Color Intensity – Is it even more important than hue?

Blue is a hue. Green is a hue. So HUE is pretty interchangeable with the word COLOR. Many people believe that a color analysis will determine what hues they look best in. That is true to a degree but it’s incomplete. A color analysis should determine not only which hues they look best in but also which intensities and which values. In fact, the specific intensity of a hue and the value of that hue is just as important as the color that it is. In the case of some palettes it may even be more important.

Case in point: a sea foam green in a slightly muted (neutralized) intensity could make your skin appear flawless. But move that very same hue into a much more muted version and it might suddenly make you look like you’re in need of a blood transfusion.

A clear red might look excellent worn near your face, but that very same color (hue) in a bright intensity could upstage your skin and eyes. While a person might fare well in low to medium color intensity OR medium to high intensity, it’s unlikely that someone would be equally flattered by both low and high intensity color.

Sometimes fabric will play a role in the apparent intensity of a hue. Imagine the same color in a patent leather and a matte jersey. Picture black worsted wool and black velvet. The surface nap of a fabric (or lack of it) might interpret a hue in a soft subdued way or in a sharp bold way.  This can increase or decrease the flattering affects of colors.

It’s important to key into the intensity level that optimally compliments your coloring. That intensity level will act as a common thread through your entire wardrobe.

The Essential Colors system has 16 different color harmonies. For some of these harmonies the dominant characteristic of the palette is a very specirfic color intensity. In others, the dominant characteristic might be the temperature or values of the hues with intensity of secondary importance. But intensity is always important.

The main thing to know is that the primary goal of a personal color analysis is to discover and then be able to recognize, buy and wear the specific “kinds” of colors that will improve the appearance of your skin, eyes and hair and that the intensity of those colors is as important as the hues.


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