DEVELOPMENT OF COLOUR   It was the discovery of coal tar dyes in the 19th century which started the development of colour as we use it now.  Previously people were restricted to dyes which could be produced from natural materials, many of which were truly lovely.  For us, with so much colour choice, the invention of the colour mauve, for example, and the dramatic effect it had on women's dress in the 1860s might seem extreme.  In fact it became known as the Mauve Decade but many more exciting colours followed and  the 1960s for example were famous for Shocking Pink.

Naturally, with more choice and control, artists started to organise and classify colours. The one with the most influence, from the point of view of personal colour analysis, was an American, Robert Dorr.

It was around 1928, that he classified colours into warm and cool and this included harmonising warm versions of cool colours and vice versa. His colour fans were promoted to designers and the general public to help them colour co-ordinate designs for fabrics, interiors, clothes and cosmetics.  You chose which fan you liked and went with that. 

We have discovered with experience, that this is not the best way to flatter your skin tone, as the influences of fashion and other factors, on our colour preference is enormous.

KEEPING IT SECRET  Much of the early history of personal colour analysis is difficult to discover, partly because people tended to be very secretive about how they were doing it.  I am sure however, that people soon realised that the colours needed further division.  Surely women would have held the colours against their complexion to judge the most flattering effect.  It was how my friends and I started.

Where warm colours are concerned, there is a distinct difference between the rainbow colours of what we now designate Spring and the mainly muted and frequently somewhat muddy colours of the Autumn palette. (I own a 1960s version of a Robert Dorr warm fan which clearly points up these important differences).

The cool colours are either mixed with white for the Summer complexion or black for Winter.  I think people would be very quickly observed, that Summers looked grey and tired in dark shades and these differences must have led to the four basic colourways we know today.

Many people must have developed some sort of system but the one which seems to have gained most fame is one by an American Artist, Susanne Cagill. Working in the 60s and 70s, she started by painting small chips of card with the colours she could see in a persons skin and then gave them a very limited range of colours which she associated with the seasons. 

She may be the person who termed the colours by the seasonal names, as she makes much of this aspect in the book she eventually published in the 1980s. 

SPRING  The colours of Spring, fresh, pure rainbow colours and all their variations, which lift our spirits at that time of the year.

SUMMER  The softened shades of Summer which I associate from my childhood with the gradual fading of summer dresses on the washing line, as the season progressed.

AUTUMN  The obvious shades of Autumn's (or Fall as our friends in America appropriately call it) beautiful leaves descending in lovely shades of orange, green and brown.

WINTER For Winter, the strong contrast of black and white seems to me deeply associated with the beauty of the bare black trees covered in snow which I see from my window..

Although these names are not really important there is a long historical  association with colour and the time of the year.

Susanne's system was developed so that chips of pre-printed colour could be chosen for the client and attached to a card.  Although the colour range was limited, the effect was very attractive, though not as practical as our Personal Colour Fans.

In 1987 I was fortunate to meet Kata Lekich (author of the Polluted Pond - The Myth About Ageing) who was well acquainted with Suzanne's system.  She was able to confirm the similarity of the Seasonal statistics we found in the UK. to those in the USA over the previous 25 years.  Kata also instantly recognised the way Colourflair was relating temperament to skin tone.

We were very excited to find that the results we were getting with our clients were in harmony with such a long standing system.


The fact is that they are all genetically inherited.  Even Hippocrates the father of medicine, whose concern with the bodily fluids (the 'humours', blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile) was directly related to health, recognised that they also related to 'the colour of the skin'. 

There is even a connection with the way colours work with the skin and the colours of the 'humours' he associated with the individual temperaments.  When I discovered that, I have to admit to goose pimples!


It was not until Bernice Kentner published COLOR ME A SEASON in 1978 that the personality and eye pattern relationship to skin tone was out in the open. 

As far as I can discover, it was probably Bernice who observed the relationship of the skin tone to the personality. She writes about this in great detail, along with the Iridology related eye patterns (as opposed to eye colour) in both her first book and A RAINBOW IN YOUR EYES which was to follow.

I was fortunate to train originally in her system and although, as we all do, I have developed it further into the well recognised COLOURFLAIR ADVANCED PERSONAL COLOUR ANALYSIS, that we are using today, I am very grateful that I had such sound information to work with from the beginning.

At the start I was very sceptical about the relationship between the genetic factors of the personality and the pattern in the iris.  However, in practice it proved to be amazingly helpful and enabled me to develop our very successful Distance Learning Courses.  Having over 30 years of statistics (from my own and student's work) on record; has removed any doubts I had at the start.

Following COLOR ME A SEASON, came Carole Jackson's book COLOR ME BEAUTIFUL in 1979.  Although far less detailed, and with some unfounded assumptions Carole Jackson's marketing skills ensured that her book went round the world and I feel sure that many people would never have heard about personal colour analysis without her.

In due course this was followed by Suzanne Cagill's COLOR THE ESSENCE OF YOU a very beautiful book but which, like Jackson's book, did not seem to know about the genetic factors.

Since then there have been a number of books, mainly trying to come up with something New and Different, but there are very sound reasons for the way the colours are broken into their four basic groups.

HARMONISING FAMILIES OF COLOUR  It is important to realise that there is a natural logic in the way the colours have been broken down into the four harmonies. What is amazing is how these blend with the four basic skin tones.

There is a surprising amount of flexibility with colours, after all we only have the three primary colours red, blue, yellow and black and white from which they are all derived.

Although the person who can wear magenta, will not look good in orange and vice versa there are many colours which do cross from Season to Season, so we can be very grateful to the artists who originally analysed the colours and divided them into the families, so that the specific relationship could be seen.

Working within a family of colour that flatters your skin tone has massive advantages, as you gradually reduce your clothing and cosmetic purchases to colours which are physically in harmony with you, it's like a jigsaw fitting together.  Something a few years old which has become rather boring will suddenly come to life when a new garment or scarf joins it in your wardrobe.

ANALYSING YOURSELF.  When trying to decide for yourself, it is important to look at the detail of your face.  Good colours smooth skin, plumping it up, blend in blemishes or high colour and lift shadows from facial lines and round the eyes.  Don't assume you are going to be one group or another, just find a few opposing colours and compare them in a good mirror and light.  It must be daylight or special colour corrected lighting that we use at Colourflair.

I think it is best to do this on your own and possibly several times, as you do not have the advantage of the experienced consultant advising you where to look. 

Clients are always able to see for themselves which colours make them prettiest, when draped with our carefully chosen colours, but you may need to try several times if you are on your own.  Do not strain or stare at a colour, just watch for the differences, as you change from one colour to another.

Don't be confused by the blood showing through the skin as it does on the lips, cheeks or wrists for example.  Blood naturally has a blue tone when showing through skin. This does not mean you are cool. Look for the colours which blend the different colours of your skin together, evening them out.

Skin tone and facial discolouration has been the subject of recent scientific research into how age is judged.   The conclusion was that an uneven skin tone, ages a woman just as fine lines and wrinkles do.  The COLOURFLAIR analysis, by primarily concentrating on improving the skin tone, can dramatically reduce the appearance of age on mature clients. A frequent comment is "I won't need a facelift after all".

Don't rush, try wearing different colours and noting the reaction you get from friends without prompting.  Looking well is a good sign.  'That is a nice dress' is not quite so good.

YOUR PERSONALITY SCORE  Although your score, if you have done the Personality Questionnaire, is not guaranteed to be your skin tone (usually at least 80% of the time it will be right, but you may be one of the other 20%) it is the effect of the colours which is the ultimate deciding factor, so persevere and try not to be to influenced by current fashion.

A FAN OF YOUR OWN I chose our fan system, as it was possible to illustrate how the individual families of colour worked.  Your deep, mid and pastels shades could be included, enabling a balanced wardrobe to be created. This is extremely important as it makes shopping easy and more exciting.  You do not have to match every shade exactly, but the colour should fall between the family of shades which are in the fan.

The standard fan with over a 100 shades, includes the harmonising neutrals, which though not recommended for wearing close to the face, add to the practical everyday use of the fan. 

This enables a beautiful wardrobe to be designed.  In the studio, when the occasional client has an influence of another Season, our personalising sixteen fan system provides for any variations we might need.  We can also match eye and hair colour for a truly personalised fan.

If you would like your own Colourflair Fan please complete our Personality Questionnaire which will not only give a good indication of your 'Season' but your reply will include details of a special reduced price.

WHAT ABOUT FASHION OR FAVOURITE COLOURS?  These are easy to deal with, as we are primarily concerned with the appearance of the facial skin, if a colour does not flatter you, do not wear it close to your face.  It is important to realise that your own skin is always in harmony, so a low neckline is a first resort, followed by wearing a colour from your fan which goes well with the fashion colour. 

Remember that we only start with three colours, red, yellow and blue, which combined with black and white to create myriad shades.  This means there will always be something in your fan which can be used to good effect.

THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR  Colour is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, as for example are microwaves and radio waves.  Somehow we take it for granted and neglect to take advantage of its power.  On discovering the colours which blend, you are  naturally harmonising the spectrum to your physical self. 

This is why many people comment on how well they feel when wearing their colours.  If people comment on how well you look, there is a very good chance you are wearing one of your own colours, so take note.

We are often drawn to our own colours, but lack the confidence to wear them.  This explains the pretty jacket you may have in the wardrobe but rarely wear, even though people react to it well when you do. 

Do not be afraid of colour; hiding in shades which seem safe.  Be brave and start by introducing small amounts of the colours you are drawn to.  These colours sometimes represent our emotional needs rather than our most flattering, so be observant.  Do you cope with the day well, or do you run out of energy for example.

Many of us find it difficult to plan clothes for the next day in advance.  Somehow, they do not feel right the next morning.  Trust your instincts. I frequently find myself being able to point out to a client how good their instincts are. 

I do hope this information will help and encourage you to move out bravely into the fascinating world of colour with all its blessings.


Pat Scott Vincent
Founder of Colourflair

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Colour Analysis Training    Personal Consulatations     Gift Vouchers   Colour Fans     Retail & Trade Supplies
Discover your Personality    History of Colour    Paypal Shopping Cart-  
About us
The Federation Of Image Professionals International  
Welcome Page
The Association of Colourflair Consultants

Colourflair : 188 Warren Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 6DD.  United Kingdom
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