1. Find a quiet room with soft, natural light
Ideally you’ll pick a space that is uncluttered and mellow. I find it helps to put a piece of white paper under your hand so that you aren’t influenced by the mahogany wood stain of the table or the cobalt blue of the sink tile. If you have long hair, pull it out of your face so you can focus on other colors for a while.
2. Take a good look at your hand
Take a deep breath, relax your face and eyes, and then focus on your hand. Yes, that’s right. Everything you want—love, power, and the key to your own true self—is all in the palm of your hand!At first, your hand may seem familiar to you—extremely so. But, like the produce at the grocery store, it’s probably so familiar that you no longer really see it. Allow yourself to notice details that you usually look right past: the lines, nooks, and crannies that swirl across your palm; the way each of your fingers has its own unique shape and angle.
3. Start to notice color
You may be used to thinking of your hand as a single, simple color, but when you look at it more closely, what do you see? Can you distinguish, for example, between the color of the mound below your thumb and the shade of your middle finger’s center joint? Can you see how your skin is more flushed at the tip of your thumb, and at the bottom of your palm below your little finger? What about the middle of your hand? Can you see yet another color? Take a few moments simply to relax, observe, and notice.
4. Identify different colors
Now that you’ve become aware of different colors, try to name them. Do you see beige, peach, olive, salmon, honey, pecan, coffee? How about cream, rose-beige, mahogany, or chestnut? Try to identify at least five different colors, from the center of your palm to the central joints of your fingers and everything in between. Notice, too, what types of colors there are warm like the glow of a candle flame or cool like moonlight? Is the overall tone white, pinkish, yellow, golden, beige, or brown? As you did in the grocery store, notice the shaded areas, the saturated areas, and all the different tones, jotting down every color you notice. As always, be as precise as possible. Here are some color words to get you started:• Whites: milky white, porcelain, creamy ivory, bisque, parchment, pearl• Pinks: cream with an undertone of peach or rose; cameo, seashell, cool pink, ice pink, dusty rose, violet rose, peach, peach pink• Yellows: yellow brown, yellow beige, sand• Golds: honey, golden beige, golden brown, olive gold• Beiges: pale beige, rose beige, greige (grayish beige), copper beige, tawny beige, brown beige• Browns: olive, rose brown, gray brown, mahogany, chestnut, toasted golden brown, cedar, caramel, bronze, ash, blue blackLook, too, at the flushed portion of your hand—the tips of your fingers and, often, your lower palm. Which of these colors can you see? • Pinks: ballet pink, cool shell pink, shocking pink, rose pink, Barbie doll pink, carnation, coral pink, bright coral, cool dusty pink, salmon, dusty rose, fuchsia, dusty fuchsia, tulip• Oranges: peach, peach coral, burnt peach, light orange, Creamsicle, apricot, deep apricot, rusty brick, orange red, tomato• Reds: clear red, bright cherry, dark cherry, poppy, fire engine red, Christmas red, Chinese red, ruby, blue red, crimson, scarlet, vermilion, rusty burgundy, brick red, strawberry, mulberry, raspberry, claret, geranium, watermelon• Purples: cranberry, maroon, magenta, burgundy • Browns: cayenne, terra-cotta, paprika, cinnamon, flame, tangerine, Indian red brown, cool brick, rust
5. Now focus on your veins
In natural light, look at the inner side of your wrist. Can you pick up different shades of blue, purple, and green?• Blues: ultramarine, cerulean, cornflower blue, pacific blue, electric blue, blueberry, bluebell, deep sky blue, Wedgwood, Danube blue, deep sapphire, blue violet, deep teal, peacock blue, turquoise blue, lapis blue, Egyptian blue, Nile blue, Venetian blue, deep blue green, clear sapphire, cobalt blue, royal blue, Persian indigo• Purples: royal purple, eggplant, black plum, periwinkle dust, periwinkle, pansy, wisteria lilac, clear violet, powdered periwinkle, hyacinth, lavender, blackberry, amethyst, plum, violet• Blue Greens: aquamarine, aqua, clear turquoise, robin’s egg blue• Greens: Kelly green, sea green, shamrock, vivid jade, frosted wintergreen, English holly, clear emerald, evergreen, spruce, cool spruce, robin’s egg green, ocean green, cool jade, emerald, wintergreen, green pea, juniper, Viridian green, racing green, pine, Persian green, jade, turquoise green, peacock green, deep fern, cypress, seaweed green, evergreen, dark emerald
6. Look at your eyes
Once you’ve picked up on how many shades and tints are in your hand, extend your new supervision to your eyes. If possible, study your eyes in a magnifying mirror under natural light. Notice the flecks and depths of colors in your irises, and the different shades of black, dark brown, and purple in your pupils. Have you always taken your eyes as “just blue” and never noticed the sage green flecks in them? Did you ever see the parrot green cast to your “brown” eyes? Or the tiny notes of slate blue and gold? Is the brown of your eye warm or cool? Perhaps your eyes are one temperature—say, a warm brown—while your flecks are cool—blue gray or deep green. Or perhaps you’ve always thought of your eyes as “chocolate brown,” while closer to your pupil you can find a lighter, “chocolate milk” tint. Jot down whatever eye colors you find, using this list to get you started:• Blues: true blue, powder blue, clear blue, ice blue, lapis blue, aqua, turquoise, teal blue, steel blue• Purples: indigo, blue violet, violet• Grays: blue gray, pale gray, deep gray• Greens: clear green, ice green, cool green, leaf green, olive, green gray, gray green, silver green, green with golden flecks, parrot, golden olive, verde, hazel• Golds: amber, topaz, green gold, brown gold, brown with golden flecks• Browns: light brown, rose brown, golden brown, deep warm brown, deep brown, black brown, off black
7. Focus on your hair
Now it’s time to move beyond “blond,” “brunette,” and “redhead” to a more specific look at those lovely locks. If you’re a blonde, can you find some deep green-gold undertones? As a brunette, can you discover an aubergine cast beneath the brown, or perhaps a bluish note on top of the black? If you color your hair, you may have trouble finding as many subtle shades and variations as you could in natural hair, but give it a try. And whether your hair is natural or dyed, use the underside: That’s where the color becomes easiest to see. Expect the unexpected—and then write down three shades, from lightest to medium to darkest. Here’s a list of color words to get you started.• Blond: white blond, cream, blond, flax, yellow blond, honey, taupe, deep taupe, ash blond, dark blond• Brown: golden brown, mahogany, cool dark brown, ash brown, deep ash brown, charcoal brown, dark brown• Black: off black, brown black, blue black• Red: strawberry blond, carrot, rust, red, auburn• Gray: golden gray, dove gray, pearl, cool gray, silver gray, charcoal, silver• White: white, oyster, platinum
8. Keep noticing.
You’ll be using your new sensitized vision to identify the colors that best express who you are, so you’ll need to keep your eyes open! Like anything else, sharp vision takes practice, so continue to notice the colors of your world. Focus especially on identifying the subtle tones of your skin, eyes, and hair. When you come to identify the specific colors that are unique to you, you’ll be amazed at how your new clear vision leads you to make both unexpected and flattering choices.