Colour Analysis also known as personal colour analysis (PCA), seasonal colour analysis, or skin-tone matching, is a term often used within the cosmetics and fashion industry to describe a method of determining the colours of clothing and makeup that harmonize with a person’s skin complexion, eye colour, and hair colour with the benefit of being able to use this tool for wardrobe planning and style consulting.
Colour analysis demonstrates how certain shades are capable of being flattering or, conversely, unflattering by observing the optical illusions that occur on the face when placing specific colours next to the individual. It is generally agreed that the wrong colours will draw attention to such flaws as wrinkles or uneven skin tone while harmonious colours will enhance the natural beauty of the individual making them appear healthy and fresh-faced.
By the 1920s, a colour revolution had occurred in the United States with the development of new colour industries and the possibility of producing colour swatch books used as a marketing tool. Personal colour analysis reached a height of popularity in the early 1980s with a recent resurgence in the early 2000s after further development and promotion of different versions of seasonal analysis by image and colour consultants worldwide.
Seasonal analysis is a technique that attempts to place individual colouring into the tonal groupings of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, or their sub-variants. However, the approach can vary greatly among different schools of thought.
Some colour analysis systems classify an individual’s personal combination of hair colour, eye colour and skin tone using labels that refer to a colour’s “temperature” (cool blue vs. warm yellow) and the degree to which the hair, skin and eye colours contrast. Cosmetic colours are often determined by hair or eye colour alone.
The successful practical application of a colour analysis will theoretically allow the individual to coordinate his or her clothing and accessories with greater ease and avoid costly mistakes by purchasing items that are not within their colour palette.
Seasonal skin tone colour matching for clothing and cosmetics
Starting in the 1970s, the availability of high-quality, accurate and inexpensive colour printing made it possible for the first time to produce books for the mass market in which skin tones and clothing colours could be accurately reproduced.
The result was the near-simultaneous publication by a number of authors of books proposing systems of colour analysis designed to allow the reader to “discover which shades of colour in clothes complement your natural colouring to look healthier, sexier and more powerful.”
The authors of these books all present roughly similar ideas. Most agree, for example, on the following basic points:
Most rely upon a colour system in which the colours are divided into four groups of harmonious colours which are said to match with the four seasons of the year.
The seasons are, to some degree, arbitrary and it sometimes happens that someone will be on the cusp of two seasons. But, as Carole Jackson insists, “with testing, one palette will prove to be better [more harmonious] than the other.
Jackson also acknowledges, however, that the reference to the four seasons is nothing more than a convenient artifice: “We could call your colours.
Carole Jackson, Colour Me Beautiful (1980) The most successful book on seasonal colour analysis was Carole Jackson’s Colour Me Beautiful (1980). The book was a 1980s pop-culture phenomenon and spawned a number of related sequels, including Jackson’s own Colour Me Beautiful Makeup Book and Colour for Men, (1984), as well as titles in the same line by other authors.
Jackson utilized a seasonal colour system less complicated than Caygill’s, and sought to assist each reader to find her own “thirty special colours.” [Carole Jackson was the first of the “colour analysis authors” to create a retail success story based on her highly successful books, selling swatch packets (a wallet designed to house fabric swatches by season) for use as a shopping companion.
I always had a passion for colour and was excited to add this skill to my services
When I trained in the ’80s there were several training systems available and I loved the whole concept … it just made sense! So many people wore the wrong colours and spent a fortune on their wardrobe.
However, not long after I trained and started working with clients, I found the selection of colours far too restrictive, so went back to the drawing board and studied all about colour companies and their systems.
Finally, I decided to start my own “Colour Analysis System” which we named “Belda Colours”. I purchased bulks of fabrics, sorted them into seasons and also Hue, Value and Chroma. To have a great selection for the client’s analysis.
This also created a massive effort! As all the drapes had to be cut with pinking sheers….. I dreamed in colour I can tell you. Not only that, but we had to cut up the small colour swatches for the colour palettes.
My dear friend Daphne was a champion in assisting in this task.
Every colour palette was made by hand after the consultation, from the colour drapes selected by the consultant. It worked well but was so time-consuming.
We also trained many of our Nutri Metics consultants to become a Belda Colours Consultants to complement their Beauty Businesses.
It is a great pleasure to see the transformation of a client after a colour consultation and makeover. It is like someone has turned on the light! Given them a colour roadmap to make their life easy.
Colour and Style became a very important aspect to my business and many of my consultants and I loved every minute of it – colour gave our business an important edge in the market place.
Like everything, in business, we have to progress and constantly upgrade plus keep developing. So many exciting enhancements followed…