Colour Analysis

Learn which clothing and make-up colours to wear to suit your colouring, so that you are always looking natural vibrant and healthy. There are no inherently good or bad colours; all colours will look great on the right person and unflattering on the wrong person.

Look carefully at the two pictures below and see the difference in the way they work with my skin tone. The warm golden yellow on the left is emphasizing the yellowness in my skin and the wrong make-up colours enhance the ‘sickly' appearance. The cool bright pink on the right clarifies my skin and reduces the yellowness. The correct make-up colours give me a vibrant healthy appearance and make my eyes sparkle!

Wrong Colours Right Colours
Wrong colours
Right colours


Everyone's colouring is slightly different and colours that look great on your friend may not do you any favours, so it's important to understand your own colouring and what works for you. The colour and make-up on the left would look great on someone with dark hair (maybe with slight auburn tints), warm brown eyes and a warm skin tone.

“I've always wanted to be more adventurous with colour, but whenever I tried I usually ended up wasting money on expensive mistakes. After my session with Jane, I understand what colours suit me and what to avoid. I take my personalized swatch with me whenever I go shopping, so now I can try those colours in my swatch that I'd never have worn before.” Sita, Sherwood

Getting to Know your Colouring

Colour analysis first became popular in the 1980's with the seasonal system, which categorised the clients' colouring as spring, summer, autumn or winter. The system was later extended to give three different tonal categories within each season, which gives more accuracy. The tonal system also has twelve different categories, and is based on the client's two most dominant colour characteristics; light, dark, bright, muted, warm or cool.

I primarily use the personalised system, which is the most accurate method for colour analysis. The personalised system recognises that no two people have exactly the same colouring, and many people don't fit neatly into a pre-defined category. Everyone's colouring is somewhere between light and dark, bright and muted and warm and cool tones. With the personalised system we drape the client with 170 fabrics in each different shade, tone and tint of every colour to test how they work with the client's skin tone and colouring. When we have discovered exactly which ones work best for the individual, we then make them into a small swatch wallet, which can be carried easily when shopping.

I also analyse the client's make-up colours and produce two ‘make-up profiles' showing a daytime and an evening look. If there is time, I will apply some make-up to show the clients best colours.

For taster sessions and colour parties I use the tonal system of analysis to identify each person's tonal direction. It is less accurate than the personalised system, but is great for giving a general idea of which colours are best for you.

Benefits of Colour Analysis

As we age our skin and hair colouring alters and the colours that suited us at one time may no longer be the best. It is important to re-assess our colour choices, to keep us looking naturally vibrant and attractive. Similarly, dying our hair at any age often changes our colour balance and the colours that once looked amazing can suddenly look strange and unflattering.

When your clothes and make-up compliment your colouring you look natural, healthy and vibrant. When you look your best people respond to you in a more positive way. Colour analysis can be a very therapeutic experience, it can help boost your self esteem and confidence, increase your attractiveness and improve your professional image.

For further reading on colour analysis I would recommend the following books:

‘The Complete Colour Style and Image Book' Barbara Jacques ISBN 0-7225-2977-5
‘The Complete Style Guide' Mary Spillane ISBN 0-7499-1112-3
‘The Makeover Manual' Mary Spillane ISBN 0-333-71611-6

Most of the books can be purchased from www.amazon.co.uk or if you prefer to shop locally try www.hive.co.uk where every purchase supports a local independent bookshop.


© Jane McLennan 2008 text and images on this site cannot be reproduced without written permission.


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