Color Combinations (or Color Schemes)

Understanding the different color combinations and how they relate to your personal color profile will help you pinpoint which color schemes enhance and which detract from your overall appearance.

More precisely, evaluating which color combinations look best on you will help you to determine:

  • Which color hues you can wear and
  • The difference in values, intensities and saturation levels that looks best on you. For example, some skin, hair and eye combinations can support fully saturated colors, all inclusive, while others can wear mixed-combinations (i.e., a fully saturated red with lower-valued secondary colors). Then, there are those who can’t wear saturated colors at all. More on this to follow.

The four most common color schemes, or combinations of color are (in ascending order of contrast):

  1. Monochromatic: A single color, displayed in various values and saturation levels.
  2. Analogous: Three colors that rest directly next to each other on the color wheel.
  3. Triadic: Three colors found in equal distance from each other on the color wheel, creating a perfect triangle.
  4. Complementary:  Two colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel

To determine which color combinations work best with your particular coloring profile, allow the contrast between your skin, hair and eye color guide the way.

  • Low contrast profiles are those that have little variation in value and saturation between their skin, hair and eyes; where all three elements (skin, hair and eyes) are similar in value (i.e. light skin, hair and eyes, or medium skin, hair and eyes, or dark skin, hair and eyes). It’s the lack of variation between each element that creates the lower contrast.
  • Medium contrast profiles have a combination of values in their skin, hair and eyes. For instance, a person with light skin and medium hair and eyes, or medium skin with dark hair and eyes. It’s the mixed variation between each element that creates the medium contrast.
  • High contrast profiles have extreme variations between skin, hair and eye colors. For instance, a person with light skin, dark hair and dark eyes, or dark skin and light hair and eyes. It’s the extreme variation between each element that creates the high contrast.

What does this mean in relation to color combinations? One should always be aware of their own personal color profile and select contrast combinations that match their particular profile.

All of the color combinations work well with the various color profiles. What you need to pay attention to is the value and saturation levels that work best with your particular profile.

To determine your contrast profile, use the table below to identify the skin, hair and eye values that most closely match your particular coloration:

 

Skin Light Medium Dark
Hair Light Medium Dark
Eyes Light Medium Dark

Once you’ve determined your particular profile, use the chart below to determine whether you’re a low, medium or high contrast individual:

 

Skin

Hair

Eyes

Contrast

Light

Light

Light

Low

Medium

Medium

Medium

Low

Dark

Dark

Dark

Low

Light

Light

Medium

Low

Medium

Medium

Light

Low

Medium

Medium

Dark

Low

Dark

Dark

Medium

Low

Light

Medium

Medium

Medium

Light

Medium

Light

Medium

Light

Dark

Light

Medium

Medium

Light

Light

Medium

Medium

Light

Medium

Medium

Medium

Light

Dark

Medium

Medium

Dark

Dark

Medium

Medium

Dark

Medium

Medium

Medium

Dark

Light

Medium

Dark

Light

Dark

Medium

Dark

Medium

Medium

Medium

Dark

Medium

Light

Medium

Light

Dark

Dark

High

Light

Dark

Medium

High

Dark

Light

Light

High

Dark

Light

Medium

High

Now that you understand your particular contrast profile, its time to consider scale and it’s relationship to color.