Colour Analysis

Colour Analysis for People of Colour

Colour analysis is a great and easy-to-use tool for determining your best clothing colours. That is if you are not a person of colour.

There appears to be a lot of confusion around colour analysis for people of colour, and in this article, we will examine why that is. If you are a person of colour trying to determine your colour season, read on.

I. Why do people of colour pose a problem for colour analysis?

The original colour analysis system was developed primarily with white people in mind. In it, the colour seasons flow from the lightest of appearances to the darkest in respect of 'white' appearances.

The seasonal appearances range from light - meaning fair skin, blue/green eyes and blonde hair - with no contrast between the features at all range over medium-contrasted ones to dark features - referring to light skin, brown/black eyes and brown/black hair. The latter creates a high contrast between the features.

And this is where the confusion sets in. People of colour naturally tend to have ‘dark’ features when compared to white people and therefore place themselves into the two colour seasons that seem to be the closest to their colouring - Dark Autumn and Dark Winter.

However, the ‘dark’ features the system talks about do not necessarily correspond to the ‘dark’ features of people of colour. Let’s look at this in more detail.

Primary colour aspect ‘dark’

To carry out a colour analysis, we need to determine your settings on the three dimensions of colour: hue, value and chroma. Two of these dimensions will be critical for determining your colour season. We refer to them as the first and second aspects of your colouring.

Your primary colour aspect is the most prominent and distinguishing characteristic of your colouring. It can sit on the hue scale (warm or cool), on the value scale (light or dark) or the chroma scale (bright or muted).

The secondary colour aspect significantly influences your colouring, but it’s not dominant like the primary aspect. If your primary aspect is on the value or chroma scale, your secondary aspect will be warm or cool. And if your primary aspect is on the hue scale, your secondary aspect will be bright or muted.

Dark Autumn and Dark Winter’s primary colour aspect is darkness or depth of colour. That means a person has prominent dark features - dark eyes and hair, which stand in high contrast to lighter skin. Like the following examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Dark Features Example

You can see that in these cases, the dark features really are the highlight or prominent aspect of the colouring. And colours with equal depth are required to complement these features.

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The dark features of people of colour

Compared to white peoples’ appearances, many people of colour, of course, have darker features, which may lead them to misdiagnose themselves as one of the two dark colour seasons.

But the kind of dark features that make a person a Dark Autumn or Dark Winter are prominent dark features, which we have seen above. That means they must be the distinguishing characteristic of a person’s appearance. Many people of colour naturally have dark features, but their dark features may not be prominent.

Take a look at the following examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Dark Features on POC Example

Compared to white people, both of these ladies obviously have darker features. But only of them has prominent dark features.

Teyonah Parris on the left comes alive in dark colours. They highlight her eyes and hair and let her skin glow. But on Zoe Saldana, they have a different effect. Her eyes and hair retreat into the background and the dark top overwhelms her whole appearance. The result: she looks tired and drained.

So even though Zoe has dark features, she does not have prominent dark features. And consequently, her primary colour aspect is not 'dark', and neither is her colour season.

Are all people of colour Winters?

There is a similar misconception that all people of colour are Winters. Again, this goes back to the 'dark' features of people of colour. And if we base our analysis simply on appearance, then we might believe this to be true. But as you can see below, appearances can fool:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Winters

Even though Sui He has all the 'classic' Winter features - dark eyes/hair paired with very fair skin - she looks almost vampire-like in a classic black and white Winter outfit.

Contrary to what the textbook tells us, she looks best in warm Bright Spring colours.

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II. How To Determine Your Colour Season

So how do we tell the difference? With people of colour, their appearance may at first glance not give us any clue as to their colour season. But don’t worry, it’s not difficult to determine their season. The best way to carry out a colour analysis (on any ethnicity) is by trying out different kinds of colours and seeing the effect they have on skin, hair and eyes.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Dark Aspect

Teyonah obviously looks best in dark colours. Light colours make her look bland. Notice how her features move into the background against the light pink, and they don't look as animated as in the dark colours.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Not Dark Aspect

But here we have a completely different effect. Unlike Teyonah, Zoe looks much better in softer, lighter colours than darker ones. Look at how defined her features become against the soft pink. Her skin is glowing and radiant, and she looks healthy and alive. So despite her dark features, Zoe's primary colour aspect is actually 'muted.' She is a Soft Summer!

II. The Lipstick Test

So what can you do to determine your colour season as a person of colour? Simple. You carry out a lipstick test. Lipsticks sit right in your face, and any lipstick that doesn't work on you will make you look terribly off.

This test works on everyone. Even if you aren't a person of colour but struggle with determining your colour season, give this test a try.

Note: the examples below include people from various ethnicities and are based on how well they show the lipstick colour. They are not a reflection of ethnicity.

Bright Spring

Colour Dimensions

Bright Spring's primary colour aspect is bright, and its secondary aspect is warm.

Together with Bright Winter, this colour season is the brightest of the twelve. But what sets it apart from Bright Winter, though, is the warmth in its undertones.

In addition, Bright Spring is lighter than Bright Winter. It sits slightly to the left of the value scale.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for a lipstick that is bright, opaque, medium-light and neutral-warm. In terms of colour, Bright Spring lipsticks range from intense orange over bright coral pinks to intense plums.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Bright Spring Lipstick Colours

Bright Spring examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Bright Spring Examples
Bright Spring Lipstick Chart
Bright Spring
US$ 19.99 

True Spring

Colour Dimensions

True Spring's primary colour aspect is warm, and its secondary aspect is bright.

Together with True Autumn, this colour season is the warmest of the twelve. But what sets it apart from True Autumn is the brightness in its tones.

In addition, True Spring is lighter than True Autumn. It sits slightly to the left of the value scale.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for a lipstick that is warm, opaque, medium-light and somewhat bright. In terms of colours, True Spring lipsticks range from warm oranges over peachy corals to warm plum reds.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Spring Lipstick Colours

True Spring examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Spring Examples
True Spring Lipstick Chart
True Spring
US$ 19.99 

Light Spring

Colour Dimensions

Light Spring's primary colour aspect is light, and its secondary aspect is warm.

Together with Light Summer, this colour season is the lightest of the twelve. But what sets it apart from Light Summer, is the warmth in its undertones.

In addition, Light Spring is slightly brighter than Light Summer.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is light, sheer, slightly bright and neutral-warm. In terms of colours, Light Spring lipsticks range from light, warm peaches over light oranges to warm reddish pinks.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Light Spring Lipstick Colours

Light Spring examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Light Spring Examples
Light Spring Lipstick Chart
Light Spring
US$ 19.99 

Light Summer

Colour Dimensions

Light Summer's primary colour aspect is light, and its secondary aspect is cool.

Together with Light Spring, this colour season is the lightest season of the twelve. But what sets it apart from Light Spring, is the coolness in its undertones.

In addition, Light Summer is slightly more muted than Light Spring.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is light, sheer, neutral-cool, slightly muted and either matte or not too shiny. In terms of colours, Light Summer lipsticks range from light, cool, blue-based pinks over light purples to cool corals. All of the above colours will work, but to make it really obvious, we need to select the two colours that will definitely not work on any other season.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Light Summer Lipstick Colours

Light Summer examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Light Summer Examples
Light Summer Lipstick Chart
Light Summer
US$ 19.99 

True Summer

Colour Dimensions

True Summer's primary colour aspect is cool, and its secondary aspect is muted.

Together with True Winter, True Summer is the coolest season of the twelve. But unlike True Winter, which is clear, True Summer is muted.

In addition, True Summer is slightly lighter than True Winter.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is cool, medium-light, somewhat muted, and leaning towards matte. In terms of colours, True Summer lipsticks range from pale blue-based purples over medium, blue-based pinks to darker, muted rose pinks.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Summer Lipstick Colours

True Summer examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Summer Examples
True Summer Lipstick Chart
True Summer
US$ 19.99 

Soft Summer

Colour Dimensions

Soft Summer's colour aspect is muted, and its secondary aspect is cool.

Together with Soft Autumn, this colour season is the most muted season of the twelve. But unlike Soft Autumn, which is warm, Soft Summer is cool.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is toned down, muted, not too dark, neutral-cool, and more matte. In terms of colours, this season is all about nude lipsticks. Soft Summer lipsticks range from pale, muted, almost grey pinks over cool, pale purples to darker, muted plums.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Soft Summer Lipstick Colours

Soft Summer examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Soft Summer Examples
Soft Summer Lipstick Chart
Soft Summer
US$ 19.99 

Soft Autumn

Colour Dimensions

Soft Autumn's primary colour aspect is muted, and its secondary aspect is warm.

Together with Soft Summer, this colour season is the most muted season of the twelve. But unlike Soft Summer, which is cool, Soft Autumn is warm.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is muted, toned down, medium-dark, neutral-warm and more matte. In terms of colours, this season is all about nude lipsticks. Soft Autumn lipsticks range from pale, muted, almost grey peaches over warmish, pale brown-plums to darker, muted plums and brownish reds.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Soft Autumn Lipstick Colours

Soft Autumn examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Soft Autumn Examples
Soft Autumn Lipstick Chart
Soft Autumn
US$ 19.99 

True Autumn

Colour Dimensions

True Autumn's primary aspect is warm, and its secondary aspect is muted.

Together with True Spring, this colour season is the warmest of the twelve. But unlike True Spring, which is clear, True Autumn is muted.

In addition, True Autumn is darker than True Spring.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is warm, medium-dark, earthy, somewhat muted and matte. In terms of colours, this season is all about earthy tones. True Autumn lipsticks range from earthy brownish oranges and reds to darker, earthier browns and plums.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Autumn Lipstick Colours

True Autumn examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Autumn Examples
True Autumn Lipstick Chart
True Autumn
US$ 19.99 

Dark Autumn

Colour Dimensions

Dark Autumn's primary aspect is dark, and its secondary aspect is warm.

Together with Dark Winter, this colour season is the darkest of the twelve. But unlike Dark Winter, which is neutral-cool, Dark Autumn is neutral-warm.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is deep, opaque, neutral-warm, earthy, but not too rich and quite matte. In terms of colours, Dark Autumn lipsticks range from medium, earthy brownish oranges and plum reds to darker browns and plums.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Dark Autumn Lipstick Colours

Dark Autumn examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Dark Autumn Examples
Dark Autumn Lipstick Chart
Dark Autumn
US$ 19.99 

Dark Winter

Colour Dimensions

Dark Winter's primary aspect is dark, and its secondary aspect is cool.

Together with Dark Autumn, this colour season is the darkest of the twelve. What sets it apart from Dark Autumn is the coolness and brilliance in its undertones.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is deep, opaque, more intense, neutral-cool and satin. In terms of colours, Dark Winter lipsticks range from dark berry reds to dark cool plums.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Dark Winter Lipstick Colours

Dark Winter examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Dark Winter Examples
Dark Winter Lipstick Chart
Dark Winter
US$ 19.99 

True Winter

Colour Dimensions

True Winter's primary colour aspect is cool, and its secondary aspect is bright.

Together with True Summer, this season is the coolest of the twelve. But unlike True Summer, which is muted, True Winter is bright.

In addition, True Winter is slightly darker than True Summer.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is cool, medium-opaque, somewhat bright and lustrous. In terms of colours, True Winter lipsticks range from pastel pinks over cool, intense purples to dark cool plums.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Winter Lipstick Colours

True Winter examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - True Winter Examples
True Winter Lipstick Chart
True Winter
US$ 19.99 

Bright Winter

Colour Dimensions

Bright Winter's primary aspect is bright, and its secondary aspect is cool.

Together with Bright Spring, this colour season is the brightest of the twelve. But unlike Bright Spring, which is neutral-warm, Bright Winter is neutral-cool.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is bright, opaque, neutral-cool and shiny or lustrous. In terms of colours, Bright Winter lipsticks range from intense pinks, medium-dark pinkish purples to cool, intense berries.

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Bright Winter Lipstick Colours

Bright Winter examples:

Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Bright Winter Examples
Bright Winter Lipstick Chart
Bright Winter
US$ 19.99 
Colour Analysis for People of Colour - Pinterest

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Buying a bunch of clothes because they look nice in the shop is not a good strategy for building a wardrobe. It implies that the look of your clothes is more important than your look. But clothes should have no other purpose than to bring out your natural beauty and to highlight it.

The wardrobe guide will help you discover those garments that truly suit you.

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