1. My silver hair is too cool for my skin.
Nope. Doesn’t exist. Nature never colours any human being, or anything else, disharmoniously. So far as I know, the genetics that code for the melanin in your hair or skin do not mutate when hair silvers. And I’m pretty sure that’s correct because Season does not change with age.
Now you might not be used to silver hair yet. Your skin might look a little different with maturity plus this new hair colour. The way silver looks with your wardrobe might be different or you might still be figuring out how to coordinate outfits with silver on your head. Maybe your foundation might have been too warm all those years and now it’s more obvious. Lots of possibilities that we can work with, but your hair is as perfect as your eyes, your teeth, your freckles, your lips, and your veins.
On the Know Your Best Hair Colour board on Pinterest, I posted an image today of a woman with cool silver hair. She is of dark complexion. I don’t know the warmth level of her skin without testing but she appears more cool than dark, as does her hair. I think she looks magnificent (perhaps the black shirt is a bit bland but far from the worst thing she could wear). Women of ethnicity look fabulous in their silver hair.
On any woman, a warm skin/cool hair contrast can really elevate one another. Light complexion women tend to have a big gray circle effect, which may be part of the discomfort. Too many colour their hair, when all that’s needed is a little more makeup and brighter makeup to define their features. Though the transition to silver might be harder for warm than cool women, the gray circle effect is less noticeable in women of warm colouring who have a built-in contrast between face and hair (since gray is perceived as cool).
It is never too late to add makeup. One of the best reasons for a PCA that I’ve heard lately is, “I’ve spent 60 years looking after everyone else. As a young woman, I didn’t wear makeup. I have time now and I want to know.”
2. All the makeup artists tell me I have warm undertones. How can they tell?
It’s really time for a new paradigm in human colour analysis. There’s just too much objective proof in place to spend any more time with brown-eyes-have-to-be-Winters and what not. That’s over. Red hair isn’t Autumn. Most of the time, it’s anything but, usually Winter and Spring. In part because the Winter groups derive their pigmentation from the primary colours, the variability of presentation is endless. Nonetheless, those were the best ideas of their time and I have a deep respect for them as that.
I hold a doctorate in veterinary medicine. After 20-some years of private practice, the similarities between that profession and this one have been an eye-opener I didn’t expect. There are no limits on the variety. The last 10 cases of congestive heart failure I treated barely resemble this one. The last 10 Soft Summers have a passing similarity to this one.
It’s high time for colour analysis be viewed as the profession that it is. Even insinutating that it’s DIY misleads the public unfairly. I appreciate that they popularize the subject but wrong expectations >> confusion and dissatisfaction.
Doctors do rounds because it is not humanly possible to always be right, know it all and have seen everything. Colour analysts review cases too. After several hundred, I still discuss them, some keep me up at night, some I’d love a chance to redo because I just wasn’t 100% sure.
Neighbour Seasons, hardly a big deal. Retail compromise, comfort level, and swatching variation will get you settled in right. Notice how many Pins on the Shopping for Your Season and Style board at Pinterest span two Seasons. Getting your lines right helps colour work even better. Get your style right and the same.
What is it about this industry? Where else is movement forward so resisted in favour of 20 year old beliefs that don’t hold up to real world usage? It’s beauty, right? PCA got clumped in with a field based on trend and hope. Where we gladly hand over money for products we don’t expect to deliver on their promises. Beauty and Fashion know for a fact that we will do exactly that. Skinny jeans don’t flatter most bodies. Black liquid eyeliner is not the best choice most of us can make. Coppery highlights on most heads are the only thing the rest of us can see, unless the woman knew that subconsciously and added a marigold top, in which case that is now the only thing we can see. I really have a certain respect for this achievement of consumer manipulation.
Compliments are useless. They’re filtered through the other person’s perceptions. We all see more pregnant women when we’re pregnant. The compliment is about them, their tastes, and their internal struggles, not you and yours.
Look, the cosmetic and hair folks are advisors who counsel women every day. So they maintain that they can look at us and pronounce the heat level of our undertone? For the sake of all the women out there whose money they’re taking, these industries need an upgrade. Let’s talk about a new reality, which might be replaced in its own right one fine day if evidence comes along, because there is no cemented reality. There’s only the best we know today. Today, the A to the Q is this, whether we’re talking makeup or hair colour.
“They can’t tell unless they compare you to something calibrated.”
That is the plain and simple fact.
If they just looked, forget it. Forget it. Walk away. Some people are quite accurate by eye, but some aren’t. How is the consumer supposed to tell them apart? All they can see is what’s on the surface. Not good enough because not accurate. And if you have a deeper complexion, good luck not being told you’re warmer than you are. Good luck too if you’re among the many easily yellowed Soft Summers and Dark Winters. Women badly need better advice than this, especially from the hair colour industry. They don’t know because they can’t know so don’t expect them to know. Find out for yourself. Compare your colouring to something calibrated. You’re one appointment away from having so many answers.
Heat of colour can’t be judged well by eye because it’s totally relative. Saturation is hopeless to judge in a human. That leaves darkness level, so it’s over-emphasized. As humans, we are set up to see healthy skin as colourless. All we really see that contains colour are hair and eyes, so they get over-emphasized despite the fact that they only contain a small portion of your pigments. There’s no hemoglobin in hair, a wildly important pigment since it determines so much of the undertone.
If they applied 5 foundations and chose one, there’s a much higher chance of getting things right. Since they haven’t a clue about your heat by looking at you, I hope they used a selection of colours all the way from pure cool to pure warm, not available from most foundation companies.
Why make pure cool and pure warm foundation? Would women buy them? I bet not. Pure cool Summer foundation is pinkish gray, Winter is greenish gray, COMPARED to the warmer colours.
I’m pretty sure people don’t say, “Did you notice, she looks kind of green, ay?” when I walk out of rooms. IDK, maybe they do. My foundation is green-gray-beige because I am greenish. In the regular world, I look like everyone else, of course. Same as most Bright Season people don’t have clear eyes that you could see across the room. That’s not how it works at all. They look like everyone else, colours in equilibrium so nothing stands out.
The world is swimming in yellow foundation and dusty apricot, mocha rose, cinnamon rose, and so on makeup colours. No commitment makeup feels safe. No commitment anything feels safe. It is not the best place to put your money today.
3. Jennifer asked a great Q was asked at the end of the How To Match Foundation article about warm and cool foundation. It was, “Can one be a true warm season, and have neutral foundation look better on them than yellowed foundation? In other words, should foundation match both your overtone and undertone?”
Generally speaking, yes, foundation should match the true colours of the surface skin (no imposed overtones) and the heat level of the undertone. Heat level of undertone cannot be know without comparison testing because by definition, it is located under the surface skin. It’s not available for us to see on the surface. Draping looks through that to match the undertone layer. That’s why the Season result is the same even with suntans, rosacea, etc, all of which are happening up in the surface layers.
Some thoughts. First, every woman is an individual within a Season. Even True Seasons can run closer to one of their neighbour Neutrals. Even when very centered in her Season, every woman is an individual. About half the time, same Seasons can wear the same foundation. The rest, you’re starting from scratch. We see very fair and golden beige Autumns, alabaster and olive Winters, fair and very pastel-pink-soft Summers, and golden ivory-beige and translucently fair Springs. I still check 3 to 7 colours when I match skin, still may have to mix colours to get it perfect. So yes, warm women can look better in neutral foundations.
Second, foundation is not coloured or labeled in a very organized way, certainly not between companies. One’s warm is another’s neutral.
Third, the difference in type of heat between the 2 warm Seasons is very important. Spring and Autumn are often very intolerant of each other’s kind of heat, where these are often the other group’s worst drapes. This is why I don’t believe there are Sp/A blend Seasons, because I never see real human beings respond to colour in this way. Would the lollipops make sense in a Santa Fe landscape? Would anyone wear those colours together to create an elegant and functional wardrobe?
Spring foundations are quite yellow, Autumn foundations are a heavier beige-brown. Even darker colours, say for an East Indian woman, are yellower for Spring-influenced skin if she is a Bright Winter. Very hard to find Autumn foundations actually, especially True and Dark.
The retail world contains a lot more foundation warmed for Spring skin than Autumn. I don’t know if the industry understands the difference, though I believe that making foundation as a whole too yellow is a relic of the 80s where prominent makeup artists suggested that all the pinker colours of the 60s and 70s did not match skin. The pendulum swung too far to yellow, and people loved it because it looked like a healthy tan and covered red. Though still here today, the tan and red coverage still comes at a price: flat wide moon faces, flat wide noses, dull eyes, and no lips. Everything has a price.
Fourth, heat in colour is relative, I think. What exactly is maximally cool or warm? Does human skin ever reach those maximal values, even though they can be applied to cosmetics and textiles, where different pigments are found than in human skin? Today, IDK the answers to those Q.