Colour analysis is when a salon or boutique or spa therapist matches a palette of colours to your own natural colouring so that you can choose make up, clothes and hair colours that make you look your best.
What is colour analysis?
Colour analysis is usually part of a beauty and style consultation or ‘makeover’. A therapist analyses your natural colouring and works out with you what colours of make-up, hair and clothes will suit you best.
Colour analysis is based on the idea that colours are very important to how you look, how you feel yourself, and how you come across to others. We choose colours to:
suit occasions and feelings, from weddings to funerals
express how we're feeling, and how we want other people to perceive and treat us
reflect the weather and the seasons: brighter colours in hot weather; more muted colours in the cold and rain
keep up with fashion
show our age, or the age we feel!
But choosing colours according to how you feel, what's in fashion, or which colours you like can mean wearing colours that don't flatter you. Just because you really like the colour of that boiler suit doesn't mean you can carry off electric blue...
Wearing the wrong colours can make you look washed out, pale, or even plain odd. Wearing the right range of colours can make you look younger, healthier and more attractive. Colour analysis will work out which colours are which for you.
What is colour analysis good for?
Colour analysis is great for determining which colours make you – not your friend, or the model in the picture, but you – look good. If you feel all at sea when it comes to choosing eye shadows, or you've bought the same shade of foundation for the last 20 years, it's likely that colour analysis can really help you improve your appearance. It will refresh your look, to make it suit your age and lifestyle, and can give you a real boost.
Before you go
There's not much preparation to do for colour analysis, but there isn't much point making up before you go; the therapist or stylist is likely to take all your make-up off when you get there so that they can see your natural colouring.
Colour analysis is like having your own personal stylist, and it's one time when you probably should judge the book by its cover. To bend a famous advertising slogan: "If they don't look good, you won't look good." If you can, pop in and say hello beforehand to give you confidence.
Some colour analysts will ask you to take along a selection of your clothes or make-up so that you can discuss the rights and wrongs of what you wear already.
What to expect from colour analysis
The stylist will start by taking some time to find out about you and will ask about the products and colours you usually use. She might also ask you about your lifestyle, what kind of person you are, what colours you like and why, and what you generally choose. A good colour analyst will try and build up a picture not just of what you look like, but what you really are like.
After this, they will probably show you a selection of swatches, and match your skin tone to a colour on the card.
Colour analysis should take into account your eye and hair colour as well as your skin tone. The stylist may suggest you change you dye your hair. She might also advise you on what styles of hair would suit your tone and face shape as well.
Having established what spectrum of colours suits you, the colour analyst may also advise you on what colour and patterns of fabric will flatter you the most, as well as colours for shoes, hats and accessories.
A colour-analysis consultation will usually include a full make-up and advice on which foundations and so on you should buy.
Just try and get yourself in the right frame of mind and be open to change. You may well have looked great in sunflower yellow when you were 18, but times change. Have fun with it. Try out some bold prints and vibrant colours. Don't feel offended if the analyst tells you you've been wearing the wrong colours. Just think about the prospect of looking even better in the new ones.
You should probably build into your colour-analysis budget the likelihood of an urgent need to shop afterwards. Plan to spend a bit of quality time looking at make-up and clothes.