Have you ever looked at a colour wheel? It is a great way to understand how colour combinations work. In any visual art field, colour theory is essential if you want to understand which colours work with what. Now, while there are too many permutations and combinations when you study colour theory, a basic introduction to the system can go a long way in helping you understand how to play with colours on your face while doing your makeup.
Below are some aspects you need to know:
You have to know which colours to pair together, and which ones ‘cancel’ each other out.
The colour wheel starts with three basic colours: true red, true blue, and pure yellow. When you mix these primary colours, you get purple, green, and orange. Then, when you mix these secondary colours with primary colours, you get tertiary colours like sea green in the case of blue and green for instance. Seeing where these sit next to each other on the colour wheel helps understand what happens when we mix them. The colours opposite each other ‘cancel’ each other out and neutralise each other. So, you get different shades of brown upon mixing them.
Understanding colour theory is crucial if you want to colour correct your skin effectively
1. When it comes to neutralising a pigment in our skin, we need to first learn to see the true colour of something. Recognising the actual colour of the pimple you're trying to correct, for example, is an important thing. We have all been told that a green colour corrector neutralises redness, but we need to ask ourselves: are our pimples a true red? Aren't there layers of purple and brown there too? A green colour corrector, therefore, isn't going to fix that.
The same goes for orange or red corrector under the eyes. The complementary colors for blue and purple, these shades are not always counteracting the dull undertones in our dark circles, because sometimes our under-eyes have too much brown or purple for an orange corrector to work. In that event, we might need some yellow, for example. So, we need to learn to customise our colour-correction for our specific undertone to truly correct pigmentation and get an even base.
2. It can help you figure out which lip colour to use with bold colourful eye looks
It's no fun to always go for a nude lip when you've done bright eye makeup. Opting for a complementary colour on the lips is a bad idea unless you want to go for a bold, editorial-style look. So what does one do? One rule of thumb many makeup artists swear by is to stick to shades in the same tonal family, even when opting for a complementary colour.
3. Using analogous colours together ensures blending which isn't muddy
Analogous colours are the ones sitting next to each other on the colour wheel. So, lime green, green, sea green, and blue can be analogous. Blue, purple, pink are analogous. Orange, yellow, and red are analogous. It's easy to build a gradient look with these colours without making it muddy and brown.
4. Never over-blend complementary colours
When you’re applying eyeshadow, using complementary colours is generally a bad idea. This is because over-blending these colours can result in brown, making your shadow look muddy. So, avoid mixing yellow and purple, red and green, or orange and blue!
Colour theory also helps you know how different products will layer on top of each skin tone, which means it can help you find your perfect nude lipstick
5. Understanding the transparency of pigments helps, too.
For example, many people with heavy yellow undertones will find that purple eyeshadow looks really brown on their lids. This is because yellow and purple are complementary colours, so they cancel each other out when mixed, leading to the creation of brown. The more pigmented, the deeper the brown!
More often than not, this is an issue with nude lip products, because lips are more pigmented. However, in the case of nude lipsticks, you want to look for colours which neutralise your lip’s pigment--so, search for a brown or beige (which is what a nude essentially is) with undertones complementary to those of your natural lip colour. This means that if you have purple-toned lips, look for orangey or yellow-toned nude shades to counteract that. If your lips have an olive undertone, look for a nude one with red undertones.
Monochromatic colour schemes are another colour theory-approved way that is in trend now. Monochromatic colour schemes involve using different shades of the same colour. So, if you’re using a rusty orange eyeshadow, then complementing that with a blush with orange tones, and a lipstick which has orange tones is what you’d call monochromatic in terms of makeup.
A foolproof way of going about creating different elements of your makeup look, this is very en vogue right now! Not only that, it’s a great plan B for those who simply cannot get the hang of colour theory no matter how hard they try!
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