Personal Colour Analysis (PCA)

Color Analysis is the process of comparing colored drapes against your natural complexion and eye color to find which of the 12 Tone Color Palettes are right for you. The correct colors will make your eyes look bright and will make your skin glow, whereas the wrong colors can make you look sallow and less vibrant

There are a lot of reasons to want to wear colors that harmonize with your natural coloring:

  • It can make you look younger and healthier

  • It can put people visually at ease when they see you, helping to garner subconscious trust and respect

  • It can give you a framework for building a wardrobe of colors that all harmonize with you and therefore also with each other

  • Knowing your season can help you avoid buying things that you later feel like you don’t look good in

  • Knowing your season can suggest to you colors that would look great on you that you haven’t thought of before, or don’t tend to stumble across in stores

Characteristics of color

 A color can be light or dark. This refers to how close it is to either white or black.

Also, a color can be warm or cool. In PCA, this refers to how much yellow (warm) or blue (cool) is in it. You may be familiar with this concept from shopping for red lipstick. 

•  Warm yellow vs. cool yellow

•  Warm blue vs. cool blue

Finally, a color can be bright or muted. This refers to how saturated the color is compared to gray. Brightness/mutedness is not the same as lightness/darkness. Muted and bright colors can be either light or dark. When you think “muted,” think “more gray.” 

The 12 seasons

Contemporary PCA divides coloring into twelve seasons (listed here in order of adjacency)…

•  True Winter looks most harmonious in colors that are cool, medium-to-very bright and medium-to-very dark.

•  Bright Winter looks most harmonious in colors that are bright, medium-to-very dark and slightly cool.

•  Bright Spring looks most harmonious in colors that are bright, medium darkness and slightly warm.

•  True Spring looks most harmonious in colors that are warm, medium-to-very bright and medium darkness.

•  Light Spring looks most harmonious in colors that are light, medium brightness and slightly warm.

•  Light Summer looks most harmonious in colors that are light, low-to-medium brightness and slightly cool.

•  True Summer looks most harmonious in colors that are cool, medium brightness and medium darkness.

•  Soft Summer looks most harmonious in colors that are muted, medium darkness and slightly cool.

•  Soft Autumn looks most harmonious in colors that are muted, medium darkness and slightly warm.

•  True Autumn looks most harmonious in colors that are warm, medium-to-very dark and medium brightness.

•  Dark Autumn looks most harmonious in colors that are dark, medium-to-very bright and slightly warm.

•  Dark Winter looks most harmonious in colors that are dark, medium brightness and slightly cool.

What is ‘harmony’?

Put a color near your face, and look at your face (not the color). What do you observe? A harmonious color seems to look like it “belongs” to your face, like nature dressed you that way. Everything looks normal and nothing looks distorted.

Sometimes it’s easier to recognize signs of disharmony, which can include:

•  Blotchy or uneven looking skin tone

•  Emphasized redness in the skin

•  Emphasized yellowness in the skin

•  Emphasized shadows or dark undereye circles

•  A grayish pallor

•  Your skin taking on the same hue as the color you’re holding up

•  An effect where individual facial features seem to disappear

•  An effect where your eyes are drawn to the color you’re holding, rather than your face

Not sure what you’re seeing? Hold up a different color, and observe any changes. Better or worse? Different? Different how?

The above experiment is easiest to judge in natural light, without makeup on, and in the most neutral-colored environment you can create.

So how can I determine my season?

The best way to determine which colors look good on you is to have a Personal Colour Analysis. Here are the advantages:

 A tightly controlled environment - pure neutral gray room, neutral gray robe, full spectrum lights. Another is that an analyst will have calibrated drapes of a full array of colors that are matched to the different seasons, that accurately represent the different color characteristics.