Discover Your Colours – Colour Intensifiers


colour intensifiers

Reader Fins asked: To my question: I have grey streaks in what used to be very dark brown hair, and I have noticed that the hair looks more grey when I wear the greyer end of colours such as mauve or cocoa, whereas with mid-intensity blues or with aquas or dark charcoal my hair looks darker. I think all of those colours bring out my skin/eye colour and contrast. For best results, should a person hold off on wearing the greyer shades until they’re very grey themselves? I think I need to go back and study the contrast and complementary business!

The answer – colours that are complementary will intensify the colour they are next to, which is why in yesterdays post on intensity in the picture of simultaneous contrast, the orange dot looked brightest next to the blue. Orange and blue are complementary on the colour wheel.

 So if you want to make a colour look more intense put it’s complementary colour on.
  • Brown hair wear your blues
  • Blonde hair – wear your purples
  • Red hair – wear your greens
  •  Blue eyes – wear your oranges (warm) or reds/pinks (cool)
  • Green eyes – wear reds and burgundy and red/violets
  • Brown eyes – wear blue
 These tips for intensifying eyes can be used for eyeshadow colour selection.
So what do you do if you don’t want to intensify a colour – say you have a ruddy complexion? You may find that some teals can heighten your colouring, as will more similar colour reds and pinks.
You can also enhance a colour by wearing the same colour close by – blue eyes look bluer in a blue top. Brown hair looks browner wearing brown, and grey hair will be more noticeable when wearing grey.
Here are some more posts


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  • I completely agree- I have brown hair and green eyes, and the colours I look best in are purples, reds, and blues. Spot on!

  • Mmmmmmm One week'll be enough? Everybody seams so exited about this subject. I imagine a quiz, a test or a game where we could see pictures of a womans wearing diferent colours, and we'd discuss the effects of colours on them? Any victim around? I guess a forum 'd be a better place to do it. I will look at magazines…

  • Purples make me look ill. Any idea why that might be? My skin used to be snow white with freckles and I have golden/orangy blonde hair and pale blue/grey/teal eyes (depends on the light), but my skin is now a lot browner, from getting a little sun every day for a long time now… but STILL the purples (whether pale lilac or intense purple) make me look ill, especially pale lilac and purple on the red side in the darker shades of purple. This is most puzzling to me, since with the change in my skin colour I CAN now successfully wear yellow gold, whereas in the past I had to stick to white gold and platinum. Could it be a clash with my hair color that is the problem?

    I can't tell what colors I should be wearing, even with your marvellous posts on this, and comments from people in my life don't help, as I've been told I look particularly good in both the coolest intense pink (not my favorite color), blues, greens, red, and also browns or all kinds, orange (I hate orange) and white and cream too. (Different people say different colors!)

    On the subject of intensifying eye colour, perhaps my eyes are not as blue as I think they are, because they look MOST blue when I wear Clinique's Moss Green eyeliner (it is a dark green slightly on the blueish side of green, as opposed to the yellow end of green). It is quite a striking effect, in fact. When I wear the colours that are supposed to intensify blue eyes mine simply stop looking blue at all.

  • Thank you for this – so interesting! Purple is definitely one of my best colours, and sets off my blonde hair and dark brown eyes well. So do peacock blue/jade/teal, but I don't like navy. I feel as though I ought to (!) but it's such a boring colour on me. Also, burgundy and maroon make me dull – is that because they are warm versions of purple?

  • So brilliant, as usual! You're like the Alton Brown of fashion. Do you get Food Network and Alton Brown on your side of the world? If not, he's a brilliant cook who delves into WHY you do things a certain way instead of just saying follow the recipe and don't worry about the ins and outs. Love him. Love you.

  • Luinae – great that you've discovered this for yourself.

    Anon – no will do more than one week – too much to cover!

    Sarah – hard question to answer without seeing you in person – there will be a shade of purple that works – but which one I'm not sure. It may be a worthwhilee investment getting a professional consultation.

    Most people have their own favourite colours – so often what they're reacting to is their own prefrences and not how you look in the colour – they love pink or orange etc.

    Many blue eyes have a lot of green in them too!

  • Thanks again, Imogen, this is great stuff and very encouraging. I think I've been going for the better shades and haven't been at all bored wearing fewer colours this past year (I'm building up my collection of print tops though). You've reminded me that burgundy is a good one for me – I have a couple of older gorgeous items in dark rosy shades but just haven't seen much in the wine family around recently, now that I think about.

    Another question I thought of, if this comes up, is to do with that Pantone palette you showed a few months ago. There was a blue in it that looked delicious to me, but you described it as a warm blue. Maybe I would be able to see its warmness better in real life, but is there a tip for recognising a warm shade?

    That was quite a referral that Jesslyn gave the cook!

  • "So what do you do if you don’t want to intensify a colour – say you have a ruddy complexion? You may find that some teals can heighten your colouring, as will more similar colour reds and pinks."

    Imogen, Can you please explain this in more detail? what do you mean by "heighten your colouring." Do you mean emphasize the redness?

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