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Looking Better than 10 Years Ago

I did a video  recently. In an ad lib way, I said, you can look better in your 50s than you did in your 40s.

I’d add to that, or than you have ever looked.

Which often gets me the eye roll.

Fair. Here we have two women wearing dots. Not fancy, at family events, kids holding cameras.

Late 40s.

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Mid 50s.

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The span is 5 years.

Define looking better. Does it mean…

Young

Define looking younger.

Young Type 1: Smooth rounded edges in a face that is flatter and wider than adult faces. The dilemma is that baby fat only works on babies. On an adult, the look feels juvenile, pudgy or spongy, and childish. The person may look young in this sense, but does not look socially competent. Social competence is a huge and important point  that greatly influences how much trust and responsibility folks are willing to extend.

Young Type 2: Sharp angles, solid bones, and defined contours. This person is expected to be strong, resilient, and competent. The presence is bigger, richer, and more textured.

Some of both would be great.

I don’t believe in the expression, past her prime, though there is such a thing as looking it. I know 90 year olds who still look plenty prime, who are the most extraordinary person at the party.

In the top photo, the colour of the face makeup does not match the neck and arms. It is too dark and warm, the warmth having the effect of blunting the bones and placing a pea-soup overlay on the skin. The edges look a little dirty, maybe hairy around the mouth and jaw, 5 o’clock shadowy?

Long before you get onto fillers and complicated makeup designs to sculpt your face, change your shirt to a better colour and locate foundation that cleans up your skin. The visual difference in your bones is astounding, even if you’re 25.

Sexy

One of my beliefs: The more skin you show, the less power you have. Certain kinds of skin delete power much faster. If you show one cm of cleavage, the man in the room is biologically distracted, if not compromised, in his ability to hear you. He has no choice but to sail with the wind of our hormones, as do we all. No good or bad, no wrong or right, but we need to be clear about what we want to achieve. Have you read The Male Brain?

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I have learned that power isn’t everyone’s language. Very fair. The best use of power is to make other people happy. There are many ways of achieving that end besides power.

The balance of power.

The power of balance.

Men need to ask more questions.

Women need to ask less.

Define sexy.

Sexy Type 1: The modern media version, a sad surrender, the sort of backdoor disempowerment of women we all know that says, I’ll be whatever you want me to be. Available above all and yet predatory.

Sexy Type 2: The sexuality, of quality, taste, invitation, modernity, excitement, surprise, and unique identity. Self-determined and self-realizing.

Why do I keep using the word modern? Because it implies: state-of-the-art, leading-edge, prevailing, with-it, twenty-first-century. Its importance cannot be overstated in appearance because the alternative is: left-behind.

Modern means willingness to change, the opposite coming across as stuck back there somewhere. The winds of change never cease. An appearance that says, I can keep adjusting my sails, is part of my definition of Looking Better Than 10 Years Ago.

I think about how we could tell in ourselves. We can be hanging on to a style, such as Kate Gosselin hair. We can be hanging on to a belief such as, I like tailored clothes, I need coloured hair, I am warm in colouring, or all the other ideas we’re not willing to let go of easily. Most of the time, if they need us to shield them, they are not true today. The truth would sound as, less structure looks a million times better on you, that hair colour is all anyone can remember, and there is no evidence in your appearance or colour testing to support your warmth. Keep moving. Let stuff go. Don’t get stuck on the riverbank.

Sexuality between adults of equal power is about possibility.

Possibility might be my favourite word.

I know a woman going to be filmed. All anyone wanted to talk about was her makeup and being sure her face would not be washed out. Nobody cared about her message. They wanted her to look like a news anchorwoman, with the kilo of makeup it takes to balance that wall of hair.

Healthy

Have you read Millroy the Magician by Paul Theroux?

Much brilliance. This for instance,

Health matters more than looks.

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As joyful as it is creepy, about media, manipulation, cults, and the simple messages of everyday messiahs.

It has been said in a hundred places and ways that to know where we’re going, we must know where we came from, or else keep reliving the past. To make something better, we have to build on what exists already. Accusations and distortions abound, usually from those who have never tried to make anything. Sometimes, it’s the love folks have of throwing rocks at things that shine. Sometimes, a beautiful idea gets shut down because people feel the need to safeguard or preserve a belief. In protecting the wrong thing, meaning an idea that belongs in a past long gone, the rest of us are prevented from accessing something new and wonderful.

Ethan Hawke:

There’s such a pull toward mediocrity and for doing the same thing over and over again.

And Millroy is right about the food. If The North America Empire is spiraling downwards, it is my belief that the cause is chiefly due to its food choices. We are watching a slow self-poisoning process, of our minds and our bodies, in the midst of the greatest food supply in the history of the planet.

Tell me the book did not change the way you eat.

True

From those pictures,

the parts of a colour analysis that I love.

Where is there more Christine? In the older face, I would hope. We should and do enrich our souls as we move through life. Why on Earth wouldn’t the outside keep pace instead of retreating back the other way? In so many of their personal stories, women tell me these exact words,

I feel like my outside doesn’t match my inside and I don’t know what to do about it.

As a colour analyst, it’s a pretty special thing to give people back themselves. Here you go, may I return some more of you. You thought you lost it, but look in that mirror, it was here all along.

Which Christine will be seen and heard more clearly? When she speaks, which one is most likely to be listened to? Who will be seen when she walks into a store? A reunion?

Which one feels fully here? Which one is still coming down the hall so we can see and sense only parts of her?

Who do you know before she speaks? If those women were words, is one more  legible? Who can you read?

The weigh essentially the same, the top woman being 3 lbs heavier. Do they look it?

Which one is more bland?

Is one more dangerous?

I talk about how harmony means the woman and her apparel choices being more together than they would be apart.

I speak of colour energies that lock together so effortlessly, as if it were inevitable and could be no other way,

that each energy elevates the other, level after level, more colour, more line, more focus.

Which is the most unique person, the one nearest her only real obligation in this world, which is to find and share her absolute and pure self?

Younger is not better. More is. True is.

Up to you to decide which one looks better. What I can tell you is how each one of those women maintain their relationships. 10 years ago, the outside informed the inside to make weaker choices. In the 2-way traffic of who we are, what happens on one side happens on the other, like mirrors. As energetic beings, we sense this to be true in every person. When we see an outside that feels muffled or lessened, we extend that to our expectations of the inside. And yet, that’s how most people look.

I aim for your appearance to express your fullest potential as a human being for all to see.

I believe that the best beauty looks like it could have happened by itself. No work. No effort. No tension. No process. No distraction.

A Part and Apart

Another application of truth:

Once analysts have been working for a while, a question we hear is, How do I tell a client that she would look so much better if she would change the colour of her hair?

A difficult truth to hear. What would be your reaction if a person you had known for 2 hours said, It is no longer in your best interest to believe that your hair colour is enhancing to you.

Would it make any difference if she were a fair bit younger? Older? When would your defenses go up? I really believe that every demographic needs its own colour analysts. Young, mature, African-American, Hispanic, Asian. To really get it, you have to have lived it, or even better, be it.

I am asked for opinions and advice about a lot of hair colour, to the point of considering offering this service to women who have been accurately colour analyzed. Without that, our hands are tied because we cannot know the parameters of the colouring with which the new hair colour must accord. Maybe even not for payment but rather permission to show Before and Afters. I have seen some most impressive colour corrections lately by putting some images on Pinterest for a woman to take to her salon.

Women desperately need good hair colour advice. This is a service that colour analysts can provide with relative ease and accuracy with the type of data we collect as a routine part of the analysis process. The hair colour industry has no means of gathering this information. Finding women the right hair colour and lipstick feels like the biggest part of a colour analyst’s job sometimes.

I always send this warning:

I figure that if I ask someone a Q, I want to know what they really think without a whole lot of polite beating around the bush that is useless to me. I extend that same honesty when I am asked something as well. I’m not mean, but I’m direct and honest, as you maybe have seen from the Pin boards. If current hair colour is working against a woman, I’ll say so. After all, who else in her life will? Usually nobody.

Being liked, loved, approved of, or agreed with, do not motivate me. They won’t cause me to alter my behaviour or choices. Neither do money, compliments, safety, peace, fame, or recognition beat my drum. Achievement does. So do truth and doing things surpassingly well.

Do you know what beats your drum? The place where you are not neutral. You are reactive, so it becomes both a weakness and a strength. Among my many weaknesses, I’m a bit insensitive to those who need compliments, safety, emotion, and so on. OTOH,  you and me can have a conversation about anything, including your appearance, and you will know what I really think. This is useful to you because it could be what most people are thinking.

Where I live, the natural colours of most people are cool or cool-neutral. From what I hear about which colour analysis palettes need replacing most often, this is probably true of many places. Too much hair is coloured too warm, as is most foundation.

When the hair colour cannot be a part of you, when your natural colours can’t find a home for it, then it only has one other choice: to be apart from you. Hair that is apart is, by definition, a wig.

We could look at the idea that blonde hair is beautiful, a USA ideal where so much of our media comes from, Ms. Aniston, Swift, et. al. We could decide to see it out there on an island, and decide not to give that place energy any longer. Now, whatever someone says about the desirability of blonde hair will just be neutral information. You can consider how pertinent it is to you in an uncluttered way if it has no hold over you.

Forget about your childhood hair colour unless you have your childhood face. Baby hair only makes sense with baby skin.

In great makeup, we’re all wearing flesh tones. Our own! If more makeup advisors really understood what that means, there would be fewer women going around in other women’s flesh tones. Or nobody’s from what I can tell of certain lines of foundations and cosmetics.

I hope you have people in your life who would tell you if something you believe about your appearance is holding you back. And I hope that it is safe for them to do so.

Better Decisions

Have you read Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman?

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Systems 1 and 2 could describe various approaches to PCA. Equally, the distinction could apply to how I teach it: R brain > L brain > Eyes, in that order. The rationality we believe to be true about ourselves is profoundly not. The more ways we play to the strengths of our brains, and trick its weaknesses into uncloaking, the better our final decisions. How humans make decisions preoccupies me because a colour analyst will make 50 to 100 decisions in a 3 hour session.

Don’t kid yourself. PCA is hard to do. Historically, it got put in the lineup with System 1 feel-good-be-pretty topics. As we all know, I don’t see it that way.

I loved the review at Amazon.com (in the book link above), that begins

The mind is a hilariously muddled compromise between incompatible modes of thought in this fascinating treatise by a giant in the field of decision research. Nobel-winning psychologist Kahneman (Attention and Effort) posits a brain governed by two clashing decision-making processes. The largely unconscious System 1, he contends, makes intuitive snap judgments based on emotion, memory, and hard-wired rules of thumb; the painfully conscious System 2 laboriously checks the facts and does the math, but is so “lazy” and distractible that it usually defers to System 1.

This article does a great discussion, includes an overview in an excellent table, and approaches ways of maximizing our ability to make sound decisions.

We could do PCA as System 1 < > System 2.

I sometimes wonder if more women do it partly because they have so many more L < > R brain connections than men.

Relearning

Have you read The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery by don Miguel Ruiz and his son, don Jose Ruiz?

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Read The Four Agreements first. This tiny and simply written book alerts us to when we are speaking in the voices of The Judge, The Victim, and the Tyrant. I looked for a new voice. I chose The Student.

From The Fifth Agreement, about skeptics, listeners, and messengers,

When you unlearn,…you begin by facing what you believe…You only have one tool to do this, and that tool is doubt.

Can you be untaught? Can we listen to words about ourselves without becoming activated? Is what we believe about what looks good on us so rock solid that it needs defending?

Or is it fluid and can shift and move around with no reactivity on our part?

I have respect for your story because I have respect for you, but I do not believe your story about you. To me, you are a show happening on a screen. The scene, the costumes, the lines can all be changed anytime. Like watching a performance, just as I am to you.

If I screened students for the training course, which I cannot imagine ever doing, I would probably ask one question? How easy is it for you to replace your learning?

I find students and clients who know nothing about the 4 Season systems easier in some ways. Not only do they not have to unlearn the 4 and their associated beliefs, they don’t have to sort through what to unlearn, what to keep, and when to keep it. Years into a 12 Season approach, they still crossover and compare, which is not all bad. There are strong plus and minus factors with the deeply embedded concepts that went with the 4.

Improved

Have you read the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny?

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Because village mysteries are fun and Armand Gamache, Chief Homicide Inspector of the Surete du Quebec, can teach us all a thing or two about the grace of personal restraint, among the powers of age, and a mind that is always open, among the powers of youth.

 

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FeaturedNewSite

A New Look for 12B

We know the quote that says,

What if you only woke up tomorrow

With the things you thanked God for today?

Rick Beckman is always on my list. Rick has done the technical work on this website for  many years. He is brilliant and wonderful.  I hope that I thank him often enough.

He and I have put together pages that are clear, concise, and readable. Search results are so much cleaner and easier.  You also have the blog index under the About tab to help locate particular articles.

Those photos across the top are an ever-changing update of beautiful and interesting things. That feature alone hypnotizes me a little.

The new appearance may take a day or two to be fully updated on your computers. As with all things that get better, this is a work in progress that will evolve with feedback.

On my list of what I thank God for, you are there also. Without your visits, your comments, your inquisitive minds, and our shared love and passion for understanding human colouring, there would be no 12 Blueprints. Should anything not perform as expected, or if any feature could be added that would enhance or ease your use of this site, please leave a comment or email me at christine@12blueprints.com.  Every word you take the time to type means so much.

 

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FeaturedDABestMakeup

Best Makeup Colours Dark Autumn

Over the years, a series of posts appeared showing a graphic of the best makeup colours for certain groups of natural colouring, a term synonymous with Season. In the archives so far, you will find a post about best makeup colours for the 4 True Seasons, Soft Summer, Dark and Bright Winter. You can search them as http://12blueprints.com/best-makeup-colours-soft-summer/

July is a holiday month, a good time to finish the series. Today, Dark Autumn.

Draping

As a session begins, clients are seated and surrounded by the neutral gray of an accurate colour analysis. The moment I switch on the full spectrum lights, I look right at their eyes. If I see diffusions of dark yellow, cognac, rust, or dark mossy green, I wonder about Dark Autumn.

The skin of this woman contains a lot of colour. To make any impression, her cosmetics need muscle both in the strength of the pigments and in the density of their application. The Summer drapes look like they can’t hold up her head. The makeup, the same.

She is almost great in black. There will be a little something that excites. Appearance excitement is important. Brown will be more relaxing and feel more harmonious overall. She certainly has spice and darkness in the brown, both of which thrill on this colouring. Spanish coffee gets into your blood a little faster, right?

Your PCA result will be personalized to your particular colouring and draping reactions. For instance, in her later years, many a Dark Autumn woman moves closer to True Autumn. The most excitement is still in Dark Autumn. The lightest, most muted True Autumn colours and the darkest, coolest Dark Autumn colours are not perfect.

If you saw one of our group of analysts (see the 12B Analyst Directory), we will explain how to use the more challenging colours in compositions instead of putting them in large blocks under the face. You will know your own formula, how you excite. You might shop with both Colour Books. People at the office will be talking and you may wonder why. They will be saying good things. I have never met the Dark Autumn woman who has any idea of how remarkable and superb she looks. They all seem a little oblivious to it. Which is a good thing!

She has often avoided the makeup colours below because her clothing colours were too gentle. She was quite right. With soft colours in clothing, Dark Autumn makeup will seem too bold and strong. The problem is not the makeup. Once everything below the neck comes up to balance her head, the makeup will be stunning. To find that balance needed for take-off, we have to deconstruct the appearance, take you back to the beginning and rebuild you in your own colours.

 

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

– T.S. Eliot

 

Colours

The makeup is not necessarily dark, though it is compared to Light Spring. Every Season has light colours, here as parsnip, lemongrass, asphalt, greige, goldenrod, barley gold, and many others. In our five years together, we have understood that Dark Seasons neither look dark nor wear only darkness. Nor do the Light Seasons look light, and so on. That’s one of those ideas that got taken too literally, without the continuous counterbalances of comparison and relative relationships that are the sine qua non of colour.

 

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The Dark Autumn woman contains much glamour. She is mostly OK with being noticed, unlike her True Autumn sister who can only take so much being fussed over. Sofia Coppola is among my iconic Dark Autumns (remembering that I have no idea what her Season is till she is drape). Glamorous and exotic with no interest in taking that anywhere. Not a great blonde. Always dressed in black, white, and gray, which are not awful. Neither are they one little bit exciting, provocative, evocative, nothing. They are just there taking up space and better than the infant clothing that Light Spring would be. Her Autumn self will go this far on her looks and no further. She has things to do after all.

Whisky colours in the eyes. I split the Know Your Best Hair Colour board at Pinterest, adding a Makeup For Your Natural Colouring board. You can find some images of Sophia and other Dark Autumn ideas there.

All Neutral Season colouring has warmer and cooler versions of every colour, still within the saturation and value scale for the Season. The choice of brown flesh tones in blush and lip, red orange, or bronzed berry, is yours. Though I find black in eyeliner too harsh on anyone unless they are Halle Berry dark, have black eyes and brows, or the black is a Soft Black (meaning dark charcoal), this person does have Winter coolness. Just as their navy in clothing or a suit is a fantastic complement to the orange tones in skin, hair, and eyes, so is it a great eyeliner. The graphic does not include one but the list at the bottom does.

The heat feels more intense to me here than in Soft Autumn, perhaps because of the added darkness and presence of red as Winter arrives. We tend to feel red as heat. Wear bronzer as a contour. It looks good and is easy to find. Bone structure is always fantastic here. Why not take it further if your facial anatomy calls for it (Mariah Carey is not improved by carved edges. They are only weird. JLo is more feline, more powerful, more good stuff.) ?

Make the hair colour all it could be. Natural is always just fine. If you colour, be not wimpy. These colours are easy to find. Auburn and rich chestnut work if the base colour is as dark as Julia Roberts. Her natural base is probably dark ash brown. Adding auburn or using chemical colour to add gloss and body elevate her inborn way of looking expensive and delicious.

Many Dark Autumns have a near-black base colour or are lighter medium brown. In both cases, chemical colour will probably not be as enhancing or interesting as what you have on your own. Near black hair with these clothing colours is a furnace of presence and potential. Lighter hair colour is an amazement of improbability and surprise, as is blue teal or other light eye colours. The viewer feels a fascination of, What is happening there?

If we colour our hair, we all need to find the right one. All the clothes and makeup in the world will flop without it. Please ignore the myth that women need to go lighter as they get older. Nothing is true for everyone, but that one might actually apply to no Dark Autumn.

In the next article on Light Spring best  makeup colours, you will find an explanation of how to swatch makeup colours to Season.

Pinterest

I will post some thoughts on the Makeup for Your Natural Colouring board at Pinterest.

 

Products 

Try before you buy. 5 women in the same Season will look their best in 5 different lipsticks.

Blush: MAC Ambering Rose. NARS Taos. Lancome Shimmer Tamarind.

Eyeliner: MAC Coffee. Revlon Colorstay Navy. Urban Decay Corrupt (Demolition could be good for darker women and/or those closer to Dark Winter looking for a near black. Bourbon for lighter women, closer to True Autumn). Smashbox Sumatra is an interesting inky brown, and 3DGalaxy could be a good dark gray without being too dark.

Eyeshadow: Bobbi Brown Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, and Mahogany. Stila Twig. NARS Lola Lola. Clinique Portobello (light greige) is OK as a colour but the application properties are weak on this colouring compared to Urban Decay Tease. Aveda Copper Haze (could work well on a True Autumn also). Benefit Bronze Have More Fun.  MUFE #165 is a great basic greige. NARS Cordura  offers two good darks for smoking the eyes, a believable and successful effect on the Dark Seasons (Key Largo may work for those near True Autumn, but is probably best for True Autumn, and even better on True Spring.) Smashbox Screenshot is a nice trio. Lancome Burnt Sand.

Lipstick: Too Faced Sweet Maple. Chanel Rouge Vendome is a brighter orange red. Clarins Red Terra (awesome, dark side), Spicy Cinnamon (warmer, for those near True Autumn), Grenadine (nice mid berry), Cedar Red. Elizabeth Arden Wildberry (bit muted, closer to True Autumn). Laura Mercier Sienna for those nearer Dark Winter, though could be a great red on many Dark Autumn. Lancome Ruby Silk a mid-warm-red, not too dark, while Jezebel is a purple containing subtle metallic bronze effects. Smashbox Cognac could be a very good nude on many, where nude is not the same as Lip Eraser.

Bronzer: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder Medium 2.

 

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FeaturedAmanda

Introducing Colour Analyst Amanda Roberts (California)

I would have been so happy if our training with Amanda and her lovely fellow student had gone on for  weeks. Her aptitude for colour analysis is extremely high. In her person, she combines glamour, energy, optimism, perfectionism, targeted intelligence, and natural friendliness.

So strongly do I believe that waiting on a dream just pushes it further away that I align instantly with people who move to make dreams real despite obstacles. Amanda arrived here with her baby, Milo, and baby genius Mom, Phyllis. Every few hours, Milo and Phyllis would appear at the door so Milo could be fed. The course would not have been the same without them. I could write a page about how beautiful, grounded, supportive, and stabilizing Phyllis’ presence was for all of us in that week. Allow me to introduce these beautiful people whom I hold so dear. Here are Amanda’s beautiful Dark Autumn Mom and baby, Season yet unknown.

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Before the course, I say to students that I hope they have been analyzed into several different Seasons. I hope that they have encountered great difficulties in getting the previous PCA to work for them. Only then can they be sensitive to the many kinds of support that will help their clients in those moments. By having traveled this road, Amanda brings the following to her client,

I definitely have a heart for anticipating those who are a bit unexpected in their palettes, and figuring out how to be of service to them. I want to make sure I also address apparent warmth/coolness/hue to their skin’s overtone, as well as anything notable about eye/hair color, and clarity/mutedness within their season… painting a unique masterpiece with each person in that season.

It is exciting when women of Amanda’s generation join the PCA industry. In bringing science-backed, evidence-based colour analysis to their communities, they become role models and advocates for modern methods, equipment, and belief systems that have taken giant strides forward, even in the past year.  From the moment we met and still today, one word resonates in my head about Amanda as a person and as a colour analyst: brilliant.

 

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From Amanda,

Hi! I wish I could sit down with each one of you and chat over coffee or tea, but as we are such a geographically diverse group, this will have to do, right? Here’s my story of discovering my colors, and finding myself a certified color analyst in the process!

I was first introduced to the concept of four season color analysis through my mom’s Color Me Beautiful book, which I stumbled upon in elementary school. I felt an instant connection to the idea that different people should wear different colors, even as a kid, being a very visually sensitive person. My precocious young self determined that with my pinkish fair skin, light blue eyes, and blond hair, I had to be a Summer. I struggled with insecurities about my physical appearance as I fumbled through adolescence, as so many of us do, and I never felt like I had much “oomph” in the Summer colors that I tried to wear- but figured in my teenaged despondency that I was just a person without much pizzazz anyway.

During my later years of high school and increasingly throughout my time in college, I became more exploratory with what I wore, including with colors, and the color analysis concept gradually faded from my mind. As a college student, I loved going to local thrift stores and discount shops, stretching my meager income to come up with creative outfits for school, social events, and dates. I dyed my hair several times in tones from red to brown, and even to black, and probably had multiple outfits from each of the 12 seasons! I did notice that unfortunate things would happen to my skin when I wore extremely muted colors, so I learned to avoid those.

Fast-forward a few years- I’d gotten married to the love of my life, and had quit my full-time office job to stay home with our firstborn, and for some reason color analysis popped back into my head. Maybe I was needing to feel more centered while dealing with a child in the terrible twos! Google led me to Christine’s website, and I was intrigued to learn that the four season concept had been expanded into a twelve-tone system by some who found it a more accurate way to analyze human coloring. I read everything I could about what had been going on in color analysis during my many years of hiatus! I eventually became convinced that the 12 season approach, particularly the Sci Art method, made a lot of sense, offering a visual precision and objectivity that deeply appealed to me.

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Here I am with my hubby and our sons. My husband is a True Winter, and he loves pictures in black and white- makes sense to those of us who are color geeks, right?

At that point, there were two things that I knew I needed to do. First, I needed to have a PCA to experience it for myself and figure out which season I was (I know many of you reading have felt that pull!). Second, I knew that it might be a possible career option for me, as I had long been interested in doing something professionally that required visual precision and artistry. My PCA appointment finally came, and my husband and I traveled a couple of hours together to a Sci Art analyst. I went into it guessing that I could be a Light Summer, but had the eye-opening experience of discovering that I was a Bright Winter. I left the appointment feeling convinced of the result, but also quite shocked! I was thrilled to finally know my colors, and found a lot of new clothing and makeup that felt great to wear, but I did hit a couple of speed-bumps in adjusting to my palette. As I shopped for new outfits, I found it difficult to get the visual balance right, being a somewhat light-haired and light-eyed person with a palette containing a lot of dark colors. I also felt off in many of the prints and garment lines that I would find in Bright Winter colors, which felt discouraging. Born out of this dilemma, I began looking into the concepts of body types and body lines, and began to suspect that therein was my answer. Around the same time, Christine began to post about color and body lines frequently on her blog, to my great delight! I saw Sci Art color analysis working so well for many people, and found the science behind it to be very sound, so I decided that I would look into training with Christine if she ever opened the opportunity, knowing she had the expertise to help me resolve my questions before sending me out to help people with theirs.

Lo and behold, I was six months pregnant with my second child when I heard that Christine was beginning to offer training. I treasure the memory of sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops with my husband, and opening my laptop in front of my already quite pregnant tummy to discover the news. He reached over and told me I had to do it- what a keeper! Along with my husband’s support, I received a lot of encouragement from family and friends as I made plans for my new venture. I think they were all relieved that I was finally doing something with color analysis, after a couple of years of talking their ears off about it! I decided to make the trip from my home in Southern California to Canada when my youngest son would be about six months old, and my mom agreed to come with me so I could bring the baby to training, which is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.

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On the plane!

Our unlikely trio made it safely to Canada in August 2013, and thus began one of the most intense but fulfilling weeks of my life. Although we as students had read an extensive training manual before arriving, nothing could compare to actually doing PCA’s with a woman who has dedicated a great deal of her time, energy, and notable intellect to becoming one of the world’s experts in this field. My fellow student and I learned to see for ourselves the subtle skin reactions and definition of facial features on which PCA hinges, while simultaneously developing our right-brained, gut reaction to the whole picture of the client in front of us. Not only were we acquiring the skill to get the season right, we also were experiencing the very human side of PCA, with each client bringing their own unique beauty and story to tell. I went into training suspecting that I might fall in love with this PCA thing, but I underestimated how deeply it would affect me to actually meet people and be a small part of their stories. I cling to the belief that humans have inherent dignity and worth, and here I was, learning a fascinating way to affirm that each person is worth something, just as they are. Sure, we are just talking about colors here, but if I know one thing about humans, it’s that we’re complicated. Sometimes an indirect approach can play a part in getting the message through to us that we really do matter.

Lest I leave you hanging, Christine did help me with my questions. I didn’t tell her the result of my first draping, and during my PCA with her, which also resulted in Bright Winter, I made sure I could embrace the result without a single doubt left in my mind. Christine provided a helpful objective voice not only in helping me see myself as a Bright Winter, but also by affirming my suspicions about my physical delicacy, curviness, and gentle appearance, which just couldn’t gel with a lot of my shopping finds. I started to accept that, for example, dark matte lipsticks and very linear patterns or shapes don’t make visual sense on me even when they match my palette, because of my body lines. Each of us has our own way to use the colors in our palette, and it will be as individual as our fingerprints, voice, and laugh.

Since I’ve been home, I have settled into how I fit in the Bright Winter palette with a great deal of enjoyment, and I am very passionate about helping my clients understand how they fit uniquely into their palettes too. To serve my color clients who desire greater understanding of their body lines and development of their personal style, I am currently building a stylist portfolio and can customize a style appointment upon request (in-person only). Keep your eyes out for my style blog featuring a 12 season approach to fashion- it’s in the works! I have seen almost 30 PCA clients since I was certified, and I am so thrilled to be able to offer color analysis in my community. I believe that this is a service that can benefit everyone, and I hope it becomes something as standard as getting a haircut! Self-knowledge is so powerful in both internal and external matters, and sometimes a gain on one of those sides of the equation affects the other side positively too. Being attuned to which colors enhance your unique personal power and attractiveness is a confidence boost that we all can use. Becoming a more informed and selective shopper with a wardrobe you love sure doesn’t hurt either!

Amanda6

Thank you so much for reading this. Being a part of the color community has been life-changing for me, and each one of you adds something special to the ongoing conversation of understanding our colors and ourselves. Thank you as well to my husband, family, and friends- I wouldn’t be writing any of this without the way you’ve cheered me on.

Here is some practical info for those who are in my area. My studio is located in my home in Southern California, convenient for clients in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego, as well as surrounding counties. My standard PCA appointment offers:

-a few opening questions from me about you and what brings you in as a client

-an intro to PCA and the color theory behind it

-a color analysis in the Sci Art method as taught by Christine Scaman, using official 12 Blueprints test drapes

-makeup application and tutorial for female clients, discussing colors as well as finish, and how to enhance your own unique features with your palette

-photo opportunity with drapes and color fan

-discussion of shopping with your color fan, including color harmonizing, swatching makeup, and how to determine if a pattern works with your palette

-conversation about any factors about your coloring that may influence your individual use of the palette

-time for questions- this is your opportunity to ask about anything from hair color, to the lipstick and dress you already bought for an upcoming event (I have had clients bring in items that they have burning questions about, which I welcome!)

-follow-up support with outfit ideas in your palette sent via Pinterest, as well as my continuing availability through email

My website is amandarobertscolor.com, and email is amandarobertscolor at gmail.com. My website also connects to my Pinterest and Instagram accounts for my business if you’d like to follow me. I have boards for each of the 12 seasons on Pinterest. I welcome your questions, and look forward to hearing from you if I can be of service in any way!

 

 

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BestMakeupSA

Best Makeup Colours Soft Autumn

Every person and every Season evokes a particularly beautiful visual sensation when the colours they wear harmonize with their own. For Soft Autumn, the effect is of youth in noticeably smoothed skin, endurance and stability in the way features define , yet delicate in its illumination. Like an opera singer.

It is quite special. In 12 Season colour analysis, we find the light reflected by Soft Autumn skin between the full incandescence of True Autumn and the cool, misty, balletic light of Summer, specifically Soft Summer. Surrounded by harmonious colour, Spring skin light is gossamer, celestial. Autumn is the light of creation, terrestrial and material in its sophistication.

So many variations exist in the natural appearance that she may have suspected she is an Autumn but not been able to pull together the colours in clothing, cosmetics, and hair all at once. Although it is the saturation that is lower in this palette, I remind myself of the coolness necessary for her type of elegance to come through. When she finally sees herself in her Luxury Drapes, she is a little bewitched, the Is that really me? silence in the room.

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.

-Albert Einstein

This quote is from his essay The World As I See It. The writing and the person resonate so strongly with me.

Maybe the silence is not only about the mystery. Not to be discounted is the gratitude of, And to think I could have gone on looking like I did for the rest of my days and never known this.

Colour reactions

Her colouring lives on the sunny side of Autumn. She is lighter looking than many Soft Summers who are coloured on the shade side of Summer. Her colours appear more saturated than Soft Summer because they are warmer.

Darkness in cosmetics can be hard to control, not unlike this effect in the Light Seasons. Eyeliners look too dark, the product where most care is needed in colour selection. Using eye powder as liner is a good tip, depending on the woman.

For some, wearing their highest potential seem to be  most authentic by wearing grace. For others, wearing coolness is the extension of the person. If your power is in your grace, wear diffused eyeliner created with eyeshadows for the big, soft absence of aggression . If your highest visual potency is in your coolness, harder, geometric lines could be quite realistic for the narrower, more intense, and perhaps smaller, eye effect. Does this means that a Winter Romantic could work either way, dark geometric line for Winter or diffusion for Romantic?

Bronzer is excellent and easy to find. Avoid colours that are too red. Stay with golden peanut buttery shades. All Autumn defines a strong and lovely bone structure in their colours. Bronzer can be used as contour and brow bone colour. It adds vitality and believable heat without a made up effect. A touch of blush, a little lip and eye definition, and you are out the door glowing.

BestMakeupSoftAutumnWeb

Eyeshadow or eyeliner in the same colour as the eye can work nicely or it can backfire. Blue eyeshadow is probably the biggest backfire I can think of, where I see only distraction and competition for the blue of the eye. I sure do like a deep sapphire liner next to a navy blue Winter eye.

As Sarah reminded me on Pinterest,  Autumn can match eye colour and eye makeup well as brown eyes with variations of brown makeup all around the eye. Their eye makeup, hair colour, and often blush and lipstick, are located right in the iris of the eyes as soft brown, spiced peach, warm yellows to fiery gold, and soft adobe orange.

In great makeup, we are all wearing our natural colouring. The viewer connects with that right away. I love soft hazel green eyeshadow or liner on green or brown Soft and True Autumn eyes. Forest green is too sharp and obviously a cosmetic most of the time. This is a grayer, browner green, for instance, Merle Norman Hazel.

How to swatch makeup to Season was described in the Light Spring article. It is important to match your cosmetic to all the colours in the swatch book because your whole face has to wear it. It has to work with your eye colours, your blood (meaning circulation or native blush and lip) colours, and your neutrals, many of which are found in the skin and hair.

We see makeup that might match some isolated colour in a collection but does not work with the rest of the face. If a combination feels uncomfortable between the whole swatch book and a cosmetic, or you would never wear it in clothes, that is how it will feel when you put the colours side by side on your face.

The same applies to hair. I was asked recently if I have ever harmonized a swatch book with the natural hair colour of a woman in any Season. Answer no, but brilliant idea that I fully intend on trying.

Pinterest

You can find pictures of lovely tones in makeup on the Makeup for Your Natural Colouring board at Pinterest. There are clothing and hair ideas on their boards too, all linked in the lower left column of this page.

Products

If you buy from this list without trying and find you don’t like, oh, well. But there is no reason for that here. Terry tells me that Mary Kay is full of Soft Autumn options. They provide lovely testers of most products, beautiful pigments, and a refreshing price point. This article on Terry’s site on Soft Autumn options shows some of the choices.

Blush: Clinique Ginger Pop (the Pop line has some colour intensity compared to the light colour deposit of many other Clinique products, use a light application), cream stick blush in Peachy Blush (Rosy Blush is a little redder but could be good too), and cheek stick in Amped Up Apple. (Note: Berry Pop is  a nice True Winter or cool Bright Winter option.) Gosh Multiblush in Bronze 51 is warm, could work well also on a True Autumn.

Eyeshadow: ELauder Sugar Biscuit. Shiseido BR307 trio. Clinique Seventh Heather and Lots o Latte tubes, and Fuller Fudge and Whopping Willow sticks as a dark gold and khaki gold eye accents. ELauder Desert Heat 5-pan. Gosh Smoky Eyes #2 quad. Gosh Brown single. Gosh quad Driftwood has warmer choices of golden beiges, especially good for not being too dark, a palette that would get used entirely.

Eyeliner: Finding a product that is not too dark takes some looking. Most browns are too dark, though Essence Teddy is great. With the coolness of the colouring, lighter gray-greens, as Gosh Camouflage Green, serve well. Using eyeshadows as liners is excellent on Soft Seasons, from a pan or stick, as Gosh Forever Eyes in Brown, neither too dark or warm.

Lipstick: ELauder Dynamic. Clinique Toasted Rose, Whole Lotta Honey, and Bountiful Blush. Lancome RIL 156B is a golden red that is higher saturation and heat, for those near or in True Autumn. Lancome Stylista is darker and nice. Clarins 703 Ginger has great potential.

 Bronzer: Arbonne. Urban Decay in Gilded and Baked. Clinique Sunkissed light.

 

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Taking Down The Eye Albums

My time is presently occupied going through this website in preparation for the coming upgrade. The Search function will be fast and slick. An index page will sort all the posts by title and topic. I know :) Finally!

Photo: nkzs
Photo: nkzs

 

Cleaning up links and punctuation has given me a reason to watch the last five years drift before my eyes. I often marvel at how little I knew a month ago. Imagine what I think of me way back then, or how afraid I am of what my five-years-from-now self will think of me today. Such is the nature of growth. Rather than dwell on that, I’d rather reflect on how far we’ve come together and continue on our learning path.

The Our Eye Album articles will be taken down this week. As beautiful as they were, there was a confusion factor. Season cannot be derived from an eye image, no matter how much it resembles those shown for that Season. I still get emails from people asking me to read their eye images. I guess we all want to be outside the disclaimers just this once.

Treading into a delicate topic here that will get more air time later, many of the PCA results came from other analysts and other PCA systems. By posting them, it appeared as if I was agreeing, which was not always the case. I became involved in conversations about confirming results that I no longer want to be in.

The PCA industry is divided both inside and outside the Sci\ART group. I didn’t realize how much till a few months ago. You all knew this before I did. Not only are we not the same, we are too different to match. We decide Season for different reasons, often reaching way back to entirely different beliefs about what harmony itself means and looks like.

I am too transparent in my belief of what the public has a right to know and expect when it buys a service to be comfortable with this situation for any length of time. Taking down the eye images is a first step towards identifying a new and distinct community.

Please know that I extend deep and sincere thanks to everyone who shared those pictures so that we could all learn. I value your generosity towards that goal above all.

 

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Peony2

Joint Training Synopsis

It is our deepest wish and intention to train colour analysts to the highest level of accuracy in human colour analysis. Now that I have been training analysts for a year or so, and Terry for much longer than that, we wanted our courses to streamline as much as possible for consistency of content. It matters to us that your return on this investment be major.

Terry’s and my script as we move through the PCA process is quite different. We wanted to give our students exposure to both, understanding that as instructors, we are more effective by adapting the material to each student’s learning approach. All people, teachers and students, have R or L brain tendencies. For our own development as analysts and to provide students with the best experience, working together has been invaluable.

Peony4

In the past month, we held two joint training sessions. Here are some of the concerns and solutions from last week’s debriefing.

 

1. For a couple of models, we did not arrive at the same Season.

This can always happen. The process is far more difficult, detailed, and in-depth than people realize. Students are consistently taken aback by the thoroughness of a good PCA. It is very clear that no living human being has, or can have, an unbiased visual system. The process and drapes must maximize the great value of our intuitions and instincts without introducing error.

For the course in Chatham, 7 of the 8 models had not been previously analyzed. Terry and I agreed on every outcome, including the 8th. Our path to the answer was not identical, which is neither necessary nor significant. With one model, one of us took the path of Spring heat to arrive at Bright Winter, while the other took the path of Autumn darkness in this particular comparison. Bright Winter colouring needs both so either preference would be good. The algorithm, followed correctly, would never eliminate a Season prematurely.

For the course in Michigan, former students had previously draped the models. Season outcomes did not always match. Both disturbed and excited, Terry and I examined the possible reasons. Why excited? Because the Autumn in us likes to know how things work and needs to fix them until they work. If the original drapes had been 100% perfect, the drapes that students buy today would not be as magnificent as they are.

The reason for differing results is unknown, and probably not that exciting after all. As instructors, the angle of vision is altered as we’re not in our usual place behind the client. The drapes are not switching as often while we help the student maneuver them. The distractions of worrying about time, and speaking to the student rather than the client add up. Unlikely that the drape colours were the cause since those now match very closely between analyst sets. Nevertheless, if there is space for improvement and learning, we intend to use it.

Conclusion: More joint training sessions with models that neither of us has draped previously. Note that under PCA Training Course in the sidebar, Terry and I will train together in Canada at the end of September and October.

 

From our student in May,

Reflecting on my recent PCA training conducted by Christine and Terry, how fortunate it was to be part of a thorough training experience tailored to me – my own questions and specific needs.  Their collective expertise was invaluable in helping me better understand color – theory and application – and navigate a draping process that results in an accurate assessment for an individual’s true tone.  This is more complex than it seems and I can’t imagine having the tools or confidence to get started without this individualized training.  Would highly recommend for anyone seeking to become a trusted and thorough PCA professional.

Kaarin H.

 

Peony3

 

2. Three days are not enough.

The students are just beginning to gel with the flow, the movement of the drapes, and the decision process, and then the course is over. Once they get home and work alone, many would tell you that they feel a little uncertain.

We provide continued support for our students in numerous formats, but it’s not the same as being there. The analysts in our group have to be solid. The public needs to know and trust that PCA can be life-changing. We’re determined learn from the past,  not repeat it all over again.

During training, everyone is physically tired. The full spectrum lights fatigue the eyes, as does looking at visual disharmony most of the time. Our brain can’t help but feel uncomfortable, quite draining to sustain for 7 or 8 hours.

Student feedback consistently mentions anxiety about applying makeup to clients. The present schedule allows little or no time for cosmetics if the student is to drape 6 to 8 people.

There is also little time to discuss client education and post-PCA support in terms of how to implement their PCA result. The Season decision is not enough. If the public cannot use our service to improve purchases, the whole thing is just an academic exercise. The training must include conversations that extend the Season to how each client will use it best. That’s a different dialogue for every client, even five people of the same Season.

Conclusion: The training course will be expanded to 4 days. Each day will run from 9AM to 6PM. Day 1 will involve theory before lunch, and then a model in the afternoon. A model in the morning and afternoon will follow, for a total of 7, allowing time for learning how to select and apply cosmetics, and how to build a framework of support for clients in stores, cosmetic counters, and on web retail sites. The models may include men, as our students should learn how draping a man may be different, but we will provide several models with which to learn cosmetic application.

The course price will be US $3200 with either instructor Canada (Christine in Ontario) or the US (Terry in Michigan).

 

From our student in June,

More eyes see more – in terms of learning a trade in 3 days, it’s been invaluable to have had the privilege to learn from 2 of the most established and experienced Sci\Art specialists in the field! People / analysts process and evaluate the same information in different ways, therefore it’s important that we challenge our processes by borrowing and trying out techniques from one another. At times, we might observe different or sometimes opposing things looking at the same picture and there’s a lesson to be learnt from that.

Gabriella P.

 

For the PCA industry and the larger colour community, things really are getting better all the time.

 

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Cedars

Client Q&A Palettes and Line Analysis

1. Are the proportions of each colour in the book a reflection of my colouring. Does that have a direct bearing on how I use these colours in my clothing?

A few factors to think about. First, the designer of the palette makes a decision about how many of which colours to include. We all know by now that you could have 5 swatch books for your Seasons, 70 colours each, none repeated, all accurate. The designer has to decide what they want to express – are Neutral Seasons closer to parent True Seasons or to neighbour Neutrals? Will Dark Winter express its rustic Autumn-ness or its jewel-toned Winter-ness, or both equally? Is this palette intended for women or men, business or party, the fashion scene of the 1980s or the 2015s? How many strips of colours will be given to wardrobe neutrals, reds, white/black alternatives, etc?

The designer makes decisions about which colours will participate in a Season. Red Purple doesn’t factor into Soft Autumn, presumably because that hue doesn’t satisfy the Season’s colour dimensions. I’m not the expert on these decisions. If you look at the Sci\ART books for the same Season over the years, they change considerably. This was probably due to changes in equipment, ink, and perhaps Kathryn’s (Kathryn Kalisz, founder of Sci\ART) evolving beliefs, perceptions, and consumer feedback.

Sometimes, the limits are in the nature of the colour. There are only so many yellows that human eyes can tell apart and not as many yellows available in the high saturation range as there are blues.

From printing RTYNC (the blue book in the margin), the computer’s colour model can impose limits, as well as what a given printer can create.  Giving True Summer a big selection of reds may be tricky, or maybe it’s getting reds clear enough for the Winters.

The available colours have to stay inside all 3 colour dimensions. Bright Spring ranges almost to white and black, and takes its source colours almost from primary colour,  giving a wide range from which to choose.  Summers, with their narrower lightest-darkest range, draw from a smaller range of colours to include in the palettes. Also, on this colouring, small nuance in colours is more apparent than on Winter colouring where colours that are very similar tend to look much the same. The Summer menu has a lot of neutral colours, entirely the wearer’s choice to use them or not.

Every available hue should be present in as wide a range of hue, value, and chroma as the Season will accept. Very hard to do unless the consumer wants to carry a 5lb. book around, which is why it’s so important to choose garments using the entire fan, not single swatches, to maximize your colour options.

Every palette should offer its owner a range of light, medium, and dark colours. They are all divided about 30-30-30.  The darker Season palettes appear darker because they reach a darker endpoint.

The real point of the Q isn’t related to the theory so much as its application. I realize these things, I just get sidetracked :) The palettes do communicate in a collective way, not just swatch by swatch.

Showing too many darker blues and purples in a light or medium darkness Season might have the woman dressing darker than the overall value (darkness) level for that group. Sure, she could select more from the lighter colours, every palette has them, but the thinking is done for her if she fans out the book and ‘gets’ the overall value, hue, and chroma to aim towards.

Photo: lance1

Photo: lance1

Digression: Is that flower Bright Spring or Light Summer? Without laying it on a palette or the drapes, I don’t know the answer. I don’t have a palette at the moment. In my imagination, I’ll substitute something I know. A rainbow, a dish of sorbet, bluebells are Light Summery. In that company, would this flower would take over? In a field of  misty bluebells, this rose is the only thing you’d see. The bluebells might as well be grass, leading me to think the rose is Bright Spring. Could it hold its own next to a Bird of Paradise flower? Probably. Like most design decisions, you have to see it to decide.

Final consideration: Part of what determines how many of which colour appears in a palette is probably related to the Season’s core colour. That’s an complicated concept but it does express real human beings, unlike certain PCA-industry notions that only work on paper. If anyone knows where the idea that Winter is red, Autumn’s core is orange, Spring’s is yellow, and Summer’s is blue, originated, I would love to hear. The choices of fuchsias and purples in the True Winter palette go on and on. Is that a reflection of their core colour of red mixed with the blue that cools that colouring?  The amount of core colour pigment unifying a Season, therefore present in every swatch, helps decide which colours apply. For True Spring, depending on how much of the core yellow pigment the designer adds, there will be a shift in which segment of colour space contributes to the palette.

Finally! Answer to the reader’s Q: Yes and No.  The book gives you overall hue, value, chroma consistency in 60 to 80 unified colours. How you wear them depends on preference, body type, occasion, time of year, personal contrast level, and individual feature colours.

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2. I’m really interested in having a personal image analysis. You’ve said here that I should have my colouring analyzed first. Why? Does it really matter?

A good Q that would be better answered by an image and line expert. I’ve asked Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed to comment from her experience and perspective. In my opinion, she is THE image expert whose advice will have you wearing modern clothing styles that elevate your power, presence, and sophistication within a matter of seconds. I’ve watched her achieve this over and over, happy to say on myself too.

In general, I would suggest that you have your PCA done first, if at all possible. When clients come in for both, I always do the color analysis first. The reason for this is that, as Christine has said, proper definition of the lines in the face requires it being surrounded by the correct colors. It’s harder for me (and more importantly others who will be looking at you in your new clothes) to see the potential of the face before me until I’ve seen it without too much or too little definition. For more on this topic, you can find an article I wrote with some real life examples here (http://www.bestdressed.us/2014/01/27/how-true-colors-reveal-true-features/). There is also, of course, the same issue I present my PCA clients who opt not to have a PIA – if you’re going to start replacing your wardrobe, why not have all the information for both style and color and save yourself the expense of having to start from scratch ever again?

That said, most of my clients who are having a PIA *want* a PCA, and if they haven’t had one, it’s because of geographic access. Some of you are out there patiently waiting until a Color Analyst sets up shop in your neck of the woods, or at least comes for a visit. Others are willing to make the trek, but need time to save for it because traveling from another country, for example, makes the expense much more significant. My general attitude in this case would be that you may as well go ahead with learning the best styles for you, as it will make a huge difference on it’s own, and I hate to think of you waiting for possibly a few years to start looking and feeling fabulous. Because I am so finely attuned to looking at features, I can typically see through the noise of wrong colors, where others would not be able to. But the decision is really up to you. If you will not be buying any clothing much at all while you wait for your PCA, and don’t have an extensive wardrobe to pick through to work towards your archetype, perhaps it makes no sense.

Here’s my scientific take on it. As with colour perception, the answer must be grounded in how human vision is hard-wired by Nature. What else would make any sense?

When colours are in conflict, shapes and lines cannot find focus. Our brain wants us to notice that there’s a difference. If the colours are quite close, our brain thinks, “That might be a tiger. How am I going to get her to see it so she runs the other way? I know! I’ll blur up the lines. She’s sure to pick up on that!”

Details cannot find definition.  Our brains circuits understand visual information in a stepwise sequence.  As with colour analysis, ignoring the built-in strengths and weaknesses is a little delusional. They are embedded and will not be overriden.

The first levels to process incoming line and shape signals are concerned with general contours. If all the eyes see in the image are outer edges, and blurry ones at that, the visual system finishes processing the image too early. Complexity is lost to us, and what a waste since it’s that very complexity that the higher visual levels of human beings are so beautifully able to interpret correctly. Imagine a half-developed negative from back in the 35mm film days. You see outlines, nothing else. You can’t do much of a line analysis without any lines.

Photo: xaler
Photo: xaler

For an example of contours without definition, look at the image of Victoria Beckham or Hilary Duff  on the Pinterest Know Your Best Hair Colour board. Given only contours, the brain does its best at object recognition. Not being good at understanding outlines in the first place, it can’t fully make sense of the object. The result is that some spaces are not filled in or the brain makes a few incorrect assumptions to get through the day. That’s not only bad for image analysis, it’s bad for survival, evolution’s primary concern.

Rendered in its correct colours, an image develops fully. Edges are focussed and details refine. Only now can the human brain’s higher visual centers make a complete picture available for line and shape analysis.

Have a look at some of the celebrities in the Commentary Booth board on  Pinterest. You can see how distorting the wrong colours are. There’s an image of  Carrie Underwood in an acid yellow-green dress with silver insets. First of all, she’s hard to see. When I actually made myself look at the face, I thought she was Reese Witherspoon.

 

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Daisies

Client Q&A Silver Hair and Foundation

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.

Photo: echiax
Photo: echiax

 

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.

Photo: darktaco
Photo: darktaco

 

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?

candy-from-barcelona-93807-m
Photo: Sisterdew

 

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.

 

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Client Q&A Lux and Key Drapes

If you’re asking me a Q, so are many others. You send me more intelligent and insightful comments and questions than I could ever come up with. What I want more than anything is for the colour analysis industry to make the shopping of every person reading here better. Much better, right now, today.

Answering your Q one email at a time limits how many could benefit. If I’m sent a Q or a comment, it might appear here, always anonymously, and adjusted to reflect the various angles by which people asked the same thing. If that is uncomfortable for you, might be best to ask another source.

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1. The Luxury Drapes…I wanted to cry when I saw them. The colours are so gorgeous that I want to take them all home. But they’re expensive. Could you make Personal Luxury drapes smaller?

I hear you and I get it. I get that these are the first piece of consumer freedom you’ve felt in a long time, like waving flags. They are the sails of your very own boat, that you can take wherever you want. I want that freedom for you.

Photo: wwskies
Photo: wwskies

 

You wouldn’t save enough money to outweigh the negatives. The cost of the fabric would save some money certainly but think about how much 17″ (half the length of a drape) would cost. Not a lot. Maybe averages at $4-6, so over 15 pieces, that’s $60-90.

The expense is not in the fabric. It’s in the time and skill of having two analysts hand pick every colour, one by one. Literally, it takes days.

Then, there’s the production process. Cutting, edge-sealing, grommetting, and stamping is the same for a full or half length piece of fabric. This includes the time, the expertise, and the materials needed.

Shipping cost would reduce by about $20 savings by weight, depending on destination. Everything else about shipping, meaning supplies and time, is the same. Revenue Canada requires that all drapes ship out of Canada.

Also, the sets are customizable. Everyone so far has requested specific colours or colour schemes. Excellent, but I don’t want to be left with half a drape in case it’s not requested again and I can’t include it in an analyst’s set.

You’ve saved maybe $60 or 80. Part of my job is to answer the Q everyone should be asking. What is the loss? If there’s a gain, there’s a loss somewhere.

The more colour you have, the more you can see. I prefer, indeed insist, on large, single colour pieces of fabric to create every optical effect possible. You need drapes that will do that for you to gain the most information.

Half-size drapes would be half the size of a garment. Garments are not napkin sized. To make an outfit, you need to have some large and small blocks in sizes larger than doll cutouts.

I wouldn’t consider Personal drapes smaller than half size. The intention of making these available is in part so you know what an entire garment looks like in a store. Whether a 1 inch square swatch or a 2 inch square bit of fabric, the entire effect isn’t available. It’s hard for anyone to know what the clothing looks like. When Terry and I started the drape enterprise, we were uncertain about what we were looking for in many of the colours, just going by the swatches. When we found it, it was often an accident that got a reaction of “Really? Look at this one, Terry. I’m pretty sure this is what Dark Winter coral actually looks like.”

This is one of the many reasons why I so do not advocate matching clothing to each little square or dot on a fan. There’s not enough colour surface area to compare with a full size garment. Besides, even at 3×3 inches, the production of small squares of fabric becomes ridiculously complex if they are to be beautifully crafted, durable, permanent, sealed, grommetted, and packaged.

When fabric pieces are smaller, you can’t see appreciate their interactions with one another as well. Synchronous wavelength, belonging, stillness, and harmony don’t come through as well. The more colour, the more energy to be felt.

Finally, I don’t believe any more people will buy the drapes if they’re $60 less on a $500 investment.

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2. During my PCA, in the Key drapes, the initial gold/silver/brown/black series, I wore black fairly well. But the analyst told me I’m a Soft Summer. Doesn’t wearing black well mean I’m a Winter?

Absolutely not. It means that your skin wants something Winter offers that the comparison drape at the time did not.

Might be darkness (but we can get that in Autumn too). Might be saturation (but Spring has that too). Might be coolness (look to Summer if necessary).

You get the pattern. Any colour dimension can be found in any 2 True Seasons. Any 2 True Seasons share 1 colour dimension and differ in the other 2. It’s like those “If Jane has 2 jellybeans and gives Tom 1…” puzzles.

So a Soft Summer might wear black as well or better than silver (her skin tone wants the darkness of black), black better than Autumn (skin wants some coolness that black gives her), and black better than Spring gold (skin wants darker and cooler). But she ain’t no Winter. And I don’t vote with the Key drapes because I fear that once a winner is picked, our brain says, “There. Done. Got what I came for. Move switch to OFF.” and too many other clues are left behind.

Second thing: The Key drapes are way way way too early to know about Seasons. The analyst doesn’t even know the face yet. It takes a solid 15-30 minutes to see what a given face will do in colours. The Key drapes are about “What’s going to change, where exactly, and how much?”

A Light Summer can wear black at times DEPENDING on what the contest is. Her skin likes the saturation and the coolness. If the comparison is with Autumn, her skin might find several things in black to like. Now if the comparison is between black and silver, there may still be good stuff happening in black but less so.

Our eyes deceive us. Everywhere, all day long. We truly know not what we see. Neuroscientists write books about our visual inaccuracies. What we think about colour is 100% dependent on what the comparison is at the moment. You make a decision about one drape’s effects. Compare it to something else, whole different decision. That’s why it’s so important to check every decision by coming at it from several angles. Never assume you read it right the first time.

I could look at you and paint what I see. Right there, in that chair, with those clothes and that hair, and that light coming in. Or even surrounded by neutral gray. Those could be your body colours, the ones you repeat when you shop.

What if I dislike yellow to the point of feeling nauseated or weirdly intimidated? The analyst is human too. Bound the influence what I paint. Gotta get myself out the way and find some way to measure objectively. Very hard for humans to do.

What if I got the first colour wrong, then rejected colour 2 because it didn’t look pretty with colour 1, while colour 2 was the correct one? Colours 3, 4, and 5 must now be influenced. Errors carry forward, so there has to be a built-in way to recheck every previous decision. This is not just my opinion. It’s how humans think.

With any 2 drapes, our human eyes often grab the first one and say “OK, got it. This is normal and right and real.” and proceed to judge everything back to that. If the drapes had landed in the reverse order, we would have judged oppositely. Never ever assume you read it right from just one comparison. Keep moving around the problem and look at every angle, almost like fooling your eyes into making the right call. Keep confusing them so they keep adapting, like any muscle or neuropathway, to develop resilience, plasticity, and the highest outcome.

Nothing wrong with paintings. They can bring us to tears, a reunion with some part of ourselves or our past. They’re also frozen in time. The subject’s and the painter’s. You know colour analysis is a spiritual journey for me, because that’s what it has been to me. I want colours that give me somewhere to grow into, saving parts of myself I don’t know about today.

It’s all inside us, past, present, future. I want a bridge to the stuff that I can’t access yet, stuff that will be there waiting for me when I’m ready, that I trust to be real and true. Being frozen in my today feels too confining and kind of terrifying. I’m not certain who it was said “Know that one thing by which everything else can be known.” For me and  many others, it’s colour that acts as that metaphor. Doesn’t have to be for you, I just hope you find what it is. Seeing it in one place can help us recognize it in another. For those of us who view the world symbolically, everything is a metaphor. Favourite piece of poetry:

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand,

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,

And Eternity in an hour.

 

– William Blake

 

How seriously hard is connecting to the truth of you, with no warping by media or any other person? We devote our lives to it. We lose it and find it. Something twists and it’s gone again. Once you find it, let it out. Sing your own song. Nothing feels better. It is the voice the Universe hears most clearly as you work together to move your life forward.

Makes me think of this. This is why I and those I have taught became colour analysts. It is how God made us to spread love in the world.

 

If not you, then who?

If not now, then when?

 

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Science, beauty, truth. Transformational results.