Style & Shopping

Is Getting a Color Analysis Worth the Hype?

Local image consultant Tarcela Knight of House of Colour answers all of our questions about the rising TikTok trend.
—Courtesy of House of Colour via Facebook

No, it’s not your imagination. Some colors wash you out and some colors make you pop. Color analysis is a rising trend to determine which grouping of colors are right for you. We talked to local image consultant Tarcela Knight of House of Colour to get the scoop.

What is color analysis?
Color analysis is a process where we use a person’s unique undertones to determine which colors look best on their complexion. Using this information, they can make better and more efficient decisions when shopping by knowing their personalized color palette or “wow” colors. They can use this color palette for hair, makeup, and nail colors as well.

The color palettes are grouped by the four seasons, and every season has four subseasons—which is an even more narrowed down array of colors that a person really shines in. The subseasons help determine if a person should gravitate towards warm, cool, bright, or muted tones.

How does the process work?
The first step is to figure out if a person has yellow, warm based undertones or cool, blue based undertones. From that point we start the draping process, which is using 36 dyed fabric swatches draped over a client’s shoulders to determine if that color works for them and their complexion.

If a person has more blue undertones, we see if they look better in bright and clear colors or more soft and blended colors. If a person has yellow undertones, do they look better in bright and clear colors or more earthy, muted tones? That is how a person’s season and subseason are determined. It’s important to not wear makeup to the consultation so that it’s easier to see your undertone using natural sunlight.

How does color analysis make a difference in a person’s closet?
It makes a huge difference! When shopping, everyone tends to have some sort of color bias or colors that they are scared to wear. Or for example, someone with blue eyes might have been told they should wear blue to bring out their eye color, but not all shades of blue are created equal. Some blue hues will work with a person’s complexion and make their eyes pop, but some could do the opposite and make their eyes more dull and muted.

Having this personalized color palette helps make shopping trips so much easier and efficient. It gives you the knowledge and language to better describe what you are actually looking for. You’re also not wasting time and energy searching through racks, but instead just seeking out shades that you know will look terrific on you.

Does your color palette ever change?
No, it does not. You really only need to get the analysis done once, because your undertones do not change. Your season is going to stay your season, you’re just going to lean into different shades of your palette throughout the year to feel seasonally appropriate. In Maryland, we get all four seasons and each season has a pretty distinct color association based on the fashion industry and what is being sold in stores. We know the moss greens and burnt oranges will be out in stores in the fall, so we try to determine what the most flattering shades of green and orange are for each person.

I encourage people not to rush to replace their entire wardrobe. Realistically, it takes three years to transition your entire closet to match your season, especially since we are at the mercy of retailers. Be patient, and wait for quality items that you know won’t just take up space in your closet.

Can you still wear neutrals if your color palette does not include them?
Definitely! Every season has a neutral, but knowing which shade of neutral works for you makes a huge impact. For instance, some people require a bright, crisp white, while others can get away with an ivory or a cream. Certain neutrals can make people look very washed out since they can be close to skin tones. We’ve also been told for years that black is slimming and flattering on everyone, and yes black is always an option in stores, but when people wear black, they just kind of blend in. The goal is to help people find the color that makes them feel confident and beautiful outside of trusty black dress. The power of color can be completely transformative to the way you view yourself and your appearance. It’s truly amazing.

What are some ways to incorporate your suggested color palette into your wardrobe?
One of the first steps you can take after their appointment is making sure you are using the correct shades of makeup, and that your hair–if you dye it– is a flattering shade that works well with your skin tone. Over time, your clothes and accessories will catch up, but you’ll notice an immediate difference incorporating the correct beauty products into your rotation.

Color matching your makeup is something that is so simple, and that most people don’t think to do. You want to make sure your foundation, blush, and even mascara are working within your color palette to enhance your natural complexion. For example, everyone assumes they should be wearing black mascara, but for some people that can be too harsh of a look for them. A subtle shade difference in switching to a brown mascara can highlight your eyes and decrease the look of heaviness. Simple changes like this can make all the difference when you are first starting out.


CLEAN SLATE: Make sure to go fresh faced so that your consultant can correctly identify your natural undertones.

COLOR WHEEL: Bring your personalized color palette with you to the salon or spa to better know which hair, makeup, and nail colors flatter your complexion.

OPEN MIND: Don’t be afraid to try new colors, you may surprise yourself with how confident you feel in a color you’ve never worn before.