Can't figure out your ideal colours? Here's the advice of an image consultant


A colour analysis by an expert can tell you which colours suit you best. Photo: 123rf.com

Finding your perfect colour palette begins with the natural colours that are manifested in your skin, eyes and hair.

To find out your ideal shades at home or in a store, try and observe if the colour of the garment you hold up against yourself “melts” into your skin and if it enhances the colour of your eyes.

You can also get a full colour analysis done with a colour expert.

According to Ong Soo Hua, an AICI (Association of Image Consultants)-certified image consultant and personal stylist, the three aspects of colour are determining the temperature of the colour (cool to warm) the intensity of the colour (low to high) and the value of the colour (light to dark).

“In essence, a cool colour temperature will have a blueish or pinkish undertone, while a warm colour temperature will have a yellowish, orange-y undertone,” says Ong, whose clientele ranges from corporate clients and individuals, to students and aspiring professional image consultants.

The “intensity” of the natural colour of your skin, hair, and eyes ranges from muted to bright, and the “value” of colour tells us how light or dark a colour is.

On one end of the intensity spectrum, your hair, skin and eyes are muted or soft, with little contrast between them.

Ong Soo Hua, an AICI (Association of Image Consultants)-certified image consultant and personal stylist. Photo: OSH Image ConsultancyOng Soo Hua, an AICI (Association of Image Consultants)-certified image consultant and personal stylist. Photo: OSH Image Consultancy

People with the brightest intensity have a high contrast between the skin, eyes and hair colours, you may have fair skin with dark hair, or light eyes with dark hair, or dark skin with bright whites of the eyes.

“When you are wearing the right colour, it melts into your skin, makes your eyes pop, and everything harmonises. You will find that you do not need a lot of makeup and you will appear vibrant and refreshed,” she explains.

When it comes to mixing and matching hues, one tried and tested rule is the 80/20 method, which simply put, means balancing a dominant colour (80% of your look), while the remaining 20% can be made up of as many colours as you like, or just one.

Ong notes, however, that your “best colour” should be worn near your face, preferably chest and above.

What if one colours their hair, or gets a deep tan, does this affect your ideal colours?

According to Ong, a tan won’t change your ideal colour palette, but dyeing your hair will.

“Hair dye colour will also have either warm or cool undertones. It is best to find out your natural colouring palette before you dye your hair, as the wrong colour can dull your skin, take away your natural glow.

“A colour analysis can help you choose the right hair dye colour to compliment your skin and eyes,” she adds.

Best face forward

When you’ve narrowed down your ideal hues for clothes and hair dye, makeup comes next.

A colour expert will look at all the characteristics (colour temperature, intensity, and value) shown in your skin, hair and eyes, before recommending the most suitable makeup items.

“Makeup should not change the colour characteristics of your natural colouring. But use makeup to enhance them. Go with warm undertones items if you have warm skin undertones, and vice-versa,” says Ong.

When choosing foundation, avoid going against your skin undertones, and go with a shade that matches your skin’s exact tone, as the purpose of foundation is to even out your skintone, not to appear more tan or fair.

The same idea applies when choosing a corrector, concealer, and eyeshadow.

“Peach shades of blusher harmonise with warm skin undertones. In comparison, pink blushers will offer those with cool undertones a healthy glow,” says Ong.

Most people associate red to warm undertones. So can people with cool undertones carry red lipstick?

“Red, like yellow and blue, is a primary colour. This means there is a chance that you can find a pure red lipstick that is neutral, neither warm nor cool, which looks good on both cool or warm undertone individuals. However, remember that besides the cool or warm element, you need to take into account the other characteristics (intensity and value) in your natural colouring to pick the ideal makeup.”

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