Personal stylist reveals how to pick the right colours to enhance your natural beauty...

2 months ago 9

Finding the perfect colour palette which suits your style and look can be an ongoing battle for many wannabe fashionistas. 

But some fashion experts, and increasingly TikTokers, believe colour analysis, a technique which first became popular in the 1980s, could be the key.

Developed by Carole Jackson, who published bestselling 'self-help manual' Color Me Beautiful over forty years ago, stylists categorise people into 'seasons' depending on their skin, eye and hair tones.

Image consultant Nathalia Vaz told FEMAIL the four different categories - as she revealed it is her mission to teach people how to find the best colours to 'highlight their natural beauty'. 

Wednesday actress Jenna Ortega is one celebrity who colour analysts suggest has made a conscious effort to wear clothes that suit her colour palette - with deeper tones recommended 'to highlight her natural beauty'


For blonde, blue-eyed singer Swift, Nathalia recommends a 'light spring' colour palette, so 'light medium tones with warm undertones and a bright appearance'. 

She explains how Swift can balance her look with 'warm makeup' so her 'low contrast beauty' isn't overshadowed by bold clothes.

This includes 'light to medium tones with a warm colour palette' to 'highlight her beauty and not her dress' - giving black as an example of a colour which draws the eye to her outfit rather than her face.

Nathalia explains how Taylor Swift, who she describes as a 'light spring', can balance her look with 'warm makeup' (right) so her 'low contrast beauty' isn't overshadowed by bold clothes (left)


Meanwhile, Elle Fanning is categorised in the 'summer family', which Nathalia says means 'light, soft and cool undertones are the best choice for her'.

She also suggests that as Fanning has a 'low contrast', meaning she should avoid deep tones. 

She recommended softer makeup looks in order to complement her paler, pink undertoned skin and light blonde hair.

Elle Fanning is categorised in the 'summer family' by Nathalia, which she says means 'light, soft and cool undertones are the best choice for her'


Wednesday actress Jenna Ortega can be said to be in the autumn family, as she has a 'high colour contrast'.

This, Nathalia suggests, is why she looks best with high contrast garments close to her face, and why 'she looks stunning with deep tones as well as black and white'.

'But when she wears a light top, we don't get the high contrast she needs.' 

If Jenna wears pastel colours, Nathalia recommends a deep lipstick to accentuate her facial features more and maintain the contrast.

Wednesday actress Jenna Ortega can be said to be in the autumn family, as she has a 'high colour contrast'. According to Nathalia, this means she looks better in deeper colours


For winter, one example Nathalia gives is Bridgerton actress Simone Ashley. 

She says Ashley demonstrates that people with brown skin don't necessarily have warm undertones, recommending purples, blues and cool pinks for her.

'Deep tones with cool undertones and a bright appearance can make her shine when we compare with warm tones,' she said, adding 'my guess for her is deep winter'.

Bridgerton actress Simone Ashley is a 'deep winter' according to Nathalia. She says Ashley demonstrates that people with brown skin don't necessarily have warm undertones, and that she suits purples, blues and cool pinks

What do each of the seasons mean? 

Colour analysts usually look into three dimensions within each traditional 'season', which are dividing into:

Value - light or deep

Chroma - muted or bright

Hue - warm or cool

These then divide up the traditional seasons 

The Spring Family

  • Bright Spring - Bright + Neutral-Warm
  • True Spring - Warm + Bright
  • Light Spring - Light + Neutral-Warm

The Summer Family

  • Light Summer - Light + Neutral-Cool
  • True Summer - Cool + Soft
  • Soft Summer - Soft + Neutral-Cool

The Autumn Family

  • Soft Autumn - Soft + Neutral-Warm
  • True Autumn - Warm + Soft
  • Dark Autumn - Deep + Neutral-Warm

The Winter Family

  • Bright Winter - Bright + Neutral-Cool
  • Dark Winter - Deep + Neutral-Cool
  • True Winter - Cool + Bright

Color Me Beautiful - which was a New York Times bestseller from 1980 to 1995 - became the foundation of 'image consulting', and has been hugely influential for stylists around the world.

It has since been criticised for focussing on white women, blanket-sorting people of colour into the same categories and perpetuating stereotypes by suggesting what colours people should and shouldn't wear. 

It also began to be mocked as passé after its initial popularity, knocked by the likes of Bridget Jones whose not-so-stylish mother urges her to have her 'colours done' to improve her look in the 1996 film.

But, over the years the theory has been revised and adapted for new audiences, with its latest incarnation on TikTok.

Image consultant Nathalia Vaz said she has made it her mission to teach people how to find the best colours to 'highlight their natural beauty'

How to dress OUTSIDE your colour palette 

Fear not if your favourite colour is outside your prescribed 'palette', as Nathalia and other colour analysts encourage experimenting with different looks.

She said: 'When you use colors in your palette, you harmonize the outfit/makeup/hair with your complexion.

'Sometimes, you want to draw attention to your outfit rather than yourself.

'For example, this is commonly used in marketing campaigns where you want people to notice the product, not the model.

'There is no right or wrong. It all depends on your image goals. The techniques teach you how to harmonize your colors, but frequently, in particular, in the entertainment industry, you want to deliver an impactful message.

'We see much of that in performance artists, such as singers, or on the red carpet! On those occasions, you may want to create contrast instead of harmony.

'Colour analysis will teach you to play with the colour tones and deliver your desired message.'

The expert added that celebrities hire stylists who are well-versed in colour analysis, and that there is a large overlap between her role as an image consultant's and a stylist's.

Nathalia, whose background is in education, explained that her own struggles with building a coherent wardrobe after she emigrated to the US led her into colour analysis.

'I had to pack all my stuff to fit in two pieces of luggage. When I arrived, I ended up with a non-functional wardrobe.

'The pieces I brought had no connection, and it would take me a long time to create an outfit.

'Then, I decided to combine my two passions, teaching and fashion. I studied and became a certified image consultant. 

'The focus was on educating and empowering people. I don't say that someone can or cannot use a specific color, I always tell my clients there are no prohibited colors. We just need to learn the technique to use them!'

Image consultants are putting a modern spin on the theory, with a new generation of colour analysts using the platform to help people identify the shades which will make them more confident.

Image consultant Nathalia has made it her mission to teach people how to find the best colours to 'highlight their natural beauty'.

'It is hard to style yourself if you know nothing about colors,' she told Femail. 

She explained the benefits of the technique can be huge, and have helped her personally.

'Wearing color tones from your palette can have many positive effects. 

'It helps highlight your features, smooth the texture of your skin, and ensure the colors you are wearing do not overpower you.

'I always tell my clients that when you create harmony, your beauty stands out, not your lipstick.'

And it's not just in the colour of your clothes, she explains, adding: 'We also discuss in-depth makeup, accessories, and hair coloring. 

'Who ever dyed their hair and hated the second after, or spent a lot of money on makeup you never wear because it doesn't match your complexion?

'All of those situations happened to me before. Learning about color analysis also helps you to avoid unnecessary purchases and get them right the first time.'

Nathalia, who is originally from Brazil but now lives in the US, analyses celebrities' colour palettes for her TikTok and Instagram following to help explain the theory in a visual way.

She uses pictures of celebrities to demonstrate how certain colours can elevate people's looks, while others can overshadow them. 

'When I explain to my clients, I try to use the words harmonize or do not harmonize. The key here is not what looks more beautiful but what harmonizes with your complexion.' 

She tests whether people have 'high' or 'low contrast' beauty by switching images to black and white - recommending bolder looks for high contrast people and softer colour palettes in makeup and clothes for low. 

To understand seasons, she gives the examples of Taylor Swift, who she says is a spring, Emily Blunt, who is a summer, Beyonce, who she describes as an autumn, and Lupita Nyong'o, who she says is a winter.

She has also done before and after videos of A-listers including Jenna Ortega, Viola Davis, and Amanda Seyfried, showing looks she thinks work with their natural tones and those which don't as well.    

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