Colour Theory made simple and why it is so important? Colour…everywhere I look there is colour. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. I see colour in EVERYTHING, my food, trees, flowers, you know the norms but I also see dept of colour and its endless possibilities in the most unusual places like tarmac on a driveway or in a teabag of all places!!
When I say some people see it more than others that is what I mean, its not as straight forward as black or white or defined by the colours of the rainbow (not for me anyway). I will see a colour and my mind will immediately travel to my creative space, that would be amazing as an eyeshadow on blue eyes or that girl I worked on the other week for a bridal trial, the colour in that flower would make the perfect bridal lipstick for her and off I go mixing products to recreate it!!
Colour excites me as it invokes so many possibilities and works in so many areas of my life, from picking a piece of clothing to matching that perfect red lip, picking paint for my living room to choosing flowers that will coordinate in my garden! I even once said I cannot have a car that colour, it will not go outside our house! That right there is a first world problem of the highest order but the colour freak in my just could not allow it, sinful!
In this blog I am going to break down colour theory as simply as possible but focusing mainly in makeup terms, after all I am a makeup artist and that is probably why you are here! Let us have a little look at a colour wheel so we are all on the same page.
There are three different types of colours: Primary Colours comprised of Red, Yellow & Blue Secondary Colours Green, Orange & Purple Tertiary Colours Yellow-orange, Red-orange, Red-purple, Blue-purple, Blue-green, Yellow-green. (The inbetweeners as I like to call them!)
As you move around the wheel you go from warm to cool or vice versa depending on which direction you choose. All colours are bridged with one another, red and yellow together give you orange, by adding yellow and blue you get green and lastly adding blue to red will give you purple. When you hear words like tint, tone, shade here is what they mean.
Tint is when you add white to a primary colour Tone is when you add grey Shade is when you add black Now that that is decoded, here is where the fun begins and why it is so important you understand its purpose. Using and understanding the colour wheel can benefit you in so many circumstances as I said above but let us keep this one to makeup. E.g. Lets say you have a warm undertone in your skin (you know this because gold jewellery suits you over silver, the veins on your wrists are green rather than blue or because you tan very easily), when using the colour wheel immediately you will be drawn to the warmer colours (red,orange,yellow) as opposed to if you were cool toned (silver jewellery would be a preference, veins would be blue and normally you burn when exposed to sun rays), the opposite side of the wheel will be your safe bet for colour matching (blue,green,purple)
Knowing your undertone is half the battle as that will guide you in figuring out your complimentary shades, what are these and how do I find them I hear you say! Complimentary colours are those that will suit the colour you know you have e.g. If I have blue eyes and want to use a complimentary shade I will go to the colour wheel and find the colour completely opposite to it, that being orange, I know that if I wear orange eye shadow it is going to make the blue in my eye stand out so much that the word ‘POP’ will be thrown around like a Ping-Pong ball.
Brown, Grey and Hazel are the only eye colours that can wear their own colour and still make their eyes stand out, all others must wear complimentary colours to create that ‘popping’ effect. Go back up to the colour wheel, look for your eye colour, see what colour is directly opposite it, that colour in a shade, hue, tint, or tone will compliment your eye colour perfectly.
Not only do colours opposite compliment each other they also cancel each other out! Here’s a 101 on colour correcting, not as complicated as you may think.
Orange/peach concealer takes care of blue dark circles or bruises. Here is where some people get wildly confused. When you see MAC using NW (neutral warm) and NC (neutral cool) in their foundations and you have a warm skin tone but are handed an NC foundation, know that they working in the reverse of the colour wheel theory. MAC makes their products according to the colour wheel, so NW (Neutral Warm) is meant for cooler skin tones to neutralise them. NC (Neutral Cool) is meant for warmer skin tones to neutralise them. The easiest way I describe it to my clients or girls on my mentoring programme is NC=NOT COOL and NW=NOT WARM.
For fear of bamboozling you too much I will leave it at that, I think there is enough information there and basics to get you going on choosing your correct shades. For me, it is not just about choosing them its about understanding why you are and what the benefit of the correct shade will do for you!
I hope you have enjoyed this, as always, I would love some feedback on my Insta post and don’t forget to hit that little heart and share if you are feeling extra love. My aim is to help as many women as possible to understand what they are doing with their makeup bits but most importantly why!
Until next time, mucho love! S x