The four key colours approach – a simple to use colour system

posted in: Colour Analysis | 4

A full colour analysis will provide you with a comprehensive palette of suitable shades that will help you build your wardrobe in such a way that everything you wear will enhance your personal colouring. In the meantime this four key colours approach will stand you in good stead. Its very simple and very useful. Here is what you do:

  1. Carefully assess you natural colouring in terms of hair, eyes, skin and lips
  2. Base your wardrobe on these colours or similar/harmonious shades

Here are some examples

Katie Bond, MD of Notting Hill Home Ownership
Katie, MD of Notting Hill Home Ownership
  • hair – light brown, with golden tones
  • eyes – bright, blue-grey eyes
  • lips – light bluish-pink
  • skin – peachy/creamy with a few reddish brown freckles
    Katie's Four Key Colours
    Katie’s Four Key Colours: reddish and yellowish browns, grey blues, light creams. and peachy pinks
Amy, Member Care at Virgin Active
Amy, Member Care at Virgin Active
  • hair – bright grey
  • eyes – deep blue
  • natural lips – bluish red
  • skin – tanned
    Amy's Four Key Colours
    Amy’s Four Key Colours – white to charcoal greys, any blues, blue reds and pinks, cool browns


Nhi, Investment Manager, HCA
Nhi, Investment Manager, HCA
  • hair – deep, bluish black
  • eyes – deep brown
  • lips – reddish
  • skin – porcelain
    Nhi's four key colours
    Nhi’s Four Key Colours – deep blues, browns and black, cooler whites like oyster, silver and beige, cool reds/pinks/purples.
Obi, Senior Finance Officer at Notting Hill Housing
Obi, Senior Finance Officer at Notting Hill Housing
  • hair – black
  • eyes – deep brown, whites are almost pale blue
  • lips – purpley
  • skin – rich brown
    Obi's four key colours
    Obi’s four key colours: black, deep browns/purples/blues combined with white and other light/bright shades

Although a more detailed colour analysis can go much further and indicate the full range of shades that will work for you, this Four Key Colours approach will always work well and can be relied on, with the eyes being the most important of the lot. Incidentally Katie, Amy, Nhi and Obi are all wearing colours which suit them, instinctively following the Four Key Colours approach. It can be a bit limiting but it ‘s nice to know it always work. For me grey and grey blues (hair and eyes) are my go-to colours and I always feel happy in them.

Notting Hill Housing's 50th anniversary
Notting Hill Housing’s 50th anniversary
  • hair – ash blonde/light grey
  • eyes – mid blue-grey
  • lips – pinky-purple
  • skin – light pinkish
  • And Four Key Colours for me!
    And Four Key Colours for me!

4 Responses

  1. annieloveslinen

    Interesting post, I wish I had that skill.

    No doubt about it, colour does influence how we feel, I have shunned navy for years because it makes me look ill, too dark a blue, or a bright red does me no favours at all. I look good in orange, and pistachio green, one colour that does light me up is mauve but I really dislike it and never wear it except on my eyes, it really makes my eyes pop.

  2. Joyce

    A good solid base to begin with! and a money saver too …..who wants to buy something that doesn’t’ t work with us ( material for example!) Too bad our minds can play tricks on us, because if you really really want (example) that leather jacket…you can talk yourself into it….best to have a buddy with you with a great eye who can help you put on the breaks——– or…. get better acquainted with your best colours and stick to them! Honestly, I could live with four…….no problem :~ )
    thanks Kate!

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