Friday, January 21, 2011

25. Your Most Powerful Beauty Tool

Don’t you think it would be pretty powerful to just know which of your clothes, makeup and accessories would set you up to look your very best? A good color analysis can answer your question, “What are my best colors?”  Look fabulous, feel fabulous, and have fun with color. Shopping will become easier and faster.  You’ll be much more satisfied with your purchases, and feel more vibrant with the transforming power of color.  

We don’t hear as much any more about personal color analysis as we did in the 1980s when Color Me Beautiful first came out, but personal color analysis continues to evolve.  The 4 Season system was eventually refined into the 12 Season system, and now new computer color technology is opening more doors.  While the original 4 Season system worked for perhaps 30% of  the people who tried it, it didn't work well for the other 70%. Because of that, each of the 4 Seasons--Winter, Summer, Autumn and Spring-were further refined into 3 additional seasons.

Personal color analysis can enhance anyone’s appearance.  We can’t help but notice that it is not only popular, but it’s essential to the successful careers of celebrities, politicians, and even business leaders. Money is tight, so every purchase needs to be a good choice. Personal color analysis will make it possible for you to easily answer your question, “What are my colors?” whether you are buying makeup, hair color, clothes, or accessories. Fashion fads will no longer make your choices for you. You will learn what colors look good on you, and then develop your own personal style if you wish.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

24. Early History of Color Analysis

German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe got the ball rolling in 1810 when he published his Theory of Colours.  It was later published in English.  Goethe made an exhaustive scientific study of color which he considered to be his most important work in his prolific career. He did not venture into applying his color theory to the ehnancement of personal appearance.

The first actual “color and image consultant” was Michel Eugene Chevreul (1786–1889). He was Director of a tapestry business and, of course, color was of paramount importance to him.  He made the curious discovery that colors could have one impact when placed side-by-side, and another entirely when viewed alone.  For example, he contracted to create a colorful tapestry for a client that would incorporate the exact same shade of yellow as her curtains, which were a solid color.  Chevreul wove a yellow matching the curtains into the tapestry, but when finished, the yellow looked very different woven in amongst other colors. The viewer's perception of the yellow in the carpet had been influenced or manipulated by the other colors alongside it.

He made another curious discovery.  When looking at any particular color, the human eye wants to view the complementary color also.  The complementary color is found on the opposite side of the color wheel.   The eye seems to have a precise equilibrium, so that when looking at red, for example, the eye generates green, even though we are not aware of it. He called this phenomenon Simultaneous Contrast. In 1839, Chevreul published  “Of the Law of Simultaneous Contrast of Colors."  Chevreul wrote a chapter on clothing and hair color for this book.   In this chapter he declared  that any color worn next to the face, including hair color, would affect the appearance of the skin's color.

French Impressionists painters were greatly influenced by Chevreul’s book, and incorporated his teaching into their artwork.  Then two German artists and art educators further enlightened people on the principles of simultaneous contrast.  Johannes Itten published The Art of Color in 1961, and Josef Albers published Interaction of Color in 1963.

It was Itten who first suggested a natural correspondence between the four seasons of the year and four groups of naturally harmonious colors. In the 1980s others then took this information and created the “seasonal” color analysis palettes that became quite popular, very quickly.

Friday, January 14, 2011

23. Seasonal Skin Tone Color Matching

The concept of finding the best colors to enhance they way a person looks began in universities in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. Personal color analysis grew as an extension of home economics classes which had been applying art theory to home decoration.

In the 1970s, newly availabe higher-quality, affordable color printing made it possible for the first time to print books for the mass market in which skin tones and clothing colors could be fairly accurately reproduced. Several authors grabbed the opportunity to put out information on color analysis systems for discovering "which shades of color in clothes complement your natural coloring to look healthier, sexier and more powerful."
Details of the various systems differed a little, but here is what they all agreed on:

  • Most of them divided their color system into four groups of harmonious colors which are said to match with the four seasons of the year. The seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall are little more than arbitrarily named categories.  Eventually, it became apparent that a person could easily fall into two of the seasons, not just one.  This awareness grew into a twelve-season palette system. Nonetheless, Carole Jackson continued to believe that "with testing, one palette will prove to be better [more harmonious] than the other.  A person's color season is simply a determination of their skin tone.
  • The consensus was that  each person’s basic color category, or season, does not change over a lifetime.  Tanning and aging do not change the fact that we keep the same skin color.   It simply may become a darker or lighter version of the same color.  
  • Bernice Kentner warned that skin color, NOT hair or eye color, determines a person's season. She said, "Remember, do not rely on hair coloring to find your Season!"  Hair color will naturally change over the years.  Also, hair and eye color may be changed artificially with hair dye and colored contact lenses. 
  • A person's color season has nothing to do with the season of his or her birth or favorite season of the year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

22. Basics of the 4 Color Seasons

The three primary colors, red, yellow and blue, in theory, combine to make up all other colors. This supposedly includes the various skin tones that have been divided into “seasons,” as they appear in the undertones of the skin. However, in practice things are more complicated.

Skin tone is made up of hemoglobin, melanin and carotene.  Haemoglobin in the blood transmit’s the color of red to everybody’s skin.  It becomes somewhat visible as it can be viewed through the translucency of skin. This holds true for all people of any race, with any skin color.

The amount of blue or yellow undertone determines a person’s seasonal category. These two colors correlate, imprecisely, to melanin and carotene which do not give off true blue and yellow colors.  These two colors, in fact, do not turn the skin blue or yellow.

When it is the primary pigment, melanin produces brown skin tones. When mixed more with reds (hemoglobin) and yellows (carotene) it produces grays and blue-grays.   When carotene dominates the skin tone, it produces so-called yellow undertones that we call “golden” or “peach” skin tones.
  • Winter and Summer are said to be "cool" blue-based palettes. This means that a person who is a Winter should wear colors that have blue undertones. Winters take on an intense appearance because their skin tones contrast strongly with their hair and eye colors. Winters, according to season theory, need to dress in equally strongly contrasting and intense colors.  If a Winter neglects to dress in such strongly contrasting colors, they will appear washed out.
  • Summer is the other "cool,"  or blue-based palette. This means that a person who is a Summer should wear colors that have blue undertones. Summers appear “softer” and less intense because their skin tone has a milder contrast with their eye and hair color. This dictates that they dress in milder contrasts and softer colors.   Dressing in the appropriate colors will allow them to look harmonious and gentle. Should they dress in sharp contrasts, they will look “overpowered.” 
  • Spring  and Autumn are the two "warm" palettes. This suggests that a Spring should wear colors with a yellow undertone.   Spring’s colors are bright, intense, and sometimes “playful.”
  • Autumn is the other "warm" or yellow-based palette. Like Springs, Autumn should wear colors with yellow undertones, but unlike Spring, the colors will be soft and deep (dark).  Some of the autumn colors are brick, coffee, caramel, beige, tomato red and forest green. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

21. Bernice Kentner, "Color Me a Season"

Bernice Kentner had a background as a licenced cosmetologist. In the early 1970s she began lecturing on color analysis, and several years later she published a book called Color Me a Season, which proved to be quite popular.

She taught that people can decorate their body in such a way as to please the eye, just as they can with interior decorating.  Her idea was that first, an individual must identify their skin tone, then they can find a category of colors that work well on their bodies.

Kentner insisted that skin color was the key to determining the base color that all the others must rest on, not hair or eye color.  She believed that skin color alone would determine whether one was a Summer, a Winter, a Spring, or an Autumn. This can cause confusion, because the color of the hair may be the first thing that strikes the observer's eye (particularly if the hair color is dramatic).  Okay, so skin tone is the determinant for one’s primary palette of colors.  Then, if the hair color itself dictates a different season, this would become the secondary palette of colors.

She viewed the color of the hair and eyes as serving to enhance the appeal of certain color choices for a person’s wardrobe and makeup, and to rule out some other choices, but all such choices must be made from within the palette that is compatible with the shade of the skin. Got that?  It’s tricky, isn’t it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

20. Suzanne Caygill, Color: The Essence of You 

NEW color technology has arrived on the scene with precise  personal color analysis palettes created by  Each of the 24 [33, 2012] different color palettes contains 620[380, 2012] colors. Before taking a look at this new system, let’s look at one of the earlier developers of the seasonal personal color analysis system.

Suzanne Caygill published Color: The Essence of You in 1980, the same year Carole Jackson came out with Color Me Beautiful.  Suzanne Caygill is looked on as the pioneer of personal color analysis and image consulting,.  She was a friend of the famous Edith Head who in turn was a wardrobe designer and consultant to in Hollywood.Caygill

Caygill used an expanded and more complex version of the “seasonal” color theory. Artist’s were first identifying this color theory about a hundred years ago. Caygill believed that a person’s color season, and sub-type seasons, should be matched with their personalities, and with their body type. In fact, she believed that a newborn infant’s coloring would then heavily contribute towards shaping the child’s personality.

Her beliefs severely clash with our current concepts.  For example, we believe that women with any natural coloring can look pretty.  Caygill, however, taught that Autumn women naturally have strong facial features that would preclude the possibility of her ever looking “pretty.” If, in fact, she had the misfortune of looking pretty, this quality was to be downplayed, so that her appearance could be in sync with her strong personality.

Caygill espoused a personal color analysis system  that corresponded with the four seasons of the year. She assigned colors to different seasons than color expert Johannes Itten recommended.  Johannes Itten and other color theorists had agreed that summer is a bright season with long daylight hours and bright blue skies and bright colorful landscapes; while winter has much less daylight and is a season of muted colors, such as blue-grey skies. . In other words, she dubbed winter as a bright color category and summer as a muted color category, nonetheless image consultants have continued with this classification system ever since.