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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Color Theory

When I was taking my makeup artistry course at the local cosmetology school, we briefly touched on Color Theory. Wanting to learn more, I looked into the theory on my own and not only apply it toward makeup, but also my wardrobe.

I highly suggest you go to a craft store and buy an inexpensive color wheel. You can also look up Color Theory on Youtube for some helpful videos.

Color Theory

There are three primary colors - red, yellow, and blue. These colors cannot be mixed from any other color.

You then have secondary colors and tertiary colors:
  • Secondary colors are two primary colors mixed together that result in: orange, green, and violet
  • Tertiary colors combine one primary and one secondary color together. For example, combine red and violet and you get red-violet.
So that's the basics. Now let's get to the fun part with applying the theory to makeup and clothes. Let's look at the color wheel.


Each color on the color wheel has a complementary color and a split-complementary color. Complementary colors are directly across the color wheel and split-complementary colors are directly to the left and right of the complementary color. For example, the complementary color to orange is blue. Blue is directly across or opposite of orange on the color wheel. What is orange's split-complementary colors? Blue-green and blue-violet.

If you have blue eyes and want your makeup to "pop," the best choice for you are orange shades, such as sienna, burnt orange, browns with orange tints, etc.

Now on to the clothes. I've captured a couple images from the J. Crew website and also of my outfit today. They all involve the secondary color orange and either a complementary color or a split-complementary color.

Orange pants with a complementary navy blue stripe.

Orange and pink. This works because pink is a "tint" of red, which is a primary color. What is happening here is called a "Tetrad," which is contrast of four or more colors on the color wheel. So the pink coat also could have worked with a periwinkle dress or a shade of green dress.

So I paired my orange sweater with a neutral cream shirt and a turquoise necklace. Turquoise is a split-complementary color to orange. It's in the blue family. Old Navy sweater and blouse, J. Crew necklace, Covergirl Hot Passion lipstick.

So next time you're staring into your closet with nothing to wear, pull out your $5 color wheel and start mixing and matching to form really cool color combinations!
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