleading thing of all…assumptions.
Many of L’s comments could apply to all the Seasons fans. In any Tone, the likelihood of including even half the possible hair colours is less than 50/50 since hair colour is only moderately tied to Season. Why is that? My guess is that it’s because hair colour comes from melanin. Skin colour comes from melanin, hemoglobin, and carotene. Hair colours are an incomplete version of our truth, though what’s there is real and harmonized with us nonetheless. Just not detailed enough to do a PCA with. Hair also doesn’t change enough in response to colour to take accurate measurements. Skin tone does, therefore we use it to guide a colour analysis.
Soft Summer doesn’t tend to vary as widely as some but it certainly ranges in darkness, though it remains on the cool divide of neutrality. In all 12 Tones, eye colours seem to me to be more closely resembling the skin colours contained in the colour analyzed swatch palette, and yet they can appear very warm in persons of this Season. Test them and they still have the best energy in the cool-neutral Soft Summer drapes, not the warm-neutral Soft Autumn drapes. Why isn’t eye colour tightly linked to Season? Similar reasons to the hair, adding in the Rayleigh scattering that makes the sky blue, and other aspects of the physics and biology of an eyeball, such as how it’s pigmented, where its blood layer is located, how it reflects light because it’s in a water-based jelly, and many other factors.
Soft Summer eyes can be darker, lighter, warmer, cooler. As long you give them what they care about most: colours that are soft.
A warm-eyed Soft Summer must mean that though we see lots of warm colours of yellows, golds, and oranges in the eyes, these are present in their cool-neutral versions and are outnumbered by the greens, grays, and blues of Soft Summer. You would think the two Soft Seasons’ yellows and golds to be quite different until you try to harmonize a colour palette and realize how close they actually are.
Soft Summer is also a Season where the Neutral persons are often quite warm, on the 49/51 divide between the Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. An analyst needs to be on her toes and own a seriously good set of drapes. They say that our hair and eye colours are among our neutral colours but I agree it is so if you know the real colours of your eyes. If you match what you think you see, which is never what colour really is, you’ll go too warm for your skin and turn yourself a little dull and jaundiced.
Whoa now, that’s a Winter eye! Same colour family, cool-neutral hues, similar value level (lightness/darkness), but what’s different? That third colour dimension. And the type of heat, which appears more Spring-yellow than Autumn-gold. Whole different feeling.
How can True Winter or Light Summer be a redhead? Combine their yellow and their red, I would think. Every Season has both in their own versions. The hair tends not be orange, it’s redder than that. But both have yellows, nearly primary yellow in Winter’s case, which is why their green drape can look so yellow in some situations.
L. is colour savvy enough to sense the best solution, which is to move very slightly to a warmer place without losing the harmony. Soft Summer skin is happy to negotiate on warmth of hue as long as the colour stays soft and dusty, not intensely saturated. In my Sci\ART drapes, there are 3 drape colours, identical fabrics, that are used in 2 places. The Soft Summer and Dark Winter burgundy red test is the same. The Soft Summer face is not as flattered as it could be. The client notices that. Seeing the difference is a better learning opportunity than if I just babble on about colour dimensions, because the client sees that she needs to buy dark&dusty, not dark&densely pigmented, and that darkness is not her shopping challenge issue. Saturation is. It’s a strength of the drapes, not a weakness. Makes me now wonder if I should put a few ‘don’t go here or here’ among the Test and Luxury Drape sets that I assemble. But no, you saw those during your 12 Tone colour analysis session.
Ah, back to Soft Summer eyes, neutral but cool, and soft soft soft.
Only dyed hair is, or approaches, all one colour. Natural hair has many colours to make an overall tone. You might see one colour but the rest of us don’t. How it reflects light and shows its colours requires its true colours to reveal the correct tones. Soft Summer has a drop of gold in her hair, not yellow. She is not a great blonde. A True cool Season in even slightly warm clothing or makeup has yellowed, dingy colour. If it’s silver hair, it looks like smoker’s yellow-gray instead of their beautiful clean silvered gray. The foundation colour must be accurate, hard to find in today’s overly yellow base makeup selections.
Others don’t see the discrepancy in our hair as we ourselves might. We don’t see hair as an object of one colour like a wall or a pillow. You might not pair those objects but they’re not coloured with hemoglobin, carotene, and melanin. We sense that living things are not coloured in the same way as objects, and that man-made objects are not coloured in the same way as Nature’s inorganic objects. Despite the difference, we are able to find the harmonizing colours and the relationships between them, as us and our clothes.
We can bring colours into our harmony too. Because it’s applied to our face, makeup interacts with the pigments in the skin. A lipstick that swatches on paper as Light Summers might fall flat on some Light Summer and be lovely on some Light Springs. This is called Making The System Work For You. Clothes don’t change so much. No question, in the same way that the drapes have an effect on us and we have an effect right back on them, so do we change our clothing colours somewhat, just not to the extent of makeup because of how it’s used. A Bright Winter can change True Summer’s beautiful, cool yellow into a grayed piece of cloth that’s been washed too many times.
What kind of eye is this? Soft or saturated? Neutral? How Neutral? Spring’s yellow heat or Autumn’s gold? Of the 3 colour dimensions, which one matters above all? I have no idea. This is why I can’t look at photos and know Season. I have no comparisons and no ruler. All I can say is what I always do, whether I’m shown a photo or a real person in front of me: “Could be this or could be that.” If it’s a real person, I can say, “Where’s my drapes, lights, and gray background when I need ‘em?”
L. knows that I would never advise any woman to colour her hair ever. Her natural colour will always be her best colour. Sometimes we can decorate up a little and keep the balance, and that’s good too. My advice is to save herself the time and money and wear her natural hair. Once her hairs grays, she’ll only look better. Gray is what the Soft Summer does better than anybody because gray is inherently cool, as they are, and they start off with more of it in the natural colours that define them than the other colouring types.
If L.’s discerning eye prefers to warm a few of her clothing browns, excellent. She has to feel well in what she wears. There will be no repercussions as long as the harmony is maintained (more on that in Getting More From Your 12 Tone Swatch Book). There would be more substantial repercussions if she tried to alter her hair colour.
What about L.’s question about the colours present in the Sci\ART palettes? Without stirring up a nest of hornets that have finally gone to sleep, I’ll take a guess. Only a guess. Please don’t come after me on this, I have no valid opinion to offer so I won’t say much. I do not know what was in the head of the person who designed the palettes. I’ll take a shot: As I understand the history, at the time of her passing, Kathryn Kalisz was adjusting the Season palettes, as she probably did a few times over the years for different reasons. She deeply wanted people to feel comfort in their colours, but some of the feedback sometimes said that the colours were too much, probably more in the saturated Seasons. Part of the reason for the choices may have reflected this, though I doubt it was the bigger part of it in this particular instance.
There was (is) also the question of whether the Neutral Season colours should be closer to the parent Seasons, as Soft Summer to True Summer, or to the other Neutral with which they share the most important colour dimension, as Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. Is one right and one wrong? Does there need to be a hard rule? I would say No and No as long as the dimensions of each Season is respected, though I’d be thrilled to talk about it. Where does one cloud in colour space end and the next begin? Is there an overlap? How big is it, what’s the rule? How big should it be, different question? You have thousands of colours. Maybe one day, someone will make 4 Colour Books of swatches for each Tone, not just 1. Smart woman that L. is, she found other options that contained what she was looking for and she knew how to select those that applied to her.
This completes my long-winded way of saying that L. made great choices and decisions on her own Nothing I love better than a woman empowered to work through the many choices about her best self, in any context, and come out right. Discernment is a beautiful thing.
I wrote this back in The Emmas Are True Springs Part 2.
Besides covering grey, I can’t think of a time when chemistry improves base hair colour from what Nature gives us. That’s the colour we had at 25, before we darkened with maturity. It’s the most believable, flattering, low maintenance colour we can wear.
I don’t agree with the first sentence, or how I said it. I am thankful that it was pointed out to me. I still agree with the second sentence, having not been given better evidence to the contrary. Like this entire website, I await and welcome all evidence to the contrary of anything I write to help me find truth. Maybe that why Winters are so often colour analysts, because we’re so convinced about our own judgments. Not necessarily a good thing but very willing to change my mind.
Kate* saw two issues with my words:
1. Improvement? Says who?
2. 25? Why 25?
For some women, the result of a colour analysis doesn’t come as a big surprise. It didn’t for Kate. She had figured it out herself and just needed to join the ends on her entire palette by understanding what all of her colours and her colouring have in common. As all women with their natural hair colour, the road to wearing her colours and bringing the whole picture together will be shorter and easier.
When hair colour needs adjusting, as it did for me, the road gets longer. There’s this crazy thing going on where your brain can’t believe what your eyes just saw, you’re pretty sure you look like a clown in the makeup, being a Winter, you’re ignoring what everybody around you says, you know You best, and after all, your colourist is a colour expert, it can’t be, it can’t be, and yet, there is your phone in your hand with your finger dialing the hair salon before you’re out of the colour analyst’s driveway. Your colourist fits you in, miraculously gets the colour right the first time, but you can’t see that either yet, you’re questioning the whole deal now. Your husband is trying to help, he sees your Feng Shui is in a mess, but he can’t remember the words Feng Shui, he knows it’s not Shih Tzu because he said that one time and you laughed at him for days, so he tries again, “Don’t let your hair screw up your Shit Zing, you look gorgeous to me.”, and you want to drive your fingers into his eyes and rip off his nose. Useless, he’s just useless. You ask your friends even though you know there’s an element of performing for each other, which as a Winter, you resist, but such are life and compliments. They’re swept up in making you feel better, I could go on for pages because this does go on for months, do you send your analyst an email? will she be pissed? she might as well be because you sure are, so you see, it’s easier to start off with easy hair.
Meeting a Soft Summer who recognizes the perfection and specialness of her inherently dusty hair colour is always such a pleasure. This hair is as special as Bright Season hair in being misunderstood, under-appreciated, and difficult to get right from a bottle. Without that dusty quality in the hair, the harmony of the whole image is elusive. Kate’s hair had a few silver strands. Not only were they hard to see, once you did notice them, they absolutely added to the perfection of her own colouring, as if she’d reached a higher level of her colours, not just Lavender Smoke, but Lavender Silver Smoke.
Kate said to me,
It feels like everything you say flows organically/logically from the Sci/Art system, except these conclusions about grey/silver hair, and that your best base colour is when you were 25. I know you state in different ways that our nature-given colouring is never less than perfect, the genetic paint box is the same for skin, hair and eyes. That makes total sense to me – but seems to be contradicted by a statement that the hair colour we had at 25 is the most perfect? How can that be? The genetic coding that determines our paint box also determines our hair silvering pattern/tone/rate, and as well, the softening of our skin colour as we age, no? So, provided our hair and we are healthy, and the colour is not artificially affected by chlorine/sun/ hot iron damage etc, would not our current natural hair colour at whatever age, truly be our most perfect hair colour for us? I think it’s the casual/automatic assumption that covering grey is an improvement, as a fact, that is the most problematic for me. If we could see how young many people are when get silvers, we really would lose that association.
It’s important to me to be exact in the words I choose. In no way do I believe that covering gray is always:
A. More flattering – Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Many (like me) are not ready for partial gray because the white hair is obvious on the dark background. Transitions are not always easy. On lighter heads, the white hair virtually disappears and hair colour would gain the woman nothing. To my eye, it absolutely does look younger and more exciting to have the right hair colour on about half the women who colour. On the other half, no colour, even their own at 25, would look better on them than gray.
B. Necessary – My statement above, “Besides covering gray, I can’t think of a time when chemistry improves base hair colour from what Nature gave us…” should be followed by, “…if you don’t want gray”. In that case, chemical colour is an improvement on base hair colour, as in the case of me, because it’s getting me something I want. My situation is therefore improved, if not my hair’s colour.
Summers gray very easily. But nothing applies equally to all women, not even within a Season. Women need advice they can use because they’re going to colour their hair anyhow. I sure am, whether my natural hair colour is theoretically perfect for my genetic colouring or not. I lift my face with makeup and I’m going to lift my hair. I can fully agree that it should not matter to me, that I should welcome the gray, and that many real people gray quite early in life. But the fact is that I am not willing to put my money where my mouth is on that topic. I should be glad to have one lipstick when women in Africa don’t have food. Yes, but I don’t live in Africa. I buy a box of $5.99 colour and invest 20 minutes every few weeks. The payoff outweighs the inputs. If 3 hours and $120 every month were my only option, I’d rethink it, I promise you.
I may not be the right person to talk about the silvering of hair. There are topics about which I feel more strongly. On hair colour, whatever rings your bell as long as it’s a good colour for you. If I ever sound defensive, the women I’m (over)reacting for are those for whom silver hair, or silver in hair, would not be the best choice. For instance, the woman who had children in her 40s and is tired of being asked if she’s their grandmother. To her, leaving her hair silver is someone else’s crusade. To the woman who had an illness after which her hair came back gray/silver, who felt that she’s missed a decade of her life in illness, silver hair makes her feel like she’s missed two. When life spins you too hard, hair colour, like tattoos, is a way of saying, “This one thing, this one part of my own flesh, I still control.”
Many of our choices are redirected from another problem. A cat is ticked at the stray that gets into the garbage Tuesday nights, so he attacks the other cat = redirected aggression. A person taking it out on you because they’re having a major Bad Hair Day has nothing to do with you. They’re redirecting aggression. A woman colouring her hair because illness stole part of her life isn’t making a social statement about Colour Is BetterYoungerPrettierSexier Than Silver. She’s trying to get back some time. Redirection of energy towards distant and seemingly disconnected outcomes consumes huge behaviour resources, the intention as much a mystery to the redirector as the redirectee. I guess this is what psychologists do all day. It’s not just appearance, it’s healing.
A colour analyst sees people closer to undisguised reality than many professions. You just never know someone else’s story. How much of it they want to share is their business but there is always a story, and often it’s a truly hard and heartbreaking one. Humans are vulnerable enough and carry around enough hurt. Sometimes laying the gray hair card on the table along with all the others is one card too many. I’m not defensive of my own hair colour, but the discussion does seem to spark some need to protect all these people I see. And yet, I know that nobody is even remotely attacking them. Quite the opposite.
There are online groups most of them are only too aware of their view of grey hair not too long ago, and besides, they just want women to do what makes them happy. The banding-together/sense of sisterhood comes about not because they think their way is best /only way, but rather because of the sense of being judged by society / many women who colour.
I try to speak to all sorts of women and I try to keep it real-world, no pretty or ugly, no right or wrong. I don’t judge or control your appearance, I just want you to choose from many options demanding equal time and money and be able to pick out those that will really help you.
Anna* is a True Summer in her late 30s with fine hair, a spot on her face that won’t go away, weight that won’t move despite all the work at the gym, trouble sleeping, a recent divorce, and a personal commitment to live up to her greatest potential. To run her company and appear in front of young women, to meet men, to feel like a powerful leader, she feels better with coloured hair. Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter, she looks younger, more vital, and much stronger. On that woman at that stage of her life, her life will not change for the better with thin, white hair. She’ll age visibly and she’ll age mentally. I wonder if hair can lose colour before skin. It’s only coloured by melanin, not hemoglobin or carotene. Anna’s skin is not a day over how our culture perceives 30.
June* is a True Summer with silver hair. It’s magnificent. She is magnificent with it. She’d be out of her mind to come near it with hair colour.
It’s a choice. I so often come back to this great, great question Darren asked: What is it that you want to communicate and to whom? That’s where your answer lies.
Georgette* is 18 with some early graying. Should she have the moral fiber to just wear her real hair colour, despite having heard “What a shame” once too many times, which is to say, once? 18 is shaky enough. If I were Mom and she wanted to colour it, I’d drive her to the store and help pick the colour.
No firm basis, except thinking it looks good on most women. Once dye came along, this 25 colour is often the last looked one that looked just right on most heads. It is a time when we are shown our custom-colour. Sure, our silver is our custom-colour as well, but now we circle back to the top. When women show me their grad photos, I love the colour I see. If I’m being asked for hair colour advice, I request the grad photo, and there are the hue, value, and chroma for your head. It is a specific and more interesting colour, not ‘medium to dark ash brown’. It’s a colour that stylists can use to get that woman right and happy, not wrong and even older looking.
Kate said so well, that
Any diminishing in vitality with silver hair is a perception in the eye of the beholder, driven by society. I get that many women feel differently from me, that it is a personal choice, that lots of women will colour and therefore direction on that is good, and I cherish that each woman has the choice… just so long as it’s not a choice driven by fear, to quote you about not using makeup.
To me, accuracy requires the word silver instead of grey, because each hair that loses pigment is silver/white/colourless, so the overall colour we see on the head depends on the colour(s) of the still-pigmented hairs, and % of silver. Society uses grey for everyone, but that is so not correct. I, for example will never be literally grey, as I don’t have the black hair needed to add to the mix to make grey.
Q: I am curious what happens when silver sisters take off that grey cap at the end – is there a sense that their hair doesn’t belong, the same as many women with chemically-altered hair experience?
A: I wouldn’t say that silver haired women need to adjust after the cap comes off. They adjusted long ago. They’re just looking at a picture they’re used to. Even on True Autumns, the gray is stunning against the warmer clothes. Stunning and strong and interesting. I love these unexpected contrasts and comparisons. They are visually so inspiring.
Q: Once hair begins to silver, do the grays of the palette become better neutrals in clothing, even replacing black for those whose palette included it?
A: Depends on the person and the colour of gray. What colour are the eyes? What type of gray is the hair? A Dark Season with a strong iron gray hair and black eyes remains striking in black, with makeup that looks better than ever. Every feature is like a rhinestone. A Winter with a lighter, softer gray hair may find black too dark. She is more regal, yet still austere, in sharp gray, wearing black in smaller areas if her eyes appear black. At any age, black does define, refine, and outline the colouring and features of Winters, it’s part of how you came to be Winter in the first place, but the amount of it you wear will vary by the woman, even inside a Tone.
For the other groups of natural colouring (Seasons, Tones), for everybody, wearing your hair colour looks good. It looks organized and connected. Your clothing makes perfect sense on you. It feels good to look at. Wear more gray. Should it replace your taupes or beiges? Again, it depends. A Light Spring with creamy silver beige hair still look gorgeous in her ivory and milky peach beige.
In beauty, even within a Tone, there is no one-size-fits-all. If there were, it would mean that there are 12 types of women. Nope.
As you leave your personal colour analysis, you have a gorgeous little booklet that contains 65 colours that harmonize to perfection with the colours in you.
You head straight for your favourite clothing store. Within 10 minutes of being there, you notice that matching those swatches to real clothes isn’t quite so straightforward. Is close enough good enough? It wasn’t when you were sitting in front of the analyst’s mirror.
The harder you try to match those swatches to clothing, the harder it all gets. Maybe there’s another way to go about this. Forget about the little swatches. Look at the entire palette all at once. That’s how you look to others, all your blues, reds, yellows, browns, whites, all churned together at once.
One of the greatest gifts in my life, one that humbles me because I feel I did nothing to earn it, is the woman who trained me. Four years later and I’m still learning so much from her. She is an amazing colour analyst. Terry took a break from PCA. She’ll soon be seeing colour appointments and training again (in Western Michigan). You’ll meet her in an upcoming post. She showed me this most excellent way of appointing a colour to its Tone or Season.
>> Fan the Colour Book all out.
>> Lay it on the fabric.
>> Better yet, look around the store or your closet for two items in similar colours. Even once you get practice at this, without a comparison, our visual system just hangs there, thinking, “So? I’m waiting for your next move here.” Give it a comparison, any comparison, and it gets (gets both in the senses of ‘to understand’ and ‘to fetch’) what you want. We have no idea what a colour is anywhere, in a fabric, in an eye, or in a person’s face, how cool, how dark, how anything, until we compare it to something. If you happened to compare the colours of a face to a calibrated colour ruler, why, now you have a Personal Colour Analysis worthy of the capitals.
All those salespeople who feel they have enough experience to match your foundation by eye, who can “just tell by looking at you”, are the last folks I’d purchase from. That’s not because I don’t trust them from a theoretical POV, even though I don’t. It’s because I’ve wasted more $$ on those cosmetic purchases than any other. They may be the North American Head of Training for Whatever, doesn’t matter. May have more experience but they have the same eyes as everybody else. I’d buy from the new person who would feel better if she tried a few to compare. The more experience a colour analyst has, the more they’ll insist that you have a seat in front of the mirror and watch some drapes change.
Let these random thoughts float through your head:
>> Do these two things belong together, even if the exact colour swatch isn’t there? Often, it won’t be. Why not? Because you have many blues. If the book included them all, there would be no space to show you your span of greens. Or reds.
>> Does the palette look like more than the fabric, as if the swatches are separating from the fabric, or the reverse, where the palette looks dull and easy to ignore on that fabric colour? They should bring out the best and the most in each other. The eye should feel rest and ease, aware of both palette and fabric equally and happily.
We’re looking at a True Autumn 12-Tone Colour Book (from www.truecolour.com.au) on Light Spring fabric. Even though neither the swatch nor fabric colours are exactly as they appear to an eye, you can see that the Autumn colours are rendering the fabric to might-as-well-not-even-be-there. Overpowering clothes do that to us. As you see, they are not bringing out the best in each other. The swatches are separate, pulling up off the fabric, not blending comfortably with it.
>> Look at the reds. Could you make some beautiful lipstick combinations?
These swatches come from the Light Spring book. Again, the fabric in the photo is far more grayed than it really is. Still, they belong. They feel good on the fabric. The lipsticks work, both warm and cool options. Did you feel yourself relax when your eyes moved from the upper photo to this one?
>> Find the oddest, most extreme colours for that Tone. Do they work well with the fabric colour or would you never wear them together? When the harmony is right, there are no unpleasant combinations.
>> Are the neutral beiges/whites/taupes/grays really enhanced or boring? Or changed in some way, like greeny?
These are Light Summer swatches on that Light Spring fabric. Me, I wouldn’t wear the mauve taupe with the yellow green fabric, and it’s way more yellow green in real life.
>> Look for the complementary colours to the fabric colour. The pairs should be downright exciting.
>> Make some colour schemes. Monochromatic, analogous, contrasting. It should be easy.
Light Summer swatches again on Light Spring fabric. Close but no bell ringing. Those greens aren’t great together. That’s not a monochromatic scheme that works.
Are you thinking, “There are no right or wrong answers here. How am I supposed to know if I got it right?” How very astute of you. In French, they say, “Les gouts et les couleurs, ca ne se discute pas.” It means, “There’s no accounting for tastes or colours. Let’s talk about something else. How about religion or politics?”
It means that you can’t be wrong. And from there, you will settle in and get better. If you know your Season and have a coordinated closet, practice seeing harmony there before taking it into stores.
Beauty and belonging are where your eye sees them. Do you know what a split complementary colour scheme is? It begins with the usual red-green, blue-orange, or purple-yellow pair and shifts one of them just a little on the colour wheel. Much more interesting, dimensional, and stimulating than the straight red-green formula.
From your colouring to your Munsell positions on the 3 colour scales to your Tone’s book of swatches, you create your very own piece of art.
Art is partly a formula. Without some feeling, individuality, or expression, it just stays a formula. That’s where you come in.
Answer: No. Never. They can appear to conflict until your colours are correctly analyzed.
I get 3 or 4 emails each month about this. So let’s talk about it, framed around pieces of conversations with real women. It’s the practical application of my digression in the earlier post, How To Match Foundation.
Palette and swatch in this post always refer to colours found within your particular group of colours in the 12 Tone system of colour analysis developed by Kathryn Kalisz. Some of the Tones or Seasons may have similar or identical names with other companies but if their origin isn’t Sci\ART, their colour collections are different. I don’t know how other organizations developed their palettes, what their colours are, or what the desired outcome of their PCA process is. It’s not my place to answer questions about them.
The eye photos in this post are just lovely pictures. They are not textbook examples of the words or the ideas.
If hair/eye colours are not in the palette
I am a Bright Spring with dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, and light skin.
Yes, Spring under Winter influence is often brown eyed, from a glowy topaz jewel yellow to black brown. Many persons of Asian and Celtic origin have this colouring of darkness in hair and eyes and lightness and brightness in skin.
Since this is predominantly Spring, not Winter, the person is sometimes not conspicuously contrasting, though they certainly can be. A brown eye with light skin or hair is fairly contrasting in itself. Sometimes, the Bright Spring eye is so light brown that it’s yellow, like a wolf. It’s quite a thing to see. Or to be, I would think.
not this, but notice the coat colours and the eye-coat harmony, animals are just like us,
The color of my veins, lips, and cheeks are all in my color swatches and flatter me. However, the brown in my eyes and my hair is not in my color swatches and does not flatter me when I wear clothes of that color. How can I wear brown as an eye and hair color but not anywhere else without looking washed out?
You’re wearing the colour you think you see, which is never what colour is. Here is one reason for why it’s harder to figure for some Tones.
There is variation in hair and eye colour in most Seasons, but nowhere more than True Winter and the Brights. I’m not sure of the answer from a genetic perspective. I don’t think anyone can answer the magic of how harmony happens in spite what our eyes think they see. Maybe the mysteries should remain mysteries.
The way I reason it is that we don’t know the exact pigments that make up our hair and eyes. If I showed you 20 brown eyes, could you pick out your own? Would you pick the same brown as your friends would choose? Would you pick the same browns, yellows, oranges, and other colours, that the drapes (consistent with the Sci\ART colour calibrations) identify within your colouring? Probably not, on any count. We do not know which colours make up our final colours until one is draped. If you knew and wore the ingredients that go into your total hair and eye colours, you’d be utterly flattered.
Bright Spring has many yellows, beer and clear cider colours. When they have dark hair, it’s usually root beer and black tea. It is never coffee, which only looks heavy and thick on a colouring that is as far from those as you can get. Lighter brown hair is herbal tea, not orangey-muted-gold, not velvety-dense-brown. It might look ash brown or medium brown but it isn’t. It is clear. While clear means high chroma, and transparency is not a quality by which we define colour (because colour can be bright or soft and still see-through), this hair is like coloured cellophane.
People with green, blue and grey eyes seem to always look great if they match their clothes to their irises.
I would not agree. Blue eyes will match blue drapes or blue clothes in any Season but the best match is only in one. It’s not even a difficult decision. Some aspects of a correct analysis are challenging for a woman to perceive on herself. Achieving the ultimate eye colour is usually easy.
The colour a woman has matched to her eyes all her life is never the best or correct one in my experience. She needs her Colour Book to direct her to her turquoise and only then will her eyes become all they could be. I see women hope they’re wearing their eye colour all the time and most cases, they’re barely in the ballpark.
Blue eyes under Spring influence (one of the 5 possible Seasons) are seldom blue. They’re turquoise, aqua, or cornflower (light blue with very little green, the cornflower being one of the few truly blue flowers, but to me, appears a little violet). It’s a beautiful thing when you find it.
Not just me but a lot of brown-eyed people can’t wear brown.
Quite right, many brown eyed people are Winters of some sort and have very little brown in their palette. And when they’re draped, darned if much of the brown in the eyes suddenly turns black and then they’re wearing their real eye colour at last.
Hair and eye colours as they appear are often not in the True Winter, Bright Winter, and Bright Spring palettes. I think the way it works is that the contributing base pigments are there but the mix isn’t.
You could say to me, “OK then, if I could take colours from my palette and mix them, are you saying that I could theoretically make my hair and eye colour from the swatches? ”
I think so but the truth is that I don’t know for sure if any and every mixture would still guarantee that the hue/value/chroma remain constant. If you mixed complements, you would mute the colour if either of the originals contained the complement of the other. You’d mute the resulting colour into a more muted Season.
To make clear green (say, Winter), you need a blue and a yellow without red, I would think. Could it be done? Winter colours contain red, but are there a blue and a yellow without red? I’m not enough of a colour mixer to know.
Thinking out loud now…To make clear orange (Spring), you’d need a red and a yellow that contain no blue. That seems possible, Spring colours are not blue-based, though some contain blue.
Clear violet – needs a blue that leans red and a red with some blue in it, neither of which contain the complement of violet, yellow. That could make a brilliantly clear violet, even a violent violet, if it’s necessary – sure it is, for Winters. How is that done for Spring where yellow appears in every colour? Haven’t figured that out yet.
Can I make amber or warm brown eyes with a True Winter palette? I think so. True Winter contains yellow, very saturated, a little blue without turning it green. It also contains the other primaries of red and blue. Three primaries make brown.
True Winter and the Bright Tones are intricate and unique types of colouring. Not inconsistent, just complex. Which is why I suggest they think twice before colouring their hair. I have never seen it be improved enough to balance the cost, time, and upkeep.
I can match clothes to the rim around my iris (which is sort of a dark periwinkle) and it is quite flattering but if I wear clothes that are the same brown as my irises I look washed out.
So it’s not the right brown that you’re wearing, it’s just the one you think you see as the amalgamation of all the many colours in your iris. Good call to notice that the rim of the iris is different and if you can match it, a superlative colour on every person.
How can brown-eyed people can be any Season, but only Autumns can look great wearing brown clothes and makeup?
There are a million versions of brown eyes. Brown eyes can be in any Season, but they won’t all be the same brown. Same with the 12 Tone palettes. Many Tones have brown choices but they’re not the same brown.
Nine in ten women only find out their real eye colour when they are draped. Those brown-eyed people you refer to in your question and the browns that you refer to looking great on Autumns… very unlikely the same brown.
Are cool hair and warm skin possible?
I was snow white blonde as a child, but am now a dark, ashy blonde. It’s a cool colour.
Dark ash blonde could be found on a cool, neutral, or warm person. Apparent hair colour isn’t tightly tied to the true heat level of your colouring, though your overall contributing colours and appearance are always 100% in harmony. Every person. The true heat level of your hair is perfectly consistent with the heat level of your skin and everything else.
We could take your dark, ash brown hair and place it next to five other dark, ashy heads. It would be interesting to see whose is cool, whose warm, and whose is neutral in between cool and warm. I would guess that your hair wouldn’t be the coolest if we compared it on a scale. It might be cool-ish, but that’s not Absolute Cool.
Because you know, Absolute Cool and Absolute Warm, they’re rare in human colouring. Kind of extreme. I haven’t seen a True Autumn or True Winter in ages. I see several Neutral Season versions of Autumn and Winter every month. The thing to wrap your head around is Neutral. What does it mean? What does it look like?
Just playing the odds, you are neither warm nor cool in skin and hair. If you’re like eight or nine people in ten, why wouldn’t you be, you’re a Neutral Season that might lean towards cool.
Whatever you are, cool, warm, or somewhere in between, the setting is the same in all your features. One genetic code governs your paintbox.
But I have medium light skin with golden undertones and no rosiness in the cheeks. All I see is yellow. Wouldn’t that be warm?
Colour analysis, which guides every colour decision you will make, isn’t about what you look like or appear to look like. Your natural colouring group, Tone, Season, is determined in the one way that can truthfully reveal it: how the colours in you react to other colours. Nobody can know their truthful colouring correctly without testing their own skin’s reactions against an organized and measured set of colours in a colour-neutral environment. If your colours react the way you expect them to, you would be that one person in 50 who knew ahead of time what was going to happen. That’s why it’s so hard to do from books and photos and impossible from verbal descriptions.
Your skin probably is light-medium. What colour your undertone is, or even whether it’s warm/cool/neutral, nobody knows till we test and measure it. Why am I so sure? Because nobody who comes to a colour analysis appointment is ever wearing their correct foundation – until we solve that question forever more and show you how to make the best choice.
If my hair is overly golden, my skin looks red. When it’s natural dark ashy color, highlighted with platinum, it looks tanned and alive. Just natural it is bland. Dark red wasn’t good. But when I went a more natural dark blonde with subtle red tones, I got many compliments. Dark golden blonde, more of a caramel, washes me out, as does all over light blonde with no contrasting darker pieces. Can someone have a seemingly warm complexion with cooler toned ash hair?
Actually it’s really common. Usual, in fact. Though there’s lots of good colour observation here, the description could occur in many of the 12 types of colouring. Sounds to me like you have cool-neutral skin with a little warmth, but placed next to wrong hair colour, it will look warmer than it really is. You may have a false yellow overtone, like many cool Neutral Seasons, and be interpreting that as your golden undertones and yellow warmth from the previous question.
Too yellow hair does make faces red, especially True and Soft Summer, I find. But then, there’s a disconnect in your comments. Dark ash with platinum sets up big distance between lightest and darkest, which I find looks right on nobody.
On Summer, their light/dark range isn’t this wide, since it goes from pastel to mid-dark, not icy light to very dark (which is Winter). And so it follows that their best highlight is not that far from the base colour, or else they look striped and severe.
On Winter, they do have this big light/dark range but putting it in the hair is only disruptive, breaking up their force. The randomness looks messy when placed on a colour language that is very far from random. Of course, nothing applies to everybody and you can’t generalize about hair colour across an entire Tone. Some Lights are not flattered by highlights either.
3/4 of women would say their natural hair colour is bland. Not remotely true but media has taught us that it is so they could sell us hair colour. The hair industry, ay? Their biggest problem is that they think they’re fine. Many women would not attest to that – the same ones who bought $40 a bottle of wrong foundation colour. Women love their colourist most of the time. We feel real friendship and loyalty. But regarding our faith that we really are wearing our very best hair colour? Not so sure. Hair is a trend-driven industry – highlights, lowlights, we’ve never tried copper, let’s go lighter. We only have one skin colour. It is illogical that we could be flattered by five hair colours. Become the expert of your own appearance.
Until you are wearing your best clothes and makeup, your natural hair colour will not appear as beautiful and perfect as it is – so I advise women after a PCA to make one trip to the salon to get the heat level set right and come closer to their natural colour. Then leave the hair for a few weeks and work on the clothes and makeup. Your eyes need time to readjust to the real original you and to absorb how your better colours affect your apparent hair colour by making it look perfect and ideal. Then you can really see your hair colour and you can go back to the salon, hopefully only one more time, and finish the fine tuning.
Also, once a woman has had many hair colours, she and those who have seen all those colours can’t make a solid judgment any longer. There’s just too much history swirling around. Someone outside your box needs to touch the reset button. I nominate your friendly neighbourhood colour analyst.
I am at a loss as to what color to dye my hair.
I’m at a loss too till your colours are accurately analyzed. You are like 98% of the real people in the real world who seem conflicting. You’re not. Nobody is. Everyone’s colours make complete sense.
Once we have your Tone understood, every single aspect of your colouring and the colour decisions to follow are consistent and coherent. It’s not even hard. Once we know the truth, each one of us is very logical and connected in our colouring.
But. Even knowing your Tone, I still couldn’t give blanket hair colour advice that would cover every woman equally well. Everyone makes her own darkness adjustment within a Tone. Not everyone is necessarily improved by departure from her natural hair as it grows out of her head. And for nobody is this more true than the Bright Seasons.
Art and Science
Not being able to explain a thing doesn’t make it not true.
C. said it so beautifully here,
…the science of light, the discovery that it is both particle and wave and how it behaves erratically when observed. So nature is evasive and we can not reduce everything in the world around us to neat mathematical equations
….artists working in isolation through history have been representing through symbol what scientists have been discovering in the lab at the same(ish) time and not even known it. Think of the cubists and surrealists relating back to Einstein’s new world of curved space and the theory of relativity, or the complex inherent patterns in Jackson Pollocks’ work reflecting a new understanding of the complex, previously overlooked patterns in nature.
It seems artists, at least revolutionary ones, had/have a deep unconscious understanding of the stuff of the universe and represent it through symbol before we have the words or the science to explain.
All of these threads…point in the same direction. Colour theory, it seems, is not about finding the best lipstick. It is recognizing we are made of the stuff of the stars and finding our place in the universe.
We share zodiac signs, Meyers Briggs types, and Season. How could we not have a day of the analysis and philosophy of beauty and self?
Here we begin. Cuteness beyond words.
Draping and Black
Once she had a chance to review the journey of her colour analysis, Lilia asked,
At first, we did the four drapings of black, brown, silver, and gold. We saw that black gave a severe look and was the worst followed by silver and gold which all gave something good and bad, and then brown that felt comfy but not striking.
So why in the world would I wear that black color on me if I know it was the worst on the first drapes we saw. If there is some color I should combine as a basic and then adjust to my Tone, why could it be more the brown that was the best of the four ? (from what I remember but maybe I have a bias in my memory?)
You’re remembering the very first drapes where the categories are still very broad. When I use those first four drapes, I am not thinking in terms of Season decisions. We were gathering information about what your skin does placed next to different colours. Only True Seasons will have definite Yes/No reactions, but they’re 1 person in 10.
We will see better and worse effects with all four of these early drapes. Dark Winter often looks comfortable in True Autumn if you ignore the yellow because they have a little muting and that type of warmth. Their eyes often connect with some Spring colour characteristics – why? Because they find and harmonize with the higher saturation. I think in terms of “skin better with gold than yellow, eyes better with higher saturation” rather than “Winter over Summer”. All four of these first drapes can be equally success and compromise, even the one we might pick as best.
Black wasn’t Lilia’s worst. It was the best in some ways, despite too much shadowing. Summer silver grey was non-existent, diminishing of her and diminished by her. The drapes have an effect on us and we have an effect right back on them. The skin was fogged in, cloudy, yellowish, almost polluted – what Winter colours do to Summer colours when held side-by-side. Winter’s white makes Summer’s white look yellowish even though it’s not, it’s slightly blue-pink-muted. Only black cleared the smog to perfect the skin tone, removed the jaundice of Spring and Autumn, and brought definition to the features. Too much definition? Certainly, but we adjust that later on in the process.
Those first drapes represent the extremes of that pure Tone. Very few people wear them perfectly. I haven’t seen a True Winter (or True Autumn) in forever. Yes, it is a compromise to choose black as the best, but at the first drapes, everything is a compromise unless you’re a True Season. Plus, our eyes hadn’t yet learned all they were going to. They had many more comparisons to absorb. The process adjusts and adjusts. That True Winter black is too blue-black and too shiny but there are many blacks, just like many blues, and so on. Dark Winter’s is a little warmer, a little duller. Extract some Winter blue, hold it in front of a diesel exhaust for a moment (meaning add a little Autumn gold), et voila! Dark Winter white extracts a little of True Winter’s blue and adds a drop of dark chocolate(Autumn gold).
I don’t suggest all black on anyone, even in your best black. It looks Babushka. It makes a person look older. Colour is younger without even trying. Head to toe black is outdated, an urban myth, an energy flat line. But Dark Winter can and should wear black. It is a very basic wardrobe colour on that Tone. Some Dark Winters feel that dark brown or dark blue are more modern than black to wear with other colours and I don’t disagree at all. With black, the pendulum went too far and it’s time to center it again.
On Dark Winter, it’s only black that I don’t love best when it’s shiny. Shine exaggerates. Light gets lighter, warm seems warmer, cold, colder. All the other colours in the Tone are equally good matte or shiny. My opinion only, Bright Winter is shinier than even Winter’s usual high shine. Dark Winter is the least super shiny.
I take a lot of heat about this particular green. In the Masterpiece Drapes we show at the end of the session, there are 15 stunning colours for that Tone. About the green, every single woman says, “Are you sure?” She is uncomfortable and squirmy. She declares, “Ok, well, I’ll never own anything in this colour!” Some go out and it’s the first purchase they make (that’s usually the woman who’s given me the most heat over it )
I still only own it as a facing on the collar of a red vest. I don’t remember it from my own PCA. But what did I know? We analyzed my family of 5 and found 3 True Seasons and 2 Neutral Seasons that were the same. Meant nothing to me. We could have been 5 Bright Springs and that would have seemed normal.
In a year, a woman owns an item from about half of her palette. She is comfortable in her more perfect makeup colours, and she pulls out the palette and thinks, “Look at that colour. Why have I never seen it before? Why do I not own anything in that colour?” And the world of you opens up a tiny bit more.
The green is important in the wholeness of you. Every one of your colours is. We get caught up wearing our six best but no landscape is complete with only that. We need our earth and bark, our bitters and sweets, to present our totality. We are a balance of our light and shadow places. The circle of life, the equilibrium that must exist. Your colours can access parts of you that you can’t reach on the day of your colour analysis. You don’t know about these levels and regions of you yet. The colours are looking further down the road of you.
There is a tendency to see these final drapes as 15 turtlenecks. They are wherever you insert them. Your eyes will capture one button on a friend’s coat. A navy coat is far more interesting with a narrow green band sewn into to the cuff or lining, or the whole lining!, than it would be as a solid navy block. The person is communicated more completely, as the multilayered individuals that we are. How amazing is it when your clothing can be that accurate about you?
The One and Only Magic
Today, I wore lipstick and I just saw my lips, no harmony, just biiiiiiig lip color! I went back home and indeed it was a true winter sample. But on the palette it was good and did harmonize well! Also my coat is a navy blue, not as dark as the one in the fan but with more saturation and clearer. Funny how yesterday with a deeper blue/and black, I got complimented each time crossing someone and today, nothing. Seems true winter colors on me are awful and it makes such a difference switching from dark winter to true winter!
No question, it is unbelievable how the little adjustments make a giant difference in how you look and feel once your eyes and heart are sensitized to it. If you can’t quite tell if a colour matches for saturation, look at it another way. Is it too blue? True Winter is where you may find most errors, but they’ll all be too blue.
How close your choices have to be to the swatches is something many women wonder about. Next post: 3 Weeks After Your Colour Analysis.
I wonder if colour analysts agree that we don’t meet people and work at guessing their Season before the draping begins. But subsconsciously, we analyze every person we meet – and for me, on every aspect of our interaction. True Winter will wear makeup to the appointment. I’ve only met 5 or 6 and it has not failed. They will find a way. The Lights will say, “Sheer is never sheer enough.” Dark Winter will tell me fairly early on what they don’t like. Lilia doesn’t like any version of purple, from the iced violet that is usually a favorite, to any other version. Burgundy felt much better.
She said, “I showed my PCA pictures to some people, and each time it’s Ooooooh that purple is SO beautiful on you! Dammit! As I see it, it is really a big deal because it’s the undertone.”
Yes, approximately what I see as the undertone of Dark Winter. As you’ll read in my book, I don’t really know what undertone is as a biological layer. Nobody ever defines it in a way that makes sense to me so I do what I always do – I make up my own version till I hear a better one. The book (RTYNC over in the right column) shows the undertones as I see them today, though for some (like Bright Winter), there were a couple of choices (not Dark Winter).
I’ve read that undertone is the colour of our different bloods. That implies structural changes to hemoglobin, doesn’t it? It’s not implausible that it could change its molecular structure enough to alter its colour without impeding its binding with oxygen. Who’s going to fund the research to prove it? What drug could be developed based on the data? Undertone is a bit of an aura feeling I get, though I’d never put that in a book. It’s like the sum total of the glow of the individual. Does that imply that I can see it before the draping? No way. My eyes need to see the reactions of your skin just as much as yours do.
Lilia: So from what I understand, I chose the only colour I hate in the world to be my very number 1 good colour.
Ok, Number 1, it’s funny.
But on a psychological level, philosopher that I am, I’m sure we have an intuition for colour. I’m sure we deeply know and recognize what’s good or not. When I see my wardrobe I can find a lot of consistency with Dark Winter. Why would I have eliminated the best colour on me ?
Christine: Yes, it is funny. And, for me, fun. I love to take you as far as possible from the woman you arrived as. I want to open every window in your mind that you will allow so you can see yourself as you never have. Your choice of words is so good, “I chose the only colour I hate…”, because you did.
Many women wonder why they have aversions to their best colour, even on a larger scale of “Why would I eliminate my entire Season?” I don’t know but I’ve talked about it or around it a lot. We lose our path. We hear other voices than our own from when we were that little face up at the top. We believe compliments to be accurate when in fact, compliments are always always emotionally invested. We don’t love who or what we are. We need permission to be our real selves. So many things.
Lilia: Is there something to fear about being beautiful?
C: Yes, I think there is. One woman said she actually felt uncomfortable being noticed for this reason. Like separating herself from the safety net of her human tribe. Like having to live up to a newer, bigger, fuller, stronger level of herself. When I pray, I don’t ask for cash or prizes. I ask for the health, happiness, and safety of those I love. And I ask that I can be enough to achieve the things I want. Could that be it? Could we feel afraid that we’re not going to be enough for what this new face communicates?
Lilia: Yesterday, I was wearing good colours. I was complimented and I felt SO awkward. That was so unusual. I didn’t expect that effect. I thought that I already had good colours in my makeup and clothes base. I felt that I just needed a few changes to put all of them together and the difference wouldn’t be that much that anyone would notice except me.
ERROR. I discovered there is a “wow” effect. There is a magical effect. (that magical effect that I didn’t have with TW colours today). Now, I can now recognize it very well when “the magic” is here.
C: Those photos we took are striking in a visceral way. Only the exposure and saturation are raised a trace to show the true colours. Often with those last drapes and the makeup on, my heart rate speeds up. It’s very physiologic. The beauty of it makes me light-headed. My breathing patterns change because my brainwaves are altered. It’s not just me, I just have thought about it more.
Lilia: Colours are waves. Anybody who had already knows a little physics knows how waves and frequency work: when you add the same ones together and you have a signal amplified. Adding contrary ones gives a zero signal. I just realized today how obvious it is to link colour analysis with the theory of amplification in physics.
M: Synchrony >> Synergy = More than the sum of its parts. Interference theory.
You get better at seeing magic when you compare closer and farther over the next few weeks of learning your colours. The closer to the palette, the better. With every shopping expedition, you will compromise less.
Reading to Grow Your Soul
Lilia brought this into my world. You will feel closer to who you want to be and how you’re going to get there. From before The Secret took over our co-creation paradigms.
Click on The Game of Life and How to Play It.
If you re-read or remember any part of it because you never heard it said that way, then donate.
Use of Images
The images contained in this article are of private individuals, not celebrities. I consider the permission for me to use them as a privilege. It is my intention to protect these women’s privacy and generosity. If you use any of the photos without permission, I will seek legal counsel. I do not want to have to reduce the beauty and detail of the photographs with watermarks.
This is a learning site. Please do use my words with credit back to the web page you copied and pasted them from. If you mix up my meaning and get the message wrong, feel free to omit any reference back to me.
The video above is here at YouTube.
I need to refine something I said in Part 1. I’m grateful to anyone who steps forward and challenges me. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, it’s next to impossible to do. I know you’re questioning my ideas, not me personally, so please do as Rachel did and respond honestly. We all learn something.
that A) all colors in the palette should work equally well for anyone in any combination. This, in and of itself was easy to understand, but when combined with concept B) if you don’t use the proper amount of contrast for your type (i.e. true winter is a high contrast type, so it needs high contrast combinations) you will be expressing less than your potential.
She responded, “Now, each one of these ideas works fine on its own, but when you put them together, I believe there is a contradiction going on.”
Good points, Rachel. I wasn’t clear in my thinking. How about this:
Here at YouTube.
Rachel thought about it and asked,
Maybe what you meant was: stick with your type’s contrast level. If you are a season influenced by winter, that will be high. If you are a season influenced by summer, that will be low. Other seasons: medium. It works regardless of whether you are an exception to the seasonal stereotype. Have I got it now?
Yes, that’s what I meant – and that nobody needs to even think much about it except Winters.
I can’t think of any Season that couldn’t go to the highest extreme in their palette. Is it necessary to refine them? Only for the three Winters, not Bright Spring or Dark Autumn who also have some of Winter’s colour properties in them.
Also an important point: the size of the lightest and darkest doesn’t matter to establish the value contrast range. A band on a collar, a very shiny piece of platinum, a row of black navy buttons, white stitching…as long as the two extremes are present, the viewer will register them, the range is set, and the point is made. Adjust the size of the lightest and darkest blocks to the overall darkness level you want to achieve.
Would you sometimes need to heighten the contrast level offered by your Tone’s palette? I don’t think so. I don’t know of anyone within a Season who needs more contrast than their colours provide, regardless of the distance between hair and skin’s apparent darkness level. To do this, you have to lighten your lights, darken your darks, or both. We know that the 3 Colour Scales go up and down independent of each other (meaning you can have saturated colour that’s light or dark, warm or cool) but also that when you change one parameter, you influence the other two. To lighten your lights and/or darken your darks, what did you have to do? Add white? Yellow? Blue? In most cases, you’ll alter the colour right into one of the other 11 Tones and out of harmony with your natural colours.
A few more questions from readers about True Winter.
Here at YouTube.
Who would wear very high value contrast (light to dark) and very high colour contrast (complementary colours, like the skirt and scarf mentioned earlier or similar shapes of nearly equal size)? A Bright Winter.
Like Dark Winter, she has a better white than True Winter’s so-white-it’s-blue. Retail reality probably means that she’ll just buy the TW white. She is the lightest of the 3 Winters and I find she is better in coal than the dark, dense pitch black of True and Dark Winter. The 3 Winters do go all the way to B&W but I see their pure unadulterated form best on True. Dark and Bright need to adulterate.
Important for me to be reminded that nothing applies to everybody. In our group on facebook, we talk about colour as it applies to different body types, even within the same Season. No two women will apply the same palette in the same way. Partly, that’s just taste. As the ladies pointed out, tapped in as they are to elegance and balance in body line as much as colour, (applying David Kibbe’s 13 Image Identities from his 1987 book, Metamorphosis), women of the same Season but different body line will combine from their palettes differently. As a Dramatic Classic Dark Winter, my colour contrasts are higher, with heavy use of neutral colours. A Theatrical Romantic Dark Winter might find that too stark and minimal. She would wear more colours together at once, using more of the mid-range colours together. She looks and moves in a more delicate and animated way than I do, and she looks right when she repeats that energy in how she dresses, applies makeup, and chooses hairstyles.
Everybody adjusts everything in the way that’s right for them. It’s easy once you know how. One afternoon, you and I together. You will be amazed at the new tools in your toolbox.
Women bring their own foundation to their colour analysis. One in eight has the best colour choice possible for her skin. Seems apt to talk about it.
The Wrong Hair Colour Merry Go Round
If the hair is too warm the skin is too yellow. You will be matched to too warm a foundation. You will look warmer than you are. Your hair colourist will keep warming up your hair, not noticing that your face is getting yellower, redder, and oilier looking. You will keep applying more makeup. Clothing colours will get more and more out of the loop because you feel something is off and can’t tell what it is. Coping with picking right clothing feels overwhelming.
Solution: Wear your correct clothing colours to go shopping. Tie back your hair with a correct coloured scarf till it can be fixed.
The Try-To-Match-My-Eyes Merry Go Round
We do not know our true eye colour simply by looking at it. Uploading the eye photo and extracting the colours can be surprisingly revealing. Likely not one of them will be what you think your eye colour is. The problem here is that you’ve taken your eye out of its context, meaning its surrounding colours in your face and hair. With colour, context is a deal breaker.
Many Light Summers try to match their eye colour in clothing. They can feel that their eye is more than just blue. They can feel that their eye is hazy, not Caribbean ocean clear. They gravitate to Autumn’s teal. That’s more than blue and hazy in its own muted way. On them, this colour looks bigger and darker than they are, like wearing curtains, so they amp up the makeup to match the teal. The young, fresh, sexy appeal of Light Summer evaporates. Dark makeup on light-coloured faces drags everything downward. On everyone, it’s light colour that lifts. Foundation then becomes too warm, dark, and heavy in texture. And on it goes.
Given comparisons, turns out they were close. Their true eye colour is Light Summer turquoise. Not only blue. Hazy. She was so close but got the exact type and amount of heat wrong. How could anybody know unless they were tested in a controlled and correct environment? The apparent similarities are definitely there, but oh what a difference those last little adjustments make in the final image. 10 years on your face or a little more than that.
Often, the Light Summer/Soft Autumn divide isn’t a decision I make till fairly late in the PCA process. Light Summer often wears Soft Autumn warmth in hair, which looks like a heavy hat, like wearing a crochet tea cozy on a shorter-looking person.
Solution: Have thy colours analyzed and take control of thine own appearance. Your Colour Book has your eye colours exactly, all of them.
Wait a minute here. Did I just say that your 12 Tone Colour Book based on the 12 colour collections derived by Sci\ART founder Kathryn Kalisz contains every single one of your colours in every person all the time?? Surely not. You’re a golden eyed, medium brown haired Bright Winter. Show me those in the Bright Winter swatches. As time goes on and I see more, literally and figuratively, I have come to this:
Digression: Every One Of Everyone’s Colours Are In Kathryn’s 12 Tones
I draped a True Winter man. In the Luxury Drapes (Final Drapes), his wife and I could easily see blue and purple colours within the gray of his beard. We have all seen hair so black it’s blue. The brown haired Bright Winter has unique, special hair very unlike Summer medium brown. Someone might call them both medium brown or ash brown. If the hair is on your head and you’ve never stood beside a Summer medium brown and compared, you might think it’s the same. But it’s not. Put Summer’s medium ash brown hair colour on this head and she looks nearer to death.
I have learned the lesson that colours are never what I think they are. What if the swatch books developed by Kathryn, with every colour fully consistent with every other in all 3 dimensions of colour, were 100% right? About every colour in every person, skin, hair, eyes, teeth, veins, the whole deal.
What if we are wrong thinking that a warm brown eye in True Winter is an anomaly? How audacious of us to know better than Nature and a genetic code we barely comprehend. From the track record of getting things right, Nature is out far ahead of humans. She deserves the benefit of the doubt. What if it’s perfectly rational and reasonable that a Light Summer have brown eyes or red hair, even if we can’t see those colours per se in the swatch book? Humans couldn’t explain rain or reproduction not so long ago.
Nature gets everyone 100% consistent. Every feature. No exceptions. Our entire biology is supervised by one genetic code. Every one of your original pigments are in the swatch books. I’d even extend this to include apparent surface colour of the skin, meaning the colour foundation we buy, whether you appear yellow, orange, brown, pink, or white. It’s the mixtures and how they come out in your body that may not be in the swatch books. But I would bet that you could sit down with your swatches as pots of paint and create all your colours just as they appear on your body from those pots of paint. Lots of ways to make the brown of an amber Winter eye. Brown needs three primary colours and Winter has all three. How our eye looks as an amalgamated colour and what pigments participated in the first place are not the same, I’m certain of it.
You literally have thousands of colours in you that could have been in the personal colour analyzed palettes. The Winter amber eye is not like the Soft Autumn or Bright Spring one. Test them with comparisons. I can guarantee that they won’t be identical.
You know that I write this website because I’m trying to figure it all out too. Convince me I’m wrong. Please. All I want is to understand the truth.
The “Why that just disappears into your neck” Merry Go Round
Don’t assume the salesperson knows how to match foundation correctly regardless of how slick he/she is about it. She may have gone to a weekend course. She does want you to look great but she has pressures of her own from higher up. She only has her product line to pick from. Mall lighting is the cheapest they can install.
Holding plastic swatches to your face is not enough. Stripes on arms and hands is useless. One stripe on the face and it’s a match – so not good enough. Maybe holding up plastic discs to your skin is acceptable at the drugstore if there are no samples, but at the department store? The nuances of the pigment mixture and the chemistry of our body are just the beginning of the shortcomings of coloured plastic.
Our visual system is comparison based. This is a given. It is how human brain structure is organized. There is no point in fighting it. If you have a hair or eyelash stuck in your mascara wand, do you hold it up against a black wall or a white wall to see it?
You need 4 or 5 stripes on the side of the cheek and jaw. Wait 60 seconds for it to fuse with the skin if it’s going to. Look at it for another 120 seconds and don’t make decisions. Only notice that the longer you look, the more different the stripes become from each other. Now pick the one that’s hardest to see. Can’t tell? Smear them out more on the face.
If you can’t tell if a blouse is your green, go around the store and pick out a few green things. No need for them to be your Season. The hot minute your eye is given a range, it gets busy because it knows how to do comparison. It will position the colour in your perception quite accurately. Staring and thinking and struggling will only take you so far. It’s like forcing a memory. It just goes further away. Give your eye what it wants: comparison. Then your brain says “This, I get. Now I see what you want from me. OK, no problem. Here you go. Here’s your answer.”
Solution: Insist on several stripes. Do the waiting of 60 and 120 seconds. Remove the obvious Nos. Start again. Ask for samples. If it feels like a selling game authority conflict for a single second, run to your nearest Sephora store.
Who’s zooming who?
The company is not doing you a favour by offering samples. The markup on this stuff is a zillion million %. The company’s bosses live in castles. Do not be too grateful.
Think of it like this. You are doing the company a favour by offering them a moment of your attention out of your day. You are doing them an even bigger favour by giving them the willingness to bring their product into your home and to apply it on your body and offer it yet more attention.
They’re going to recover the cost of those samples in their first next sale.
Ending On A Happy Note
I have a Dark Winter soul sister who brought her gorgeous daughter to learn what she could look like by choosing certain colours over others. When Cheryl (whom you’ve met before in You Know Your Colours – Now What?) and I met, I felt this reciprocity thing, like I was talking to myself (we do not look alike). A common Dark Winter feeling is “I can tell it like it is or I can waste everyone’s time being all careful.” She and I share it in spades. We laugh about it. She brought me this pack of gum as a gift.
It was a week ago and I’m still laughing. When I walk the dog, I hope the neighbours don’t drive past and see this lone woman laughing all by herself. I’m typing and laughing. I love my friend, Cheryl.
(The photo is linked to a site with a lot of other funny stuff. You too could be sitting alone in traffic ROTFL.)
Still lunar and fluid like all Summer, still vaporous, but with a dimensional quality, like a silvery apparition, the hologram we discussed in Part 1. Soft Summer does not have a feeling of steps. What these fairly-light and fairly-dark colours do is flow smoothly.
“Can the Soft Summer archetype as you model it have a warmer embodiment?…mostly we’re compared to water spirits (which imagery I do love). I wonder if we could have a warmer side that’s maybe more of a mountain spirit? I do have warm-leaning eyes and some warmth in my hair, but yes, the SA drapes turn me yellow. Even so, gold, brass, copper, and rose gold are better on me than silver or pewter, which tend to just sit there on me.”
She makes an important point that applies to many Soft Summer. That warmer incarnation is certainly in my head, but maybe not always in my words and images. Something that comes up often for me is that I see many who are very borderline Soft Summer/Soft Autumn. They’re like the neutralest of the Neutrals, positioned almost even between those two Neutral Seasons. To see the eyes alone, you’ll pick the warmer Season for sure, except that the skin yellows with drapes. On these women, silver (not overly cold and shiny) and gold (not overly yellow and shiny) are about equal.
Soft Summer warms and solidifies significantly relative to True Summer imagery. In my book (over in the right column), we went from a lake to a forest. Hopefully, the Polyvores below portray that.
About shimmer, Paisley said,
As long as the iridescence doesn’t take the color too high, I think iridescent makeup is gorgeous on us. Also your makeup style depends on your Kibbe. Having been identified as a Romantic, I was relieved to read Kibbe’s recommendation that even daytime makeup should have some sparkle. I think very softly glowing making adds to the misty factor, as do finishing powders that are pearlescent. The point being to keep it soft-focus — it’s can’t go toward metallic in any way. But glowing and pearlescent is gorgeous on us, IMO.
And IMO, you’re exactly right, Paisley. I can not say it as well as a woman who lives it.
Seems to me that part of the shimmer, maybe all of it, is explained by the equiluminant property of this palette. Rendered in B&W, it would appear to be just a few shades of grey and much of the detail would disappear. Bring in colour and the combinations are pure melody. Everyone of the 12 Seasons soars depending on what you can do with it. For Soft Summer, it’s in the allure that happens when these colours are worn together on this type of colouring.
Why? Because vision in our brain operates on two parallel tracks. The colour system recognizes faces, objects, and details. The B&W system sees movement, depth, and position. In equiluminant compositions or outfits, the colorblind B&W track won’t quite be able to tell the location of the elements. But the colour track will see the elements well. This disconnect gives these compositions an unstable, shimmery, unearthly feeling. We talked about it in Part 1. Sorry for repeating, it is so amazing to me.
The SD body has presence. The horizontal shoulder line is substantial and the vertical line equally so. I am not a Kibbexpert, but narrow, petite, or slender wouldn’t be words I’d associate with Soft Dramatic. If someone picked those words for you over Amazonian, I’d have to wonder about another Image Identity. If you look at Images for Raquel Welch, she is luscious-yes, dumpling-no. Compared to other body types, these are a little burly. A lot of size, strength, and length in the upper and lower body.
Kibbe Soft Dramatic (SD)
- broad shoulders, a strong horizontal line
- a long bold sweeping vertical line
- drape, flow, light fabric ; soft plush – so far, great on Soft Summmer
- shiny fabric – for Soft Summer, this looks like the lustre of pearl and abalone shell ; go past it and your colouring will make the fabric shinier than it is and the fabric will make your face more muted
Many Summers ask if they look good in pearls. They absolutely do, taking into account your body’s geometry. Classics wear the classic strand(s) better than one big-huge piece. Dramatic bodies need big and geometric shapes to include the necessary angularity that balances who they already are.
We’ve talked about what looks like black and white on you in Black and White for 12 Seasons. Once you learn to manipulate what you wear to look like B&W or black&red or whatever on you without actually wearing those colours, you have cracked the code. You can achieve any look without ever venturing into unflattering colour by knowing how your own colouring exerts influence over what you wear. How do you do this? Wear your 12 Season Sci\ART palette. Job done.
Mr. K talks about bold and dramatic colour combinations. Great. Use your palette and go wild. Don’t compare your bold and dramatic to how Mr. Spock would get there.
Contrast levels are high here. First, it increases the drama and boldness. Second, I’ve rethought this whole contrast thing – 3! videos coming up about that in another post.
- Head to Toe.
- T with rounded edges, always the vertical and horizontal lines.
- Luxe and glamour.
- Colour repetition works well to give flow and continue a vertical line.
- Not stiff, tight, shapeless, sharp of drape.
- Lots of length. Strong geometrics with soft edges.
- If you don’t like the muted purples, don’t wear them as clothes. But they make darn good eyeshadow.
- Wear your hair colour on your feet.
Enlarged the jewelry to be big. With her size and the very generous amount of Yang, jewelry needs to be scaled way up or she’ll dial it down into a dime store trinket.
For the day of the week you go to the office, not the opera, there are shoes here that won’t punish your back and feet. The guys wouldn’t put up with that. Why should we?
Soft Summer Hair Colour
This came up on facebook but this is a good place to insert it. Whatever your Kibbe or Season,
When do highlights in the hair look right? When the distance between the lightest and darkest approximates that in the rest of the colouring (except if you’re a Winter (where contrast rules are unique and addressed in those 3! videos)). That’s how the hair can be a realistic extension of the head.
Summer’s light colours are pastels, more ‘colourful’ than Winter’s icy colours. Also, their darks don’t get extremely dark. So there is not a big distance between the lightest and darkest colours. Soft Summer begins from a darker base colour position than the other Summers. Applying the pastel concept, their highlight will be darker than the other Summers too. Message for colourist: don’t overbleach or add back toners that are too light.
Use a taupe highlight, like medium mushroon, for a tone on tone look. The colour is in your swatches. It is cooler than it is warm. But be careful. Someone sees warmth in the eye and the very neutrality of the skin and overestimates the warmth. Soft Summer is often getting coloured way too light and yellow so the face goes oily and yellow. This is not a butterscotch light, it’s taupe.
Also be careful again. That dusty quality in the hair is essential to bring the roses out of the skin. I mean, essential. Don’t stare at your hair colour and not see the whole like we do. Don’t compare your hair to anyone except other perfect Soft Summer hair, like Princess Kate. Would she look better with saturated hair? No way. Highlights? Absolutely not to me.
Start with a colour a couple of shades lighter than the base, usually a medium ash brown And be careful once again. Chemical colour is often very saturated and looks darker than expected, like saturated cosmetics do. So you might even go a few shades lighter than the base to compensate.
If you can keep 80% of the hair as totally unprocessed, much better to give the skin harmony and perfecting potential that chemistry so skillfully removes with chemical pigments. Make highlights filaments, not chunks.
How about this? Look at the before. Cooler than warm but not pure ash cool silvery brown. The highlights on the right side of your screen (not the model) are pretty good in the lower half of the hair. On the other side, the eye can get caught up on the too-light strands. Soft Summer’s total expression is Summer colours in shade. Still, those too light strands are at least cool beige, not platinum, not yellow or orange. The base is pretty darn good for a Soft Summer. I like it. (IDK if this model is a Soft Summer, it’s just about the hair).
The body types being referred to below come from David Kibbe’s excellent book on the subject, Metamorphosis (1987). For me this is the book that works, IF you can find yourself. It’s harder than you’d think. I am asked to offer it as part of PCA appts, which I’d gladly do if it could be objectified. As long as it’s just my opinion or Mr. Kibbe calls me to train with him, the client won’t get her ROI (return on investment).
Searching for the Soft Dramatic Body
She has a lush, exotic quality to her features. Angelina Jolie? Maybe if her head were on Sharon Stone’s body. This is where it becomes anyone’s opinion, but to me, her body is too small and compact, her expression is very open and giving and the features are too Yin. She’s not physcially big enough to embody Diva. Height does matter somewhat. This is an imposing physical presence that seems bigger than it is at any height. An SD woman commands her space.
If Phyllisha Rashad is Dramatic Classic (DC), SD is more physically Yang than that. Even a DC could drown in all the fabric draping of SD, or look that way even with the draping scaled down to her size, as if she’s wearing curtains.
I wonder if IRL, Angelina’s proportions would have that Hollywood quality of large head/small body that photograpshs well. JAniston has that too. Whitney Houston would be very close to SD and often dressed that way.
SD and Flamboyant Natural (FN) are close in my head. What separates them is the FN’s ability to still wear sweats and eat popcorn. The SD is not nearly as accessible or approachable. She has a more formal energy all the time. She doesn’t own sweats and can barely force herself into yoga wear, but she’s easy to imagine with a tennis racket, on a skateboard, running on the beach at 6am without makeup. Movement is key for the Naturals.
Naomi Campbell? Perhaps, but she seems very slender.
Linda Evangelista? Very possible.
Someone smart suggested Kate Winslet as a Soft Dramatic (and very possibly Soft Summer). That’s a great choice. Big body. Lush, large features with a lot of overall Yang energy, too much to assign her curviness to the Romantic or Soft Classic group.
Visual Processing and The Soft Summer Palette
Neurochemical information travels millions of pathways from retina to various centers in the brain. That’s just the beginning of how an image forms. Neuropsychology kicks in and modifies the retinal data to adjust for lighting, experience, and assumptions as the brain strives to make sense of what it sees, and of course, of surrounding colours.
We appreciate that seasonal or 12 Season colour analysis is based on simultaneous contrast, the fact that two colours side-by-side change one another in our perception. Soft Summer is a most spectacular Season but we can too easily focus on “those colours are dull” instead of what that very ‘dullness’ makes them capable of that no other can do.
For all three Summers, the ability of adjacent versions of the same hue but differing values to appear 3D, to advance and recede, is central to (my) understanding (of) those Seasons. On Summer colouring, monochromatic colour schemes lose their flatness and give the illusion of a rounded, touchable image. Why the Summers? Because they’re cool-colour (blue-based) colours, so when their value is made darker by adding dark grey or black, they remain blue and they do so across the light/dark band. They don’t turn green or purple. This works especially well with the True and Soft whose colours are muted, which our brains interpret as ‘far’, establishing a depth relationship.
Because of how edges are discerned at the level of the retina, we have more difficulty understanding edges. Monochromatics are even more challenging for discerning edges. They seem to move. They come and go and float around. With even the slight influence of Autumn in this Neutral Season Soft Summer colour collection, this 3D effect from contiguous monochromatics moves to a whole new level.
Over the Autumn palette’s span, which has influence in five different groups of natural colouring, the theme is dimensionality. It’s been called texture, strength, rope, weave, all expressing a similar notion of how this colour language speaks most clearly. Soft Summer steps up from the early 3D effect above that works so well on True Summer, to the phenomenon of the hologram. Still shimmery, more 3D.
With no good evidence, I’ve always seen the Soft Summer composition as lost edges, a figment of the imagination, impressions of depth that might just be apparitions, uncertainty about what is real, like the ghosts of shapes that move in and out of each other, whispered suggestion, signals you’re not sure you heard or saw, phantoms moving in and out of your perception. The colours made sense tome that way. Finally someone smarter than I am explained it to me: equiluminance.
Luminance means the intensity of emitted light from a surface. That’s not exactly the same as light/dark levels or value because the trunk of a birch tree in shade and one of its leaves in sun may emit similar light at that moment, but in some ways, our brain sees luminance as value. Equiluminance means equal value or light/dark level.
The brain uses its luminance pathways (gray scale, black to white, value) to inform us about position (Where). The chromatic pathways (colour) tells us what things are, their forms and shapes (What). Take away colour and we can’t discern what things are quite as well.
Without colour, the painting looks 2D by the loss of detail in depth. The examples above come from this great website where you’ll find many more great examples.
When colour transitions are gradual because they are of similar value, our colour perceptive brain pathways (or chromatic pathways) are activated but our luminance pathways are not. We feel a little unsure of shape, position, and motion. We have trouble placing forms and objects. In Soft Summer, where saturation is low and values are medium, the colour combinations are exquisite to the point of being supernatural because shapes seem less stable.
The Sci\ART palettes make all this that I talk about happen automatically. Those palettes put these visions in my head, not the other way around. You don’t have to do much other than wear your colours.
Apparel in Part 2. Next article, I promise.
The surefire path to looking easily and believably beautiful is using what you have already as the mooring, and then adding more of it. Anchoring what someone else has into your own physiology isn’t nearly as convincing. To the viewer, this can feel like looking at a seesaw.
Where order and agreement exist between the elements of a composition (for instance, between your natural colours and those in your highly structured Sci\ART 12 Season palette), we sense harmony. Their relationships are visually interesting and appealing. More than that, their relationships confer upon the elements the ability to interact. This is visual magic. Now, appearance becomes scintillating.
However often an untruth is repeated, it doesn’t become a truth. When it comes to our appearance, others can tell the difference. They may not know exactly how we looked before we wandered away, but they can tell we moved farther from the starting point.
When you read what I’m about to say, we have to keep the following people out of your thoughts:
i. You – an unobjective situation if ever there was one.
ii. Your family – lots of history and emotional investment, not always a lot of reality going on, though can be a great place to learn to see apparel colours next to human colours.
iii. Anyone in magazines – make-believe worlds that nobody really lives in.
iv. Anyone under 20 – very pretty but have not reached full power in the face or mind, not the reality I want for you.
Of your friends and people at the office, whose appearance looks calm and complete when every hair is pin straight? You can almost feel the ironed hair groaning, “Stop doing this to me. Let me out of this hair girdle.” as if you’re the one getting ironed flat every day. Appearance empathy.
Highlights, bronzer, coloured eyeliner, dewy, glowy, metallics, the list has no end. Knowing which trend or look is for you is power plus – maybe because the other way round is power minus. The more people sign up for an idea or a trend, the more it can cash in for its brief stint in our attention. It doesn’t care if 8 in 10 look worse. It never cared about that in the first place. Its mandate was to rake in $$$.
The only people who should straighten their hair have 80% straight hair at the start and just need to seal the ends. Most everyone else just looks shorter. Flip up your eyeliner if your eye flips up, otherwise you may be accentuating that your eye doesn’t. If the eye line is straight, then continue liner straight a bit. Many eyes just stop at the outer corner and are a bit squared. They look better with no eyeliner extension. Like over-whitened teeth, that little difference is the edge between creating an appearance that makes sense and one that is confusing.
A Spring woman looks unsettled when she wears Winter colours. She looks more like a child, one who raided her parents’ closet, wearing clothes that look too big and too serious. In her Spring colours, she finally looks like an adult. Spring colours only look kiddish on non-Springs. In her light caramel, peach, and ivory, with sparkling light gold wire hoops from which dangle pieces of coloured glass that catch the light, she is the Director of Educational Development for her province. She knows what she came here to say. Her natural cheerfulness in no way detracts from her credibility. In fact, she was selected for this job because she is so clearly non-judgmental. She so sincerely sees the best in everyone that she brings great comfort to the assembly. She got voted Most Loved Principal by her students. Her workshops are so well-attended because people look forward to being around her. They can feel that she just plain likes them. Spring is the no strings attached person.
Spring shares with Autumn that its colours are very warm, but that’s the end of the similarity. Even the type of heat is different. Spring’s is the yellow found in jellybeans. Autumn’s darker, richer gold colours make more sense as velvet drapes than jellybeans. Spring is smooth and shiny. Autumn is the queen of depth and dimension and we’ll talk about how to make that happen on a face in a later post.
Look at Charlotte’s skin, below. Spring fabrics have shine because of what shine does to colour. Shine can elevate and exaggerate colour. It can also lighten it. Those colours are in the skin too so it follows that we’d enhance them in the same ways, using the same shiny finishes.
Notice that when I add videos, there are two people to compare. Also, IDK what Season Charlotte is, she could be a Soft Autumn or some other. Some of her physical traits resemble Spring’s. Above, look at his skin compared to hers, it’s grey and it’s red. Her hair colour is fantastic. Buttery warm and yellow, not the heavier moose brown of Autumn. The highlights are just that, threads of light, heat, and shimmer. That brown eyeshadow – would it look better grey? No. Moves me closer to considering a very warm Season.
Heaven love her colourist for not making her a beach babe. The hair is coloured but not a lot. It’s believable, friendly, open, not highly contrasting or serious, just like her presence. The upkeep is probably occasional. You can see the yellow in her eyes even from a distance. The brows are dark, which is interesting, with as much drama as the face and her position as an artist will comfortably allow.
Again, below, fantastic golden beige hair. See that she’s not yellow in this dress, most people would be instantly so. Notice the mesmerizing from-elsewhere eyes, they have an Avatar quality, as if descended from a golden, gilded world, the magic that is Spring. She sings with a smile, radiating the pure joy in the sound (many singers frown often, like it’s a job). Spring people seem made from the sun.
Here is another woman with many Spring attributes. Look how yellow her skin is compared to the other women. She actually needs to wear her Spring colours to not look yellower than her clothes.
Nothing should come near this skin, this person, this energy, that could dim its light.
Bring Out the Beauty of Spring Skin
When any drape containing Spring comes near the skin, even if the dose of Spring in the person is small as in Light Summer, or even if the drapes are not quite yellow enough, this skin visibly tightens, plumps, and looks reflective and moist. This happens just as much whether they’re 16 or 60. Tighter skin and easing of lines happens for everyone in their right colours, but I could argue that the Spring colouring takes more years off than any other.
Spring skin keywords: dewy, young, delicate, smooth, tight, shiny, and moist. Like petals. We’d all like to think we have petal skin but it’s not realistic so there’s no point. We’ll get to the other Seasons soon.
Spring makeup tips:
1. Try cutting foundation with moisturizer. You’ll look the same or better. Opaque coverage is never needed here.
2. Keep use of translucent face powder to a minimum, just enough so the next products can be blended. Matte and dry finishes don’t feel right for colours that feel like juice and cream. Even peaches manage to be velvety without feeling heavy.
3. Transparency, as sheer products, are much better than opaque ones with heavy colour deposits. What looks normal and necessary for colour to get noticed on Winter skin looks like house paint on Spring skin.
4. Uplighters, not low lighters! Choose slight shimmer of the finest grind and uplighting liquids. Think of Charlotte’s face. Adding shadowing products would look heavy and dull. Emphasizing the angularity of a young face never looks quite right to me. It feels old and solid and carved out on a very opposite type of energy. By using uplights, so light + shiny + colour (which isn’t the same as white + frost + icy absence of colour) beautifies the geometry of the face and keeps the vitality and vibrancy high, since Spring’s settings are up at the top on those scales.
5. Jingle, twinkle, sparkle, movement, and high shine – they look odd on a face, but keep them near the face with jewelry. Let the jewelry do what the makeup can’t reasonably do.
petals in hazy light
daisy to daffodils
more delicate and less shiny than tulip petals
peaches and cream
> For Light Spring, try
delicate peach-gold bronzer very lightly applied
milky colours, which look creamy, not wildly vibrant yet, as the top rose below
to reflect light, a surface must be smooth; make word associations, as ‘milkshake colours feel smooth because milkshakes are smooth’; creamy and smooth feel connected wherever our brain stores sensory data; creaminess of colours feels right
still some Summer here so keep a little haze with more powder and less bronzer
sheer and cream products, to create a moist and dewy finish as the bottom rose photo below; notice this isn’t icy, glitter, metallic, bronze, it’s just wet (kept within reason on a face)
uplights on cheeks using coloured (coral, light beige, gold), not icy, products; remember that Light Spring’s lightest colours are more ‘colourful’ than Winter’s icy colours because they are pastels
eye shadow probably better light, sheer, and matte to recognize Summer’s haze
Below, notice all the light bouncing off every surface. There are highlights everywhere. Surfaces are tight, plump, moist, with no associations of cold, hard, or frosty.
>For True Spring, try
the least face powder of anyone, just enough to dry the skin so the next product doesn’t catch
cream cosmetics as for Light Spring
eyeshadow can be shiny or matte, your preference; matte is easier on mature skin
peach-gold bronzer, same product as Light Spring’s but using more of it to create a face that is very vibrant with the colours of health
icier lights (more ‘colourful’ than Winter’s but not soft/muted/grayed/dusty/heathery)
more contrast as Winter arrives
The Birds In A Tree picture is smooth, light, shiny, crisp, tight, and clean, with significant separation between lightest and darkest. The overall effect is still warm, bright, and alive.
On the cherries, the overall effect is darker and the placemement of highlight more strategic than the currants above. The surface is still round, tight, and plump and doesn’t need any strategic shading to make it better.
>For Bright Spring, try
sharper angles with more deliberate uplight placement along upper edge of cheekbones, browbone, and center of nose to sharpen the angles, not a warmth diffusion
lighter uplighters, not too gold/peach/caramel/yellow as Winter’s sharpening comes in
multicolours and colourful colours to keep the Candyland feeling of this colouring; peach eyeshadows, dark turquoise eyeliners, fuchsia lips (all from her Colour Book of swatches) together actually looks perfectly fine because that’s how her face is put together to begin with
you can’t put glitter on your face, but you can sneak a little in the hair depending on age and occasion; this is the colouring of figure skating outfits, after all; or just use jewelry, but sparkly sparkly, Swarovski, not pearl/coral/jade/turquoise which don’t feel glassy and twinkly
use glitter in nail polish but keep it delicate, like winking; there is huge delicacy in Bright Spring that more aggressive cosmetic effects don’t respect
more definition of features from skin (a form of contrast)
more distance between light and dark colours
Will the face look wet or oily? No colouring will in right colour because the whites that the color brings out in the face don’t exceed your own. That’s part of the magic. When lights get lighter than your own, which can happen for a variety of reasons in wrong colour, there seems to be a random too-shiny white light bouncing all over, which looks a little greasy.
What your makeup looks like in pans is only how you see it. The rest of us see it painted right on top of your own colours. When you and your product are a match, your appearance has rhyme and reason. I promise you, with only your empowerment in my heart, you look better than good.
Recap: The skin is dewy, setting up highlights. The features are fresh, lively, distinguished from the skin by being very colourful, moist, and vibrant.