I had an awesome experience this week. In preparation for an upcoming HHWebinar, I went to see Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed, for a Professional Color Analysis. A Professional Color Analysis is an in-depth comparison of different color “seasons” to determine which colors are most flattering against someone’s skin tone and coloring.

My own personal history with color analysis

I had a mini-version of this done in my high school fashion design class when a “Color Me Beautiful” consultant came to class with a variety of different fabric swatches and draped us students with them to show how certain “seasons” of colors were more flattering than others, and how the results differed for each student. For example, colors that flatter a “winter” type might make an “autumn” type look, well, physically ill.

color printingI found this fascinating, and learned more about the concept of different skin tones, temperatures, and seasons years later when I worked in the cosmetics department at Bloomingdale’s for Prescriptives. Prescriptives is known for “color printing,” which is a technique used to match a person’s skin to one of their hundreds of different foundation colors pretty darn perfectly. The skin tones and foundations were divided into categories like “yellow orange,” “red orange,” “red”, and “blue red.” Depending on your color family, you could choose certain other families for a more natural look and others for a more dramatic look, whereas others just don’t look good at all. Just to clarify, while I like Prescriptives’ Color Printing technique and appreciate their wide range of foundation colors, I no longer use or recommend their makeup due to controversial ingredients on their labels. Moving on…

Change your clothes, enhance your skin!

While breaking down different color seasons and skin tones might seem complicated, it’s all just manifestation of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition‘s term “bioindividuality.” When referring to food, this means that one person’s food is another person’s poison; but with color and skin tones, it means that what makes one person look glowing and luminous might make another person look like a corpse.

No makeup, neutral gray garb--not including the iPhone of course ;)

No makeup, neutral gray garb–not including the iPhone of course 😉

The work Rachel does is like Color Me Beautiful on steroids. Instead of four seasons, there are 12. Instead of haphazardly draping students with colored swatches, I was instructed to come without makeup or earrings, and was dressed in a neutral grey smock and bonnet (I looked like a pioneer woman space cadet), and sat in her studio which combined natural lighting from the large window and professional light boxes. In this controlled environment, I was draped with fabrics from all of the different seasons, all with different hues, tones, and levels of saturation in an effort to determine what my season was.

It was incredible how the appearance of my skin changed dramatically from one season to the next. Certain colors made me look like a sick hospital patient while others made me look like I had just enjoyed a long, relaxing walk outdoors on a warm day.

With my Dark Autumn makeup colors (I LOVE the lipstick--it's a color I'd have NEVER chosen!) and swatch book.

With my Dark Autumn makeup colors (I LOVE the lipstick–it’s a color I’d have NEVER chosen!) and swatch book.

After more than two hours of draping, comparing, and contrasting the different colors, we determined that my season is Dark Autumn–which is different from my old high school result (I think I was a Winter back then, which shows the importance of controlled lighting since Winter colors actually look HORRIBLE on me!).

Rachel then gave me a book of color swatches to keep in my purse to use whenever I shop for clothing or makeup, and then did my makeup (and I RARELY let anyone do my makeup…just saying’) in my colors. She also took a super close-up photo of my eye to show all of the different colors and patterns that make up the brown in my eyes and explained how that works in relation to the colors.


Kinda loving my eye.

Kinda loving my eye.

We then spent the remaining minutes of the consultation draping me in luxury Dark Autumn fabrics and taking selfies.

Again, this is a color I'd have previously walked right past in a clothing store. Now, however, I'll at least try it on!

Again, this is a color I’d have previously walked right past in a clothing store. Now, however, I’ll at least try it on!

I don’t know what I expected from today’s consultation, but I was completely shocked how certain colors made every shadow, acne scar, and uneven pigmentation spots pop while others made them nearly disappear and evened out my skin tone without a stitch of makeup on my face. I was also surprised how certain colors I thought I’d never choose actually looked better on me than colors I’ve chosen in the past.

We’re all gorgeously different, inside and out, and I think it’s incredibly refreshing to know that people can improve the appearance of their skin just by changing up their clothing colors. I think that Professional Color Analysis definitely belongs under the blanket of holistic skincare.

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