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Colour Me Beautiful

By Zaino Ashadu
Six months in Lagos and I have seen enough to safely say that there is a distinct misunderstanding of colour in this city. It is everywhere you look; on the streets, in fast food joints, and in interiors around Lagos we are working against rather than with colour.


It is a very easy thing to misunderstand colour, firstly there are so many different colours each with varying shades amongst them, colour works with our emotions not our logic (even when it is logical it is only within a specific culture) and because colour is so powerful it is often feared so much so that at the other end of the spectrum we are scared to experiment with it in case we get it wrong and stick to black in the belief that it is a failsafe ‘colour’.

Nothing could be Further from the truth. The secret with colour is that anyone can wear any colour as long as it is a specific shade within your colour palette; and we each have our colour palette. Colour is very specific and what may suit someone else may not suit you. In fact, there is a whole school of thought that basically says,

“If you are light skinned you can wear blah, blah, blah” and “If you are dark skinned you can wear blah”. Again, the truth is that even within our skin tones we are categorized by certain defining but subtle features that either means you have ‘Warm colouring” or “Cool colouring” and it is not based entirely on skin colour. Two people may look very similar in skin tone but may be warm and cool coloured and thus as different as chalk and cheese.

Colour is a very easy way to introduce fun but sometimes-fickle trends into your staple or ‘capsule’ wardrobe. Working with the colour of the season in a shade in your palette, you can add bags, shoes or accessories to bring your outfit up to date inexpensively.  As obvious as it may sound, make up is another way to wear colour.

However the problem is once more most people employ a one-fits-all approach when applying make up. I have even seen, horror of horrors, burgundy eyebrow pencil and matching lip liner!!  The same principles of colour work with make up, especially so because it’s on your face. Anyone that has seen another with the wrong shade of foundation on will surely remember how captivating the sight is and for all the wrong reasons. Knowing your colour palette and using it will help keep you looking your best at all times.

For example, I often employ the trick of illuminating the face with metallic eyeshadow under my eyebrows thus creating a nice polished look however; as I’m warm coloured I always stick to a gold or bronze shade of eyeshadow. You will never see me with silver anywhere near my face. It is not that I look ‘Horrible’ but I don’t look ‘Great’ and what is the point in any amount of effort just to look ‘Alright’


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