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| New Autumn Lipsticks and Rayma

New Autumn Lipsticks and Rayma

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The 12 BLUEPRINTS shop has reopened after a move to Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada.

To find PEI on this map of Canada, look over on the right side for the tiny red crescent shape.

The Mi’kmak Nation called PEI Epekwit’k, spoken today as Abegweit, meaning cradled on the waves.


Being here is a circling back to where the 12 BLUEPRINTS story began. Newly trained as a colour analyst, I brought my drapes on holiday and proceeded to analyze my entire family. My first client was my then-85-year old father, a Dark Autumn.

It was July, 2009, and I was walking through the forest thinking of how to describe a hair colour to a True Autumn relative. I looked up and there it was, in the branch of a spruce tree that had changed colour in the fall and stayed on the tree, a solitary little sprig of soft rust among the green.

Season Snapshot: Rayma

Throughout the book, readers find Season Snapshots. Each snapshot is a recounting of one person’s path to discovering and engaging with their own colours. I’ve been told, “These were the best part of the book.”

Each of us has received the gift of breathtakingly beautiful colours. We could have been created gray or transparent, but that’s not what happened.

Once we know our colours, we find our purpose for them, the place they will have in our unique journeys. Some pull out their palette for special occasion purchases only. Folks like me transform their world. Explorers standing on the deck of a ship, who see land after weeks of open ocean, would have had a similar sense of, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Today is not the same as yesterday.”

Each snapshot is a blend of at least two real people. Clever questions and solutions from a third or fourth person appear in every story. I’ve met Rayma’s situation many times in all 12 Seasons. Parts of it could be Copy&Pasted into all of our stories.

“I don’t look the part.”

Last week, Rayma retired from a managerial position with a national insurance group. She looked forward to cooking, bike tours, and joining the Meditation and Martinis group that her book club buddies talked about. Mandalas and mysteries sounded grand altogether.

This week, she finds herself seated with the board of directors, a diverse group of people from the community. In her years as a manager, her work was expected and accepted. She figured the transition would be easy, knowing the work inside out and sideways. In the past, as long as she stayed the course, her appearance wasn’t noticed. The work had its own identity.

Not quite what happened. The board table was new in territory, culture, and language. For the first time in a long time, her work wasn’t there to carry her. Others seemed neutral towards her, listening but somehow not trusting or acting, the same greeting that a visiting sales rep might encounter. The distance felt excluding, until even she wondered what she was doing there.

Rayma wasn’t sure how to read the cues but her career had been spent solving problems. She was going to solve this one in the same way she always had, which she shared with us here:

#1, separate the people from the problem.
#2, separate the feelings about the problem from the problem.
#3, name the problem.
#4, solve the problem.

Naming problems makes them smaller and manageable. If it’s hard to do, ask this way: From your appearance, what do you want that you don’t have today?

Appearance is a skunk of a topic, psychologically complex, rife with emotion, and bursting with history.  We can still answer the question, same as we can answer,

What do you want from your career that you don’t have today?
“I want to be there for Christmas concerts.”

Peel away the layers, look in the mirror, and find the words. If it’s worth it to you, get busy.

Rayma narrowed the problem to, “People need two or three meetings to accept me on the board.”

She’s loving this new opportunity; she has the motive and the means. It’s not a case of writer’s block. She can write this story but she feels conflicted.

Am I seriously supposed to start fussing about lipstick?

Is getting glammed up really the answer?

Am I supposed to get rid of all my clothes and start over?

“Just tell me what to do.”

She takes a few stabs at changing her look.

Black suits = bulky shoulders.

Bright colours look surfer or silly instead of creative.

Blonde highlights make for a washed-out chubby face, neither younger or friendlier. Not even blonde, if you want to know the truth.

Nude lipstick drains the energy from her face. In the mirror, she sees a beige circle with eyes. So does everybody else.

This isn’t working.

Rayma Googles ‘how to choose colours’ and finds Colour Analysis.

We meet, she tells me her story, along with “I don’t care if I’m warm or cool, or if I have full lips or thin lips. Just tell me what to do with it.”

I say, “Rayma, your days of wandering in the jungle will be over in two hours. Have a seat.”

Rayma is a Dark Autumn.


This week’s checklist

1. The revelation that your own colours are the most normal and balanced of all takes about a week to settle in. “I was more glam before.”, she said.

2. Getting white right is huge for everyone. Steer clear of it and remember why; it’s light and cool and you’re warm and dark. Your white is like white by a fireplace in a room with burgundy accents, golden and blushed.

3. Daytime lipstick becomes burnt caramel orange. Evening calls for spicy red with a bronze metallic sheen. From the image below, of True and Dark Autumn colours in the BLUEPRINTS cosmetics line, we try a few and find the best, normal and fantastic at the same time.


4. Pulling a look together with off hair colour is work. Switch beige blonde for medium chestnut, not too dark to acknowledge the natural colour of medium-dark gingery brown. This move alone will give your face back its shape, slimmer, better outlined, with more refined bone structure.

The whole Rayma

Rayma is highly tuned to how others feel and adapts her own behaviour to what they need in each moment. I admire this about her, probably why she was nominated to the board in the first place. At first glance, the darkness of her Season feels serious or uncompromising, when her intention is the opposite.

Most everyone feels hesitation about some aspect of their Season, the foreboding of, “How am I going to get this part of me to fit?”

To meet, she is equally lovely and determined. She thinks she is lovelier than determined but nope, or not to me. Another surprise.

Rayma reflects upon the real Rayma, the Rayma that she wants to know she is, and where she finds this person within her colours. She likes the sense of purpose, of security and support, decisiveness and sound judgment, and will honour these while keeping the loveliness.

With time, softness arrives in texture and print, with scarves and florals. To her, they express patience and kindness. Rayma never interrupts, a quality to which I so aspire.

She loves girl stuff and is thrilled to finally know her pink. She gave pink priority status and if almost any Autumn pink appears, she buys it, knowing how to adjust it with the outfit and that she will never look powdery or cartoon again.

Light colours, like parchment beige and lemongrass yellow, appear often near her face to express a light touch in relationships. 

“I want to know the styles to buy.”

We all know ourselves in unbalanced parts. We rarely perceive the balanced whole with whom others interact. For Rayma and thousands of others, the black suit would have been fine in a different design.

 Before their session, I ask clients what they hope to gain from their colour analysis. Rayma was among the many who answer, “I want to know what styles I should be buying. My body type is hard to pick clothes for…”

Rayma, every body type is hard to pick clothes for. The solution lies in narrowing down your choices, as you have with colour. Expert advice can be a revelation, the word I hear most often from clients who have had the experience. The information is easily available because it can be done entirely online and I was able to connect her with the resource that will help with this step.

The Before jewelry did little and said less. Five minutes after meeting her, you might say, “Earrings? What earrings?” The colour palette gave her the colours, the style consultation gave her the size and shape. “Different way to shop, ay?”, said I.

Among her new skills, she attracts the most amazing coats and jackets. It’s not even a skill, rather a built-in that floated up, like a freckle that one day appeared. Rayma also arrives early for meetings. People want to talk.

6 Thoughts on New Autumn Lipsticks and Rayma

  • Robin DeSalvo

    I love that this really does change people’s lives. It’s such a gift to ourselves and to the world to express a genuine image of who we really are.

  • Eunice Pang

    Hi I’m a self-draped Bright Spring – incredibly happy with my colours – and I want to know if there are colours for BS that I could wear that invoke autumn’s warm and rich tones without looking absurd? Many thanks.

    • Christine Scaman

      Robin, so true what you say. How much is there for us (and about us), and has always been there that we had no awareness of, is a defining moment.

      Suzy, the answer may lie in the differences among colour analysis systems. From the analysis process to the Season palettes, the differences can be slight or significant, but it’s hard for any of us to know which at each step of application. Probably best to stay with the system that analyzed you and visit other systems for nuggets that might be useful or fun to try. Pink and brown, pink and copper, orange-red and fuchsia, can all be beautiful together.

      Eunice, it’s a good question because the warmth does give them similarities and successful shopping involves educated compromise. For makeup, it’s hard for me to imagine A colour as the most beautiful choice for a BSp in any category. Probably the same for hair colour. In apparel though, I could easily picture light beige, jungle green, medium coral, sunset yellow, and rich teal as having A characteristics. Attention to texture, colour combinations, and lower contrast and more darkness in overall effect, might all suggest A. TA and DA (True and Dark Autumn) wear brightness well. Owning the Corporate palette for your Season (from may widen the selection in the darker tones and neutrals. A True Autumn client of mine has a puffer vest, very dark brown on the outside, coral on the inside, it looks outstanding and could easily be great for a BSP also, depending on the natural colouring. The BSp with gingery hair tones and green or amber eyes might invoke A sensibilities more easily than the blue-eyed pale blond person.

  • Jessica

    I vacationed in Prince Edward Island a few years ago and just loved it, would love to visit again. Beautiful place. I hope you are liking your new home.

    Thanks for this snapshot of Rayma. As always, fascinating to read.

  • Cordy

    A beautiful post, Christine.

    I’d like to ask about skin tone and how it fits into color analysis. I was draped by a 12BP analyst as Dark Autumn. I’ve never worn much makeup, because it was hard to find colors that looked right. In particular, I never found a foundation or concealer that looked right. The cool ones were obviously too pink, but the warm and even neutral ones were always orange.

    After the draping, and talking to makeup artists, I’m beginning to understand that the cosmetics look “orange” on me because they’re more saturated than my skin, my complexion is very “muted”. Is that how you would think or talk about this issue, Christine? I don’t have much natural color sense, so color analysis has been very educational to me, but I’m still a beginner.

    And do you have any advice for those of us with very muted skin? Color analysis at last helped me find great lipstick colors (I’m very interested in buying “Smudge”) and understand why I look weird in shimmery highlights, but I’m still stuck on understanding foundation and concealer. I’ve tried playing with color mixers, adding blue mixing drops to foundation that’s too orange/saturated but in the closest range. But I think I’d like to understand more about how it works and not risk going out looking gray!

    • Christine Scaman

      I understand your frustrations concerning foundation, Cordy. The colour that disappears into Dark Autumn skin is often surprising for the amount of colour in it, in the same way that True Summer skin may appear quite pale and yet wears a foundation that is not especially light on the Caucasian scale. It doesn’t help that colours in the cosmetic industry are labeled as warm/neutral/cool using their own parameters.
      Foundations may look orange for a variety of reasons. Saturation is one. Others might be a red/green balance unsuitable for your skin, warming that might apply to better to Spring skin, and a general issue across many foundations that they are too candy-coloured (similar to saturation) and not gray enough (as you say, not muted, too vibrant for any skin). The chemistries of product and skin play a role, as does the match of some colours in the product that disappear into the skin while the non-matching pigments stay on the surface giving the effect of a colour change.
      As a DA, the colours in your skin are moderately muted. All-importantly, they have settings on the warm-cool and light-dark scales that must be accounted for as well, adding up to 3 dimensions of colour. All three factors are being juggled at the same time. It can be tempting in colour analysis to explain observations with simple explanations, but the truth is often more intertwined. In the same way, it is tempting to compare Seasons based on their positions round a clock but in reality, these are extreme over-simplifications, while the truth is that as the clock positions change, the 3 colour dimensions bubble up and down into new priority orders, like a game board in a fantasy movie.
      I can’t think of advice particular to muted skin when it comes to foundation and concealer. Coloured products are already suitably muted for their particular Season. Foundation is a game of comparing many and believing what your own eyes tell you in natural lighting. It comes down to choosing the one that’s hardest to see among a selection of stripes on the lower cheek/jawline. Pick a colour that’s close, go into Sephora and give them a little direction, “lighter, grayer, goes on less orange”. Many lines make colours that would suit nobody, or have no colour for a particular woman or Season. It’s not just your skin or your imagination. But with patience and trials, you can find a colour. Colour adjusters are weird and unpredictable, but I don’t have expert hands when it comes to mixing foundation. Guerlain Parure de Lumiere Beige Natural 03 sometimes works. Bobbi Brown Beauty Balm SPF 35 in Light sometimes works too, as does Armani Luminous Silk #5. At least they may offer starting points.

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