Have you ever thought about how the colors of your makeup can evoke a mood or feeling? Every color in the rainbow has an energy that conveys different meanings. Some are universal, while others change depending on where you are in the world. Color is a quick way to brighten up your face, as well as express your creativity, style, and personality. Makeup artists use something called “color theory” to determine what hues will enhance a clients appearance, based on their hair, skin, and eye color. We also use it to neutralize unwanted colors such as redness in the skin or dark circles under the eyes.
Whether you are a makeup artist or novice, it’s helpful to know the basics of color theory to assist in your product choices. The first thing you want to note is the differences between warm and cool undertones.
Warm colors have undertones of red, orange and yellow.
Cool colors have undertones of blue, green and indigo.
Shades such as purple are a combination of warm (red) and cool (blue) colors.
All skin tones have a combination of warm and cool undertones and although one is usually predominant, some can be considered “neutral.”
Next, it’s important to understand complementary colors. These are hues that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. You may be familiar with this tool if you have taken an art class or went to cosmetology school.
Complementary colors, such as red and green, create maximum contrast when placed next to one another. For example, if you have green or blue eyes, wearing lipstick with a red or warm undertone, will actually intensify your eye color.
On the same note, if you have a lot of redness in your skin tone, you will want to avoid wearing blue or green on your eyes.
Now that you know a bit about color theory, I want to share something I find fascinating, the energy of color.
What does your makeup say about your mood or personality? Check out the symbolism of colors and suggestions for ways to express yourself through makeup!
Red: strength, courage, passion, confidence, excitement.
There’s nothing that says “classic glamour” more than a red lip. If you’re not ready for pure red, try a sheer lipstick or gloss. Red can be tricky to wear on the eyes, as it can make them appear tired. It can make for a lovely blush on deep skin tones.
Orange: enthusiasm, creativity, warmth, energy, happiness.
Orange can be quite versatile in that it can be pretty on eyes, cheeks, and lips. Variations of orange such as peach, coral, or tangerine are most wearable as blush or lip color. For eyes, check out bronze shadows, which will bring out blue, green, or hazel eyes.
Yellow: optimism, intellect, spontaneity, attraction.
Pure yellow is a challenging color to wear in makeup, although it can be worn as a fun eyeshadow on either very fair skin or medium to deep skin tones. Also, variations of yellow, such as gold, can be beautiful on any eye colors.
Green: harmony, health, nature, safety, compassion.
Green is a fun color to wear on the eyes. Hunter or dark olive green can be a nice variation to black or brown eyeliner. For something with more pop, try a chartreuse or teal green. This can be a great color for brown eyes.
Blue: tranquility, communication, stability, confidence.
Wearing blue on the eyes can be an easy way to incorporate some color without being too bold. Navy or cobalt blue makes a great eyeliner or mascara. It’s more modern to wear it close to the lash line rather than all over the lid, but it can be pretty either way.
Purple: royalty, creativity, spirituality, magic, wisdom.
This rich color can be infused in eye and lip products. On eyes, all shades can be used and especially enhance brown eyes. On lips, you will find variations such a magenta or fuchsia are gorgeous on lighter skin tones, while deeper purples such as eggplant can be pretty on deeper skin.
Most of us are attuned to the energy of color in some way, whether it’s through what you wear or in your environment. If you think about it, you will realize how different colors make you feel. The great thing about wearing color in your makeup is that it promotes self-expression and creativity. If you’re nervous about embracing color on your face, start of with lighter or more subtle hues and apply sparingly.
Experiment and be playful, it’s only makeup!