Monday, March 27, 2017

Transparent, Translucent and Opaque. Which Option Is Best For You?

The terms transparent, translucent and opaque can be surprisingly confusing for a lot of people. Sometimes, we mean to use one adjective and inadvertently choose another one that was the furthest from our intention. With that being noted, let's give Merriam-Webster's Dictionary a stab at these three adjectives:

transparent: b :  fine or sheer enough to be seen through :  diaphanous

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translucent: b :  transmitting and diffusing light so that objects beyond cannot be seen clearly

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opaque: :  blocking the passage of radiant energy and especially light :  exhibiting opacity 

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The three areas of concern are as follows:

Cosmetics. Many women will do better in a sheer, transparent gloss for the lips. Others feel more balanced in an opaque, matte lipstick, or in between these two extremes. 

Hair color: A sheer color gloss or fine highlights will be very enhancing to one, while a solid permanent color that offers 100% gray coverage will be a better choice for another. 

Clothing: Some look their best in light, flowing fabrics like gauze. In another case, it is better to wear a smooth or very chunky, textured fabric that lets no light through whatsoever. 

Your color season can be very telling as to what will work better for you. (Please note: for the seasonal categories in bold print, the qualities of opacity, translucency and transparency are of even more importance. There are no hard and fast rules....this is all just a general guideline.)


Dark Winter
Dark Autumn
True Autumn


Soft Autumn
Soft Summer
True Summer


Light Summer
Light Spring
True Spring

Can experiment with either texture:

True Winter (leans more opaque)
Bright Winter
Bright Spring

If you do best in opaque garments and finishes, here is what to look for:

Smooth fabrics with a tight weave that do not allow any light through. Heavy cotton, boucle, tweed, plaid, leather and denim are great choices, along with corduroy. 

Matte, highly pigmented lipsticks. 

You may be the type of person that needs a more dense or solid application of cosmetics to even get them to show up on the face. Bronzer, contour and a heavy coverage foundation may be your best bets. 

If translucent is your best choice, be on the lookout for these items:

Smooth, flowing fabrics like cotton, silk or poly knits. Something you may have to wear a tank or slip underneath. Make sure your clothing lets through some light, but not too much. 

Lip stains and balms are pigmented enough, yet are not heavy on the face. Moisturizing lipstick formulas offer a nice color payoff without looking too solid. 

You will do best in a makeup application that allows for coverage that can be built in layers. Milky, iridescent or satin finishes are very nice. You may have to mix moisturizer in with your foundation to keep it from looking too heavy.

If you look your best in transparent finishes, here are some things to gravitate towards:

Sheer glosses, balms and stains. 

You will do better in sheer washes of color on the face. One of the best tools you can use is a fan brush, since you can better control blush application. A cream or gel blush will be especially nice, since your skin is allowed to show through. 

A little bit of sparkle, or some sheen will deflect light outwards, which looks very becoming. 

Gauze, chiffon, light silk, anything flowing that can be layered. You can also follow the clothing suggestion above for translucent. 

In both the translucent and transparent choices, it is perfectly OK and necessary to have an opaque under layer. Just make sure it is not made of a heavy fabric. You need soft movement in your garments. 

I find that True Winter, Bright Winter and Bright Spring are unique. Their color palettes are the strongest ones within the 12 season concept, and because of this, they have more leeway. This general rule applies best to them and also to all of the above seasons:

1) The lighter the hair and skin tone/eye color, the more transparent you should go. 

2) The darker the hair, eyes and/or skin tone, the more opacity you will need to look balanced. 


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Layered Curly Short Gray Hair:


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I'm not that gray but it's refreshing to see curly hair that is. Going Gray Looking great:

Everyone is unique. Opacity may be a necessity for one and transparency may be what another shines her best in. 

Feel free to experiment with either one of these three finishes!



Monday, March 13, 2017

Oval Makeup Brushes.....Worth the $$?

The hot new beauty tool out right now, next to the Beauty Blender sponge is the oval "toothbrush" style makeup brush. They are created to be a more ergonomic way of applying makeup in front of your mirror. The originals made by Artis are very modern looking. Made of a rigid, but high quality resin plastic, they have synthetic bristles that are packed very tightly, yet manage at the same time to feel like velvet against the skin.

 At one point, Artis could not keep them in stock, even at their high price point. A small set of 5 will cost $170, and the entire Elite Mirror set will be about $395. The Fluenta line has a handle that is angled forward. The Brushcraft series is much less expensive, with four different brushes that are available individually between $18.50-$24.50. 

I love tools!!! If anything newfangled comes out, I am chomping at the bit to try it out. However, the Artis brushes are pretty pricey and I did not want to risk spending a not- so-small fortune on something I would end up not liking. 

I have seen the original Artis Elite Mirror brushes in person. Here is what I like about them:

Sleek design.
Soft, velvety feel. Sensitive skin need not shudder in fear. 
Synthetic, cruelty free bristles.
A balanced feel without being heavy. 

All this being said, let's face it. If you are used to using traditional brushes on your face, there is going to be a learning curve, since it is 180 degrees different than conventional means of applying cosmetics. 

Wanting to dip my toe in the shallow end of the pool, I ended up ordering a dupe set from They are a rendition of the Fluenta brush set. 

The dupe brushes are a nice weight, albeit top heavy. They fit very nicely and securely in the box they come in, which has a magnetic closure. They are made from a heavy plastic that feels rigid...there is no annoying flexing at the brush neck which is what happens with many other dupes. 

There are nine brushes in the set, ranging from a very large brush you can apply body highlight and bronzer with, to small circle brushes that apply lip products, contour eye shadow colors and a linear brush that smudges out eye liner. 

Here is what I like about the dupe set:

The price was excellent, at about $35.00 on sale. 
They do not feel flimsy. 
The box it comes in is a bit large, but it is great for storage. 
They have a soft feel to them and the bristles are densely packed. 

I feel that the brush set contained more brushes than I would use. 

I enjoyed using the second and third largest brushes for foundation and concealer. 

The largest brush was just too large. I will not have a use for it. 

I did not like using the smaller eye brushes for eye makeup. It is awkward trying to be precise with them and I found myself reaching for my normal brushes instead. 

These brushes work best for cream and liquid products. If you try to use them with powder, they are so densely packed, they may take your foundation off if you are not careful. 

I had a hard time controlling blush application. On one side of my face, blush was applied almost as well as if I used a normal brush. Operator error: I dipped back into my blush pan and got WAY too much on the other side of my face. Whoops!

The brushes felt soft against the back of my hand, but they were not as soft as they could have been. I would even go as far as saying, the smaller the brushes became, the more irritating they were on my skin. The Artis bristles feel much more refined and gentle in comparison. 

The overall finished look was very soft and blended looking, which is great if that is what you are looking for. If you want a cat eye, a cut crease and contour and highlight on fleek, these brushes just won't do it for you. In that case, I would give them a hard pass. 


The jury is still out for me. If they felt softer against my skin, there is a good chance I would like these a lot better, but in the end, I feel that oval makeup brushes are a gimmick. 


Save your money. 

If you need brushes at a great price point, I recommend Royal and Langnickel, Real Techniques and Eco Tools.

Like shopping at Target? Sonia Kashuk black handled brushes are the best ones to get. 

Medium price point brushes: My vote goes to Sedona Lace and bdellium Tools. 

Want something a little bit more upscale? IT Cosmetics, Zoeva and Sephora Pro are worth considering. 

Need brushes that are darned near bulletproof? Royal and Langnickel (R) Evolution brushes are for you. 

If you absolutely, positively HAVE to have the Artis brushes, buy the five piece set and an Oval #7 brush for foundation. All of the other brushes, in my humble opinion, are superfluous. 



Prism XII: Color Products

I happen to think it is a good idea to collect color fans from different companies. It gives you a great overview of your palette. One particular brand may suit your tastes and preferences more than another. One of my absolute favorites is the Indigo Tones plumes . They are fuller in size than the 12 Tones fans, but being made of embroidery and heavy cloth, they can be hand washed in cold water with a very mild, diluted detergent. 

Another great color fan I have found useful is the Prism XII palettes and palette accessories. I have purchased some of the accessories and will share with you my thoughts. 

The palette accessories are very reasonably priced. They arrived to me in a padded envelope with a very nice hand written message, which I thought was a lovely touch. 
The smaller color cards came with a plastic credit card style see through sheath. Everything else was wrapped in clear cellophane. 

The paper these are made of has a very shiny surface, which makes them a bit more stain resistant. My strong suggestion is to get them laminated, that way they are even more rigid and impervious to makeup or anything else that might get on them during the course of their lifespan. 

 iPhone Color Guide: (Please note: I inserted this in a clear Casemate and I have a Galaxy Note 5 phone, which is larger than the iPhone 7 this is meant for.) I elected not to laminate the phone card because I knew it would remain inside the case. The card has not moved or shifted position because the case fits snugly, and the bonus is, the camera is not obstructed. 

The second item I received is the pocket guide to color harmony. 

Next is the lipstick color guide.

Finally, I purchased one of the Top 10 Cards that shows you your "WOW" colors which are not of the neutral tone variety. This card is also credit card sized:

Out of all of these products, I particularly like the phone card. When out shopping, if you are carrying a small handbag and don't have extra space for your palette, this gives a very quick at-a-glance look at colors for the purpose of comparing. All you have to do is lay a garment down flat, place the phone on top of it and get a visual "Yes" or "No" verdict. Easy!!

Lipstick is the hardest thing to get right. All have different levels of opacity, undertones and formulae. The lipstick color guide saves a lot of fiddling around. You can see immediately how warm, cool, light or dark your range is. 

The pocket guide to color harmony is something I like to keep at my makeup table. It helps choose complimentary colors, or assists in fine-tuning a look that will better harmonize with your outfit of the day. If you don't have the $$ for a fan, this is such a great tool to have, as you will be able to carry this in your purse. 

The top 10 colors card will really be a big help when getting ready to purchase new Summer t-shirts, casual wear and accessories. It also gives your eyes an immediate reference as to your "fun" colors. 

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, I would get the iPhone Color Guide and the lipstick color guide. Everything else are merely nice extras that a color junkie would really enjoy having in their collection. 

Nikki Bogardus created some very useful color products that are a joy to use. As a nice addition, the prices are very reasonable, so you won't break the bank!

If you decide to use these tools, they will help your eyes learn how to see your seasonal category in a new and very convenient light!



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Valid Questions Series: "Do The Drapes Have To Match The Fans?"

(The following is all just my opinion. I offer this a disclaimer: I am not a trained color consultant. I am not a trained image consultant, nor do I have any type of national or international certification. The only beauty related license I carry is a Florida Board of Cosmetology license and one from North Carolina. The knowledge I have gained is from doing a lot of reading, more reading, and yet still more reading. I've learned SO much from the stories of others and from speaking face to face with consultants who are active in their business.I thank all of them....too many to list....for helping me on my pathway and for enabling me to answer this question the best way I know how.)


"Do you think the drapes from each season should match the 12 Tones/ Invent Your Image/Indigo Plume/Prism Xii fan color fields? I have noticed there are some discrepancies and it has been discussed at length on some of the color/style groups in Facebook. What is your take?"

Knowing the direction of where the sun and moon are while hiking and paying attention to trail markers can help you keep your direction. A good compass can do so much more than that. It will fine tune your pathway and keep you right on course as long as you follow what it tells you. Whether I have a large compass, a handmade one, or a small one, if they are all accurate, I can expect a favorable result even though they differ from one another. 

Amelia from True Colour International has truly set the standard for color accuracy with all of the 12 Tones products. Those of us who have been properly draped value the tools she has expertly researched and created. I have seen in person and owned/still own the 12 Tones/Indigo Tones, Invent Your Image and Prism Xii fans. Even though each one interprets my Bright Spring season a bit differently, they are all correct and dovetail nicely with one another. I get to see how Kathryn, Amelia, Kerry, Lisa and Nikki had a vision for my season and made it come to fruition. Yes...each one of the fans differs from brand to brand, but no matter which one I pick up, they ALL work for me and work fantastic. 

My take on the long as the drapes being used accurately represent the hue, chroma and value of each season they are meant for, they can be relied on. They do not have to precisely match the color fields on the fan. 

Drapes represent the extremes of each season. For instance, if I have a set of drapes for True Summer, I will need those that demonstrate the following:

The lightest that seasonal category can go. (Grayed white)
The darkest that seasonal category can go. (Soft charcoal gray)
How cool? (Blue violet)
How warm? (Lemon yellow)
How bright? (Everything is medium intensity)
How soft? (A few colors might on the surface resemble Soft Summer, but when compared are slightly brighter.)

Seasonal color drapes are merely a measuring tool. No one fits neatly into a seasonal category. You may be close to your seasonal neighbor, BUT....if the extremes (namely, the drapes) of a certain season look best on you, this is an excellent guiding point that the seasonal color fan corresponding to it will indeed be your best fit. For this reason, I think that seasonal color drapes often lie just outside the color fans borders and push some boundaries while not crossing into another seasonal category. 

The color fans themselves do not necessarily represent the absolute extremes of our season. They may get close, but they were created for clients to build wardrobes, decorate homes, purchase cosmetics, accessories and jewelry and maybe even find a car! If used properly, just like a compass, they point us in the right direction. So, in my opinion, the answer is no. The fans and the drapes do NOT have to match as long as the drapes being used accurately represent the extremes of the seasonal category they are advertising and the fan is also an accurate representation of the season in question. 

For some beautiful photos of the Indigo Tones seasonal fans and Kathryn Kalisz's original drape materials, please take a look at these photos taken by Nikki Bogardus from Prism Xii:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Reader Request: The Differences Between True Winter and Bright Winter.

I have a deep love for Winter seasons. Drama, contrast, glamour, sparkle, clarity and being in the spotlight are all qualities the Winter palettes possess. You can indulge in minimalism by centering your wardrobe on one color with black and white as accents...maybe a touch of gray. Or, you can partake freely of jewel tones nobody else could wear with any form of authenticity. 

Two seasons that are very close, as most neighbors on the 12 Tones palettes tend to be, are True and Bright Winter. 

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Photos: Lisa K. Ford Invent Your

At first glance it looks like this...." palette is just a continuation of the next one." But....look closely. The Three Dimensions of Color reveal some clues. 

In True Winter, the hue is absolutely cool, the value is medium and the chroma is medium bright. 

With Bright Winter, the hue begins moving away from Cool and approaches Neutral territory. This is because there is more red and yellow injected into the palette.
The value is medium and the chroma is turned all the way up to Bright. True Winter approaches the 75% mark. Bright Winter goes from 90%-100%. 

True Winter is absolute. Coolness....rather, an ice cold frozen feeling is the most important factor in the palette. No excess yellow, no orange or coral, no lime greens and certainly no gold are welcome within its realm. Go the least bit too warm and bright and you can count on your face looking like it has some oily patches. 

Bright Winter is the lighter of the two. A bit of brilliant sunshine peers through. Yes, the contrast is high, as all three Winters tend to be, but color and intensity at full throttle become the defining factor. Here, coral red, bright lime green, warmer brilliant yellows and true greens with a cool edge make their debut. 

If you are deciding between True Winter and Bright Winter, what guideposts serve as a help?

True Winter pinks are very cool and icy. Find a shade of medium cool pink lipstick that is on the intense side and see how it looks. If you are Bright Winter, try on a bright strawberry toned red. 

True Winters for the most part balance black and white better than anyone else I know. A Bright Winter may need to add in a bright color or two to pull this off. 

True Winters can't get away with gold anything at all, at any time. Bright Winters can wear a shiny polished gold. 

Bright Winters can wear color palettes that are a bit more animated. True Winters thrive on simplicity. 

Both seasons can wear shine. I find that True Winter looks better in patent leather shine. Bright Winter can wear sparkle like no one else. 

The cool grays of True Winter will look almost cement like on a Bright Winter. Conversely, the slightly warmer white will make a True Winter look a little bit sallow around the edges. 

As far as True Winter goes, it is easy for the complexion to appear sallow or yellowed in the wrong colors. Bright Winters have a little more leeway, unless they veer too far into Bright Spring territory. 

True Winters can handle some darkness. Bright Winters have less in the way of dark tolerance and the lower part of the face can look a bit shadowed. 

Here are a couple of lovely wardrobe collages that do a great job of illustrating the differences:

Bright Winter

True Winter

These makeup palettes created by Christine Scaman of 12blueprints serve as a great comparison between the two, with Dark Winter on the left. This may be of help to you when shopping for cosmetics to test. 

True and Bright Winter are such dramatic and beautiful palettes. If you are able to wear either one of these selections of colors, it will be impossible for you to be anywhere else but center stage!



True Spring: A Season of Optimism and Delight

Of every one of the 12 seasonal categories, True Spring is the rarest of them all. Some color analysts have said they have yet to come across someone who is a True Spring. 

This is the one season so many people in the Northern hemisphere look forward to experiencing, especially if Winter has been long, cold and harsh. The transition into True Spring via Bright Winter and Bright Spring has passed. The snow and ice are long gone and the cold spells have said their goodbyes until Autumn begins to arrive. 
The pure yellow sunshine and budding grass along with new flowers popping up are a source of joy. Our thoughts begin meditating on tropical blooms!

The True Spring Color Pallet~ please do take in to consideration that the colors may vary slightly from the original due to the translation from the canvas to your computer screen.:

Photo: Elea Blake Cosmetics

Pure sunshine yellow is the base tone to these colors. They are not at maximum brightness, but they are quite saturated and lively. 

We begin with a creamy white, like meringue. True Springs need some yellow in their white to look balanced. Yellowed tans and clear yellow beige make for some great neutral tones. 

The grays have a decidedly warm undertone to them and care must be taken to match those grays as closely as possible. A little bit too cool can be detrimental to the complexion. 

Peachy beige and beige browns round out the collection of True Spring neutral tones. Note that these are clear medium to light in tone, not earthy or heavy. 

Marigold, sunshine yellows and yellow orange are replicas of the optimistic sun-in-the-sky feeling. 

Many great lipstick and blush shades to be had are, orange coral, clear peach, melon, watermelon red, poppy, orange red and warm pink. 

New grass green, yellow green, true green, a warm minty green and several beautiful tropical water blue greens make  a showing. 

To round things out, we have a selection of bright sky blues and clear blue violet. 

If I woke up tomorrow AM and found out I was a True Spring, I would do the following:

Get rid of any white or black in my closet. It just won't work on my complexion. 

Purchase a highlighting palette, making sure the colors in it are warm and bright, no darker than my lightest hair color tone. Pick up a melon or peach blush, being careful it is not earthy or heavy looking. 

Ditch the black mascara and dark eye liner. Wear a nice brown mascara instead. 

Get three shades of lipstick, a true orange, a warm medium red and a melon pink. 

Clinique Happy cologne or perfume. There is something about it that shouts "Spring" to me. 

Find a nice yellow dress and add accessories to it. While I am at it, a yellow green, clear peach and a warm red one would be nice. 

Gold strappy sandals and a handbag to match. 

Warm tan shorts, pants and a skirt. 

Find a lovely cream toned silk blouse and use it as  a wardrobe basic. 

Enjoy combining a few or several colors together, particularly complimentary pairs. Spring is quite animated. 

"To Do's" for True Spring:

Shiny, light gold jewelry. 
Clear cut gemstones like citrine, yellow topaz, padparadscha, clear peridot. 
Warm toned opals
Warm white pearls. 
Small yellow diamond earrings, or yellow CZ set in a gold toned metal. 
Highly polished copper or bronze.
Turquoise, light jade and coral.

Light, frothy warm neutrals, going no darker than a medium brown. 

Khaki pants, blue jeans that are lighter in feel with yellow stitching. 

Beachy blonde highlights or red highlights in the hair for fun. 

A little bit of sparkle and sheen. 

Fabrics that have a bit of shine, from a pearl finish to shiny satin as long as the design does not look too heavy. 

Crisp cotton, fun patterns, a warm tropical "beach" feeling. 

Please do NOT's:

Bright is good, but too much of a good thing can be overwhelming. 
Darkess will be your mortal enemy. It will be very aging and heavy on you. 
Silver, white gold and platinum jewelry. 
Dull, brushed finishes. 
Earthy, heavy, weighted styles. 
Anything cool, stark and contrasting. 

Your worst colors:

Dark Winter (heavy, cold and aging)
True Winter (harsh, sharp, unforgiving)
True Summer (may gray you down and look dull)
Bright Winter (bright and cold)
Light Summer (too cool and too pale)
Soft Summer (cool and heavy)
Soft Autumn (muddy)
True Autumn (heavy and brassy)
Dark Autumn (dark, quite harsh and aging.)

Light Spring and Bright Spring might be close second seasons for you, with Bright Spring just a tad overwhelming and cool.... Light Spring being too blue toned and pale. 

Colors to avoid:

Black white, cool pink, cool blues and purples, earthy colors, grays, silver, pastels, icy light colors, blue reds, lemon yellows, berry tones, cranberry, amethyst, rose pink, dark colors of all kinds, terra cotta, dark teal, orchid. 

To further expand on this information and learn even more, please click here and here to better understand all of the finer points of the True Spring season. 

I  hope you enjoyed this missive on True Spring! If you are one, you are indeed a very rare flower.