Wednesday, October 20, 2010

17. Color Me Beautiful Discussion

READER, SHANNON: "Hi, my name is Shannon and I am very impressed with the way you have figured out people's best colors by basing the choices solely on our skin tones. I have been trying to figure out my best colors for awhile now by using the old "color season" and 12 season flow approach, and I find that I have only kept continuously changing my mind about what color season I am, and that in almost every category some colors seem to 'fit' but others don't."

"I am a huge fan of Loreal's True Match makeup as well! I have been using it for some time now and I know that I am N2." [This sentence refers to the First Edition selections. The Second Edition skin tone choices will come out in 2012.]

"...I started to become confused about my best colors when I noticed that I suit some warm hair colors and that I receive compliments when I wear some orange or peachy colors, and warm yellow-based greens too (maybe this is normal if you have a neutral skin tone?)"

"I greatly appreciate your help with choosing my best colors. Have a good day. :)"

MBC: Shannon, initially the palettes will appear both delightful and confusing. They're confusing because we all became used to the seasonal color palettes presented to us by Color Me Beautiful about 30 years ago. At that time, computer-aided color selection was not a possibility. Carol Jackson was working with the only tool available to her. Called a spectometer, it was used to measure how much blue and/or yellow was in a handful of colors. And nobody was using transparent skin tone test cards to quickly and accurately assess one's skin tone, so holding cloth samples of the precategorized (winter, spring, summer and fall) colors up to a customer's face became the standard method for personal color analysis.

This method resulted in questionable results. The method is fraught with a lot of guess-work, opinions and approximations at best, but probably the most problematic aspect of that color analysis method is the shaky premises the method is based on. Why were the test colors chosen in the first place? Why not other colors with equal amounts of blue and/or yellow? Much of the color selection was predetermined by the fabric industry. Colors had to be selected from fabrics in colors that were already being manufactured. And then, why not assess green, red, orange and purple, etc. too? What about the value (lightness and darkness) of colors? What about intensity or chroma (the clarity or dullness) of colors? Also, no theory is proven correct unless it can be precisely duplicated by other people. The seasonal color method shifts results according to the interpretation and opinions of the person/people doing the testing.

That being said, Color Me Beautiful served to put us on the right track, and it often pushed us toward more pleasing results than most of us were achieving on our own. Color Me Beautiful made color FUN.

Today, we are able to go much, much further toward accurate personal color analysis. In fact, we can achieve precisely correct results for anyone once their skintone (color) is determined. And computer processing looks at ALL colors in the visible color spectrum. Color Me Beautiful looks primarily at hue (the usual way most people look at color i.e. red, yellow, blue...). assesses hue, value and chroma of ALL visible colors, and then selects only the colors that fall within a close color contrast (difference) distance from a particular skintone. Next, this select group of colors is further processed through an algorithmic mask to allow through only the colors that fit a proportional doubling pattern. Thus, every single color in the resulting palette is there for good reason, and contributes to the color harmony of the rest of the colors, including your identified skin tone color. Computers quickly performs the work. It's mistake-free and thorough, so you may relax and trust your colors.

Color harmony is objective and precise, while color preference is subjective. This is not generally understood, probably because the ability to achieve perfect color harmony was never before possible, so we did our best to put colors together that seemed pleasing. With, subjectivity enters the picture AFTER a harmonic palette of colors is selected. At that point, color choices within the palette can be opinion-based. ALL of the 620 [380, 2012] colors in your personal color palette can be mixed-and-matched. Your whites may be used with any of the other colors in your entire palette. However, you may also use your white, or any other color in your palette, within the parameters of one of the suggested color schemes.

I hope this clarifies things for you. Please feel free to contact me at any time with other questions or comments.

16. Reader's Concerns

READER, AMY: "I have a W2 [First Edition] skin tone (aka warm ivory).  In your illustration the model appears to be wearing a mauve colored top, berry lipstick, and dark burgundy shorts.  In my opinion, while these colors may harmonize with each other, their cool, muted, and/or dark natures seem more suited to a cool or at least more neutral skin tone."                                                                                                                                                    
MBC:  I always enjoy hearing from customers.  I believe you will be delighted with the range of colors you can wear.  Everybody can wear every hue in the rainbow.  It's a matter of selecting the right color note(s) within each hue.  And the selection of those correct colors could never have been accomplished by human judgement alone.  Computer technology searches millions of colors to perform the very intricate job of selecting your precisely correct palette of colors.  Once your colors are identified, you can play to your heart's content.  Mix-and-match all you want.  All 620 [380, 2012] colors, plus your natural eye and hair color(s), are right for you.