Your Color Value & Saturation

Your Color Value & Saturation

Gradient showing a color tinted with white.

Gradient showing a color tinted with white.

Yesterday, we talked about the Hue, or color, of your undertones. Finding out if you have warm, cool, or neutral undertones is a big help in deciding which colors are most flattering to your complexion. 

Today, we're talking about your Value and Saturation levels, which help you determine how bright, dark, or pale you should wear your colors. 

Gradient showing the same color shaded with black.

Gradient showing the same color shaded with black.

Value

Value refers to the amount of black or white present in the color mix. A color with white added is called a tint, which we might know better as a pastel. A color with black added is called a shade, which we often say is a "deep" color.

The closer your skin appears to a "pure" color (pure white, gold, bronze, or black), the brighter the color you can wear. Most of us don't have a super duper bright or very very dark complexion and will end up looking best in colors that are neither blinding neon nor pure black. 

When you think about your own value levels, consider:

  • Would others say you are fair or dark, or would they hardly think about it?
  • Is your skin tone even, or does it seem lighter/darker in some areas?
  • Do you have freckles that deepen your overall appearance, even if your skin is fair?
  • Does your skin have a translucent effect, showing the color in your lips and veins easily?
  • If you wear pure, bright primary colors, do people notice a "shocking" color before they notice you?
  • If you take a photo in very dark, drab colors, do you sometimes feel like a floating head? 
Gradient showing the same color being de-saturated by gray.

Gradient showing the same color being de-saturated by gray.

Saturation

Saturation indicates how much gray is present in a color, and it will help determine how much gray you need in a color sitting next to your face.

Even if you found that your color value can tolerate a bright color like magenta, for example, you might need to choose magentas that have a shiny, sueded, or textured surface so that the color does not appear too harsh against graying features. Or you might choose for a less-saturated version of magenta, such as mauve or dusty rose. 

Evaluate:

  • How much gray appears in your hair?
  • If you dye your hair, how much gray would appear if you didn't? As we age, skin can loses melanin and appear less brightly pigmented.
  •  How about your eyes? Do they appear gray rather than colored, no matter what you wear?

Value and saturation are probably the most confusing of all the variables in your features, so don't worry if this doesn't make complete and total sense to you. I have another helpful tip for you on this subject tomorrow, and the most important thing to get out of your value and saturation analysis is how bright you should be wearing your colors! As long as you have a general idea of what not to wear, then you can always fine-tune your selections in the fitting room. 

How to Use Photoshop to Analyze Your Colors

How to Use Photoshop to Analyze Your Colors

How to Tell if Your Features are Warm or Cool

How to Tell if Your Features are Warm or Cool