Sunday, 15 July 2012

Colour 1.2 - Tone

I’ve had lots of lovely positive feedback from my colour blog, so I thought I’d delve a bit deeper and move onto tone. Getting colour right is a complicated business and it was during my fantastic course at the London College of Fashion that I developed this knowledge. I’m no expert but here goes..

While Warm & Cool refers to the ‘Temperature’ of colour, ‘Tone’ refers to its depth. This ranges from light to deep and changes when black or white is added. 

Deep Blue - Medium Blue - Pale Blue

Once you have your temperature down pat the trick is to choose colours with the right tone to compliment rather than overwhelm (or underwhelm) your colourings.

   Cool & Light vs Warm & Deep

Take my friend Rebecca for example, she has fair hair, pale skin and light eyes. While she is certainly ‘Cool’ she will be complimented by light tones in the cool range. Deep tones would overpower her.

My sister Andrea on the other hand is ‘Warm’. While she suits colours from the Warm side of the colour range, because of her dark hair and dark eyes she is more suited to ‘Deep’ tones.

I fall somewhere in the middle of the tone spectrum so while I suit cool tones best, nothing too deep or light. I’ve also recently darkened my hair (after years of highlights) so I can now get away with slightly deeper tones. The trick for those amongst us who colour our hair or favour fake tan, is to work with your current colourings, not your original ones.

Once you have an understanding of your own temperature & tone you can start to build a palette of colours that work best for you. Next lesson will be about combinging colours and getting the contrast right.

So, can you work out what tone is best for you? Are you Cool & Light like Bec, Warm & Deep like Andrea? Or are you just really confused ?


  1. Interesting, you are right that the deeper colours suit me best, but I like deep pinks, purples, and greens much more than the autumn colours - oranges and browns. You have to wear colours you really like too, hey!
    Thanks for finding a nice picture xx

  2. It's interesting as in theory you are all WARM but when I look at your colourings next to mine (especially when my hair is darker) we are quite similar. I'm not much into purple (too deep for me)but I agree you look great in deep pinks and green (which is a zero colour). You can wear yellow which I don't so much and you're also not into blue while I am. Best thing to do is to trust your instincts, you know when you look good and everyone compliments you, you know you've got it right!

  3. I feel like I have my own personal consultant - and agree with what you've written. Because I have changed my hair color to much darker and now back to a light blonde I do find the cool and light colours work really well when I am light blonde. My main issue however is incorporating the right colours with work and going out clothes that base is predominatly black as I always go with the safe choice. Which I think you mentioned you may discuss.