COLOR & THEORY

COLOR & THEORY

STUDENT TRAINING MANUAL

Color theory is both the science and art of using color. It explains how humans perceive color; and the visual effects of how colors mix, match, or contrast with each other. Color theory also involves the messages colors communicate; and the methods used to replicate color. 

In color theory, colors are organized on a color wheel and grouped into 3 categories: primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors. More on that later. 

As a permanent make-up artist, you will find that you will develop further skills in color matching to the client’s skin type without the need of color swatches, but you will always need to know the basics. 

UNDERSTANDING COLOR

Color is perception. Our eyes see something (the sky, for example), and data sent from our eyes to our brains tells us it’s a certain color (blue). Objects reflect light in different combinations of wavelengths. Our brains pick up on those wavelength combinations and translate them into the phenomenon we call color

RGB: THE ADDITIVE COLOR MIXING MODEL

Humans see colors in light waves. Mixing light—or the additive color mixing model allows you to create colors by mixing red, green, and blue light sources of various intensities. The lighter you add, the brighter the color mix becomes. If you mix all three colors of light, you get pure, white light. TVs, screens, and projectors use red, green, and blue (RGB) as their primary colors, and then mix them together to create other colors.

CMYK: THE SUBTRACTIVE COLOR MIXING MODEL

Any color you see on a physical surface (paper, signage, packaging, etc.) uses the subtractive color mixing model. Most people are more familiar with this color model because it’s what we learned in kindergarten when mixing finger paints. In this case, “subtractive” simply refers to the fact that you subtract the light from the paper by adding more color. 

Subtractive color mixing is close to the paint mixing we did in grade school. Traditionally, the primary colors used in subtractive process were red, yellow, and blue, as these were the colors painters mixed to get all other hues. As color printing emerged, they were subsequently replaced with cyan, magenta, yellow and key/black (CMYK), as this color combo enables printers to produce a wider variety of colors on paper.

THE COLOR WHEEL

COLOR WHEEL BASICS

The first color wheel was designed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666 so it absolutely predates your introduction to it in kindergarten. Artists and designers still use it to develop color harmonies, mixing and palettes. Newton recognized a relationship between red and violet and formed the first color circle based on this relationship. The 6 color-wheel was expanded to create the 12- color wheel. When using pigments or paints, the 12-color wheel is easiest to use. 

The color wheel consists of three primary colors (red, yellow, blue), three secondary colors (colors created when primary colors are mixed: green, orange, purple) and six tertiary colors (colors made from primary and secondary colors, such as blue-green or red-violet). 

Draw a line through the center of the wheel, and you’ll separate the warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) from cool colors (blues, greens, purples).

COLOR WHEEL BASICS

PRIMARY COLORS: RED, YELLOW, BLUE

  • These are pure, they cannot be recreated from any other color combination
  • Original colors from which all other colors are derived.
  • Start with red, yellow, and blue to make the color wheel.

Pigment mixture is subtractive; when the primaries of pigment (paint, dye, or ink) are mixed they produce black or dark brown. The primaries commonly used for printing are clear yellow, magenta red, and cyan blue.

HUE, SHADE, TINT & TONE

Simply Put, Tints, Tones and Shades Are Variations of Hues,Or Colors,On the Color Wheel.

A tint is a hue to which white has been added. For example, red + white = pink. A shade is a hue to which black has been added. For example, red + black = burgundy. Finally, a tone is a color to which black and white (or grey) have been added. This darkens the original hue while making the color appear more subtle and less intense.

COLOR SCHEMES

COMPLEMENTARY COLORS
Complementary colors are two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel.

The complementary color of a primary color (red, blue, or yellow) is the color you get by mixing the other two:

  • Red + Blue = Purple
  • Blue + Yellow = Green
  • Red + Yellow = Orange

ANALOGOUS COLORS
Analogous colors sit next to one another on the color wheel—red, orange, and yellow, for example. When creating an analogous color scheme, one color will dominate, one will support, and another will accent.

TRIADIC COLORS
Triadic colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel and tend to be very bright and dynamic.

COLORING CHARACTERISTICS
Each season has coloring characteristics; knowing these can help you do an accurate analysis. Although a person may artificially change any of these characteristics; the palette outcome will not be affected.

A tint is a hue to which white has been added. For example, red + white = pink. A shade is a hue to which black has been added. For example, red + black = burgundy. Finally, a tone is a color to which black and white (or grey) have been added. This darkens the original hue while making the color appear more subtle and less intense

UNDERTONE

Undertone is the underlying quality of the skin, and is a combination of 3 pigments:

  • Hemoglobin – red; shows up as a blue undertone
  • Carotene – yellow
  • Melanin – brownish-black

The amounts of hemoglobin and carotene indicate how much coolness and how much warmth are in the undertone. The amount of melanin indicates value and intensity. Although the overtone or surface hue of the skin can change, the undertone typically does not change. The undertone can be determined regardless of how the overtone has been changed.

OVERTONE is the color that we see on the surface of the skin. It can be influenced by several indications:

  • EXPOSURE TO THE
  • ELEMENTS
  • MEDICATION
  • SICKNESS OR DISEASE
  • SMOKING
  • DIET
  • INGESTING ALCOHOL
  • PREGNANCY
  • SKIN COLOR

All skins have either a warm tone or a cool tone. As a permanent makeup artist, you need to know…

  • RED will add fullness and warmth to your client
  • BLUE will add depth and darkness to your clients as it becomes a dense cool color
  • YELLOW is a combination of warm and cool tones. It has little density, but it does have extreme intensity

Color theory is an integral part of the permanent make up procedure. This is because a color inserted into the skin may change as it mixes with the client’s natural undertones. A client’s undertones can be described as ‘warm’ or ‘cool’. 85% of the world’s population are cool and if you are in doubt, you should assume that they are a cool undertone. Skin undertones are decided by their ethnicity and genes and can be categorized into 6 groups which we refer to as the Fitzpatrick scale. 

Skin color is dependent on the amount of melanin present. 

There are 2 types of melanin that may influence our pigment color selection for permanent make up procedures: 

  • Pheomelanin – these are red to yellow tones of melanin that are found in the hair, lips, nipples, and the skin. They are found in light and dark-skinned people, but more commonly in females than males, which is why the body color of females tends to appear slightly pinker or red. Redheads have a lot of pheomelanin in their skin. Yellow tones in pheomelanin also determine the pigmentation of a golden-haired person. •
  • Eumelanin – these are brown to black tones of melanin found in the hair and skin. These color undertones will ultimately affect the selection of pigment as certain colors will look better or worse on each individual skin tone.