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Mastering Colour Analysis: How to Easily Move Between Seasonal Colour Analysis and Tonal Colour Analysis

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Primary Blog/Mastering Colour Analysis: How to Easily Move Between Seasonal Colour Analysis and Tonal Colour Analysis

This blog post delves into the world of colour analysis and the two main systems used for personal styling: Seasonal Colour Analysis and Tonal Colour Analysis. The Seasonal system, originating in the 1980s, categorizes individuals into four seasons based on natural colours associated with each season. On the other hand, the Tonal system, developed in the 1990s, categorizes individuals into warm-toned, cool-toned, or neutral-toned based on skin undertones. The post highlights the advantages of each system and emphasizes the synergy between them. The author shares personal experiences of incorporating both systems into their repertoire and argues that mastering both enhances proficiency for personal stylists. The blog post concludes by asserting that learning these principles can elevate one to an expert level in the field, offering flexibility and establishing credibility in the colour analysis and styling business.

Let’s start with a little history about the seasonal colour analysis system.

The seasonal colour analysis system was developed first, in the early 1980s, by a German colour and style consultant named Johannes Itten. Itten identified four seasons – winter, spring, summer, and autumn – based on the colours that are typically present in nature during those seasons. The system categorizes individuals into one of these four seasons based on the individual’s skin tone, hair colour, and eye colour, and assigns colours to each season that are believed to complement the individual’s natural colouring. The basic 4 seasonal colour analysis system has been developed over the years and other colour analysis systems have emerged, such as the 12-season colour analysis system and the Sci\ART colour analysis system, which take into account additional factors such as value and chroma.

The tonal colour analysis system, also known as the “colour seasons” system, was developed later, in the 1990s, by a British colour consultant named David Zyla. The system categorizes individuals based on the undertones in their skin, assigning them to one of three categories: warm-toned, cool-toned, or neutral-toned. The tonal colour analysis system recommends colours that harmonize with each individual’s skin undertones.

While both systems aim to help individuals identify the colours that complement their natural features, they approach colour analysis in slightly different ways. The seasonal system focuses on the individual’s overall colouring, including skin tone, hair colour, and eye colour, while the tonal system places more emphasis on the individual’s skin undertones. Each system has its advantages and can be effective in helping individuals create a wardrobe that enhances their natural beauty.

I learned the 4 seasonal colour analysis system first and over time added in seasonal flow (12 categories of colour) as I found just 4 categories rather restrictive at times.

Later again, I added the tonal colour analysis system to my repertoire of skills and I loved how this system worked beautifully for people who didn’t fit in the 4 seasonal colour analysis system.

When I began teaching colour analysis to other personal stylists, I found that teaching them both the seasonal and tonal colour analysis systems make them very proficient in colour analysing their clients. I happen to believe that both systems work really well together and give colour consultants a huge amount of flexibility.

I have created a simple table here to show how you can easily move between the seasonal and tonal colour analysis system.


In conclusion, learning the principles behind the seasonal and tonal colour analysis systems will result in you becoming a master expert in colour analysis. It will set up apart and establish you as an expert in your colour analysis and styling business.
Learn more about both seasonal and tonal colour analysis by subscribing to my weekly newsletter here. 

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Hi, I'm Aileen Lane AICI CIP

6-Figure  Mentor To Personal Stylists

I empower Personal Stylists to transition from treating their styling ventures as hobbies to establishing lucrative 6-figure income through my high-impact program 'The 6 Figure Stylist'