Personalized Color Palettes: Is Color Analysis the Next Big Beauty Boom?


Personalized Color Palettes: Is Color Analysis the Next Big Beauty Boom?

Recently, personal color analysis has become more widely available to the regular individual instead of just the industry professionals. Personal color analysis refers to a system of classification that takes into account an individual’s complexion, undertones, hair and eye colors, etc. to create a custom palette of colors that would appear most flattering on the said individual. This method of classification is common within the fashion and cosmetic industries, where colors have a major influence as they cater to different individuals. 

Origins and popularity of color analysis

Origins and popularity of color analysis
Images from EP.166 of the “True Beauty” webtoon by Yaongi on Line Webtoon.
Depicting Warm Autumn and Warm Spring tones respectively (left) and Cool Summer and Cool Winter tones respectively (right)

Color analysis has a long-standing history in art. Painters create a palette of colors that would make the painting look harmonious and pleasing to the eye. This is especially true with portraits where the subject’s clothes, background and surroundings could be adjusted colorwise to make the portrait more flattering. It was understood that the “right” colors made the individual appear more youthful and fresh-faced, while the wrong ones could create a sickly pallor and highlight flaws and imperfections.

Over time, the science of color analysis became an important aspect of the fashion and beauty industry. The concept of personal color is quite trendy in K-beauty and can be found represented in popular media, like EP 166 of the webtoon “True Beauty”, and K-Pop artists, like WayV getting their personal color analyzed on their reality entertainment segments.

How does it work?

The most well-known system of color analysis is seasonal skin-tone color matching, which was popularized mainly by publications, like cosmetologist Bernice Kenter’s “Color Me A Season”(1973) and color consultant Carole Jackson’s “Color Me Beautiful” (1980).

The classification mainly divides skin tones into four seasons: summer, spring, autumn and winter, which can then be expanded into further subdivisions for a more in-depth analysis. The process attempts to find a seasonal color family compatible mainly with the client’s skin color, which is unaffected by external factors, like tanning, bleaching or other forms of pigmentation. 

For an in-person consultation, the individual is placed under professional lighting in front of a neutral gray background, and their clothing is covered in a salon cape of the same neutral gray. Fabric swatches of various color families (or “true” seasons) are placed along the client’s shoulders and across their chest to see which colors and their subsequent shades complement the individual’s natural coloring.

How to color analyze yourself

Personal Consultation

These days, personalized color consultations can be provided as a personal styling service. This is the route to the most accurate results, but some may hesitate to opt for the service, as the process can be pricey and lengthy. A professional consultation can cost around KRW 70,000-150,000 (US$55-118) in Korea and US$100-400 in the U.S., depending on the practice and the number of people being tested.

Personal Consultation
Image courtesy of the “My Best Colors” App by

Online Consultation 

Online color analysis is the more affordable route to the service (costing between US$8-10). It can help individuals curate a suitable wardrobe and makeup kit, although they may not be as specialized. This can be done by uploading a picture of the individual to be analyzed. 

These days, free online software designed by color analysis companies can also help an individual find their “right” colors through quizzes and color picking from barefaced photographs. These results are generated through digital analysis and may not be entirely accurate. Apps created to be shopping companion tools can use this digital analysis to curate the appropriate palette and make it easy for the customer to pick the right shade.

How color analysis helps with both style and sustainability

1. Shops Smarter

Equipped with the knowledge of favorable colors, customers would have a better chance at purchasing apparel for themselves that would be flattering. Knowing one’s “good” colors saves the individual time by eliminating contemplation over shades that wouldn’t be flattering right off the bat. It would also allow the individual to make purchases that genuinely look good on them, preventing them from an expensive rotation of ill-suiting clothes.

2. Cohesive outfits

Creating a wardrobe based on a flattering color family can help individual team complementary pieces of clothing to create an endless amount of combinations. It also makes further purchases easier, as it increases the chances of newer pieces blending in cohesively with the rest of the wardrobe.

3. Reduces waste generation

A flattering and cohesive wardrobe will promote more wears per item of clothing. This can go a long way in cutting down on the clothing waste produced by a single individual. This would mean fewer clothes ending up in landfills and polluting the environment.

With so many benefits across various aspects, it’s only clear that the personal color trend will continue gaining momentum globally. The knowledge of personal color can elevate our sense of style and presentability almost instantly. We hope that armed with this information about your personal color, your next shopping trip will be a massive success.


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