Warmth and Coolness of Colour

J. asked some excellent questions.

  1. I would love to see more posts on figuring out how warm or cool a color is, particularly as it relates to matching colors to one’s fan. What is the very coolest blue?  Originally I thought it might be the blue that has an RGB value of (0, 0, 255) – an HSL hue of 240.  However, that blue is opposite yellow on the color wheel, so I thought maybe the coolest blue would actually be the one that is directly opposite orange, which would be closer to a hue of 203.

C: Your Q is best directed to an expert in RGB colour models, which is not me. May I suggest that this information might not be what a colour-analyzed shopper needs?

I seem to be coming at PCA the opposite way. Since I have not the knowledge of mixing pigments or colour models, I can only begin where the end result makes sense. From there, I seem to work back to figure out how the parts came together. The order of PCA for a client is not different. It begins in the store and looks backwards to when she sat down in the colour analyst’s chair. What does she need to know? How to use her palette.

Regarding the coolest blue, or warmest for that matter: IDK what warmth of colour means. We say “True Winter colours contain no warmth.” If that means no yellow, then it can’t be. Every human being contains yellow. The True Winter palette contains yellow. The yellow content of True Winter greens is undeniable. Many Winter neutral colours are distinguished by strong yellow content, along with gray and red. The language needs to evolve to say “True Winter colours contain the coolest yellows.”


The best definition of warm colour appears to involve the ratio between yellow and red. The cooler the Season palette, the less red is mixed with the yellows, down to none at all in True Winter. The more red relative to yellow, the warmer the colour is. Please understand that I am guessing at how this works. I welcome any help figuring it out.

Defining a cool colour depends on the colour. For yellow, the coolest version is the one that leans most blue in the ROYGBIVROYGIVB continuum. That order is fixed because it is the order of rainbows on this planet. A cool yellow is green-leaning.

Blue is different in its behaviour. An explanation Kathryn Kalisz once wrote to me:

Relative to each other, a red-blue is considered warm, and a green-blue is considered cool, red being warmer than green on a colour wheel. When these blues are in prints or composition with other colors, then the relationship reverses. Because of the yellow content in the green-blue, it harmonizes better with the yellow content in the other warm colors, and therefore, we call it a warm blue. In a group of colors, the blue-red has a purple tinge and harmonizes with the cool tones.  Now it becomes a cool blue tone.


Let’s say there is a ‘coolest’ blue, the blue-purple range being the convention, red-orange the warmest. A more important question to the woman shopping with her palette is,

Does the coolest blue appear in human beings? I think that, like other animals, we contain and see best the colours of our own species, or maybe of organic forms on this planet. Of organic forms, plants will differ since they contain no hemoglobin. We see inorganic pigments but are not coloured as are inorganic elements, dyes, or the various colours computer models can generate. From the original question, does the coolest RGB code even apply to humans?

Despite being a century old, the Munsell system persists because it appears to represent human vision exceptionally well. I don’t disagree. What I see in front of my eyes works. I do question whether Munsell’s system could be a platform for something more interesting, intricate, and complex, more artistic and less technical, beyond the entry point of his colour charts.

For now, those charts interpret human colouring with high fidelity. Incorporating other colour systems like Pantone make less sense to me since they span too many colours, animal, vegetable, mineral, computer, neon, textile, plastic, and so on, that have nothing to do with humans.

  1. Or perhaps I should ask – since it’s really about how one’s face reacts to the color – what is the (theoretically) most ideal blue hue for a cool season – the “ur-blue”?

C: There are many. Lighter, darker, cooler, more or less muted, redder and greener. Perhaps people within one Season probably have their own best blue but who could you find to agree? Taste is not involved in PCA. In fact, we work to extract personal preference from the decision-making.

The important part is that a particular set of colour characteristics or behaviours best harmonizes a particular human colouring. With that set in hand, the client’s job is to become very good at using it.

I believe that Kathryn Kalisz’s Sci\ART colour groupings are the most rational in existence because they keep the 3-way marriage between the physics of light, human biology, and the behaviour of colour intact. We can shuffle the nomenclature forever and never change a thing. That is talking theories first, observable facts after. Wrong order.


Humans are pretty good at judging value and brightness. We’re pretty terrible at gauging warmth because it’s a relative relationship. Maybe that’s why PCA from photos is so unsuccessful for me. Still images are too static to represent how fluidly colour behaves to our real-time eyes, far more than we are ever aware of.

We’re also not great at judging warmth when one of the other colour dimensions changes. I could show you two of any colour from the very same value level and you might think the muted one was darker. Some might say that the muted colour is cooler because it behaves the way our brain knows cool colours do from the world we live in. Cool and/or muted move backwards, or so we think.

Colour harmony is really not about matching colours. We have no idea what colours are, we can’t remember them accurately, and they are never what we expected when we see them a different comparison. Believing in what we think we see, meaning colour matching, is why so many women are paying for less-than-best hair colour and can’t find a lipstick that looks like part of their face.

To truly work with colour, I think we have to embrace the inherent unknownable. Have you read “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”? The best book I have picked up in ages. Colour requires a space for mystery to be OK as we learn to work with it, just like Harold learned to do with the larger reality of life. Dragonflies embody the physics of flight and impossible magic. Leaving room for both enriches and enlarges the experience of the dragonfly.

Learn to work with your colours. Don’t put your attention into non-existent rules. Accept the palette you have, from the system you chose, and practice finding what aligns with it. I know you’re trying to do that. Logic is how we begin. It is helping you ask all the right Q. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  1. I’m getting the idea that maybe finding a “cool” hue might be about finding the coolest shade of that color.  For instance, a very green blue would be relatively warm, but a very blue green would be relatively cool?

I have a tendency to think a color might be True Summer until I compare it to my fans, and then I realize it looks more Dark Winter.  I think perhaps I’m looking for cool colors that are muted, and instead sometimes find a cool color that is slightly DARK instead.  Ok, technically this isn’t a question.  : -)

C: Questions related to application are taking us in a more constructive direction. We would love to bring the answers down to one set of criteria, If This Then That, a safely anchored set of rules. Colour analysts would love that even more but it doesn’t work that way.

Colour is as fluid as any magic, now you see it, now you don’t. Try not to think in terms of how it has to be. Learn to work with what you see in front of you. Instead of logical predictions, put the two things together and look, as you did here. In ‘realizing it looks more Dark Winter’, you absorb what makes it not True Summer without even trying.


We can’t compare the heat of a green-blue and a blue-green unless we’re certain that the other variables, value and saturation, are fixed. As soon as one aspect changes, everything changes. Something had to be added or subtracted – red, yellow, blue, something. Adding yellow to mixtures might warm them, and it lowers saturation. Therefore, True Warm Seasons will not be fully saturated. We can’t change one thing without changing all the others.

True Summer and Dark Winter are variations of warmer, muted True Winters. They got there in different ways. One adds Summer gray. One adds Autumn orange (brown is added to Autumn, brown being dark orange). This is hardly new information. I’m just not sure how much it matters to the client in the store.

Doesn’t even matter to the colour analyst as long as she can read her drapes and knows her own limitations. Every analyst, like all humans, is limited in her colour acuity, even if only colour matching, by the absolute need for real time comparison. Add to that the chemical limitations of biology (fatigue, sleep, eye strain) and lighting on rod and cone chemistry, and calibrated comparison is the only hope I have of getting a true result.

Were there too many limitations to bother (or to admit to) for doing PCA? Not if you ask me. It simply acknowledges reality. In the real world, nothing needs to be perfect to work extremely well. We are surrounded by examples. Experts learn to extract the maximum info from the real world framework. In any field, experts are constantly on the lookout for information which can be trusted, and that which cannot. If a system can’t stand up to inquiries on that subject, well now, that might be when to not bother.

  1. Weirdly, I’ve also found that I sometimes have trouble telling whether a given blue, green or purple color fits into True Summer or Soft Autumn.  Some of the colors seem SO similar – for example, True Summer 3.10A compared to Soft Autumn 5.8A, or True Summer 4.6A compared to Soft Autumn 5.6A.  I know I’m supposed to try to figure out how well a fabric goes with the whole fan.  But truly, if I had any one of those shades in a fabric, I don’t think I could possibly tell which fan it went best with.

C: I understand the problem. Soft Autumn blue is not obvious to understand. I test many (that end up in Soft Summer) before finding one.


If you can’t tell by looking at the whole fan, look at each colour group separately. The whole fan is WTMI (way too much info) coming in. Separate out the reds and decide if the palette looks calm and strong or has taken a step back.

If you have both True Summer and Soft Autumn palettes, do the Summer lipsticks look frozen? They will if the fabric is Soft Autumn.

Can you assemble a white shirt/gray pants outfit from the palette for that shade of blue? Summer wears blue well, it might not matter that much. It is not necessary to doubt every purchase, just move away from obviously poor choices.

Look at the green strips. Do they make sense or are they just hopeless together?

Look at the colours that really define the Season. Do Soft Autumn peanut butter and ochre yellow look great with the blue fabric? If the blue fabric were a turtleneck, could she find a beautiful lipstick?

  1. As a True Summer, are there some blues in other seasons that would look just as good on me as my own blues do?

C: It depends on the sensitivity of the viewer. When the wavelength of the colour and the person match, the appearance can clarify, focus, and captivate in a way that other Seasons’ colours would not attain. That said, most folks have never seen that and could not recognize it. This is not a reason to compromise (which Summers don’t like and Autumns insist on), just don’t get too immobilized by a perfect standard. Red, yellow, brown, beige, or purple are the colours to be more rigid about between these Seasons than blue.

Most of the world is so used to seeing wild mismatch, and so used to adapting for changing lighting over a day, that they’ll see something good going on even when colours are close. Vision didn’t evolve for us to look beautiful. It evolved as much as it needed to for us to eat and not get eaten before we mate and raise our young.

You probably have several fine blues from all three Summer palettes, and maybe a few low contrast choices from True Winter. If you can identify the great blues and ignore the million blues that are not even worth trying on, you are way ahead of the game you were playing pre-PCA.




3 Foundation Counter Scenarios

In the last video, part the previous post about PCA and Teens, we talked about a life lived with freedom from identity crisis. The freedom of knowing who we are early in life means an exemption from the knots that hold us so fastened to appearance beliefs that are unflattering, distort our self-story, and cause others to greatly underestimate our potential. Why carry this around for 20 unnecessary years? Who would saddle their child with this load voluntarily? The world will do so unless we step in.

Our kids are gorgeous in pyjamas and we love them too much to care how they look. The world at large does not share those sentiments and feels no pressure to try. To any young adult reading, get this figured out when you still have a million choices ahead, many competitions and serious money at stake. Stack the odds in your own favour. Never fight to lose.

I can’t get those years back, let alone all that money. Get your kids’ colours analyzed between 18 and 25. Give them a different life than what’s in the cards for them today. How many women in a room could say about their appearance, “I went away from myself and proceeded to get totally lost.” That would be me and most of the women I know. Staying lost is a choice. Used to be that our entire future was laid in by our gender. No more. Choice is a beautiful thing. Choice is the most important by-product of education.

Why Foundation Is Usually Too Warm

In this video, girl walks up to a makeup counter.  Not only a girl who looks warm, but any girl.

Many people are artificially yellowed by hair and clothing choices. Some, especially people of ethnicity, have a lot of natural yellow in the overtone but in reality, are quite cool. We can’t look at the yellow and know its heat setting (there are cool yellows, right?) unless we test it.

Some colouring looks warmer than it is whether the person is wearing harmonizing colours or not. Soft Summer colouring is notorious for this because of the slight smoky effect, as if the person were tanned all the time, misinterpreted as warm. The surface skin contains a lot of yellow, while the truth of the entire colouring is to be predominantly blue, not yellow, green, or red. You wouldn’t know just by looking.

This woman often chooses too-warm hair and clothing colour, adjusts her face with makeup, leaving one problem: her eyes don’t go well with anything. If the eye colour conflicts, the whole look leaves the viewer with a feeling of off-key. Adjusting appearance with cosmetics is a boomerang. You can never really fool anybody. Humans are too in-tune with each other for eye colour clash to slide by, though the awareness of it be subconscious. Actually two problems: the face widens and flattens, like a robber with a nylon stocking pulled over his head or a face pressed up against a window.

Most foundation is too warm, and warmed in the way a Spring face would be.  Much of it is too candy and peach, maybe because it looks pretty under department store lights, real skin colours being kind of drab. The cool colours are often too candy and pink, again not matching most human skin tones.

What’s a girl to do? Take back the reins. Get colour analyzed, learn your own colouring, and stop being talked into wasting your money.

In Scenario 3, she has a good chance of leaving with the right foundation colour.


Teens and Seasonal Colour Analysis

I bought two blouses from the last Signature/STYLE newsletter (you can see the picture and links over in the right column). Rachel at Best Dressed, who selects the styles, said, “Do a video so I can see them. ”

What could I talk about over two videos? Children in the first one. Parenthood is my highest calling. Ultimately, this is where I take measure of myself, the only place where I need to know that I was great. My children are where I lose perspective because we parent from the heart, not the head. Perspective is a game of the mind.

Keeping up with mailing books, drapes, and Blueprints cosmetics has taken over my schedule entirely. I introduce Ally today as my new shipping assistant. If I’m travelling, which is half the time, you may sometimes communicate with Ally directly regarding ordering and shipping details. (Invoices and receipts will still be with me.)

Ally Prom

Read any book about colour and you’ll hear tell the same tale, a page devoted to the story of a child who wore colours other than their own, either by Mom’s preference or by necessity. Those were my kids too. Ally is my middle child so she often wore what we were given.

The training is a huge experience for a colour analyst. I don’t recall many details. What happened with the very first drapes, I can relive as if it were happening right now. To this day, I wave that black drape back and forth, her 12-year old face smiling back, in absolute shock at what I was seeing, with Terry standing at my side quietly, knowing exactly what was happening. Those were the moments when I realized that I had to start over to become the things I care about – the best colour analyst and far more, the best parent that I could be.

What I saw in the mirror stopped me in my tracks. Even as my fourth draping, it was obvious how much the red hair/brown eyes/Autumn stereotype  would hold her back. Obvious that I, her mother who wants everything for her, was making choices that were limiting her reception in this world, her preparation for the rest of her life.

Self-expression is vital to kids. It is their single job in life. And here was me, not only suppressing but also sabotaging my daughter’s individuality and truth. Fixing that mattered more to me, then and today, than fixing myself. When a person knows how it feels for their light to shine bright in one part of their life, it’s much easier to reach that level in other parts.

Ally was and still is a True Winter in her colouring, a YinNatural in her image archetype. Knowing these have changed the course of her life already. She makes educated choices that give her beauty, and also confidence.


This video is also on YouTube.



Introducing Colour Analyst Katherine Schlagal (Texas)

In Katherine’s words below, she says some nice things about our time together. I can assure you that the pleasure and the honour were mine. She was a brilliant student, with the wisdom and humility to know that we all remain students in the subjects we love if we are to excel. This, I admire.

An intelligent woman once said to me, “It is a great thing to remain teachable.” I may have quoted it before because it left such an impression. It is true at any age, and probably what I most enjoyed about teaching Katherine. Because she can think and her mind is able to absorb knowledge quickly, learning should be easy but these are not enough to truly grow. So importantly, her nature already holds the flip side, which is the personal confidence to explore the difficult questions openly and honestly, without theatre or judgment. A person who can do this for herself can do so for her clients.  This, along with her beautiful social competence, create the type of analyst that I hold most dear – the analyst focussed on the highest theoretical and technical standard, who still places the needs and concerns of the client foremost.

I loved meeting Katherine.  I love the honesty, sensitivity, and maturity with which she tells her story. You will too.


Hi everyone :) My name is Katherine Schlagal. I’m a Music Therapist from San Antonio TX, and now a 12 Blueprints Certified Personal Color Analyst.

I started my journey into color analysis four years ago while I was in college working on my degree in music therapy. I had found 12blueprints.com and was fascinated by the system. I read every article of information I could find on the subject and knew I wanted to know more. In July of 2013, I scheduled to see a Sci/Art analyst who told me I was a True Autumn. It was a great experience, and another stepping stone on my journey. I was still trying to learn as much as I could, and it seemed I could never read enough about it. It was something I couldn’t stop talking about. I told all my friends and family, and started to find that it was something lots of people were interested in. By 2014, I contacted Christine, and scheduled to go to Canada to be trained.

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Training with Christine was an amazing experience. It was great to learn under her genius and she was a brilliant teacher. I feel confident in my ability to deliver this service to people back home now. During my training, Christine draped me as a Bright Winter. I think I literally went through the five stages of grief as she draped me. First I tried to deny what the colors were doing in front of my eyes, but I couldn’t for very long. Then I was angry, because it was very apparent autumn was my worst season, and I had been buying autumn colors for over two years. Next I was depressed. Not because I didn’t like my new colors, but because I knew I now had a wardrobe of clothes that were my worst colors, and I would be starting over from scratch. The bargaining stage came next. I thought to myself, “Well maybe I’m a dark winter, at least that’s closer to autumn than bright winter, right…?”. Nope, a bargain was not to be made. Lastly, came acceptance. I made peace with my true colors and my world brightened. I was seeing a different person in the mirror, and I liked her. Christine had said she hoped that I would change seasons, so I could understand my client’s perspective of buying the wrong clothes for years and having to start over from scratch. Well I can assure you, I get it now. But as I feel about anything in life, finding the truth is better than any other alternative.

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Katherine with her husband, Andrew

What excites me about Color analysis is that it celebrates the colors that are within all of us, and it lets people know what’s special and unique about their own coloring. It’s a rewarding experience to find someone’s season and watch their eyes light up as they see their own potential and beauty. The media tells people they are inadequate as they are, that what’s inherent in them is wrong and needs to be changed to have value. This system combats the negativity in that message by showing people that the opposite is true, that who they are and how the came into the world is magnificent already, and it’s the clothing and cosmetics that have been wrong. That’s what I love about it and that’s what I want to bring to people.

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To start out I will be offering Personal Color Analysis in a studio in a private residence. I really see the value of the luxury drapes and would like to offer them in the future, but do not have them at this time. I have a love and interest in makeup and I plan on offering foundation matching and cosmetics as part of my analysis appointments. I believe it’s a very applicable and necessary part of learning one’s season, and I think it’s something many women will find valuable. I would also like to offer personal image analysis in the future, because I believe people need to know the truth of both their colors and lines to be successful when buying clothes. I’m looking forward to getting started and plan on being open officially for business on June 1, 2015.

Contact: revealpca@gmail.com

Website: http://revealpca.com  (will be live on June 1/15)



Lipsticks for Naturals in 12 Seasons

Naturals has two meanings in this post: Natural image archetypes (IA) or to achieve a no-makeup, natural look.

I enjoyed this article about the psychology of fitness clothing, in a bigger picture of how our clothing choices inform others about who we are. Those choices are informing us as well. Like haircuts with a shape that works with our head, clothes that are built for our body help us sit up a little straighter. “Enclothed cognition” applies to makeup too.

The point is made of not changing too much, too fast. That new hair colour or lipstick might be fabulous but not only are we not yet ready to see it, we are not ready to be it. In the early days after learning your Season, I often want to advise the client to do nothing for a week or a month except absorb the label, the palette, and the online resources that will gradually unlock a world of meaning for her.


We can create our own futures on our own terms with patience and clarity about what we want. The future being where I live, this question helps me gauge my appearance on days when it matters:

What conversations do I want to be having tomorrow, with whom, and regarding what? Am I dressed for that? Am I behaving for that? Exercising for that? Reading for that? Would I choose or hire me to represent the me that I truly know myself to be? Would they even be close?


There’s one other question to ask: What am I willing to do?

Naturals can feel love/hate about makeup. They don’t like the clutter to carry around, the stuff on their face that closes them in, the added steps to getting ready, and the implication that we’re not good enough as we are. These are all valid reactions that nobody would disagree with.

Every woman who wears makeup had to get over all that or stay exactly where she is today. Saying, “I want to look put together but I don’t want to do anything any different.” cannot happen. There is no right or wrong, just clarity about what you want and are willing to do.

Have you read Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth? In the most conversational voice, with very honest emotion, and the sympathy possible from one who’s been there, Roth talks about eating as a means of deflecting other problems. Among the very real advice is that same question: What are you willing to do?

Appearance is the visual language of potential and potency. Others pick up on it like they pick up on posture. Great makeup, which ranges from subtle to strong, signals possibility. I react differently when I sit across the table from a professional woman, or any woman, wearing good makeup and one wearing no makeup, far more influential than what her clothing cost.

If I drew my life on a timeline, many of the important sightings of what I could expect from myself were coincident with appearance changes that brought my real self into view. Those were the breakthrough times. Once I could see myself clearly, I finally knew what I could do. Presumably from the reaction, others see it to, indeed long before I ever did. Our ultimate and truest self is like a little person sitting at the centre of one of those maze games that has multiple entry points, of which appearance is most definitely one.

This article at Quartz is about ‘vanity capital’, what we spend on looks and how to measure it.  If you hear that the appearance industry (including PCA) is alive and well, you would not be wrong. The POV leans to a definition of appearance as a form of showing off, also not wrong, qualifying that by saying showing off is not utterly superficial.

Appearance choices are symbolic (the wedding ring). They are a language that speaks to other members of our species. They also speak back to us, as “self-actualization through self-improvement and self-focus”. A new generation of colour analyst exists in the world today, women who instinctively know all of this. They seek the training because they are already aware that enabling this deeper connection with self through colour is fundamentally what they want to share.

Whether you want makeup or not is up to you. Make your choices for the right reasons.  I do not lie, ever, not to you, and I’m even harder on me.  Humans convince themselves too easily that they don’t want or like a thing when raw honesty would admit that the thing is simply intimidating. Don’t wonder or wish about makeup. It is too easy to make this one come true. There are so many of us here to help you.

When I begin a colour analysis, I reassure the client that she has only two tasks. The first is the most important: To pretend that she doesn’t know the woman in the mirror. No doubt the woman carries around beliefs about her appearance as all women do, but we don’t know what they are any more than we know the beliefs of the woman walking past the window.  A degree of detachment makes for a good colour analyst. Just see what you see. Then decide, this one or that one? Who do you want others to meet when they shake your hand? Of which face could you expect what you want to achieve in this day, in this year?

(The second task is to remember that it’s all a bit of an illusion, a trick of light and our visual systems, albeit real and powerful illusion that we can use to our advantage or disadvantage, another choice.)


The Bright Season Natural

We were inspired to write this for the Bright Season woman who feels better in a Natural look. Rachel is posting today with clothing suggestions and tips for The Winter Natural, The Natural Winter. For the makeup, we thought we might offer natural look for the women of all 12 Seasons.

Whom are we meeting?

Between the Bright Season and the Natural archetype, she feels enough conflict to disown one or the other.

She knows she doesn’t want to look like it’s cleaning day but explicitly does want to look safe. That is her good and conscious choice. She has sidestepped the makeup by wearing sheer colours but they don’t have the effect she wants. Next Q: What does safe look like to you?

The client’s job is to tell the analyst what she does want. Part of the information gathering before the PCA begins, after she has described where the problems lie, is to understand, “What is your vision for yourself?” We can’t know what you want unless you tell us. Since ‘vision of yourself’ is too big and abstract, bring a picture of the look you want to achieve today. Saying what we want is the hardest thing but it matters. Others will almost always guess wrong if we give them no other option.

I asked Rachel this woman’s vision for herself.

“She might be a hippie or want to be seen that way, effectively. Someone who is really conscientious, not interested in status, the rat race, etc. Drives a jeep from the late 90s. Grows her own vegetables and has a chicken coop. She wants to feel confident in how she looks, without changing those other things about her that are really important to her. She will wear makeup but is not willing to have it be noticeable. Is there a way not to worry about her recognizing herself? Is it possible to find cosmetics for the Bright Season woman that still have her feeling like herself?”

Just because she drives a Jeep does not imply that she doesn’t have sophistication. She may be highly educated, widely read, the aunt that the nieces and nephews in the family go to for advice, serve at the women’s shelter twice a week, and hike in the Andes every year. She is strong, accomplished, and generous. The face she would like to speak for her is a little more defined, a little more cleaned up, without anyone knowing she’s wearing makeup.

Eye makeup is a breeze. Eye liner and mascara, gray and black if you are a Bright Season. The mascara part if easy to find. Eye liner is a little harder but your analyst can suggest one or knows where to ask. If you have time for eyebrows, good. It will help you. Just do it every day. Don’t negotiate with yourself any more than you negotiate about whether you feel like brushing your teeth. In 2 weeks, you’ll feel odd if you leave that step out.


Makeup Colours and Online Recs

Spring at any level can be the person who thinks best outside the box. Thinking inside the box is a strain. Rules can frustrate them, causing them to feel trapped or the need to oppose something. It’s the rule they’re resisting, not the subject that the rule is addressing. To insinuate that Winter-influenced faces look better with makeup or that more of it looks healthier with age sounds like a rule.

Here is where the natural tendency to refuse to go along with anything that feels like a box is a huge advantage. When it comes to online makeup lists, deploy it at full strength.

As Terry says, outward appearances in any Seasons lie on a bell curve. You have the medium people who look like the descriptions, wear makeup and clothing quite predictably, and are easy to imagine reacting to colour as their PCA result suggests. Thing is, the curve is tall and skinny in the center. Then, it stays wide and flat for ages before coming back to the baseline and transitioning into the next Season.

More than half of the people in any Season are out at the sides. They don’t look like the middle group, though they do respond to colour in the same way – because that’s what PCA is. Nevermind about what you look like just standing there, it won’t connect you with the visual transformation possible. Colour analysis is a reaction in real time. Switching the colour under a face is like stretching an elastic and letting go. Something happens in 5 seconds or less. That something is the event that the analyst interprets to know your Season, your group of the 12 natural colouring categories. The reaction remains once the 5 seconds are up but our visual system adapts to it. You get the read when the colours switch.

When it comes to makeup, not even women in the center of the curve react predictably – which is why using cosmetic to determine Season can be pointless.

Maybe that’s too inclusive and too vague. Rephrase: Using 12 Blueprints cosmetics to determine Season is a waste of time. The colours were selected all along the bell curve. There is no colour that suits every person. For some women, not one of the colours for their Season is striking. For others, they all are. Most women will find something gorgeous in the group, but certainly not all of them. There is no cosmetic, no analyst’s drape, hair colour, or anything else that is the very best on every woman in any Season. As a reality check, hoping for that is either wishful thinking or willful blindness, not sure which.


Small Gives, Big Gets

Much of this could apply to the young Bright Season also.

Tinted moisturizer is as hard to put on as sunscreen, feels no different on the face, and makes a world of difference, youth, and health for the skin. Self-adjusting sheer foundation (eg, Almay Smart Shade) and BB creams can be great too.

Draw in enough eyebrows so they do something. This is beyond easy. You will not look fake if you ask your colour analyst to help you.

Allow one pretty thing just because you are a girl.

Rustic is not how Brights do Natural. Not in makeup colours, not in jewelry. If it reads Cheyenne, Marlboro, Santa Fe, etc., your money could be better spent. This is Rachel’s department and I comment only according to my taste, but no matter how N you are, you do not look like the log cabin. What would you hang on the wall of a beach house? What colours would you paint the walls? What is the furniture made of? Are there rugs?

Charcoal eyeliner, waterproof so it doesn’t smear during the day. The industry makes many of these. Your analyst can help or she can ask one of the makeup geniuses in our group, who can pull this information from the top shelf of their brains in a split second.

Black mascara with a normal application, not Mega Venus Lashes or Deep Space Black.

Lipstick in sheer colours. Will you need to reapply? Yes. Annoying. Try a matte colour with a balm over top. Modern formulations are remarkably stay-put and comfortable.

Don’t get talked into hair colour. It is usually not great on Brights, especially over 40. Your own hair is so much better, unparalleled once it lies against your new clothing colours. Hair colour is costly to fix and not easy to grow out.

A little bronzer, especially on Bright Spring is lovely on Natural faces. This purchase does need care and education, so for sure, have your analyst connect you with the right product. Autumn bronzer will be dipping your makeup brush in dirt. Many Brights can do without, for instance an Asian face, a pink/blue/silver- looking Bright Spring, or the very fair Scandinavian face.



Finding My Lips But Better is essentially solving the same puzzle that faces the Natural woman who wants a minimal lip look.

All colourings, even Softs, even Natural Softs, need life in their lips. Nude lips, beige lips, gray lips, what for? They might be pretty enough as a swatch on canvas, a Pin of an 18-year-old face, or a magazine ad treated to the miracle that is Photoshop, engineered for you to notice the lipstick and nothing else. These have nothing to do with the rest of us.

How often do you stare at lips except in pictures? Never. We defocus more than that to take in a whole head. For an effective mouth, or mouth colour, we want to look in the eyes and have the mouth in our awareness. The mouth brings balance, shape, and definition to the entire bottom half of the head. The lower half of the face can’t balance the top half or do much of anything if it’s floating around in space. It also gives more substance and grounding to the words that come out of the mouth.

Without lips, if the viewer perceives a blank space in that area, it can look almost like a skeleton head when we smile and there are no lips. Put lips on the face the same as you put eyebrows on the face. Missing features are weird. Picture a face with one eye or no nose. Weird.

The MLBB recs here were not chosen to be naked or lip erasers. They were chosen to be where you begin and it’s up from here.


Winter is Red

Of the ideas below, you might say, “Well gosh, these were supposed to be my lips but better. This colour you’ve given me is a lot redder or darker. Why do the other Seasons have colours that are nice and calm?”

Winter makeup is far from where the face begins, one of the many big distances that this group will travel with cosmetics. If makeup colour is wimpy, the natural pigmentation will turn it clear, or worse, gray. Red and violet are still your lips. The Season result confirms that those pigments are there.

Many Naturals feel comfortable adding one makeup item, usually lip colour or eyeliner. That can be fine for any of the 3 Summers, Springs, and Autumns. For the 3 Winter groups, the face risks losing balance. Even at the MLBB level, each addition can seem a lot more than the bare face until the additions are balanced.

The payoff is that a Winter woman does that Winter thing. The TV goes from the fuzzy B&W you had in college to what you watch today. Mom and friends are a little quieter when they see it, being emotionally invested in their previous image of you as a component of their image of themselves. The Natural thinks they’re staring at the makeup and pulls her baseball hat down lower till she can get the makeup washed off.

Without makeup, winter skin can seem quite bland. It may be a little gray or green-gray. The face doesn’t seem to have much energy or activity compared to the lively, sparkly, glowing, rosy, pretty Spring and Summer faces that just ran out to pick up milk and eggs. There is little or no natural blush in the cheek. The whole face can be quite red, an excessive flush, a red that only calms once the person wears Winter colours. The eye colour can be so much that the rest of the face might as well not be there, or nothing much till the right colours surround it. The natural pigmentation in the skin dulls other-Season clothing so the overall effect is even drabber. Natural lip colour can be almost the same as skin or so strong that lip products need a definite pigment deposit to just look normal. Then she applies the right makeup. And the ground shifts.

Dark Seasons can take dark cosmetic colour and seem to lighten it. They can take a medium colour that could make a lovely blouse and candy-fy it to become Miami Beach Coral. If they draw their normal&natural lipstick on a paper for you, you look up at their lips and say, “Really? That’s what you’re wearing? It looks so much darker on the paper!”

True Winter and True Summer lipsticks exist on a continuum. There is movement between them. The True Springs and Autumns are totally different in cosmetics, except perhaps the odd brown eyeliner. Autumns wear baked, tan, coppery, brick, and brown tones. Awful on all 5 Spring colourings, like smearing curry paste on the mouth. Fresh fruit juicy mixtures of peach, coral, orange, and clear red are the answer for Spring.




1. Gray lips look dead and concealer lips look like chalk, or greasy chalk, dry and wet papier mache,  if gloss is added. Summer lip colours might look a little greyish next to Winter colours, but so what, it’s not a Winter face that’s going to wear them. When seen next to their palette or person, they become highly colourful and very energized. For instance Lancôme Rose des Cygnes for Soft Summer, Bare Minerals Raise the Bar, Or Bare Escentuals Pop of Passion in Lip Oil-Balm in Rose Pop (may also work on True Summer).

While Soft Summer is flattered by some darkness, there is a definite upper limit. They are  Summers, after all and one of the hallmarks of that group is light, as in light-cool-soft. Lightness is the thing they have in common with Spring. For Soft Summer, picture holding the True Summer colours in the shade. What happens? Colours would darken, and importantly, they would mute. The reds would not look as red. The blues would be less blue.

That combination of darkening and losing some pigment concentration towards the gray scale is what Soft Summer wears so beautifully. Some Soft Summers wear darkness fairly easily, and some at fairly high saturation, just as there are some fabric colours that are a little beyond the Soft Summer palette in darkness and saturation. What made them not-Winter was that Winter colours drained the fabric and noticeably took over. If the line is really fine, the fabric is often given to Winter because I’d rather see the woman than her shirt. If it’s that hard to tell, does it really matter IRL, enough to pass up the purchase? No. For most Soft Summers, the end of the palette is the darkness max and requires that the colour be noticeably muted.

2. For any lipstick in any Season, if you have a colour that you feel works well but is too heavy or opaque, ask the sales staff to match it in a sheer stick or gloss. They are surprisingly good at it. Stay towards the middle of your palette – but stay with the palette as much as possible. For Bright Spring, get a sample of Dior Fireworks. Also look at Bare Escentuals Oil-Balm in Pink Pop. Don’t wear Light Spring lipstick if possible, which looks weak, why spend money for that, or use it as an entry point and graduate to your own level asap.

3. Play with the similarities between Seasons. Neither True Winter or True Summer should spend any valuable time searching for a beige, brown, or skin coloured lipstick. Your MLBB is a version of violet because your lip colour is violet. Both Seasons could wear Urban Decay Sheer Lady FLower, and also Obsessed for True and Light Summer. Bare Escentuals Plumberry Pop is worth looking at for any Winter and True Summer. The 12 Blueprints Cosmetics have just been intro’d through your colour analysts. For True Summer, Transcending is the one light one, Supreme the deeper one.

As scary as it looks on paper, red can disappear into Winter coloured faces. True Winter looking for a healthy, red lip that isn’t jumping red could try Lancome 335 Framboise Etoile.

True Summer looking for a healthy soft red lip? Lancome Lip Lover 353 Rose Gracieuse (different name in US, this is it in Canada), also a pretty cool coral for Light Summer. She’s purple and violet, this girl, not nearly red as Winter is.

4. The Light Spring can wear versions of beige very nicely, as Lancome Lip Lover Beige Adage. YSL Rouge Pur Couture 7 is a nice peach beige for Light Spring, where 9 is a beauty of a colour for True and Light Spring. Dior 750 Rock and Roll for both Light Seasons. Buxom Mistress is quiet beige pink for Light Spring. Bare Escentuals Peach Pop is pretty.

5. True Spring has a lot of natural-ness about its colours and its feeling, related to a healthy, young, growing planet. With all the yellow, they do peach and golden beiges beautifully. Dior New Look is pink peach also for Light Spring, and 643 Dior Diablotine is a subdued earthier peach beige for True Spring. NARS Niagara (and the bit redder Mercier Mango) is a natural orange, not a jellybean factory, still with the fresh energy a True Spring coloured person needs for vitality. Cover it with a golden gloss. For Springs, YSL Gloss Volupte 1. Bare Escentuals Tangerine Pop too.

6. Bright Winter is like Bright Spring in that the more colour she wears, the better she looks. I asked Rachel‘s advice since nobody I know embraces the BW lipstick spectrum so well. YSL Tint in Oil #5 is a good barely-there colour. Lancome Shine Lover 120 is also worth looking at.

7. Try colours from the lighter Neutral Season, choosing the darker ones if you’re Winter side borrowing from the Summer side, or lighter if v.v. After knowing my Season, it took me years to get out of darker Soft Autumn colours into my better home of warm Dark Winter red. Do I kick myself? Yes, a bit. When your colour analyst pushes you to wear your own Season colours, she is trying to save you time and money that you will want back later. Bright Spring might look at Urban Decay Sheer Streak, (sheer or not) which could work as a darker option on Light Spring.

8. Dark Seasons need to go pretty dark to have a mouth that balances eyes and hair. In the same way that jewelry that is light can be hard to see on them, whereas dark jewelry sits up beautifully, so can they wear darker lipstick than anyone else without having it look too dark. Sheer formulas feel more at home. Both Dark Seasons might love NARS Gypsy.

This colouring also wears opacity well – and wet shine less well, so if you feel dark and opaque colour make your lips look smaller, choose a bit less dark and metallic instead of a lot less dark and wet . Browns that are red enough to not look like dirt or food on Dark Autumn could be Urban Decay Rapture (both sheer or not), Fiend, and Manic. Dark Autumn, it’s 12 Blueprints Volcano.

Dark Winter can try UD Manic and Lancome Jolie Rosalie, a less saturated version of Smashbox Fig. Dark Seasons don’t really have much use for gloss. It can look oily because the skin doesn’t reflect light in that way. Shine via metallic flows better into the face. A very good natural mouth that lasts can be achieved by applying a lip, even a matte one, blot, reapply, blot.

My eyes see red as Winter’s neutral lip, a difference with Dark Autumn who wears browner flesh-tones well. 12 Blueprints True Brit is quite safe as warm, smoky reds go, my personal favourite. Saw a photo of it on analyst Cate Linden, a Dark Autumn. Swoon-beautiful in that very chic, Parisian way where lips look normal and always have.

Try a slightly lower intensity of your Season. Maybe the heat level and darkness are pretty good, you don’t want transparency or a wet look, but you would like to drop the intensity a bit. Dark Autumn could try Bare Minerals Get Ready (a new colour at Sephora in Canada).

9. Soft Autumn. Hourglass Fawn. Bare Minerals Speak Your Mind. Lancôme Rose Rendezvous. Bare Escentuals Nude Pop. Perhaps the easiest makeup shopping Season of all.

10. True Autumn. Bite Heather. NARS Toledo. An antique gold gloss makes everything look like a golden sunset. Sephora She Sparkles, maybe for evening, not on its own. Glitter lips feel disco to Naturals. Locate a sample of 12 Blueprints Grown Up (analyst list in the article introducing the makeup, linked just above the crocuses).

11. Light Summer: 12Blueprints Flowergirl. Bang on. If you’re searching for a heartbreakingly beautiful red, try 12 Blueprints. Come Dancing.


Since it was a Bright Spring woman who inspired these posts, she has a couple of extras. When Bright Spring is ready to up her game, look at Hourglass Muse. When she is ready to up it even more, Marc Jacobs So Sofia is waiting.

Remember that photo of yourself that you brought to show your colour analyst? Copy it and stick it on every flat surface in your world. We move towards what we see and think about. Inside of a month, it will become your new normal. Whether you are wearing lipstick or not, you will always be able to recognize yourself.



How PCA Has Changed

Those of us who read here have had the experience of saying the word Season pertaining to appearance and hearing, “Season?? That’s over, isn’t it?”

Of course, we know that Season is no more over than looking good or behaving well are over. What might be out of date is the database that person is working from.

Those of us with enough years under our belt have also heard, “Season?? What, like the time of year??” from a young, utterly blank face.

My reply often includes the statement, “It’s not what it used to be.”

Recently, a clever friend asked, “How did it used to be?”

Well, now that you ask…

Used to be, you’d be told a Season, maybe with drapes or maybe not, might take 20 minutes or 2 hours, maybe some makeup applied, and given a swatch book. Away you went to work out how to use it, and best of luck to you.

There is no industry or discipline on Earth that believes or practices what it did 10 years ago, let alone 30. Let alone 2, because it amazes me how much keeps changing. People bring their ideas and innovations every day. That’s a beautiful thing.



I asked my colleague, fellow trainer, and co-drape creator, Terry Wildfong in Michigan for some background.

  1. When did you begin doing colour analysis?

1983 is when I began learning. In 1993, I began doing it for business.

A friend of mine who purchased the Color Me Beautiful book by Carole Jackson introduced me to color analysis and then had our colors done by CMB. I was so intrigued that I purchased the swatches for the other three seasons to compare them. In 1994, I studied through Color Me a Season by Bernice Kentner and began seeing clients.

Back in the four seasons, it was easier and simpler to do a PCA. I had only 8 drapes for each season and only four places they could go. If the client wasn’t a True (as we now call it and were relatively easy to determine), I had to put the client in the best season; namely, a color that didn’t yellow them too much or gray them too much.

I had a Summer who couldn’t wear the pinks, browns, and many other colors of that season, but I placed her in Summer because it was the best fit. I now understand she is a Soft Summer.

  1. Why did you train with Kathryn (Kalisz, Founder of Sci\ART)? That was in 2005, right? What convinced you?

After I found Kathryn’s website in 2004, I called her to discuss her system. We visited briefly, and I ordered her book. By reading Understanding Your Color, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. Not only learning about neutral seasons, but also the “science” of it all. None of the color systems I was familiar with explained how and why an analysis works…through science and human vision.

The science and knowledge of the neutral seasons made so much sense that I purchased all the drapes and equipment to begin again that same year.

I saw the great results and believed so much in the system that during my second visit with Kathryn when she mentioned she was looking for trainers, I was the first to jump in line in 2006. I couldn’t believe there could be another color system that was so right, so complete, so systematic, and so sensible. I still believe that to this day.

  1. How did you find the transition from 4 to 12 Seasons?

Not as easy as I would have thought with nearly 10 years of draping experience. In the prior systems, I had to place clients in one of four seasons. In order to do this, you needed to “clear the complexion.” What that meant at the time was if a client turned sallow yellow or red in one set of drapes, meaning the drapes were too warm, they were either Winter or Summer, depending on which set of those drapes were best. The warm seasons were overpowering for many clients because they were too warm, but warmer clients looked ghostly in the cool drapes, so one of the warm seasons they became.

I thought I could just purchase the drapes and everything would fall into place. Problem was…I really had no idea how to “see” the neutrals. I didn’t know what I was looking for. So I flew to see Kathryn in Connecticut twice in the Spring of 2005 for help.

  1. Are there additions or developments that you hope to see?

I would love to have professional cosmetologists get involved, either as analysts or consultants. Currently, Cosmetology and PCA don’t speak the same language. Getting the right hair color can be crucial to complete a client’s seasonal look.

I would call where we are now as being “Beyond Sci\ART,” meaning that Kathryn gave us the neutrals, the science, and the method that is the most innovative system to date. We would not change the basis of her method. As with all ideas, products, other knowledge, eventually there are areas to make improvements. I think Kathryn may have made some of the changes we did, had she been with us longer.

The system and method is still as Kathryn taught using all the steps and drapes. We’ve made two great changes so far. One was adding more drapes to the 12 Test sets, from three to six, for more in-depth comparisons. Another was moving from 12 to 16 Red Test drapes. By having all eight neutral seasons represented in the Red Test, it gives us more opportunity to fine-tune heat level.

The cost of training and materials has increased. When PCA was less expensive, many people thought it would be fun to be an analyst. Many people have trained over the years, but very few are still in business today. I believe that due to the higher cost of education and the dedication it takes for such rigorous training and client satisfaction, the students we are now training are more serious than ever before, seeing it as a business, not just a hobby. The curriculum we now teach is significantly more substantial and relevant than it’s ever been. I believe this is attracting more serious, competent students.

  1. What has changed for our clients?

In color analysis of the past, and even with Sci\ART, the client’s season was found, they were given a cosmetic makeover, and were handed their color fan. There wasn’t any talk of how to use it. “Here are the colors, go find how you wish to use them,” was pretty much all that was given. That was it. You were on your own.

In every system, there are more colors for each season than are on the color fans, but no one talked about how to find them. Kathryn said to see what harmonizes, but nothing specific of what that meant. Over some years, I developed a way to find those colors. I didn’t really realize it at the time though. “Harmonizing” the color fan is the best way to do this. Our students are taught how to do this so they can, in turn, teach their clients.

Many of our analysts now give clients documents about their season, their draping, and links to various on-line sources, even putting together client-specific Pinterest boards and Polyvore. There are cosmetic lists that can be shared. Some analysts even put together specific lists for their clients. Often, analysts have different levels of aftercare to keep in touch with the client to make sure they are happy and comfortable in their season.

The client receives so much more information and attention than ever, but they still must actively learn how to wear their palette.



Comparing Sci\ART and 12 Blueprints Drapes

I hear noises about the 12 Blueprints drapes being somehow inferior to Sci\ART’s. I can only speak of my own drape sets. For those, it’s the other way round.

And still, the Sci\ART drapes represented the best system for colour analysis that existed. My car is different than 5 years ago. Computers coming off the line are different the one I bought 6 months ago. If the industry is alive, learning, and growing, it is changing.

We are often asked the differences between the two products. If people are forced to guess, they might come up with the wrong answer. Let me explain the differences.

Let me also emphasize that done correctly with Sci/ART or 12 Blueprints drapes, the analysis will result in the same Season in 19 people out of 20. Like when your computer’s operating system upgrades, right? 19 files out of 20 are unchanged. That last one is better too, once you get past the irritation and use it for a while.

I would have no problem going back to my original Sci\ART drapes. I still teach with the original Red Test colours for the first draping model or two. Every analyst must learn her own drapes. Which are cooler in their position? Which are more saturated in that Season? Which are similar to another distant Season? Thinking that every set will hit the dead center of every dimension of every Season is unrealistic. Colour is a fluid entity.

In my original drape sets, purchased in May 2009, 2 or 3 colours were duplicated between Seasons over the approx. 80 testing drapes, and a few more, maybe 6, among the 180 Luxury drapes. Why would drapes have been placed in Seasons that seemed to have different colour dimensions?

When Terry and I began creating drapes, we examined these colours carefully to understand Kathryn’s reason for using the same colour in various places. I absolutely do not believe that it was any sort of accident. Her choice was intentional, coming from knowledge that I did not have. Some colours seemed to harmonize partially with the Season they were in, and partially elsewhere. Terry and I discussed this at length.

Terry had seen this years before with her own drape sets and once asked Kathryn about it. From Terry,

Kathryn saw colors as warm, cool, and neutral. She didn’t discuss warm neutrals and cool neutrals, per se; but the seasonal palettes were created that way. To put a somewhat dark, blue drape in both Dark Winter and Soft Summer, she would explain that they are both neutrals, somewhat muted by Autumn, and in the darker value range of Soft Summer and medium-dark value range of Dark Winter. So it could work for either season. If a cranberry color was found both in Dark Autumn and Dark Winter sets, the explanation was that both seasons are Dark and Neutral. This may have been her way of showing the ranges within the seasons..to help understand that some people who are Soft Summer can wear their colors darker than other SSu people, etc.

Without Kathryn to ask, and without her magnificent instinct and knowledge, we had to be more by the book when creating our own colour collections. Experience being a great teacher, our drapes do and will continue to improve. The idea of laying the entire book on the fabric was Terry’s invention, one that has been literally revolutionary for the way in which our trainers, analysts, and clients work with their palettes.

In the original sets, as Terry has mentioned, each of the 12 Seasons was represented with three drapes per Season, sometimes the same colour three ways in one Season, and almost never the same colours between Seasons. Today, we have six repeating colour families represented in all 12 Seasons. Until you’ve done the shopping, you have no sense of how difficult it is to find colours in fabric that are 100% exclusive to Season. Don’t misunderstand; we wouldn’t trade the experience. Our skill as colour analysts has increased by creating drapes in ways that we could not have imagined. Every time any of us sees colour in a new way, we learn.

The 12 Blueprints drapes harmonize with Kathryn’s original palettes as well as the True Colour Australia palettes, created by Amelia Butler, the accuracy of which we respect. Maintaining the highest precision as the span of the drapes increases, and staying true to Kathryn’s system because it is so effective, are our primary concern. In this, I am sure that Amelia would agree.

The testing instrument is now calibrated. We can prove what we believe. We can reproduce results. Science is just asking for sound proof for an idea. We have a test for which everyone who runs the test gets the same answer with some practice. This has always been true between the Sci\ART, TCA, and 12 Blueprints methods. Terry and I did not alter the draping system. It worked fine the way it was. We clarified the distinctions between Seasons.



Redefining the business model

We continue to move away from stereotypic appearances when the client walks in the door. Stereotypes, like photographs, have a place, which we now understand and accommodate. Eye and hair colour are emphasized less than years ago. I can analyze you just as well with your eyes closed and hair covered, maybe even better.

Terry pointed out that the power of social media to for the analyst to educate and support clients post-PCA has been transformative. Clients have lists of cosmetics with which to go shopping. The resource store is almost exhaustive. To alleviate that, we now have our own 12 Season-customized line of cosmetics. The entire community can share with one another every day. The feeling has been one of being on a great ride together, pulling one another along, celebrating the joys, being amazed when new truths come to light, recognizing that knowledge gives choice and freedom, and picking our neighbour up if need be.

It brings me such delight to meet women who have become colour analysts themselves, enthusiastic business owners who love talking shop. In every age group from their 20s to their 70s, women have become their own boss while doing what they care about. They don’t punch a clock or go out on snow days. They have access to a system that is proven to work. The science is so good that I can tell you what makeup to buy and your best hair colour from your results. Empowerment at this level thrills me because, though I hope it never comes to this, women might just save the world. We save our families every day and we are saving this life-changing profession.

Those folks who dismiss Seasons as antiquated and cough dramatically when they hear the current price of the service are forgetting something that I learned as a veterinarian. From whichever hospital you picked up your dog, you did not know what the animal had experienced from the beginning to the end of its stay, for a neuter, or even a grooming. Clients could not compare services between hospitals, though they tried hard to do so, because they did not know what took place between “Your pet’s name?” and “Bye, Furbie!”

Comparing the prices of today with yesteryear fails to recognize the vast progress in the inputs and the outputs. Thank you to Rachel, for sharing this post that expresses it so well.





Photo Credit: Sonja Mason.


Colour Analysis for Brand Creation

This branding colour quiz advised me to use pink as the main colour for my business/website/logo.

Which pink?

Every pink? Any pink?

Pink and what else?

The answer is so easy, it’s scary. One of the pinks in you, of course! A human being is already a brand, with an inherent visual design of lines and colours. For Brand U to become Brand Inc. is a simple extension of what we already are.

This matters. People will create and associate images with colours on our websites just as much as our personal apparel. When you are your business, people see and hear your product every time you walk in a room. They buy your story almost instantly when all the inputs are perfectly lined up.

For a corporation, let the meaning of the product guide the branding. For a solo business, it is simply not enough to say “Red means this…” and “Blue means that….”. Which of the million reds do you pick?

When the business is U, what U believe in and talk about, what U look like, what U deliver, the colours that speak for U can’t be any red or orange. They should be Ur red and orange. If there ever were anything that should be so 100% U, it should be Ur brand.


 Christine and Tracy, Vancouver Beach, December 2014

We took a week in Vancouver back in December to help my friend and financial advisor, Tracy Theemes, brand a new company. Tracy is the co-owner of Sophia Financial with Kamal Basra. Many of you know Tracy from an earlier post, Personal Colour Analyst as Successful Career.

Among the great offerings of colour analysis is a menu of 60+ colours that required huge expertise in colour harmony to assemble, dropped right into your hands. Every colour is balanced with every other. The combinations are so innovative and personally guided that nobody can figure out the formula. Nice trick to have up your sleeve. The fact that it all lives in you to begin with is the fairy dust.

From Bev Pomeroy, who coordinated the design of the new site:

I used the color analysis and the descriptive language that came along with it for Tracy’s website and the first iteration from the web designer was remarkably close to what Tracy was looking for.  I am finding it super interesting to see how your color analysis methods translate into a person’s brand design and brand inc.  And I am curious how others may be able to leverage the same method.

Would you be able to explain to me how a client would go through the process of having their color analysis from you or someone within your team?  I think we can use it as a brand creation tool with a lot of success.

I also think you could market your company more as brand/image consultancy versus color analysis / fashion / make up support.  I see how it has enhanced every aspect of Tracy’s business development.  It could do that for so many women business owners.

As you know, people are now trying to find their true self, being more holistic, organic…and what better way to market 12 Blueprints than by marketing it as a holistic, organic approach to becoming your true and natural brand?  It can be integrated into someone’s offline world in the form of clothing, makeup, hair and we have just demo’d with Tracy, 12 Blueprints color analysis can also be integrated into someone’s online world…from logo design, web design and even the energy/essence someone evokes with their online persona through video, FB, social media etc.

Bev Pomeroy

YWCA Vancouver Women of Distinction Award Winner 2011 (Innovation and Technology)

Vancouver’s Top 40 Under Forty Winner 2009

Stevie Award Top Canadian Entrepreneur Finalist 2009


The video below is also here at YouTube.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman information is here.

Lisa Eldridge’s facial massage video is here on YouTube.

I am weaving back and forth because I am cold. I was telling Tracy how the continuous cold has caused me to give up. Just plain give up, sit inside hoping for heat, wearing my snow pants in the house, and watching  Netflix. To which she replied, “Germination takes many forms.” See, now that’s what I call a friend.

So I change into warmer clothes to consider meaning in appearance. The video is also here at YouTube.

You can find Sacred Contracts by Carolyn Myss here at the iTunes store (and lots of other places).

I neglected to mention a great book on archetypes and branding, The Hero and The Outlaw, by Mark and Pearson, here at amazon.com.

Your website colours come from inside you. How you use them is where the advice comes in. Smashing Magazine is always awesome on site design. This post on colour theory for web designers is a good  and well illustrated tutorial.



28 Clues That Our Look Wanted An Upgrade

Announcements before we begin

1. Please notice the updating column on the left. Colour Analyst training course dates are posted for 2015. These dates are moderately adjustable, within a few days at the most. Adding more courses is possible but not likely, one reason being that there are just over 10 sets of Test Drapes available for 2015, to divide between my students and Terry’s (Terry’s course info is on her website at Your Natural Design).  They will be reserved for students with confirmed course bookings, first deposit, first drapes. I do not guarantee any more Test drapes this year, nor do I discount the possibility.

2. After many requests, Toronto is getting an opportunity for high level colour analysis. Lisa Kelly will bring her Ottawa-based business to To. for a few days, Luxury drapes and all. Dates and contact under Colour Travels.

3. Also under Colour Travels, Heather Noakes has added many dates and destinations for PCA appointments.

4. Re: my trip to Vancouver to train and see PCA appointments. Unfortunately, the location did not work out. However, the interest in teaching, modelling, and private PCA sessions was significantly higher than I anticipated. This says to me that somewhere in the future, I must make this happen. It won’t be in May, but hopefully within the next year. Please do send an email if you’re interested. It will go in my Van. file and I’ll be in touch once something is confirmed.



OK. Business out the way. Let’s start. This post was fun, funny, and easy to put together.

As every woman who has given birth knows, there is something about reliving traumatic moments that helps us to heal. Psychologists, past life regressions, dream therapy, and so importantly, professional parties, all offer us opportunities to revisit the difficult times instead of suppressing them till they morph into some other undesirable thing.

Colour analysts are regular women too. We look back at our pre-colour-analyzed selves with the same incredulity, the same, “What was I thinking??” that our clients do. Maybe the traumatic part is looking back and wondering how in all the world we missed these clues.

We thought we would share with you a compilation of our favourite personal stories and memories. That way, if one day, you can come to one of our parties, and we hope you do, you will already be in on the jokes when we retell our own stories yet again.

To this day, about myself, I try to imagine what image, information, or influence could have brought the upgrade at 25 instead of 45. High on the list of Top 3 Comments Colour Analysts Hear is, “If only I had known sooner.” When I write Confessions of a Colour Analyst, I’ll put that list in the Appendix.

From me, Jorunn in Norway, Margareta in Sweden, Johanna in Finland, Ksenia in Moscow, Sharon in Texas, and Lisa Kelly (email to lisa@DNAmycolours.com) in Ottawa. (For contact info for Ksenia, email me to christine@12blueprints.com. For Margareta’s contact, email Terry at terry@yournaturaldesign.com.)

What does it say when 6 women came up with 25+ ideas with less than 10 minutes thinking? That common things are common, for one.



What We Missed

1. You go into the bathroom to apply makeup. When you come out 30 minutes later, you are asked, “Why do you do all that? You don’t look one bit different.”

2. Your photos remind people of movie stars of the 80s and 90s. 
Angie Dickinson, for instance.

3. To our recollection, no words had been said about how healthy we look in the past year. Or ever.

4. Come to think of it, your hairstylist did choose that colour.

5. You and more than one of your friends use the same cosmetic colour. Any cosmetic. Or, you and your under-20 daughter share more than one cosmetic colour or application technique.

6. We were 99% sure our foundation or hair colour was the best choice. Turns out that seed of doubt was a good thing. It gave us room to move.



7. It crossed my mind that I wanted the next 10 years to look different from the last 10. What in the world I could do to make that happen was nowhere to be found. This is similar to, I go into the makeup store with money in my pocket, stare at aisle after aisle of cosmetics, and have no idea what to buy. My conclusion: The old ways don’t work anymore. It’s time for something new. But what????

8. It strikes you that Bill Gates with silver hair looks sexier than he ever has. We knew he had it in him. And if he can do it, oh boy, so can we.

9. Black liquid eyeliner.

10. Your clothes don’t generally make you happy or feel good, they are just items to wear. You figure that for some people, that is the way it is. Some people must be meant to put their energy into other things than clothes. (Happy ending: Then you discover that there are clothes that feel like they were made just to be on you.)

11. Naming any of your lipsticks Pablum would be a fair representation of their colour.



12. Our blush, lipstick, and the reds in our clothes are totally different. They could never have grown on the same tree.

13. You have given up on makeup altogether. Though you say it is because you believe in the natural look, it is really because you are are unable to find anything you like on you.

14. When asked about your look, you say, “I don’t have A look. I just look.” Either we had no Look or it was a magazine-driven Look. (The happy ending is always within reach:  We knew about connecting elements of an outfit together. The next level was learning to connect them to us.)

15. Your husband is better at buying clothes that get positive responses, or any reaction at all, than you are. He actually offers child-minding time for you to go out and buy something. If you had your choice, you would wear a Skidoo suit.



16. You constantly get complimented on just one part of your makeup, the eyes, the lipstick, the brows.

17. You have 5 or more eyeshadows, pencils, or lipsticks that are the exact same color.

‬ This one applied to several of us.

18. I wear the same makeup for every occasion and with every piece of clothing.
 And have done so for as long as I can recall.

19. I had been continuously hunting on eBay for a certain product that had been discontinued years ago just because I could not do without it.‬



20. You have your makeup bag full of nearly-same lipstick colours. Between 5 and 10 of them rattle at the bottom of your purse all the time. Not one of them makes you smile at yourself in the mirror.

21. When you choose foundation or bronzer to give a warm glow or because everyone around you does, conformity having the gravitational pull of a singularity.

22. When after years of trying, I still cannot find a single coral lipstick that suits me. (Happy ending: I can stop looking. Turns out it was plum all along.)

23. When people can’t stop looking at your flamboyant hair colour, next to which your face looks like blancmange, and you never bother wearing makeup because it looks unnatural, and anyway, your hair is the only thing you care about.



24. I saw warm, earthy, rustic colours as ‘natural’ and insisted that they look good on me, on everyone, because of that.

25. I worried that wearing more colour looks too young….so I wore less. Alternatively, you wear less makeup now that you’re older so nobody thinks you’re trying too hard, but when you look at yourself, you feel tired. The question I wanted somebody to answer: How does a woman know her just-right face?

26. You haven’t been shopping in 15 years because you’re waiting till you lose weight. Or, you are buying only the cheapest stuff because who cares what you wear when you’re overweight? Even though you see women your size or bigger looking great, it doesn’t change your attitude. (With a happy ending: Since having discovered my colors, everything has changed. Believe me, I shop. )

27. Besides black, there is no colour I felt calm and comfortable in, let alone good or gorgeous.

28. I was unrecognizable from my photos as a 25 year old.



What We Learned

We never had to be perfect. We still don’t. Sacrificing the better, the good, or the great in the name of the perfect is self-sabotage.

We need to give ourselves time to learn anything  new, even about ourselves. Learning done right is a journey that never ends, whether our PCA was a week, a year, or a decade ago.

There is no rule about PCA that says we have to feel trapped in doing it All Day, Every Day. Failure simply does not exist. Every woman can look gorgeous when she wants to look gorgeous. And she can do it on her terms.



Many thanks to my sister, Sonja, for the photographs. These images were taken at Windhorse Farm, an incredibly beautiful natural setting in Nova Scotia, Canada. A summer camp for kids to explore, learn, and connect with Nature takes place here, at Sunshine House.

Nature Connections Camp_2015



12 Seasons of Gowns for Brides and Mothers

The dress, the family, the memories, the money!

Today, Jorunn Hernes (whom you met in the article here ) and I are adding to the many resources available for colour-analyzed women and men. Last time, we created catalogs showing colours of blue jeans for the 12 Seasons. Bridal is another subject that belongs in our reference library. For today’s post, Jorunn and I switched our Seasons. She created galleries of the most becoming whites and dresses for Summer and Autumn. I am shopping for Winter and Spring.

Colour analysis extends easily to a male audience inside and outside the wedding context as the best white for work and dress shirts, tie and cummerbund colours, and the most original gift ever for the groomsmen! They can compare their Season colour palettes over cocktails.

Of course not! No man in a group would ever do that. A man who knows something about colour would, however, proudly impress you  with his insightful outfit and people observations the next day. Men like colour and they like having an educated understanding of it.

Harmonizing white to a Season takes a little practice, as does analyzing a face in various whites. Doing the same job from online images is more difficult still. Because white is weird. It reflects all or most colours (wavelengths of light) back out. The nuances and balances in those reflections determine Season fellowship.

To make things just a little harder, the relationships between colour and light is intricate. If a light source is too yellow, a colour will look yellower. We all know this from how things look at 9AM compared to 3PM. How about the reverse? If an object could reflect more yellow-group wavelengths than were in the light source to begin with, the object’s colour will not read accurately or consistently. The only wavelengths that can be reflected out of an object (to form a colour perception in a human brain) are among the ones that went in in the first place. True of all colours, more noticeable with white.

You may be surprised with some of the Season placements. We agree with you. On a different day, or time of day, we might have put the dresses elsewhere also. With wedding dresses, the viewer accounts for how unusual it is to wear a column of white. The idea is as much to keep you out of the wrong garden as in the right one.

Regarding dresses from Kleinfeld’s: When you click on a dress to look at it again on their website, the system might take you to a totally different dress. Often, the dresses are part of a gallery and you can find the one you want among the thumbnails beneath.

We try to keep the number of items for each Season about even. I confess to surrendering shamelessly to Light Spring wedding dress overload. For once, this was the easiest Season to find clothing for. Surprisingly, it took more time to populate the True Winter catalog than any other, still easy since we’re dealing in white. By the time I clicked Publish, all I could think was, “Somebody, please stop me from adding one more dress.”

The links for the Winter and Spring catalogs:

If the bride is a Winter: here or below.


If the bride is a Spring: here or below.


If the bride/groom’s mother is a Spring: here or below.


If the bride/groom’s mother is a Winter: here or below.


The links for Jorunn’s beautiful Autumn and Summer catalogs can be found in her post here or below.


Because flowers are too pretty to resist, in honour of this post, we added flower crowns for the Seasons to Jorunn’s Pinterest board, Bridal Flowers for the 12 Seasons.



Is Christine A Summer?

This topic comes up often. I thought it would be fun and instructive to try it out. We will see three videos of me in Light Summer, Soft Summer, and Dark Winter.

All three were filmed on the same computer, same background, identical lighting and location, within 30 minutes of each other. I wear a small amount of the same foundation. For each, I am wearing cosmetics in the middle of the darkness range for the Seasons.

My purpose is not to prove that I am Winter-based in my colouring. That’s asking too much of this medium. Many of our analysts (and clients) have met me in person and even analyzed me. You’ll have to ask them how they see my Season and appearance. They know that complete truth and nothing but the truth is what I send out and what I like to get back.

Here I am in full and strongly applied Light Summer makeup. IDK about you but all I see are eyes and no face. Could I be a Light Summer who needs to wear the darker colours to show up? That can’t be right, can it? How am I supposed to use that palette?

As Light Summer, at YouTube here or below:


As a Soft Summer. Nevermind what I look like, I am certain that the yellow drape does not look on me as it did on Kaarin in her analyst intro post. It is the identical piece of fabric.

We are starting to finally see this person.

Does she look older? Is that a bad thing? All optical effects are a trade-off. A colour analyst could take any redness out of a face, though she would have to jaundice or drain the face to do so.  We can erase a face to look younger, in that bland, flat, undefined definition of young (rather than the strong, healthy definition).

I prefer to say that the best you is the real you. Surely, the best you cannot be the fake you. If some age lines are part of the real you, great. Wearing our correct colours, the viewer’s attention is on the intensity of the eyes and definition of features. Age effects become less noticeable because the overall picture contains so much more information.

As Soft Summer at YouTube here or below:


In Dark Winter,

The video is here at YouTube if it doesn’t play for you below:

Does the yellow drape make the face yellow? Looks a bit that way.

Maybe it’s not that person’s perfect yellow.

Maybe yellow needs some management, as it often does on cooler colouring.

Could be that the lighting in the video is hardly ideal for knowing what is really occurring in reaction to the colour.

Or that the version of Dark Winter that I present is too intense and needs some toning down with my inherent warmth, saturation, age, and other parameters, to suit your visual preferences. Easy to do.

None of which disqualifies Dark Winter. Colour analysts in our group (Analyst Directory in the tabs across the top) work with you to adjust the Season to who you are inside it.



Science, beauty, truth. Transformational results.