Beauty Without Fuss

Thursday 13 June 2013

Sci-Art Colour Consultation

Inspired by this post by London Makeup Girl, I booked a colour consultation on Monday with Nikki Bogardus of MyColorRX on her most recent trip to London, as a birthday treat for myself.  I've always been pretty good at putting makeup shades together, both for myself and for other people (even if I do say so myself), but when it comes to co-ordinating outfits, I'm not afraid to admit that frankly, I don't have a clue.

I don't like frills and furbelows, anything too "fussy" makes me feel like I'm in fancy dress, so I spend a lot of time in black, and grey, with the occasional foray into wine-shades or purples, when I fancy a change from the monochrome.  My wedding dress, for example: 

Anyway, I wanted to see if there were other colours out there for me, and to see if my instincts were correct.  After doing some reading around about sci-art I'd come to the conclusion that I was a Dark Winter, or possibly a Dark Autumn, but the Dark Winter conclusion was (I admit it) based on the fact that I like purple and black, and the Dark Autumn conclusion was based on the (highly scientific) evidence that my hair and eyes both contain quite warm tones:

The Sci-Art process strikes me as fairly scientific, most people are familiar with the old-style of colour matching, where you are either a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, and you were given specific "colours" that only each season can wear. And can wear only those colours. It has been widely acknowledged that it is somewhat restrictive ...

Sci-Art acknowledges that most people aren't purely warm, or cool, and in fact contain a mixture of both (for example, there's a lot of pink in my skin, so I'm cool, but my eyes are warm, and the veins in my wrists appear green, oh, and I tan, all of which are "warm" traits), so four seasons doesn't really take into account these "neutral" traits.  Sci-Art measures hue, temperature and saturation of colours, meaning each season can be broken into three traits, so there are, in fact, 12 different "seasons". All have a  Bright and True variant, but and springs and summers have their third classification as Soft and autumns and winter have a Dark type too.  For a far more detailed explanation of how this works, please read this wonderful blog post by Zuzu's Petals on the science behind a draping. 

Essentially, this means you get a wider variety of colours to wear, but what is important is the shades of the colours you choose to wear, and your "draper" is the one who helps you to spot which shades of which colours are the ones that flatter you most.

After wrapping yourself into a grey gown, and covering your hair, you're draped with four colours, black, brown, silver and gold to determine which season you might fall into. For me, black (winter) was okay, brown (autumn) wasn't awful, silver (spring) was fine, and gold (summer) was ... not nice.  All this meant was that I wasn't, actually, one of the "true" seasons. Most people aren't, so that was fine.

After that, you're draped with a number of red shades, which determine just how warm, or cool your skintone is, from this we determined that my skin definitely has cooler traits!

After this follows a draping of different shades of very many colours, to determine which ones are "your" shades, Nikki was an excellent guide through this process, pointing out what she could see that I couldn't, and explaining why it was that some colours worked better than others.  We had one moment of hilarity when the mustard swatch went on, and Nikki exclaimed that she'd never seen anyone "reflect the colour that badly, ever!".  I had to agree, it was not good.

We found that bright colours tended to wash me out, that yellows and oranges are not flattering, and that I need a lot of contrast, and quite a bit of depth to my shades.  This, coupled with the cool skin, and warm eyes meant that a "diagnosis" of Dark Winter was rather inevitable quite early on, and the drapings only proved it.

 Now, whilst I don't love the green in this picture (and I really don't) I can see that it has neutralised the pink/red tones in my skin, and made my tones look more even.  Personally, I think if I'm going to wear green then it's going to be more of a "forest" shade, or a darker emerald, but as someone much wiser than me said earlier: "I don't think you will automatically love all the colours in your fan, and there isn't necessarily a perfect correlation between the colours you like and the colours that like you", and I think that's very true in this case.

Purples definitely feel more me, and the teal drape in the middle there was a revelation to me.  I've spent years avoiding blue, thinking it makes me look sallow and ill, but teal actually accentuates my eyecolour, and just makes me look more radiant - which is never a bad thing, right?  My shades are jewel shades, essentially, but sooty ones, blackened, if you will.  Never again will a pastel shade appear on this blog.  Sorry about that, but I knew I hated them for a reason!

However, this is the picture that makes it all worthwhile:

Please ignore my stupid expression, it was taken at a difficult angle, I'm afraid!  But, see how my skin fairly glows?  That's the effect everyone wants from their clothing! 

 So, was I upset to come out as the season I'd suspected going in?  No, not at all.  It explains why I am so drawn to dark shades,  why fussy clothes are not for me, why my idea of a nude lip is actually a rosy-mauve that most people would think of as a "bright lip", and finally, even why it can be that even when I'm wearing a tonne of makeup, it looks like I'm barely wearing any. My skin "mutes" the shades, as they lack contrast with my skintone. This  also explains my love of coloured lips - I NEED that kind of contrast in my life, and it was lovely to have my suspicions confirmed.  Also, the fact that Dark Winter also contains black, and pure white and TAUPE (lovely, lovely taupe) has made me a very happy woman.

I enjoyed my time with Nikki very much, she's a lovely woman to spend time with, funny, friendly and frank (she does have some rather ... er, forthright views on makeup, which I don't entirely agree with, though I completely understand where she's coming from, and she has a lifetime of experience in the industry!), and you'll come away with a completely new way to think about colour.  I certainly have.

Finally, I wanted to show this picture, because a) I love it, and b) it's made me laugh a bit because it illustrates perfectly how similar (and yet quite different) people can be.  It's also a nice demonstration of how people can be drawn, even without knowing it, to their "correct" colour palette:

This is myself and LondonMakeupGirl at my wedding back in February, well before either of us were draped by Nikki.  Ironically, and completely subconsciously, we're both dressed in ideal shades for our new colour palettes. me, as a Dark Winter in silver and magenta, and LMG as a Bright Winter in pink and purple.   Lydia's shades are more vibrant and clear, suiting her brighter skin, and me in a richer, slightly darker shade, complementing my slightly more sallow (but just as pale) skin.

Some other links you might find interesting include:
12 Blueprints
True Colour International
Indigo Tones
and, of course, the amazing Nikki at My Color RX

This post: Sci-Art Colour Consultation originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper


  1. This was actually really interesting - dying to know what season I am!

    1. I think you're a soft, Leanne - but I think you'd enjoy the process a great deal!

  2. What a pleasure it is to read about your Sci/Art experience! I've been a long-time reader (tho never a commenter), and it's definitely true that you've gravitated all along to the colors that suit you as a Dark Winter. Thanks for writing about this process and your thoughts about it. I hope you have fun exploring your color palette further.

    1. Thanks, I'm looking forward to getting to grips with my "new" palette too - luckily, I love my shades!

  3. I am so glad you did a post on this - I read Grace's posts and subsequent avidly. What I want to know is whether one's initial shade changes over time. I had mine back in the early '90s and was a summer but I fear that the intervening 20 yrs has dulled my skin tone...I am just going to have to book myself in aren't I? Thanks Louise this is such a great read. xx

    1. Jan - I wouldn't be at all surprised by Summer for you still - maybe a Soft Summer.

    2. I did actually look up "Summer" on-line, and realised that as most of my wardrobe is muted and pale and my hair and eye colour are very similar shades of wet sand you are spot on. Thanks both for such an interesting and informative set of posts.

    3. I think soft summer for you too, Jan. That slightly-faded, "dusty" quality the colours have is very lovely, and I think they'd look beautiful on you.

  4. I like that green on you - but I can see the 'Well this isn't happening again' in your eyes :) The purples are really glorious on you.

    It's interesting - I think looking at us you would say our colouring is similar, but I tested the exact opposite in the first four and Spring v Autumn - yellow was good, brown was terrible.

    Loved reading this, and love that picture :)

    1. You're right, our colouring is superficially very similar, but it's quite instructive to see it in action, I think.

      I love that picture too - well, I would!

  5. So fun to read. Given your blog title I have to suggest you race over to Silk Naturals and order: Rapturous, Sultry, Fashionista (a nude wine - the only "nude" lippie I've worn EVER), Crimson and Concerto. Can you tell I'm a fair DW too?!?

    1. Not only can I tell, I suspect you like lipstick nearly as much as I do, too!

  6. I've really been looking forward to this post since I spotted your new Facebook picture! Those final drapes are absolutely perfect. It's such an interesting process and I think it's just as useful to confirm that the colours you wear are right for you, as it is to have a complete revelation.

    I'm hoping I can keep some of my exam money back to book a consultation later in the year. Fingers crossed!

    1. It was good to have it confirmed - and good to finally be able to say I wear black because it looks good, rather than I wear it because I'm lazy (which, of course is the *other* reason I wear it ... )

      I do hope you get to have a consultation, I think you and Nikki would get along very well indeed.

  7. I came across this while perusing some of your wonderful posts on guerlain. I was likewise inspired by LMG's posts and have been endeavouring to figure out my season on my own, since I don't have access to an analyst. After

  8. Oops. Submitted that last comment prematurely. I was going to say that I've narrowed myself down to either a dark or a bright winter, but I'm not entirely sure which. Love reading about your experience.

  9. You have similar eye and skin color as me and I am a soft summer.


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