“Dear Kim, I’m loving Fabulous Color Analysis. I’ve watched it three times in the last week! But I do have a question. What about skin color and complexion? Why isn’t that taken under consideration when assessing the colors? From the course I was telling you about, almost 25 years ago, we were taught to analyze cool and warm from skin color on the wrist or forearm. You don’t seem to mention it, or am I missing something fundamental?” Prunnhilde, USA
Skin tone is completely arbitrary
For this very reason, skin tone is not included in my approach to colour analysis at all.
Image consultants, make-up artists, manufacturers of foundation, blusher, etc. will all disagree until the cows come home about the actual shade of porcelain, ivory, beige, etc.
Does a porcelain skin mean Cool tones? To me, it does. But not to my good friend and image consultant, Svetburga, who is convinced it means Warm.
Try and buy a skin foundation product called Porcelain. You will find that all the top make-up houses have a completely different perspective on what constitutes Porcelain – half of them suit Warm skins, and half only work for Cool skins.
Skin tone is completely arbitrary. I rest my case!
Testing for Cool and Warm using the skin colour on the wrist
In over 40 years, I have only ever met one colour consultant who could do that successfully.
In fact, I have never yet come across a single method of identifying skin tone (Warm or Cool) that works 100% of the time for every single client.
So I leave it out and concentrate on what actually works.
But if YOU have a foolproof method of working out whether someone has Cool or Warm skin tones, then you should absolutely include that in your consultations.
Personally, I simply imagine my client in gold jewellery or silver jewellery.
To help the client see what I see, I will then show her, and confirm for myself, using gold and silver drapes, or gold and silver jewellery.
Once I know which one makes her look good (by that, I mean it doesn’t make me squirm), then I know she’s either Warm or Cool.
I don’t spend any longer than that on skin tone.
You don’t need skin tone anyway!
No two consultants will ever agree over skin tone, so you will notice that my approach is to encourage you to look at hair and eyes only.
Working through the tables on pages 13 and 14 in your Colour Analysis Training Manual will always lead you to the right answer, without skin tone ever being mentioned.
In the past, I wasted far too much time working through my ‘system’ when I should have been spending time talking to my client, finding out what she wants, making her feel fabulous and confident.
The only people who are ever interested in our system, our process, and how we come up with our diagnosis, are other image consultants.
And the irony is that, at the end of the day, if I discover (by hook or by crook) that my client has Warm colouring and she then tells me that she wants to wear Cool-toned clothes, jewellery, etc. then I need to stop blethering on about the flippin’ process, her Warm colouring, etc., get out the way, and give her what SHE wants.
All of this, together with hundreds of years of trying to include skin tone as a parameter in the analysis of my client’s colouring and failing miserably, is why my approach leaves skin tone out completely.
Skin tone will always be controversial
- Controversial means ‘open for someone else to rubbish your diagnosis’
Focusing on skin tone, or any other parameter of your ‘system’, just takes time away from your real purpose – to make your client look and FEEL wonderful.
Over time, you may discover that skin tone plays a more active role in your diagnoses, but this will only come with lots of experience.
Leave it out for now, until you have mastered the fundamentals of using hair and eye colours. You’ll discover that page 13 works every time!
Over time, you may discover, like me, that you never want to re-introduce it…
But I do not run a franchise. This is your business! So you can choose!
By the way, Prunnhilde, it’s time to stop watching the videos and get some living, breathing volunteers in to practise on instead! You’ll learn so much more!
Stuff the system. Put the client first!
Marie commented: I love that you don’t mess with skin tone. I had a very bossy red tell a group of ladies about their skin tone based on vein color on their forearms.
I smiled and said, “Thanks for sharing, as an industry we’ve moved on from that approach, because it doesn’t work for everyone.”
Before Kim, I would have been frustrated by the interruption. I’m sure it would have sidelined me for the event.
Kim replied: Marie, what a kind reply you gave. I’d have been far less respectful – being a bossy Red myself!
The older I get, the more I detest being told what to do by anybody, especially when it comes to colour.
There are no chuffin’ rules!