If you're like me, you're not satisfied to simply know what's true; you want to understand why it's true.
So maybe you've heard it before: it's the effect of color on your skin that ultimately matters. Your eyes and hair are along for the ride.
Colors that seem to "go with" your hair aren't doing you any good if that hair is framing dirty-looking or shadowed skin. Colors that seem to make your eyes pop aren't helping if those eyes are popping out of a washed-out face.
But why is skin appearance the most important?
Because when we look at other people, we use skin appearance - not hair or eye appearance - as our primary way of evaluating health.
And health = beauty.
The human animal seeks to maintain life and avoid death. To the human animal, health reads as beautiful because health is life.
When you look at other people, you instantly and unconsciously evaluate their health, and you do it in large part using the appearance of their skin. If the skin looks right, the rest seems right too.
Healthy looking skin = life = beauty.
Baby skin is the ideal of skin beauty because babies are new life.
And when we judge the health of another's skin, the most salient feature to that judgment is its color.
Think about all the ways we use the language of color to describe the appearance of ill health in the skin.
We speak of
the yellow of jaundiced skin;
the green of nauseated skin;
the blue of frozen or oxygen-deprived skin;
the purple of bruised skin;
the red of burned or abraded skin;
the white of bloodless skin;
the grey of dead skin.
The fact that there are so many ways that skin can look wrongly colored shows that skin color is crucial to our estimations of others' health -- and, therefore, of their beauty.
But color is not objective.
Color is context.
For example, is "salmon" pink or orange?
Here, I'd call it pink.
Here, it looks closer to orange.
The color of your skin is subjective too.
Depending on what colors you place next to your own face, you can easily make the natural healthy color of your skin look too cool, too warm, too dark, too light, or too vivid - or disappear altogether.
This looks unlovely because it looks unhealthy.
When you know your the natural palette of your body, and put the colors of that palette next to your skin, your skin 's healthy color emerges. You look beautiful because you look healthy.
First published February 2013.
8/13/2018 02:56:42 pm
Great post, and I totally agree about the importance of healthy skin color.
8/14/2018 02:40:42 am
Hi Nouveau, I've heared the oposite for me- the blonder I go, the healthier I seem to people, I guess because I look less pale (contrast diminishes), and my undereye bags look less purple. Same reaction when I have a noticible tan.
8/14/2018 03:46:53 am
I have similar experience to KatConfused - when I've dyed my hair (coppery) red, I've got a lot of positive comments of how healthy and radiant I look... I guess most people just consider dark blonde / light brown (my natural colour) as "mousy" and uninteresting, which is such a pity, as imo it's more beautiful than any dyed colour could ever be; but I feel we who think natural is most beautiful are very much in the minority, alas.
8/14/2018 06:02:28 am
Melina,if you dye your hair coppery red your hair will get more noticible but at the same time it will draw the attention from your face. If you keep you natural hair colour we will see your face.
8/14/2018 08:07:19 am
Yes, I know all that (& agree), but my point was that the vast majority of people actually seem to prefer the unnatural... :/ As KatConfused had also experienced. And I'm sure we are far from alone.
8/14/2018 11:41:27 am
In other color analysis systems (like Color Me Beautiful) , hair and eye color are treated almost as more important than skin tone. They seem to suggest that by changing your hair color you change your season, which Is not something I ever bought into. SCI/Art seems to suggest that your skintone stays similar for a lifetime, and hair color is not a big factor. Sci/Art does suggest getting checked again late in life to make sure your skintone is the same, but it is more of a one and done system.
9/1/2018 04:20:16 am
Christy, I have been diagnosed twice now by Colour Me Beautiful and neither time did they take hair colour into consideration as it was covered up by them! Mind you I was not convinced the second time got it right, as like you, I wanted confirmation of the correct colours as I got older and am now more confused. The first time in my forties I was a deep autumn, albeit with quite pale skin, but my eyes and hair have faded and the new consultant had me down as a bright spring! I wore the colours for a while, but felt them too bright for my early sixties. I am now wearing lighter autumn colours, as I come out as True autumn when doing the Truth is beauty online quiz and wonder if you can change to brighter with age anyway? The consultant did say to work with the bright spring colours, I would need to keep my hair dark, but this seemed illogical to me as who had dark hair naturally at my age and it looked to harsh and ageing, what with those bright, quite hard colours too. It would be really interesting to have some guidelines on how we change colours and colour groups as we fade and age, maybe on this website please?
8/17/2018 03:20:41 am
Hello, fellow T.I.B.-ers!
8/17/2018 05:29:52 am
8/17/2018 08:43:52 am
I also have been somewhat perplexed by the anti-hair color bias. Considering there's no bias against makeup - and they have the same purpose? What I love about coloring my hair is my ability to go without makeup when I'm blonder. I do agree that a lot of hair color (and makeup for that matter) is done poorly, but perhaps the advice should be that, yes, if you don't want to potentially devote a good amount of time, money, and thought, natural is likely way better. But sometimes, colored hair so good that it's worth it. PCA can guide you towards the right shade more quickly. If I had known I was not some type of Spring when I first started dyeing my hair, I would have been saved from a year or so of awful orange-looking hair (that would have been a "golden" highlight on a Spring). It's important not to listen to colorists who try to force warmth on everyone. For me, the best color is basically my natural color lifted a few levels with highlights - going from medium ultra-mousy dull brown to ashy dishwasher blonde, which is a color most people don't want their hair to be, but makes my skin and eyes just radiant and healthy-looking. I don't look as unheathily pale. The color matches my lashes and brows (another reason I think my natural brunette is an issue) and people are shocked when I tell them it's not natural.
8/13/2018 09:49:10 pm
I posted this elsewhere, but thought it worthwhile to add it here. I have been saying that I had a color analysis done elsewhere that I felt was really helpful. I finally took the time to take pictures of myself in different lights comparing Rachel’s DA cards, the SA cards (thought my issues might be an age thing), and the independent analysis. Rachel’s DA cards won, hands down. As often happens, the pictures revealed something my eye could not see objectively. Definitely a big help. I do still have this lingering question, though: the cards do not cover all of the shades listed on the site for DA. Black, charcoal, pewter, etc., seem to be missing. Should I assume that I can use standard CMB shades as templates for these colors?
8/14/2018 04:56:17 am
Christy, as a DA you can wear black, charcoal and perhaps even pewter,but those colours are not your best colours. As a DA you are more flattered by dark brown instead of black. And beige instead of gray.
8/13/2018 10:28:19 pm
I've been wondering how value contrast fits into the picture. I'm trying to pick wardrobe colors from an essence for REG and Romantic colors make the most sense by the numbers, and also because I am a klutz. I've always gone for colors with that kind of contrast with my hair and skin. Lately I've begun to suspect that the darker colors are why my features disappear without makeup, but I'm also afraid that because I'm pale, Ethereal colors look strange (I may just be unaccustomed to the lower contrast against my skin though).
8/13/2018 10:34:04 pm
I should clarify that the darker colors have the same contrast with my skin that my skin has with my hair and so they look great to me that way, if only my face didn't turn into an amorphous blob.
8/14/2018 05:41:25 am
Miranda, your best colours should have the same contrast with your skin that your skin has with your hair or eyes. And you should never go darker than your darkest feature. If for example your darkest feature is your hair and your hair is medium brown you should not wear a colour with a deeper value than that. If your overall coloring is light you should use your lighter colours of the palette because they relate to your own coloring. If your coloring is dark your colours should be mostly dark. If you are a high contrast woman with a lot of contrast between your darkest feature and your lightest feature (dark hair and fair skin) your colours should have the same contrast. For instance black and white together. If you are a low contrast woman with low contrast between your skin and hair you should put together colours with a low contrast, like white and light pink. Having a low contrast doesn't mean that you have to have a light coloring. You can be very dark and have low contrast. If your skin is brown and your hair is black your coloring is dark and your value contrast is low. And having a high value contrast desn't mean you have to be dark. If your hair is blonde and your skin is fair, but your eyes are brown your coloring is light, but your contrast is high.
8/14/2018 10:33:44 am
Katja, I have been choosing my contrast with the contrast between my skin and hair (and eyes falls into the same category), but it makes my eyebrows and lips disappear. My eyebrows are not that pale and my lips do have color to them, so that's not the issue. I think I need to choose colors that have the same contrast that my eyebrows and my lips have with my skin, rather than the contrast that my hair and eyes have.
8/14/2018 03:58:20 am
Rachel, this post gave me nothing, Sorry to write that. For 3 years reading this blog I cannot find the answer why as TSp I look good in yellow-orange (marigold) top but this colour is awful on my lips, nails and jewellery. Hello people, are you TSp with the same problem? Why I can wear orange but not use it in make up?
8/14/2018 02:00:28 pm
I think this post and the whole Rachel's blog is awesome! I've learned so much by reading it!
8/15/2018 07:41:25 pm
Jn, I'm not a TS, but I think Rachel addressed your question a couple weeks ago in https://www.truth-is-beauty.com/blog/should-i-be-able-to-wear-every-color-in-my-palette Does that not answer your questions? There is also the question of style identity, such as Dramatics can go with greater contrast or bolder colors than, say, a Natural.
8/24/2018 03:02:35 am
Rebecca, thank you and of course I read it, although it's interesting, explains some issues it doesn't really answer my question. I hope Rachel will write new post about this problem. I wonder how many TSp that mismatch orange lipstick did she met.
8/17/2018 03:22:26 am
Yes, the post Rebecca linked to explains it, IMO; though I'm not sure why people would even expect that what looks good in clothes should automatically look good on lips & nails, that's by no means the case! A lot of colours that are great for clothes are very unnatural for lips, for starters.
8/25/2018 01:12:20 am
It disgust me when people wouldn't even read the question and discussion first, but pleasing themselves with stupid monologue advices.
8/17/2018 03:27:11 am
Ah, now I see that issue was already argued about (a lot!) below, so my reply was kind of superfluous... :/ But anyway, this article is even more pertinent on the matter than the one above: https://www.truth-is-beauty.com/blog/find-your-best-lip-colors :)
8/14/2018 05:03:13 am
Jn, orange is not really a lip colour. It is good for tops. You should use peach and pink for your lips, nails and cheeks.
8/14/2018 08:26:19 am
Katja, If you don't know what to write, better not write at all. I asked TSp's and I see that you are not one, so please stop being sarcastic. And NO - peach and pink is not good for TSp cheeks.
8/14/2018 09:18:10 am
??? not a nice response to advice.
8/14/2018 10:14:31 am
katja aka anonymous - ??? not a a nice response to somebody's asking for advice,
8/14/2018 08:35:08 am
Blue, teal and violet is also not natural skin colour but it is used as an eyeshadow. What is the point in putting orange lipstick on the list for Tsp if "it Is not really a lip colour"?
8/14/2018 11:40:37 am
Jn,I am not being sarcastic. You are the one being rude when I am trying to help you. Nobody has orange lips naturally. We all have lips that are different pinks naturally. Warmer or cooler pinks. Orange is on the list for Tsp because it is a colour for Springs, but it is not meant for lips. There are different colours for clothes and for makeup on the palette.
8/14/2018 01:51:07 pm
Dear Katja, I see that you don't understand. Please, think! Rachel put orange lipstick on the list for TSp. Orange lipstick , I;m not writing about colour that I saw on TSP's palette.I look awful in orange lipstick, orange eyeshadow, anythink orange or yellow on myy face and I asked a question about this. You didn't give me any advice, only sarcasm, and don't attack me because I wanted to talk about lipstick.Maybe you are not bad person, but your sarcasm wasn't nice and I 'm not rude telling you this.
8/18/2018 02:34:32 am
Jn—to paraphrase the Princess Bride: You keep using the word sarcastic. I do not think it means what you think it does.
8/18/2018 02:56:22 am
Jn, if you really do look awful in orange lipstick or anything orange, as you say, I'd definitely question you really being a TSp...!
8/24/2018 02:38:39 am
KC, I see Katja has spoken again, dont you realise that you are being really rude right now and before? I asked you
8/14/2018 01:12:08 pm
As I read this, I thought, 'Well of course!' and yet, it's amazing how often fashion advice runs completely counter to this. While it took me a while to figure out my colors (and Rachel, your color cards were SO helpful in that process!) - once I did, it really made a difference! At first I thought I might be a true summer, and I got compliments when I wore the colors there. The range of blue-green-greys in TSu perfectly match my eyes and make them pop. The ashy brown-purple-greys pick up undertones in my hair. And my skin... looks kind of ashy and sallow. I remember having leaned into TSu colors for about a month or so. I bought outlet mall t shirts at first (a great and inexpensive way to really test out seasonal colors - you can stock up on a few, and if they are your right colors, they look like a million bucks even if they're super cheap!) -- and one day, I was looking at myself in the mirror. I saw that exact phenomenon: teal eyes popping out of an ashy face with dark circles under the eyes. Bleah. I realized I needed more warmth, and leaned into LSu (hello outlet store). And that was perfect!
8/14/2018 01:56:29 pm
W., thank you, now I know I'm not alone with this :) but it's still something interesting and strange for me.
8/14/2018 02:55:12 pm
My Bright Spring friend has Itrouble wearing orange and I (SSu) have trouble wearing red. I think it has to do with body colors because I uswd
8/14/2018 03:55:29 pm
8/14/2018 06:12:59 pm
Hi Jn, true spring here. I’m very fair with very yellow undertones, have strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. I can, and do, wear orange on my lips. It works extraordinarily well for me. I also can wear all corals, bright warm pinks and neutral and warm reds. Pure orange is better on me than anything blue based.
8/25/2018 03:24:27 am
Jn, I think we can all agree here that you are the one attacking Katja. Are there no limits to your rudeness and your folly?! Stop commenting if you do not know to behave! It is really unpleasant to read comments like yours.
8/26/2018 08:01:19 am
Gabriella, what is your problem? Are you insane? Stop commenting if you do not know to behave!There is no persecution of giving advice here, or doubting other person's season. It's just offensive.I don't think she has written anywhere here before that she wants to test trend or force anybody to use lipstick colours like green or blue, just because there are such colours in TSP palette. I have not seen anybody here, sharing orange lipstick discussion saying that either so if it doesn't concern you, why make a comment? BTW coral orange is natural lipstick colour, so how can anybody say its'notcultural'...nonsense!I was interested but Katja and Melina didn't let to talk.And you are just defending your friend.
8/14/2018 02:01:27 pm
I wonder if it is a cultural thing about orange toned makeup? I don't think many people who can pull off an orange lip or eye outside of a fashion/editorial setting. As a DA, I have some oranges in my range that simply do not work for me as makeup. Red orange yes, brown orange no.
8/14/2018 05:26:27 pm
I relate to being generally confused by lipstick--as a Bright Winter, lots of red lipsticks look good, but they're mostly too dramatic, for me, for everyday. So I look for pinks, but it seems that they're mostly either too pale, or too cool or too warm...
8/14/2018 06:09:26 pm
I used to wear more of a brown orange lipstick and could pull it off when I was younger. It may be that my skin tone has shifted a bit, or my EDC style personality is more obvious to me? I know that there are shades in my palette that really aren’t great on me in certain contexts.
8/15/2018 10:27:26 am
8/15/2018 11:41:00 am
To those discussing the orange lip color: have you reviewed Rachel's posts from last year about winnowing out your lip colors from the palette? In one post she calls it MLBB (my lip but better). This really helped me a) understand why so few lip colors worked for me and b) find a few that did.
8/15/2018 12:28:07 pm
8/27/2018 04:27:12 am
8/27/2018 04:50:17 am
8/15/2018 11:42:52 am
I want to second the above--before this finding blog, I always used to get discouraged when many different clothing styles, hairstyles, and makeup styles didn't look good on me, and I used to blame my face and body. Now I realize--no one can look their best in everything. Appearance really is relative--as in, the same person can look very different when wearing different lines and colors. It's really refreshing to accept that I simply can't look my best in everything and that my facial features aren't "bad" or "ugly" just because I don't look great in, say, a baseball cap. AND the great thing is, I can still wear the baseball cap, if I want/need to. I just have to accept the fact that I'm not going to look my absolute best in it. And I think that's okay. It's not necessary to look your best 100% of the time, imo, but it is helpful to have the tools to look your best when you want to, and to be able to not hate your facial features when you wear something that doesn't harmonize with them.
8/18/2018 03:03:01 am
"It's not you, it's the clothes" - that's a great paraphrase! :) I cant do jeans, for example, not my style, and I've given up on them long ago (even before I knew my actual style id). Similarly, "it's not you, it's the color / makeup" is one of the very helpful things I've gotten out of seasonal color - it explains e.g. why so many of us (probably most?) don't do well in the currently super-trendy nude makeup or nude lipstick - it just suits very few (probably just SA's)! :)
8/17/2018 12:07:03 pm
I just found this shirt:
8/17/2018 12:58:35 pm
Alex I am dying to know what season you are! That shirt is a beautiful color and it looks like it could be nice for a few different seasons. Are you one of the Springs?
8/18/2018 07:35:53 am
Katrina B, I'm not certain of my season. It's confusing because I seem quite warm; there's a lot of visible warmth in my skin, eyes, and hair, and gold-toned jewelry is much better on me than silver.
8/18/2018 08:05:05 am
8/18/2018 10:22:00 am
Hi Alex, I love your description! You sound like me, a little bit of everything and not enough of any one thing. That was what finally made me go for a draping last year. I had thought I was a Soft Autumn because of being so neutral, but turned out to be a Light Spring. Thank goodness that warm Ocean Blue is one of my LSp colors.
8/21/2018 03:42:30 pm
Thank you, Beth! That's interesting about your friend; she sounds a lot like me! Interesting that she wears the cooler autumn colors well but not the warmer - that is my experience exactly!
8/21/2018 04:07:17 pm
Katrina B, you sound a lot like me! I've sometimes thought I might be a Light Spring.
8/22/2018 06:56:04 am
Actually, it's interesting: sometimes I think I have Light Spring skin but Dark Autumn eyes.
8/22/2018 08:48:14 am
8/22/2018 12:07:03 pm
8/23/2018 04:15:01 pm
The more I think about it, though, Spring doesn't make sense for me. I do have visible warmth, but colors that are too warm make me look sick and sallow. Colors that are too light make me look washed out. I look best in deep, rich colors that are neither too warm nor too cool. Of the 12 season palettes, Dark Winter is definitely the best. It is a bit too cool and a bit too bright - but it's better than any of the other 11 palettes. What works for me is to take the cooler colors from the Dark Autumn palette (teal blue, forest green, dark brown, deep warm plum) and the warmer colors from the Dark Winter palette (including the coral, turquoise, light yellow, and apple green - which are really the only light colors I can get away with).
8/20/2018 04:00:59 pm
The discussion of how Style identity interacts with color is such an interesting one to me. I am EDC (primarily D), so I am not only "formal," I am also "otherwordly." No makeup looks make me look dead, regardless of the colors I wear. Interestingly, I was testing out an MLBB shade based on Rachel's criteria mentioned in the posts linked above. Not sure that I love it, since I am not getting enough contrast/drama. Also have less contrast on my eyes today, so maybe if I up the drama on my eyes the MLBB will be OK? I was trying to use it as a nude with a more dramatic eye, anyway. Have others with a good bit of E or D had this issue? It is almost like I look a it better looking at least a little unhealthy.
8/20/2018 06:03:18 pm
I have a good bit of E (REG) and makeup is really tricky for me. I can do an MLBB color if I blot well, but I've never gotten another color to look right for an everyday look (and oh how I've tried). I might be able to do a plum for a date or something, though that would be playing up R.
8/23/2018 04:12:14 am
Hi Alex, do you know if you are all warm or primarily warm? If you are all warm, take a look at this: https://www.prettyyourworld.com/the-sunlit-soft-autumn.html and this: https://www.prettyyourworld.com/the-sunlit-soft-spring.html
8/23/2018 04:15:33 pm
Thank you, Nancy!
8/23/2018 05:31:57 am
Christy, I'm an SS EC (with a bit of I). It's quite a compatible combination, the main conflict is that an SS has to go with a light application of E's shimmer. My all-time favorite makeup product is the shimmery, iridescent MAC Vex eyeshadow. It was made for my season and style ID, but I have to apply it lightly.
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