Monday, May 27, 2013

How does Color Analysis work?

How does Color Analysis work?
We have talked about The Basics of Color and The Meaning of Color in previous posts. Let's continue with the ways in which we can identify our own personal colors! This is part 4 of the # 2 The 5 Keys to Dressing Well.

So do we really need to have an "expert" tell us which are our best colors? Not really, I don't think so. When I was studying at the University to become an Image Consultant, I took a special class with a renowned Color Specialist on Color Analysis, I learned how to do it professionally, and while I was doing it, I had my own Color Analysis done. It cleared many questions I had with regards to the use of color, but again, in the end it is how we implement what we learn that counts. So, sometimes we have a big colored lens trough which we see ourselves, and that doesn't help in having an unbiased analysis! So it isn't necessary but it certainly helps a lot to be "seened" by someone else, who can give us an honest and professional answer. 

The process of doing a color analysis for someone focuses on three main characteristics of color: the undertones (hues), the depth (value) and the clarity (chroma) against a person's skin, eyes and hair.In that order, making the color against the skin the most important factor in determining which colors are flattering.

There are different systems used by color analysts to classify personal coloring:

The most used ones are The Seasonal System which classify people into (Winter, Summer, Spring and Autumn) and the other one classifying someone as (Light or Deep, Warm or Cool, Clear or Soft).
These two are the most widely used systems. I recommend the use of both, since they basically complement each other and give more useful information and more color choices as a result. As such we can describe our own personal coloring within these categories.

Our personal coloring changes with time, as we change. Color in our hair changes, we don't have the same hair color now than we did ten years ago, and we probably will not have the same color in ten years from now. The same happens with skin tone, but our skin tone changes seasonally as we increase and decrease sun exposure and tanning and whitening of the skin is its result. I will say that what remains more constant in our personal coloring is eye color, although we can see in very old people a lightening due to ageing of the eye. So which ever results we get now from our personal coloring analysis are valid as long as the hues (this don't change, unless we dye our hair a complete different color, and wear color contact lenses e.g.) the chroma and the value of our colors remain the same.

What I like to do for my clients is to give two groups of color options for their wardrobe, one to be used for the warm weather and one that can be used for cooler climates and grayer skies. I recommend most people to have this two palettes, especially if you like tanning, and get highlights in your hair during Summer.

Let's see to start with some personal coloring characteristics and main divisions, so that you can start familiarizing yourslef with, and see if you can identify with any of the following:

LIGHT - (you have a light value to your coloring, e.g. natural light color hair (blond, gray) light color eyes (pale blue, grey or light green) light eyelashes and almost no eyebrows. Your skin burns easily in the sun, and is delicate, porcelain like. Think Claudia Schiffer, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts.
Pic courtesy of: Eva Rinaldi

DEEP - Dark colored hair, dark eyes, dark eyebrows and lashes. Your skin an either be whitish porcelain skin all the way to very dark. Think Catherine Zeta Jones, Eva Longoria, Penelope Cruz, Frieda Pinto, Winona Ryder, Keira Knightley.

WARM - Red tones in your hair, from strawberry blond to auburn. Your skin is warm.Your eyelashes and eyebrows are reddsih. You can have freckles. Eyes can either be green, brown or blue. Think Julianne Moore, Christina Hendrix, Heather Graham, Jessica Chastain.

COOL -  Hair has ashy tones, either dark brown, blonde, white or grey.  Eyes are clear brown, green, grey or blue. Your skin is cool. You have a pinkish or blueish undertone. Think Meryl Streep, Judi Dench.

Pic courtesy of Caroline Bonarde Ucci

CLEAR - Dark hair. Bright striking eyes, usually green, blue or topaz. Dark eyebrows and eyelashes. Your look is very contrasting from light to dark. Your skin can be any tone, from light to dark.Think Courtney Cox, Liv Tyler, Megan Fox, Emily Blunt.

Pic courtesy of: Joella Marano

SOFT - Dark blonde or light brown hair. Eyes can be any color, but are a soft shade and can change color with the weather. Little contrast between hair, skin and eye color. You can identify certain characteristics of yourself in the other five dominant types. Think Kylie Minogue, Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Rachel MacAdams, Natalie Portman, Beyonce.
Pic courtesy of Tom Sorensen

It is possible you don't find yourself indentified with any of these main dominant types, and you don't think your coloring is similar to any of these actresses. I think it is a very good tool to look at pictures of all these women, so you can start picturing in your mind, the characteristics of each type.

Don't fret, this doesn't end here, it is a journey and we are on it together. So why don't you go and grab a coffee a few of your favorite pictures and see if you can identify any of these characteristics on yourself.

I will tell you all about the most important thing to pay attention when it comes to your personal coloring, in the next post...

Till tomorrow!



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