Can a machine do a colour analysis?

posted in: Colour Analysis | 7

I had read some of the hype about a new “lipstick matching” service in Boots, which would apparently “change forever how we buy lipstick”.

I must admit getting a lipstick that really suits us is a challenge. We all have a red and a pink that works for us, but finding it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. I have tried to give some rational advice on this in a previous post. So I was intrigued when I heard about this gadget that can read your skin tone and propose the right shade of foundation and the perfect lipstick.

So, between meetings, I dropped into a Boots in the City. I sat on a high chair and the charming sales assistant asked me if I was wearing foundation. I told her I never did so she started by identifying my skin tone. My skin is, according to her gadget, “deeply beige” a warm/deep shade. Well that made me a little suspicious to start with as I feel pretty sure my complexion is naturally rather cool looking and not a very deep colour. But who knows? When I look at a face, to determine personal colouring,  I don’t just look at the shade of the jaw line (where she placed her gadget) but I take into account (in this order)

  1. Eyes (there are often a range of colours in the eyes – mine have some yellow, for example)
  2. Natural Hair (and eyebrows, eyelashes)
  3. Lips (which often include quite a few shades)
  4. Skin colour (overall, plus translucency, freckles, blushing etc)

And I try to see what the overall look is telling me, rather than fixating on one of the elements. So if technology is going to work in helping us to understand individual colouring I think it would have to take in the whole face and would have to be quite sophisticated.

Having decided I was “Deeply Beige” the sales assistant then asked me what sort of lipstick I prefered? Was it “Moisture Drench” or “Stay Perfect”? I didn’t know which to select, so she suggested the Moisture one was nicer. This meant that all the colours below are said to suit my personal colouring.

I asked her to decide which of these would be the best for me. She chose “Sweet Chestnut” and “Ginger Rose”. I tried both on and didn’t feel they were me. They were a bit orangey, a bit muted too. I am sorry I don’t have a photograph of me in these shades so I could let you be the judge. But I don’t think this “technology” is going to change the way we buy lipstick. It is just not convincing.

No 7 Match Made Lipstick Service Personal Card
No 7 Match Made Lipstick Service

Anyone else given something like this a try? Did you come away with the perfect shade?

7 Responses

  1. Jan

    I tried this in Boots last year for foundation . Like you, I was prescribed a deeper shade than I would have expected. I never felt comfortable with it and threw it away after a few months !

  2. Anne

    I haven’t tried any of the Boots’ custom match services, though I might do at some stage. A few years ago I did try a similar service by another company (I think it was Prescriptives but not sure) and the lipstick I got was warmer than my usual; I am cool in colouring. Surprisingly, though, I bought it and rather liked it. So maybe I have a warmer undertone. A lot of my lipsticks are too harsh now so I might have a look.
    When I saw your topic title, I thought it referred to recent posts about using RGB etc to determine ‘your’ colours. I’m interested in that but not sure how well using camera and monitor (both with their own colour biases) can possibly work!

  3. Maggie

    Seems like a gimmick to me- they draw you in to try this technology. They try to convince you the machine knows best. I wonder how many categories there are, it doesn’t seem very personalized if they give you a preprinted postcard. Plus the list of colors was still so long I would still not be able to choose!
    Also, I don’t wear makeup, so maybe I don’t know, but wouldn’t you also want to choose colors that go with your wardrobe? From what I have seen of your wardrobe, the colors she chose for you are the least suitable on the list. (I guess that assumes one has chosen clothing colors that suit, but I feel like you certainly have.)

  4. Sheree

    Seems a gimmick to me also. It would be much nicer to have sales assistants that really understood what they were selling and could judge by eye. It sort of reminds me of people that use a calculator to add up and then can’t even work out 2 + 2 without getting out the calculator.

  5. Jay

    I rarely buy lipstick, and don’t often wear it. When I do, my choice is governed by which one I find first in the bathroom, or if its a good day and I light on two, which clashes least with my outfit. When I do buy one its by the classic try the tester on your wrist method. ( I feel sure that someone in need of a job dreamt up the gadget, and long may they prosper and find gullible clients.)

  6. kate

    Hmmmm..I’m thinking gimmick. Would you ask a shop assistant to pick a cushion for your sofa?..just doesn’t cover the right wrongs in life.. xxx

  7. Susan

    That was funny……guess I found it to be so because I haven’t worn lipstick in YEARS! Partly it was the job and partly because I am LAZY when it comes to make up.

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