How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 2)

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How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
When divided in half, you can see the warmer vs. cooler undertones of the color wheel.
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
Here's a desaturated version of the color wheel--colors that described as muted, faded, dusty.
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
Here's a darkened version of the color wheel, which starts to show the depths of colors and where they fall.
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)
How I Understand Colors & Undertones in Makeup (Part 1)

Here’s part two explaining how I look at, classify, and understand color, which reflects how I describe products in reviews and how they’re classified in the Swatch Gallery (which is truly a work-in-progress as I refine and get a better understanding of depth, undertone, and how relative that is within each color categorization!). You’ll want to make sure to at least read through part one for a primer on color theory.

































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13 Comments

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I love this…it’s very helpful. :o) I always pay attention to the warmer/neutral/cooler comments you make. Because I’m so cool-toned, I have discovered I can pull off the colors you describe as cool, neutral, or those that have subtle warmth.

This ⬆️ proves I’m not loco! There really are cool, neutral and cool tones of ever single color. Learned that through art school as a kid, worked very well for me when I worked with a painting contractor in my 20’s and was able to apply that knowledge when I got to work as an MUA for a bit. It’s invaluable when picking out the correct tones in clothing and cosmetics for one’s individual coloring, be it cool, neutral or warm. Comes in very handy for home/interior decorating, too!

Again, really helpful Christine. I have to say that I find myself hovering between warmer and cooler and inbetween, depending on the colours. For teal, I do prefer darker kind of shades – like the one in Dior’s Bonne Etoile and Jardin. And I love a good navy as well, though I may prefer an inbetween shade of that. There aren’t many really good navy shades around.
I think that by doing this kind of analysis you can see which colour shades are well developed by brands (in that they offer a lot of options) and shades that are lacking in variety (cool toned shades).
Thank you once again.

Excellent! I studied a ton of color theory in school but materials lacked the detailed color we have now. It’s funny how strongly I react positively or negatively to different colors and what a change I feel with a cooler or warmer tone of a color.
I remember going to a paint store for our first house and picking up a pamplet of “whites”. I was truly amazed and enraptured. We painted our living room and dining room one warmer white for the walls and a fairly neutral white for the woodwork. Although the difference was small in the swatches, it was quietly dramatic in the rooms. I love colors.

We had to repaint our house last year, and we also painted our block wall this year, and choosing paint is a real ride – and it matters WHERE! and how much light that area will get (or not). It’s funny how you have to pick your battle of when and how you want it to look “the best,” LOL!

This is interesting! My background is in visual arts, and the colour theory I read for that tends to classify warm/cool blues the opposite way — the more red/purple-toned they are, the warmer, and the more green-toned they are, the cooler. With the makeup-based visualisation of warm/cool as yellow/red tones, it makes sense to align them the other way, but it does remind me that the language used to describe colour is often as much of a source of confusion as clarity. Heh!

Looking at these and reading the descriptions has given me a better handle on what I really like. Seeing it all laid out like that it’s easy to say things like “those are the purples I love, not those.”

This effort is truly appreciated, Christine. I am not discussing it in great detail here, but please know these posts are swirling around in my mind as I digest it bit by bit. I am slow that way.

As a person for which English is a third language (the first foreign language learned in school was French) and who’s primarily focus in English is technical language, these two articles have been a lesson in how to express and name colors in English. I feel like a kid in drawing class. ? I didn’t even knew words like pewter, thanks for educating me in yesterday another way Christine!

These were fantastic! The examples were extremely helpful in illustrating differences in tone.

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