Imogen, can you please do a post on this, how one’s colouring might change as we age? It doesn’t happen overnight, does it, so how quickly does it happen? I’d also be interested in whether there is a neutral, ie neither warm, neither cool colouring? And whether some people are only a little warm (what does that mean, what clothes should they wear?) while others are very warm (or cool vice versa).
Colouring is a fascinating topic. We are hugely influenced by colour. In fact studies have shown that we remember a coloured experience much more vividly than an achromatic one. Think about when you meet people, it will be a coloured object or garment that helps you remember them – the woman in the purple glasses, the man with the red shoes etc.
So how fast does colouring change?
There is not definitive answer to this question, it’s a bit of a how long is a piece of string. That string can be shortened by:
- an unhealthy lifestyle (drug taking, drinking too much, too much sun exposure etc.)
- genetics (how fast your family ages will most likely influence your ageing)
- race (many from parts of Asia and Africa seem to age much slower than Caucasians)
From adulthood, we tend to start losing pigment slowly. We lose it not only from our hair (as it goes grey, then white) which is the most obvious sign of ageing, but also from our eyes and our skin will also change. On average, I would suggest that you reassess your colours every 5-15 years, as depending where you are in your ageing process. Things like menopause can change your colouring more quickly as the change in hormones and the loss of estrogen ages your skin fairly quickly. I would generally advise people to have a colour analysis every 5-10 years, and sooner if you’ve just had:
- A radical hair colour change
- Gone grey and stopped dying it
- Gone through menopause
Many people will know that their colouring has changed, from early childhood to adulthood – they may have gone from a platinum blonde to dark blonde (mousy brown). Or they may have had strawberry blonde hair as a child and been covered in freckles, and then by the time they are 40 or so, most of their freckling has disappeared.
I’ve also met people who have changed from having warm colouring when young, to cool colouring when they are over 45. How does this happen? Well if you think about grey – how do you make it? If black and white are both cool, then grey is overall a cooler colour. When you lose your hair pigment and your hair goes grey, for some they are also losing their skin pigments that have made their skin warm, and they become cooler with age.
Skin colouring changes – it’s something I’ve noticed in my own skin over time. I remember when I was in my early 20s I couldn’t find a foundation colour that was pale enough for my porcelain skin. Now in my 40s I’ve noticed that it’s darker than it was (plus a few melasma spots too) and I have no trouble finding a foundation. It’s not dark, but I no longer have the snow white colouring of my youth.
Eye colours change too. Many people who had brown eyes in their teen years, may have more of a dark olive green or hazel eye colour in their 40s and beyond. Eye colour is made up of either blue or brown pigment, or a combination of the two. The brown pigments that were so intense in their eyes is fading away so their blue pigments are becoming more obvious (still covered with some of the brown pigment, but not so heavily, so they look more green).
Plus those eye pigments fade, just as our hair pigments fade away. The intense colours of youth dull down with age. I have a friend who when I met her in her late teens had the brightest, blue eyes, 25 years later, they are still blue, but don’t have the intensity they once had. Eyes of an 80 year old tend to look glassy and it can be hard to see the colour. When you look at someone who is in their 80s you will find that you can’t figure out what colour their hair may have been when young, as all the other colour markers have disappeared.
I’ve so far never met anyone who has completely neutral colouring. I’ve met many who are not obviously warm or cool. Understanding this will be the topic of tomorrow’s blog post!