Summer Ingénue Natural

I couldn’t resist having a little play on Polyvore this morning. I have already ordered the dress from John Lewis. I am currently trying to persuade myself I don’t need (another) scarf for £49. In terms of colour, this is obviously an outfit fit for a Summer. In terms of style I believe this would be Soft Natural in Kibbe, Ingénue Natural in House of Colour’s system and Sunset Summer (elegant bohemian) according to Zyla. There is a lot of movement in this outfit, it isn’t neat so wouldn’t be suitable for Gamines, it’s too soft for Dramatics. It’s probably a bit young for a Romantic, not really sexy or grown-up enough. I’m off to Tesco now to buy myself some grey tights 🙂

Skin undertones and overtones

There seems to be a lot of (very understandable) confusion around skin undertones and overtones. If you’ve had your colours analysed you’ll know that your undertone determines what season you are and yet your undertone is invisible. If you are an Autumn or Spring it can be said you have warm undertones; conversely if you are a Summer or Winter it can be said you have cool undertones. Colour analysis is not about overtones. If it were, women who wear the same foundation would be the same Season.

People often think undertone is skin colour – it’s not. Your undertone is invisible. Your overtone however, is not invisible. It’s the visible colour of your skin. When purchasing foundation both overtone and undertone are important. Some companies have finally cottoned on to undertones. Cosmetics companies who understand undertones and overtones are much more likely to have a foundation shade that matches your skin. Shopping for foundation becomes a lot easier. Your overtone might look yellow, or pink, brown or peachy. It might be described as sand, beige, ivory, biscuit or ebony. All common foundation names. Your undertone might be described by cosmetics companies as ‘pink’ or ‘rose’ if it is cool and ‘yellow’ or ‘golden’ if it is warm.

There is also such a thing as a false overtone. This is the colour your skin can appear to turn when you are wearing the wrong colour. When I wear khaki I look jaundiced. A Winter wearing the wrong colour might look ruddy in the face.

What influences your undertone? There is no definitive answer to this, but it is generally considered that the following are factors:

  • Oxygenated (red) or non-oxygenated (blue) blood vessels that run under the surface of the skin.
  • Melanin (which also influences hair and eye colour). The more melanin in the skin, the darker the skin tone.
  • Skin thickness. This varies by Season and influences how much colour shows through.
  • Carotene, which gives skin a yellow hue.

The only way to find out whether you have cool or warm undertones is by having your colours analysed in person. Some people offer online colour analysis where you send them a series of photos. I love the idea of it, but unfortunately it’s often inaccurate. It’s impossible to simply look at someone and tell what season they are (although I’m often asked to do this! 😉 ). During an in-person colour analysis session it’s important that you see the way the colours change your skin, in real time, in front of the mirror. Watching your skin react and your face change is all part of the (deeply exciting) process.

An Autumn Celebrity – Birdy

It’s quite unusual for me to venture an opinion on a celebrity’s season. However, I will make an exception for Birdy. She is getting it so, so right.

I watched a video of her on YouTube today and she is perfectly in focus, which is so rare for someone in the spotlight. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I think she’s even wearing brown mascara, clever thing. I notice her eyes and the line around her iris. She often wears Autumn coloured clothes. She is utterly hypnotic. Her make-up is Autumn perfection.


Photos can be airbrushed easily enough if someone is wearing the wrong colour (the image still won’t look right though). Videos are much harder:

She does seem to be drawn to Autumn colours. Look at how rich her hair looks in this gorgeous rust jacket. Her skin glows. Her blusher is a warm coral and looks completely perfect on her skin. It brings to life her delicate cheekbones. No black fake eyelashes trying to steal the show.


I love how even on her first album she’s wearing a rust jumper and peach skirt. Only her black boots stand out as not quite fitting the picture. My attention is drawn down to them. It’s funny how black does that. Even in small quantities on the wrong person it’s so demanding.

Birdy's first album cover

I do sometimes see Birdy in black, and wearing black mascara too. Look how it is stealing the limelight here:


Let’s finish on a high though. Her single Wings is beautiful if you haven’t already heard it, and apart from her black trousers and boots, she’s Autumn perfection.

What to expect at your colour analysis session

Before the draping itself, I will explain colour analysis to you. We will talk a little about shopping and colour theory. I will answer any questions you might have. We will then go through the drapes and ascertain your season. Once we’ve ascertained your season we’ll go through every drape I have for that season and fine tune. At this point we are likely splitting hairs, but it can be useful to know the very, very best colours in your season and those which are more useful for accessories, underwear, etc. Colour analysis is not about limiting options, but about opening your eyes to all the colours you can wear. Clients often express surprise at the wide range of colours that look great on them. Before I had my colours done I believed I couldn’t wear pink. Afterwards I realised I had just been looking at the wrong pink.

I really want you to get the most out of your draping so:

  • Your face will need to be free of make-up. I know that for some this will feel difficult. Please try not to worry about it – I absolutely understand, I felt the same. I suffered with acne for years and going out without make-up on even now feels uncomfortable. I will certainly not judge you. It only need be the two of us.
  • Please don’t wear fake tan – I can’t analyse you with it on as I’m looking for how your skin reacts to colours and fake tan gets in the way of that.
  • If you’ve dyed or bleached your hair, I will ask that you wear my white head scarf (sorry about that). It really is important though. Bring a hair brush along for afterwards if you’re worried 🙂
  • If there isn’t enough natural light I won’t hazard a guess at your season. I’ll return another day or, if possible, find us another location.
  • You will need to be sat in front of a full length mirror. If you don’t have one let me know and I can bring mine.
  • I will bring make-up along with me for you to try after we’ve ascertained your season. I think trying it on will be hugely beneficial but I certainly won’t insist you try it if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
  • If you wear glasses, please wear contact lenses if at all possible. I want you to see how the colours affect your skin. This is incredibly important.
  • Please do try and keep an open mind. I absolutely understand that if you’ve been wearing black all your life you might feel uncomfortable at first being diagnosed as a Spring/Summer/Autumn. I anticipate compliments galore as you wear your new colours.
  • I’m more than happy to drape children (and partners) but do bear in mind they need to be willing and able to sit for up to an hour.
  • We both need to be able to concentrate so a space free of distractions for the session is important. No children please.
  • Bring a camera if you want. I am more than happy to take pictures of you looking amazing in your best colours. I think this is a fantastic reminder and can be useful to look back on if you have any concerns about your season.
  • If you like, bring along your make-up bag or any clothes you are curious about. I’m happy to advise.

You will leave with a little swatch book that you can take shopping with you. If you wear scarves, these are a great place to start. I understand that you might be nervous about going shopping. If you’d like me as your shopping partner, please say and we can go together at a time and cost that suits you. If you want make-up advice I’m happy to help. I may well point you in the direction of my blog or Pinterest for recommendations for your season. If you want someone to help you clear out your wardrobe let me know, it’d be my pleasure to help and I love organising and tidying things. Again, we’ll do this at a time and a cost that suits you.

What does it cost? I charge £80 for a colour analysis session which includes the swatch book. If you are a considerable distance from me I may need to add a little extra on for petrol. I do group discounts. The cost reduces to £70 each for two or more. Depending on the time of year I can typically fit no more than 4 sessions in a day.

Where will it take place? Wherever you like although most clients prefer I come to them. I can come to your home or even your workplace just so long as we have a quiet room with good natural light. If you’d like to come to me this can be arranged too, just let me know.

How long will it take? Please allow at least 2 hours. Most people are done within the hour, others are a little trickier. I like to allow plenty of time for questions and for playing with make-up.

Should I bring anything? Please bring your foundation for wearing afterwards assuming you usually wear it. By all means bring your whole make-up stash with you and we can take a look at it. I will bring some make-up too for you to try.

What should I wear? Anything you like apart from hoodies or polo neck jumpers.

Can I bring a friend? Yes! Absolutely. The more the merrier. It’ll be magical for them to watch.

Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be analysed? If you are taking medication that changes the colour of your skin. If you feel unwell (we’ll reschedule). If you have a deep tan or are sun burnt we’ll need to wait until this has faded. A light tan shouldn’t be too much of a problem but anything more than that might be.

Will I need to throw away my entire wardrobe if I’ve been buying the wrong colours? Not if you don’t want to! Some people have the motivation and means to do that, but generally speaking I recommend that clients go through their wardrobe and swatch their clothes. Compliant clothes go on the right, non-compliant on the left. As you wear out the clothes on the left, replace them with compliant ones. You don’t need to start big either. Scarves, lipstick and nail varnish are a great way of introducing your new colours without breaking the bank.

How do I book? Just contact me via e-mail:

Make-up for Summers #1

I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite make-up finds for Summers. PLEASE NOTE: If you can’t see the images in this post, then you may need to click on the title to see the post in full (and to see the embedded pins from Pinterest).

Swapping black mascara for navy is, in my opinion, one of the most important changes a newly-diagnosed Summer can make. No7 do a great mascara in the perfect navy (beware – some companies will label electric blue as navy, only Winters can pull that look off). I stock up on this every time it goes on special offer. It doesn’t clump, it adds plenty of volume and it doesn’t irritate my eyes. This mascara can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.

I absolutely love House of Colour’s eye pencils. Navy and Lagoon are spectacular on a Summer.

I’ve had this MUA eye shadow for a while (shade number 7). It was given to me by a friend when she was having a clear out. I absolutely adore it. I do find greens can be hard to find, as they are often too saturated for a Summer. It sits on the face really well and goes on very smoothly. I can’t believe it’s only £1.

Another eye shadow that I love is this one from The Body Shop:

I think it would be suitable for Winters too due to the darker side. The wonderful thing about this eyeshadow is that it mixes really well so you can go very dark (perfect for Winters) or very light. It’s a very delicate silver, reminds me of brushed silver and therefore perfect for a Summer. Really beautiful. You can of course mix the two, too! Just be careful you don’t go too dark.

House of Colour do some fabulous Summer lipsticks. They can be a bit dry though, so I’d always recommend putting some Vaseline on first before applying them. Cherry is a grrrreat Summer red. It does amazing things to one’s eyes.

MAC lipsticks are lovely. They are very creamy. I heartily recommend Syrup and Plumful.

Syrup is a very natural lip colour on a Summer and perfect for every day.

I couldn’t live without my House of Colour blusher (B37 Clover), I use it every single day. I chucked my old one away only yesterday as it had finally run out and I worked out it had lasted me over three-and-a-half years!! Cost per wear? 0.007p!

Do you have any Summer make-up recommendations?

So what IS colour analysis?

Short answer: Colour analysis is the process during which your analyst will find out what colours look best worn (in clothing, make-up, hair and accessories) by you. And by best I mean those colours that make your skin look perfect, make you look slimmer and magnify your eye colour. The analyst does this with a set of precision-dyed fabric drapes. Systems do vary but typically you will be assigned a season (Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter). If you are a Spring, warm (yellow-based) saturated colours will make your skin glow. If you are a Summer, cool (blue-based), less saturated colours will look best. Winters look best in cool, saturated colours and Autumns in warm, less saturated colours. A very simplistic explanation, but essentially that’s the essence of it.

It sounds a bit bonkers, doesn’t it?

I was first introduced to colour analysis in my mid-twenties, back in 2010. I had never heard of colour analysis before. My local colour analyst came and did a talk at a group I was a member of at the time. I can’t remember how long the talk lasted, but I was transfixed immediately. After the talk she did a brief demonstration on one of the women present who had visited her previously. Holding up different coloured drapes she showed us how the colours changed the look of her face. In warm, soft colours her skin looked like dough and her jaw wider. In cooler, brighter colours her skin came to life and her eyes were the first thing you saw when you looked at her, in fact they positively shone out from her face. The next morning I called up and booked me and three friends in. Watching the transformation in others was utterly captivating. I struggled to see the transformation in myself, so uncomfortable was I in front of a mirror without make-up on my face. I found it difficult to look at myself in the mirror. I had every faith though, having watched the others. Afterwards I swapped my black mascara for navy and my bronzer for rose pink blusher (I was diagnosed as a Summer). I swapped black for teal green and watched my face change before my eyes. It was thrilling. I watched the change in others too. I watched my friend, who had lived in black, greys and purples purchase clothes in colours from her Spring palette. Her warm turquoise eyes shone so brightly when she wore her colours. I’d never even noticed the colours of her eyes before.

Trying to explain colour analysis without being able to show someone what it is, is tough. My partner thought I’d joined some sort of cult. Other people got defensive in the face of my enthusiasm: “I don’t need to be told what colours to wear.” However, they saw the transformation in me and my friends. Quite quickly their disdain and apathy turned to curiosity and then they would say, out of the blue one day, “Oh, I called that lady… I’m going next month…” I was thrilled. Sometimes I’d go and watch the transformation. I never tire of it. It’s like magic, colour theory. Colour magic.

The important thing to remember about colour analysis is this: you can’t tell what season someone is by looking at them. You can’t tell by looking at hair/eye/skin colour. Any season can have any combination of hair/eye/skin colour. The only way you can ascertain what season someone is, is by draping them. The draping should be done in a neutral-coloured room with excellent natural light.

Colour is always relative. Colour is always next to another colour. Colours affect each other. What this means is that when you are able to mirror your natural colours in your clothing, both you and your clothing benefit. Your clothes look more expensive. Your skin looks clear, eyes brighter, you look younger. If you put a warm, muted colour next to a bright, cool colour, both colours will suffer. The cool colour will look harsh and blue, the warm colour sickly and cheap.

A colour analyst is using the drapes in order to get your skin to react to the colour. What determines how your skin reacts? Your skin’s undertone, not to be confused with overtone. Someone’s skin can look yellow (warm) in colour but still have a cool (blue) undertone, and vice versa. A colour analysis session using a set of precision-dyed drapes is the only way to find out what undertone you have, and therefore what set of colours (season) suits you best. Everyone’s colouring is unique. You may have the same hair and eye colour as someone else, but that doesn’t mean your season will be the same.

Interested in having your colours analysed by me?

All the information you need, including how to book, is on my ‘What to expect at your colour analysis session‘ post.