I’m going to try something a little different here and do a three part series. If it works out well, then maybe we can make this a regular thing, and if it sucks we pretend this never happened, deal? Ok cool. The reason I’m splitting it up is that color theory is kinda complex, and I want to make sure I don’t miss anything that matters. I also don’t want to break your brain and make you think about it too much at once. In art school there were entire courses we took on learning and applying color theory. Obviously I can’t go that far into it, but I think we can lay a good foundation (See what I did there? womp womp) and understanding color theory in makeup can really make a huge difference in your skills. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on here before, but my education was in fine arts, before I started doing makeup. Specifically in painting and printmaking, so I obviously have some pretty supportive parents because not too many people would get behind that 😉 To be honest though, I feel like I still use that education on a daily basis in many areas of my life but especially in doing makeup. Understanding color and balance and all of the other elements that go into any work of art make it a lot easier to get a good end result. It also helps in decorating your house . . . but that’s a story for another day. So let’s dive into the basics for now, I really had to dig into the recesses of my memory for some of the technical terms so I hope it all makes sense, but here goes nothin’ BASIC COLOR THEORY: To begin let’s talk about the color wheel The color wheel is basically all the colors laid out on a circle, which allows you to see their relationship to one another more clearly. The colors on one side are warm and the other side are cool. Warm colors are in the red and yellow family, cool colors are in the blue family. Pretty simple right? But what about the colors in between, like green? Well a green that has more yellow than blue is a warm green and one with more blue is a cool green, and the same applies to purple. All colors are made up of just three basic colors. Red, yellow and blue. These are the primary colors and they are the basis of all other colors. What makes them primary? They are primary because you can not make them up using any other colors, they exist on their own. When you combine two primary colors you get a secondary color. Blue+Yellow= Green Red+blue=Purple Red+Yellow=Orange There are other more complicated combinations that create tertiary colors and so-forth, but primary and secondary are the basics that you really need to know. The color directly opposite of any other color on the color wheel is its “compliment” which is a very confusing term because it sounds like it implies that they would look good together or something, but that’s not necessarily the case. It just means the color that is it’s opposite, whether or not they look good together is all relative. Complimentary colors are important because they have a special “color relationship” if you will. When you combine two complimentary colors they make a neutral color. (As in variations of brown and gray. Sometimes also referred to as “earth tones”) So for example Red+Green=Brown Blue+Orange=Brown and so on. Generally speaking brown, beige and tan tones are considered warm neutrals and gray tones are cool neutrals. Alternatively , when you place two complimentary colors next to each other without mixing them they intensify each other or “Make each other pop” as is often said. So when you combine opposites they sort of cancel each other out and create a neutral, which means less intensity. When they are next to each other without mixing the intensity of each is amplified. Those are the must rudimentary basics of color theory but . . . HOW DO THEY APPLY TO MAKEUP? You can use color theory in your makeup application in many ways, but the three main ways that jump out at me off the bat are:
That’s the basic intro to color theory in makeup, later this week I will be posting more detailed examples of how to use this knowledge. Once that’s posted I’ll link it all here so it’s easy to find. Please let me know if you have any particular questions that you want me to address in those posts and I’ll try my best to answer them!
Here are parts two and three!