But lately, I’ve been leaning into the world of colour, even though it’s confusing and a little bit scary. I’ve been studying how colour changes the way we see ourselves and others, and I’ve been amazed. I’ve even taken steps to make my life more colourful.
I’d like to paint a picture of how colour can enhance your beauty and the beauty of your surroundings.
Start paying attention to colour
We all have moments when a splash of colour catches our eye and we think, “Oh wow! That’s nice. I like that.” Maybe it’s someone’s outfit. A piece of art. A garden bursting with flowers. We see it, but are we paying attention?
Next time this happens, pause and take in your why. Maybe it was the fact that woman’s shoes played perfectly off her earrings, bringing her whole look together. Maybe it was the way the colours in that artwork blended together. Maybe it was because those flowers were planted in groupings of complimentary colours. Once you start tapping into this colour awareness, you can use it to inspire your own colour choices.
Colour your surroundings
In our homes and offices, we often play it safe and stick with neutrals so everything matches. But adding pops of colour to your environment can brighten your space and your mood in a way that’s not overwhelming.
Accent pillows, towels, and other inexpensive textiles are perfect non-permanent ways to play with colour. As your mood or even the seasons change, they’re easy to swap in for great impact. For instance, yellow can spark a feeling of happiness. So where can you add more yellow? Perhaps in your office or cubicle to keep you from being bogged down by beige?
Benefit from colour correcting
I have blonde hair, which has a tendency to get yellow or brassy. What do hair stylists recommend to counteract this? Purple shampoo! Purple lives opposite yellow on the colour wheel, allowing the two to mix together and neutralize.
The same lesson can be applied to balancing or concealing hues in your skin or teeth. Use colour wheel opposites as your guide. Bluish, dark under-eye circles can disappear with pink-tinted concealer, while red blemishes can be balanced with green-tinted concealer. Avoid lipsticks with yellow or orange undertones, which make teeth look yellow, and opt for a cooler shade instead (such as a cherry red rather than a tomato red).
Dress for your skin undertone
Listen—if you have skin with a pink undertone and you want to wear red, just wear the red. If yellows wash you out a little, again, permission granted. Live your best life.
That said, you can strategically use colour to complement your skin. The rule of thumb is that people with warm undertones (such as gold and peach) should wear warm colours, while those with cool undertones (such as pink and blue) benefit from wearing cool colours. On the colour wheel, you’ll see the cooler side has aqua and emerald greens, blues, and purples. On the warm side, you’ll see reds, oranges, yellows, and lime greens.
Make your eyes pop
Play with eye shadow colours that bring out your irises. Hazel or green eyes love to dance in shades of gold and purple. Blue eyes like a rosy hue to make them shine. Brown eyes come to life with jewel tones such as deep emeralds, royal blues, and plums. Get makeup inspiration from those who have a similar eye colour to you. You’ll be braver about trying new colours knowing the results can be eye-mazing.
Most importantly, seek out natural makeup options. (See “How to shop for natural colour” below to learn more!)
Eat the rainbow
Did you know that eating more orange carrots can make your skin glow with a tan from within? Or that green broccoli contains lutein, which can help protect your skin from the aging effects of UV rays? Did you realize that red peppers are packed with collagen-building vitamin C?
Moral of the story: Eat a rainbow-colored medley of vegetables on a regular basis. Then sit back and reap the benefits of all that colour working in your body and on your skin. Pro tip: You can up your intake of colourful produce with a convenient superfood powder.
Colour your social media
When you’re posting something to capture an audience, it should reflect you! When I scroll through my social media news feeds, I’m attracted to curated colours—whether popping or soothing—that tell me something about the person behind the images.
You probably have a colour that you’re naturally pulled to. Pay attention to that gut feeling. For a long time, my magnetic colour was aqua. Then it was all muted orange tones. Gradually, it became soft rosy pinks and blues. This evolution was reflected on my Instagram, and it helped me build an authentic following.
Get creative with colour
Painting, knitting, pottery, and other artistic outlets let you pour beauty into the world in a new way. It’s not about how you look; it’s about the joy of expression!
Create using colours that make you feel something. Choose hues that complement your mood or represent someone in your life. If you’re not sure where to start, check out local community guides to find classes and groups that will help you learn an art form. This is an especially good idea when winter arrives and colour starts to fade in the natural world.
Your colour journey won’t be a straight and narrow path. It will be winding, beautiful, and long—and every inch of it is worth exploring.
How to shop for natural colour
With increased warnings and awareness around the potential dangers of synthetic dyes, there has been a push to implement more natural colour sources in cosmetics. Some natural beauty products contain plant-derived dyes from beets, flowers, spirulina, turmeric, and more. A major bonus? Natural pigments often have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties!
Read labels to empower your choice, and source your cosmetics and beauty products from a natural health retailer—the knowledgeable staff will take the guesswork out of the process for you.
Colour shy? Accessorize a neutral!
Okay, so maybe you’re not ready to rock a coral dress, even if “Living Coral” is Pantone’s 2019 Colour of the Year. A little black dress is where you’re willing to go. Colour isn’t out the window just because you’ve opted for a neutral! Make a statement by using colour in your accessories. A brilliant belt or purse or bold shoes and jewellery can take an outfit to a new level.
Sarah Landry is a 34-year-old Guelph, Ontario, mother of three awesome pre-teens. She shares truths about life, body inclusivity, and the joys of self-love on her Instagram and blog.