Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Colour Conundrum: From Lipsticks to Skin-Tone; Know Your Colours

As you'll know, I wanted to dye my hair purple for ages. I loved my ombre, but was getting a bit bored and wanted to try something new. I am so in love with it (despite the high maintenance upkeep needed) however I've had to make a few day-to-day changes that I really didn't consider whilst planning it, and I thought I'd share them with you guys, so you're a little more prepared than me if you do the same, and it all revolves around colour. 

Maybe I was a bit naive when choosing a colour to dye my hair without considering that it would have a knock-on effect on my skin-tone and what colour clothes I would and wouldn't be able to wear, but as someone who before now had only dyed their hair red, I think I can be excused. And I know I'm not the only one. Having had a few weeks to adjust to this, I can now spot the same problem on other people who haven't made these changes, or have just ignored the fact that they need to, and it has a horrible effect on the way their hair looks. 

When my hair was freshly dyed and dried, I got a bit of a shock. Imagining a colour as drastic as this is never the same as seeing it on you for the first time. I loved the colour, but it just did not match my face. I couldn't get the two to connect, and I panicked. The make-up I'd been wearing when my hair was ombre now looked washed out with an unhealthy pallor and certain items in my wardrobe clashed. 

Looking back, this was obviously going to happen, but I think I was so caught up in the excitement of a change, that I never considered this. Luckily, I have a Mum who did both hairdressing and interior design, so she has passed on to me a great knowledge and understanding of colours and tones that helped me solve this issue in a jiffy, and I hope it can help you too. Even if you haven't dyed your hair, having this information may help you in the future when choosing certain colours, whether it's for clothes or make-up. I am no beauty expert, this is just some advice I've been given as well as what's worked for me, so here's a few things to maybe bear in mind: 

Before you do anything like this, you need to have a good understanding of what your skin-tone actually is. Some people go a lifetime without ever really knowing, and high-street make-up brands do not help. A lot of colours of lipsticks and eyeshadows sold by these high-street brands are blue in tone, which means they can look quite jarring and wash out anyone with warmer skin. To this day I still struggle to find a budget red lipstick that doesn't make me look like something from the Adams family. Your skin-tone is either warm, neautral, or cool. The quickest way to figure this out is the vein test - if your veins are a purpley-blue, you're cool toned, and if they're greener in tone, you're warm toned. Knowing this will not only help you with your current colour choices, but have an understanding of what effect future colour decisions will have. 

So in my situation, I am warm in tone, however the purple dye I used had a blue undertone. Luckily, purple still came through, giving it a bit of warmth, but it was the blue that clashed with my dark, bronze toned foundation and blusher. 

Understanding warm and cool tones can help you decide where certain make-up shades lie in connection with your skin.  I like to split the make-up colour spectrum into four groups: dark warm, light warm, dark cool, light cool. I was wearing light warm shades before, but since my blue-toned hair has washed me out a bit, I've had to balance it out with some extra warmth. I've also toned down my eyeliner, which before was a statement, but now my hair is my statement, so I my make-up needs to be more subtle and calm, unless I'm going for a particularly grunge / gothic look.  This wasn't instant. I really did have to play around a bit, and I recommend you do the same. Categorizing where your tone lies is the first step, but the colour spectrum is vast, and the only way you can get specific with this is trial and error, but this is a good place to start. 

You need to treat the colour of your clothes the same as you would the colour of your make-up if it's a garment that's going to be near your face, as it will have the same effect. You can get away with any colour on your bottom-half (given that it works with the top-half). Since my hair has had an effect on what colour make-up I can wear, that obviously extends to my clothes too.  Obviously when it comes to the colours of clothes, there's a lot more choice than make-up, so if you have quite a dramatic colour like mine I recommend always looking on the opposite half of the colour wheel from that shade. Obviously I wear a lot of black so it's hard for me to give multiple examples, but my hair looks striking with green, so that has now become my go-to colour.  You can simply test a few colours by holding them up to your face. Look out or colours that wash you out or add a yellowish pallor to your skin.