…remember TMIT, The Most Important Thing, for your Season. That aspect of the colour should be the first thing you see. Even if you’re a Light Summer buying red lipstick, the noticeable lightness of the red compared to all the other reds at the counter will help get it right. Your red, once it’s on your face, it will just look red, not red and dark. Light lips look good. Light colour, light colour deposit, light texture, light weight, light shine, light lipliner. Light is good on Light Seasons at every age.
…smear it out on white paper or white paper towel. This works well for colour analysis swatches that are on white backing and partly why I like that presentation better than fabric or plastic disc swatches. This is the only practical way I know to see the nuances of a colour. The same applies to eyeliner, eyeshadow, even mascara. Not foundation though, which is applied on the side of the face and jaw, about 4 colours at a time, assessed in daylight or with full spectrum lighting.
…compare several colours at the same time on the same paper in the same lighting. Colour perception and the 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis (PCA) process itself are based on comparisons. That’s how our eye positions a colour correctly. Especially for foundation, don’t buy on the basis of a single colour test.
…take samples home. Sephora and MAC will sample anything. May cost more but expensive products often have more beautiful pigment quality (though staying power isn’t related to cost). 2 beautiful lipsticks are worth far more than 4 meh ones.
…stay in touch with your analyst. Many of us are forever swatching makeup, hearing from clients about great finds, and keeping extensive and updated lists of great products for you to try. We can save you a lot of time even after your PCA. For you, it’s a frustrated afternoon. For us, it’s a Copy&Paste. We want your colour analysis to work for you and we recognize that you need help getting your Sea(son) legs once you start on your own. If your analyst doesn’t have these lists, Rachel at Truth Is Beauty blog and MarySteele at her Luminosity Color Analysis Page on Facebook have posted them online. Need something warmer than this, redder than that, darker but still in your Season? Ask us! If you want to know, so do other women and we can pass the info around.
…ask cosmetic counter staff for help with lipstick. Don’t get into the Whys and Hows of the Colour Book of swatches. Be very narrow in your question. “Do you have a lipstick in this colour?” They’re often very good at this.
…try many colours from your palette. Neutral Season women, especially those who lean to their warmer or cooler side, may feel better in one set of colours. Even pure Cool Season women have a variety of shades and may find some too purple, too pink, too dark. Dark and Bright Season women should try sheer formulas, especially if they’re not used to a lot of colour. Soft Season women look fabulous and young in naked flesh type colour, either mauvier or brownier.
…have a sense of your best lipstick range. From within your palette, consider setting the darkness and brightness of lipstick to the intensity the eyebrows have on the face. I’ve talked about using the level of hair darkness and brightness as a good guide for about how strong the lip colour should be to look balanced. That can work as often as any rule can, including the eyebrow suggestion, which is about 80% of the time. Next time you’re at a meeting or a family meal, look at all the eyebrows. Not the colour, but the darkness level and the contrast. In about 80% of the 5 Winter blend Seasons, they will be quite dark and contain some black. If they’re wearing their right colours, the eyebrows may seem even more contrasting than in their pyjamas. As pigmentation darkens and saturates, so do the brows. As complexion gets darker, a Winter’s other colours will get much darker faster by comparison with the darkness of the skin, while a Summer blend’s brows (and other colours) often remain only slighter darker than skin. Eyebrows can go in and out of focus during a draping like every other feature as we try to pin down, How light are your lights and how dark are your darks? In right colour, the brows will achieve their best darkness and best definition from the face (but be careful, they also become severe in too dark colour when the rest of the face gets too shadowed.) The eyebrow starts and stops sharply, as so most things Winter, so it looks fine if eyeliner does too. The lips look good at the same level of definition from the face as the brow. It creates a balance between two similarly sized colour blocks that are right on the face, which the hair will not be.
…explore every aspect of your Season. A Bright Winter – dramatic, theatrical, yet delicate enough to appear in a fairy tale. Bright Winter is distinctly lighter and brighter than True Winter. That brightness probably makes them look lighter relative to True Winter than they really are. But it does matter, that sunshine. Winter is a fascination to me in that they have those icy pale colours that can appear as ultimate powder puff innocence on a colouring and person that are quite intense. But in BW, the innocence is genuine and of those baby pale colours, peach is the one I love most. I find it interesting to use cosmetics to express every aspect of what the person/Season is, and all the Springs have this guileless sincerity. Their lightness of colours is important, even though they’re Winters. If BW could find a peachy pink colour with enough clarity and saturation, the contrast needed on the Winterness of the face would appear and yet look as a youthful baby peach lip. At the link, Bagatelle, Magnifique, Pink Teaser look excellent. This is a blog to Bookmark, the photos, dupes, comparisons, and reviews are absolutely outstanding. Springs will love Chanel’s Spring 2012 collection. If you’re a Light Spring looking for blush, again, look to the Beauty Look Book for great photos and comparisons.
…remember the companies that have done the thinking for you. eleablake and Pretty Your World create gorgeous cosmetics custom-coloured for your colour analysis result. If you haven’t tried the blushes for your own colouring from eleablake with a soft diffusing brush, I feel very comfortable saying that you don’t know how good blush can be.
…apply lipstick to your face first. To really be impartial about a colour and decide if it matches the swatches, it can’t come within 4 ft. of your face. Also, clothing colour doesn’t change on your body but cosmetic colour does, adding another level of confusion and distraction. Use the paper, not your arm or hand. Get the decision away from your body.
…assess the colour by looking at the product in the package, the sticker on the tube, the plastic tag under the tube, or the pan. Every product has too many variables of warmth, yellowness, green tinges, shimmer, etc. As you really come to understand your Season, you’ll get more discriminating – and more often disappointed if you just buy from the tube. Every person will see more by smearing the colour out. Keep a pad of unlined paper and a pen in your purse. Get paper towel from the cleaning isle or the Ladies Room if you have to. I’ve done both and haven’t bought a loser lipstick in many months. Dedication pays off!
…apply a cosmetic on its own on an otherwise un-made-up face. All the products together bring in the harmony and the balance. Yes, they balance what’s in the face already but the intensity of chemical pigment will dominate natural pigments. Even in your best colour, it can just look odd or off.
…get discouraged. Analysts understand that matching makeup is the hardest thing, which is why many give you a list to get you started. Some Seasons are much more difficult than others. Some personalities may be more questioning than others. True Summer has a tricky and unexpected palette to begin with, being given to an idealistic personality. The perfectionism of True Winter can get in the way too. Both continue to seek, though with different motivation. Might Autumn, the pragmatist, and Spring, the optimist, be easier to satisfy?
…assume that every colour recommended for a Season will work for you. At the end of all this, you do need to try it on your face, with your hair and your clothes. Be open to the possibility that even after a PCA, you don’t really know what looks good on you for a few months. You have a pretty good idea of what doesn’t suit you. Ask for opinions by finding an honest friend and giving them a choice. Not “Do you like this colour?” Rather “Between these two, which lipstick is better on me?” And expect that once you think you’re onto it, some family member will come along and say “Dear, are you sure you should be wearing that lip colour?” and you feel doubtful and disoriented all over again.
…ask cosmetic counter staff for help with blush and eyeshadow. You can’t be sure that they have a strong concept of colour saturation or the difference between Spring and Autumn warmth.
…give up. Getting anything perfect the first time doesn’t happen. Don’t be letting that keep you at home. This is where less expensive products are a great option. Get to know e.l.f., Palladio (at Sally Beauty), and the many drugstore brands that do let you test. You’ll buy a few duds. And you will have learned something when you figure out what made them duds.
…wear your hair down if the colour is off. Hair colour usually takes a few tries to get right but nothing can get in the way of right cosmetic colour more. Those months while hair is being adjusted can delay or drag out that feeling of reaching a finish line. You’ve come this far, keep going. You’re almost there. Tie hair back in a grey or right-coloured scarf.
…overdarken your hair to get your love of red lips to work. Especially with dark colours, chemical dyes create so much more heaviness of colour deposit than a natural head would have. It’s demanding on the skin to try to balance the hair and the other more intense cosmetics needed. As if constantly trying to be heard over a background din, the skin can look drained and tired. It’s also very demanding of the viewer’s visual processing faculties who have to clear the solid black wall to get to the woman behind/beneath it. If the words unexpected, unique, surprising, and delicate apply to your colouring (Spring), all the sparkle will be sucked into the black hole. Even those Seasons who wear darkness and saturation well, don’t go darker. You’ll overwhelm what your skin tone can pledge as “this is the real me”. By all means, enrich the colour you have or gloss it up.