As I scrolled through TikTok last night, another take on colour palettes crossed my path – so of course I dropped everything and spent an hour figuring out my colours!
This method comes from David Zyla, who is a stylist for TV and celebrities. His book, Color Your Style, surely explains it all, but the part that intrigued me is that he has you build a palette based on the colours of your own skin, eyes, lips and hair.
Here’s the outline from his website:
Right away, I’m wondering how this would work for someone who has deep skin. Yes, “palm-coloured” is a euphemism the Black creators use for White people online, so I guess a Black person’s palm could be “their version of white”, but it still seems dubious. The book was written in 2011, and he has worked on a bunch of big soap operas etc as costume designer, so I’d like to think he has tried this with a variety of skin tones.. surely? Just something to keep in mind.
I started with a few no-makeup pictures of myself, and fudged it slightly by including a baby picture of myself when I had bright blonde hair! (Lesson on of finding your colours – feel free to rig it. Trust your gut.)
I used Canva to put these images together. Sometimes I used the colours that the program pulled from the pic, and sometimes I adjusted them to get a tone that was more generally accurate. I also pulled out a few colours that Zyla didn’t suggest, like the contour shade my skin goes in shadow, and the warm brown of my freckles.
Let’s take a moment to chat about my skin, shall we? I’m very fair (as in, until the past few years, usually too fair to find a foundation shade) and that means that my translucent skin lets all the redness shine through. Anyone else in the same boat? For years I thought that means I was cool toned. As I dive deeper into colour though, I actually think I’m neutral, with both warm and cool tones. I’ve mostly figured that out by playing with my wardrobe, like in this post!
Now we get into poetic license! Is this picture circa 1983 accurate in colour? Did I ever have cherry lips? I don’t know and I don’t care. I wanted the contrast from my blondest hair and I wasn’t going to pass up that soft red lip colour!
Here is my final palette!
Voila! It is… boring! But then I realised that these are actually my core makeup colours, the basics that support the colourful eye shadows I enjoy. Here are some swatches of my favourite makeup items that tie to this palette:
The nail polishes are what I have on my fingers and toes right now, which seem serendipitous! I don’t use or wear anything that deep slate grey from my iris. The lipsticks are my two top favorite shades for years, the eye shadow is the one I wear when I want to look bright-eyed, and the eyeliner I wear every day.
Remember when I talked about how I think I’m neutral, rather than cool toned?
This palette is a good example of why. Six of these colours lean warm, and only three are cool. More importantly, they are all a bit dusty and unsaturated, which I why I identify as soft summer or soft autumn. This palette also reflects the fabrics I like in that it was very light and very dark, with a mix of warm and cool mid-tones. That is precisely my jam when it comes to prints!
So did David Zyla inspire a new wardrobe colour palette for me? No. But it did help identify colours that enhance the way I look, which for me is the basis of a good makeup routine. If I liked more somber dressing, I think clothes in these colours would look great too. My very first suit was a deep brown with a caramel pinstripe, which I wore with a pale blush sweater. For years I’ve thought “Why on earth did I buy a brown suit?” but maybe 24 year old me know what I was doing!
Anyone curious to give it a try? Even just off the top of your head, do the colours of your eyes, lips, hair and skin make up the colours in your wardrobe palette in any way? I’d love to hear your thoughts!