What is colour?
I can’t believe I haven’t written about this before! I am not an expert on the science behind colour, but it is fascinating where the current thinking has evolved (from Aristotle to Isaac Newton in 1671 to several other theorists in the 1800s and then others since). Also, to note how mathematicians have studied colour too.
Of course it’s helpful to turn to Wikipedia for an explanation, and here is an article that usefully summarises what colour is to us, and gives a lot of the scientific background if you read the whole article. Who knew that bees can determine ultraviolet light?
It is interesting to note that not all creatures see colour in the way humans do, and in fact not all humans see colour in the same way. It seems that it is down to how our eye retina processes colour and then the information is transmitted through our brains. We also know that our brains can be impacted by lots of things, like damage, age and drugs, so add that into the mix! And there is a percentage who cannot see partially or fully either, or get colours “mixed up” (like red/green colour blindness). That’s why I now check out what my clients are seeing when I start a consultation, as I need to know if there’s a difference from my perception that I need to work with.
So, what is colour? We understand that light is white until is is fractured and splits into colour, like when we see a rainbow. Then colour transmits wavelengths that are reflected against objects. The surface will absorb or reflect light depending on its qualities (hue, intensity and value – see below). Black absorbs all the light while white reflects it.
What is colour analysis?
With colour analysis (seeing which shades of colour harmonise with someone’s particular skin tone, eye colouring and natural hair colour) we [stylists] are looking at sometimes subtle differences between the shades and it is what the shades do to skin tone when reflecting light onto it.
I mentioned earlier about colour referred to in terms of hue, intensity and value. Hue is the name given to a colour (like red or blue), the intensity is the clarity of the colour (like bright or muted), and the value is how light or dark it is.
When I am colour-analysing someone using my different coloured drapes, I am first determining whether they need “warm” or “cool” tones (that gets explained in the colour analysis), then I will be looking at the intensity (bright or muted) that suits the client. I will have already taken into account the depth of colour (how light or dark they need for harmony with their natural colouring), by looking at the client’s natural features (skin, eyes and hair).
If you want to see how this works, and the improvement you can see when someone finds their harmonious shades, do book a ticket for my first public demonstration on Friday 11th August in Ashurst, Southampton here. There are only three tickets left.
Your Colour & Style consultant