Monday, April 17, 2017

Free Online Color Analyses......Worth Your Time?

Online quizzes are fun! Sometimes the answers are intriguing...other times, they are just funny. The best ones are in magazines someone else spent their money on, haha!!! If you want to know quasi-facts about your ideal partner, what your personality traits are like, or if you should make this or that decision, a quiz with a few questions can either lead you in the right direction, or down five miles of bad road. 

Should you take a chance and try to find your color palette via an online Q and A session? 

Let's try a few of these, and find out. 

Here is a photo of a woman with coloring you see every day, whether you are on the street or at the store. 

Image result for woman stock photo image

Neutral to warm brown hair with warm blonde highlights, brown-amber eyes and a medium-light skin tone. Her undertone is not obvious. She has an overall neutral look with a peachy-pink glow. 

First color analysis test:

I came up with Deep for her analysis. If I change up the eye color selection a little bit, I come up with Soft

Second test:

Donna Fujii

This one was not as consistent as I hoped. If I chose the Caucasian option, she ended up being a High Contrast Summer (much like True Summer). If I chose the Latina option, she turned out to be Topaz (close to a rich True Autumn.) 

Third test:

This test was the quickest, but also my least favorite. All you have to do is choose the Hollywood/Famous person that most closely resembles you. 99.999% of us are real people that don't spend a lot of time in front of a camera. However, I do have to say, out of all three tests so far, this one was good.

Our model turned out to be a Soft Autumn. 

Fourth test:

This one was also a quick test that involved more photos of Hollywood starlets/famous women. Jen does a good job of breaking it down from soft to bright and warm to cool. The result for our model is:

Soft and Warm. 

Fifth test:

With this one, I had to click on various photos to find which one of the models looks the closest to our young lady. The Winter and Summer categories did not resemble her in any way, so I dispensed with those. There are a few more choices for Spring and Autumn. The Spring models were lighter and more clear than she was...the Autumn ones were closer. I settled on Sunlit Soft Autumn. 

In our case, almost all of the choices point to a Soft Autumn or an Autumn of some type, so with that being said, the results were pretty consistent across the board. Me being the cautious type, I would not trust any of these results without doing some further testing. 

Here are some flaws of testing your coloring online like this:

1) Total lack of objectivity. You may think you have mousey hair and dull eyes when you really don't! You could be warm and not realize it. 

2) The colors you currently are drawn to might not necessarily be the best colors for you, so you can't rely on personal preferences should that come into question during the quiz. 

3) What if you don't look like any of the famous people/models that are pictured? It can make you wonder if you fit in anywhere and cause needless frustration. 

4) If you are 40+, you won't be able to relate to a 20 or 30 something starlet that has a personal chef/trainer/makeup artist/clothing and hair stylist. 

5) You can get different results with each test, or slightly similar ones. 

6) What if you really have no clue as to what basic colors look best on you to begin with? In particular, Donna Fujii's test is going to drive you insane. 

7) Gray hair/silver/white/salt and pepper hair is not created the same. If this is your hair color, I can guarantee that you do NOT automatically fit into a Cool season. If any of the above are your hair color options, it will be very difficult to accurately judge the undertone. 

8) Not all of these online color analysis tests cater to all ethnic backgrounds. If you are multi racial, this makes it more difficult and frustrating. Not everyone who is looking for their color palette is always Caucasian. 

In online free color analysis can be a fun thing to do, but I would not base my entire wardrobe planning or cosmetics purchases on it. Before you do ANYTHING....back it up about a mile. Go on Pinterest and search for your color category for a color swatch photo you can use as a visual reference. Buy four T shirts and some inexpensive Wet and Wild, Jordana or Hard Candy lipsticks in the palette you want to test. See how that goes first before venturing further. If that doesn't work, you have 11 more categories to test. Rinse and repeat as necessary. 

Above all else, trust your gut! 



Thursday, April 6, 2017

Housecleaning and Business

Due to time constraints of my own, I'm unable to acknowledge or answer any of my comment posts for the time being. I know this will come as an inconvenience for some and an annoyance for others. For that, I apologize in advance. For those of you who have participated, thank you! Your comments fill me with a sense of deep gratitude and give me a lot of food for thought! I will more than likely open up comments at a later time. 

If you have questions you would like me to answer, comments or have suggestions as to what you would like me to write about in the future, please send all emails to 

Keep your eyes out for True Autumn, how our coloring changes as we age, my opinion on how companies market cosmetics and beauty items, and other good stuff. 

Thanks for reading!



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hair, Eye and Skin Color....How Important In Color Analysis?

I still have a copy of Kathryn Kalisz's book entitled, "Understanding Your Color, A Guide to Personal Color Analysis." She published this in 1996, and for those who are serious students of color, her book is highly sought after. 
I often use both this book and "Return To Your Natural Colors" by Christine Scaman as references. 

In Chapter IV, Kathryn has individual in depth explanations as to what entails a seasonal group. Of particular interest are the last paragraphs of each explanation. (e.g, True Summer: "The over-all appearance of a person whose coloring is in harmony with the True Summer tone is cool and tone is soft pink, beige or rose coloring is ash brown, deep ash blonde or grey. Eye coloring is blue, blue grey or grey blue" pg. 62)

In going through this book, by reading the descriptions, it would not easily be a simple task to find your seasonal category because it is next to impossible to be objective enough with one's appearance. (e.g., Based on this info, Bright Spring would be my closest, but my hair is not "medium to dark brown or salt and pepper grey. (pg. 82)

This blog post from Amelia Butler from True Colour International got me thinking.....and this fairly recent blog post got me thinking even more. 

Could the idea that any season can have any hair, eye or skin color be wrong? Or, is our outer appearance, at first glance, a guidepost?

Within this post, I found my answer. 

"Generally speaking certain physical characteristics (hair/skin/eye colours) can be attributed to each of the 12 tones. For example Dark Winters and Dark Autumns generally have dark hair and eyes, whilst Light Springs and Light Summers generally have lighter hair and eyes by comparison. These generalities make sense in terms of how colour harmony works-the closer the relationship between two or more colours (in terms of hue/value/chroma) the more colour harmony is perceived.   This is not to say that unusual combinations of hair/skin/eye colouring do not exist, they certainly do but are far less common than people imagine. Although useful as a guide, physical descriptors cannot be used alone as an accurate diagnostic tool for PCA."

You will really need to read the entire post in order to get the fullest sense of her answer to this question. In my humble opinion, she knocks it out of the park. 

So....does your hair and eye color matter just as much as your skin tone does when finding your best color space? Yes, it does. The correct palette will enhance all three features of your appearance in concert, rather than just one over the other. 

I hope this post has given you a little bit more food for thought. 

For those of you who are hard core color geeks and wish to expand your knowledge in color theory, I invite you to read 
Amelia's blog.  You will definitely enjoy spending time reading the information she so graciously shares. 



Monday, April 3, 2017

Living With Your Natural Hair Color

If someone told me, even three years ago to grow out my natural color and leave it be, that advice would have fallen on completely deaf ears. It has been over eight months since I've grown out my color and I see no reason to change it. 

Here are the advantages:

1) Your hair will be in the best shape possible. 

2) I can guarantee that you will be using a whole lot less in the way of conditioner. 

3) Hair color dye technology has definitely come a very long way. Gone are the days of yesteryear when "hair dye in a bottle" was all one uniform shade. Even with a multi tonal formula, nothing works as well as what your DNA has given you. 

4) You won't have to worry over whether your hair color will work with your color palette, because it will. 

5) Less direct exposure to chemicals. 

All of these things are good....but not everyone is ready for their natural hair color. 

Maybe you are going or have gone prematurely gray. 

If your hair lacks natural body, highlights do indeed add volume and lift. 

Some women do not like their "mousey" hair and wish to enhance it by giving it more dimension and shine. (I say, try out your color palette may indeed change your mind about the whole thing.)

Is there anything wrong with giving your hair a kick of color? Nope.....certainly not! As a hair stylist, I really enjoy changing a client's look. It can be a whole lot of fun! Some of you might be looking for a drastic change. As long as your complexion can handle it....go for it. 

I have to say, in my own case, my untouched hair feels nice and soft. It has a natural shine that no amount of serums or product can replicate. I don't have to wear as much in the way of cosmetics. Furthermore, the cosmetics colors I do wear tend to look better, because I don't have overly blonde or red hair fighting with my skin tone so much. 

A nice added bonus are the the highlights the sun has given me. Instead of being brassy, they are the same tonal value as the rest of my hair. (Note the level of darkness in the back part of my hair....yes. It gets that light in the Florida sun just walking outside to my car. )

I have seen women go from hair tinted a dark brown make the transition into their natural silver gray and they look much younger rather than the other way around. 

My suggestion is to give it a try. If it isn't for you, it's not....but if you have had your correct color palette chosen it will be surprising how much better your natural hair color will look!



Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Nude Look In Cosmetics Trend....Should You, Or Should You Not? It All Depends.......

The nude look  in cosmetics has been very big within the last few years. Back in the late 1908's, going au naturel was quite popular and a welcome respite from purple and pink eye shadow with bubblegum lips. The unfortunate thing about the makeup that was seen everywhere from Melrose Place to Baywatch is, not everyone can create a reasonable imitation of it and look their best. 

There are some distinct advantages to "going nude", and they are the following:

1) Appropriate for every situation, from professional to bridal. 

2) Very easy to find cosmetics. Just about every brand offers a plethora of products to achieve this look.

3) The colors can be very mix and match. 

4) For a beginner who is not accustomed to working with cosmetics, applying nude colors is pretty forgiving. 

The disadvantages are:

1) Can be quite mainstream and boring looking (or worse) on the woman whose coloring demands more vibrancy. 

2) If you aren't careful, your makeup collection can grow like crazy since items from this color scheme is plentiful.

3) Can be a challenge to find the right undertone that will work with your skin type. 

There are indeed women out there who can "go naked" day in and day out while looking fabulous at the same time. This is because they know what undertones are their best as per point #3, which comes about through trial and error. 

We will go through the 12 seasons to figure out who this special woman could be. (HINT: If your best color palette does not contain any brown, the nude makeup trend is likely not your best bet.)

True Winter: Brown is not present, with the exception of a very dark taupe toned brown. Your palette is contrasting, icy, clear and primary. Since nude colors tend to be muted and warm, there will be a distinct dissonance between that and what you require to look balanced, which are pure tones with lots of definition. VERDICT: Avoid. 

Bright Winter: Brown is also not at all in your palette. You need colors which are crystalline, clear, brilliant and showy. Anything earthy, soft or gentle in tone will be your downfall....the color version of your kryptonite, especially since your skin tone loves jewel tones. VERDICT: Avoid. 

Bright Spring: Your neutral colors are warmer than Bright Winter. Your palette is very sunny, clear and intense. Much like your Bright Winter sister, soft colors on your face will just make you look tired and undefined. VERDICT: Avoid. 

True Spring: Warm, clear and optimistic looking with a tropical, beachy vibe is how your palette colors appear. Not as vibrant as your Bright Spring compatriot, True Spring needs a good amount of intensity without crossing over into the great divide of Winter. Should you decide to wear your more neutral tones, keep them on your eyes and as bronzer. 
Your lips need color, so stay away from nude lipsticks. VERDICT: Proceed with caution! Bronzer and contour sure to match your palette exactly! 

Light Spring:  Pastel and delicate yet possessing a certain amount of clarity, your palette is like a breath of fresh air. Anything even remotely heavy will weigh you down and muddy your complexion quickly. Even your neutral colors contain sunshine. Nude makeup will not look like it belongs on you. VERDICT: Avoid.

Light Summer: Iridescent, watercolor and refreshing, the neutral tones you have in your palette have a mauve base to them. If you do experiment with nude colors, there has to be enough pink in the base tone in order to pull them off. Even then, it would be all too easy to creep into Soft Summer, which is too heavy for you to carry. VERDICT: Avoid. 

True Summer: Cool, muted and ladylike, warmth of any kind is most unwelcome in the English garden that is the very embodiment of your palette. Most nude tones will be too warm for you to go near, especially since the majority of your neutral tones are blue gray or mauve gray. VERDICT: Avoid. 

Soft Summer: Gentle and elegant with a hint of earthiness, your palette is neutral cool in tone. For some of you, coolness will be of paramount importance. Others of you can carefully tread around the boundaries of Soft Autumn. When choosing nude makeup colors, stick to the rosy or cool side of the spectrum. VERDICT: You get the green light....just stay pink/rosy toned. No "lips like concealer" please. 

Soft Autumn: Restful, grounded and inviting, your colors are neutral/warm and quite soft. Since True Autumn is making an influence in your colors, terra cotta, burnt gold and pebble colored tans are making inroads. Be choosy and stick with cosmetics that are the correct undertone...not too pink, yet not too warm.  You can freely use bronzer and contour, taking care not to go too heavy. VERDICT: Green light.....use your palette as a guideline to choosing the correct undertone. NO "lips like concealer" please. 

True Autumn: Hot, metallic and bronzed, makeup colors for you are very easy to find. So many women love purchasing True Autumn cosmetics, but very few look good in them. Only you can look your best in copper lipstick and terra cotta blush with gold bronzer powders and chocolate brown eye liner. Going too muted can be the problem here. Stick closely with your palette colors for best results. VERDICT: Green light. NO "lips like concealer" please. 

Dark Autumn: Deep, jewel toned and sultry, more vibrant colors are making an appearance since Winter is beginning to make a debut. Your best cosmetic look contains some "darkness around the edges", as in a deeper espresso eyeliner with some black/brown mascara and a warm plum lipstick. The nude look on you will fall flat. have lots of neutrals in your palette, but wearing these alone creates no visual interest. You need your "color" colors, too. 
VERDICT: Proceed with caution. Keep your cheek color and lip colors more rich. 

Dark Winter: Cold and contrasting with a rustic edge, the Dark Winter palette edges even closer to True Winter. Only the deepest espresso browns can be seen. Tan, taupe, warm browns and nutty browns have been frozen completely over and blackened by the icy weather. Dark Winter women really look their best in those Winter wine, plum and berry colors. Browns tend to look muddy and messy on their complexions. VERDICT: Avoid. 

I hope this helps you make a decision as to whether the ever popular"naked face" is something you can wear easily, or a look you need to steer clear from. 



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

Image result for sheer veil stock photo

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

Image result for gauze beach cover up

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

Image result for stock photo black dress

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. 


Image result for stock photo african american women 

Image result for latina

Image result for dark brunette stock photo

Image result for deep auburn hair

Layered Curly Short Gray Hair:


Image result for stock photo brown hair

Image result for stock photo brown hair

Image result for stock photo light brown hair

Image result for stock photo medium blonde hair

Image result for stock photo natural gray hair


Image result for stock photo fair skin

Image result for stock photo strawberry blonde

Image result for stock photo light blonde hair

Image result for stock photo light blonde hair

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.