Have You Got the Right Colour Palette?

Is Your Palette the Right One?

I’ve recently completed a personal colour analysis training course in the classroom (along with my personal colour analysis training course and one of my lovely students discovered that the colour analysis she’d had previously gave her the wrong palette of colours.

As she’s of Asian descent (Vietnamese parents) it’s not uncommon to see this, as when personal colour analysis became popular in the 1980s, and it being developed in Northern Europe as well as Northern America using a very Caucasian population, there wasn’t much of an understanding of the variety of Asian skin tones, they didn’t get to even test their system on these skin tones and many consultants were told that all Asians are cool and given Winter palettes, I’m assuming because the one or two that they had ever draped may have been cool, or because they were deep and bright and there was no deep and bright season in their system, so they went with Winter rather than Autumn.

Fortunately, living in Melbourne on the cusp of Asia, as well as teaching in Thailand as well, I get to see lots of different Asian clients and have trained many Asian consultants, and have found that you get both warm and cool Asians and in fact, there are more warm Asians than cool, because of the melanin that is naturally in skin from people who live in hotter climates, closer to the equator.  Yes, there is cool melanin as well as warm, but warm is the more common one, and certainly with the many clients I’ve seen of Indian as well as South East Asian descent here and also in Asia, there are more warm complexions than cool.

Are you in tune with your colour palette? The wrong colours jump at you and will create a body focus, the right ones are at home and will create a face focus

Are you in tune with your colour palette? The wrong colours jump at you and will create a body focus, the right ones are at home and will create a face focus

Jasmine had her colours done by another consultant some years ago, and it blew her mind when during our training course she discovered she has warm colouring rather than cool.  She doesn’t have a really obvious golden overtone at first glance, but she’s definitely warm.  When you look at her in the picture where she’s holding up her signature colours from an equivalent of her old “Winter” swatch  (left) and her new swatch (right) you can see how the new one blends with her colouring – it’s in total harmony, whilst the one on the left jumps out – you see it before you see her.

When you wear colours that relate to your colouring in a harmonious way, it creates a face focus.  You are the star rather than your outfit taking centre stage (which creates a body focus).

What she found interesting as she was draping clients in her training, was how she started to see the warmth in her skin when she had a cool toned client in front of her and she could compare her skin with that of the client in the mirror and see the differences and her own subtle warmth.

The Right Palette Looks On You Like a Beautiful Piece of Music Sounds

I like to think of colour being like music (they are both waves – colour is reflected light waves, and music is made with sound waves).  When the waves are in tune, you feel harmony and balance.

It feels peaceful and pleasant.

When those waves are out of tune, there is a feeling of discord and harshness – which is why those cool colours on Jasmine’s left jump at you, whilst the beautiful warm palette on the right feels right at home with her.  The colours harmonise with her.  They are a part of her.  You can see them in her hair, her eyes and her skin.  Those colours bring a feeling of peace, balance and harmony.

During our Personal Colour Analysis training course, Jasmine experimented even with makeup – and she noticed how all her cool makeup (that she’d bought on the advice of having a cool palette) she had to spend more time trying to blend in to make it look natural, whilst with the warm makeup she tried out in our training, that it was super easy for her to achieve a natural look and didn’t require the same precision in application.

If you hold up your palette next to your face and it doesn’t feel like it blends and harmonises with you, that’s a great sign that it’s time to get a new colour analysis.

Colours Change with Age

It’s important to remember too that your ideal palette of colours will change over your lifetime as your colouring naturally changes.

We notice the pigment disappearing from our hair (going grey), but what is more subtle but equally important, is that skin pigments change alongside our hair as do eye pigments.  This is why often when people dye hair back to their “natural” hair colour (that they had when young) it can look harsh because they no longer have the skin that they had at that age.  This is why you are constantly evolving through your life and you need to keep adapting the colours you wear.

Palettes Change with Major Hair Colour Shifts

If you’ve decided to dye your hair a completely different colour, this most likely will change your best palette of colours as well.  Gone from brunette to blonde, or decided to embrace your silver foxette, then it’s time to reassess the colours that work for you now.

Even if your palette hasn’t changed, if you’ve had a more subtle colour shift, this can change your ideal value, your value and colour contrast as well.  What does this matter?  Well, these are actually the things you need to know as they provide the guidelines on how to wear your palette of colours.  The overall value (lightness or darkness of the colours) in your outfits, so if you put light and dark together or you need a more similar range of tones in your outfits to really make you the star.

Tans Change Value and Colour Contrast

People often ask me if getting a tan will change their palette.  Rarely does it (though occasionally it can if you tan very deeply in summer and are very pale in winter), but what it does often change is both value and colour contrasts.  It may lower your value contrast and raise your colour contrast.  This means that in summer you may want to wear more different colours together in one outfit, but if your value contrast becomes lower (if your skin is the lightest part of your colouring) then you’ll find that this means you look better in less of a value contrast than you wear in winter when your skin is paler.

Is it Time to Reassess Your Colours?

If you have doubts about your palette, it’s a great time to reassess your colours to make sure they are the right ones for you.  It’s important to select a colour system that has options, the fewer the colour palettes the more likely you’ll be made to “fit in” to a palette rather than having an optimal palette that’s exactly right for you.  This is why I developed my 18 palette Absolute Colour System, as I found all the seasonal systems and existing tonal systems lacking.  I had to give clients the “least worst” palette rather than having one that was fabulous for them. Fortunately now this is not the case with my 18 palette options.


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