Does the Test Drape Order Matter?

I believe it does.

In Kathryn Kalisz’s Trainer’s Manual, she writes, “(Personal color) analysis is a process of contrast and comparison and elimination.” No single test gets you to a good result. That’s the beauty of the Sci\ART method – checks and balances every step of the way.

Kathryn Kalisz established an order to perform an analysis. As a Master Colorist and expert on human coloring, I trust she put these steps in this order because it is the best way to logically work through the process of a PCA, both visually and intellectually.

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Step 1 – Hand Boards – 1 color representing each true season and its two neutral offspring: Winters (Black), Springs (Peach), Summers (Light Blue), Autumns (Brown)

Note:  Not all analysts have the Hand Boards. That’s okay, as this step is a preliminary look at the skin’s reactions to colors and also helps a client understand what types of effects they will see on their face during draping.

Step 2 – 4 Season Key Drapes – 1 color representing each true season and its two neutral offspring Winters (Black), Springs (Gold), Summers (Silver), and Autumns (Brown). Here, we begin to see how a client fits into the Hue, Value, and Chroma characteristics of color.

Step 3 – 4 True Season Drapes – A set of 5 drapes – White, Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue for each of the True seasons. All five colors MUST be tested. If they aren’t, the analyst is missing vital information. This set helps us further evaluate Hue, Value, and Chroma. We start to see patterns of cool, warm, dark, light, soft, bright and whether the client seems to be neutral.

Note:  Some Sci\ART analysts only have 3 colors in this set, which were issued by Kathryn Kalisz, instead of the 5 colors many of us have. If they were purchased from Sci\ART, they are fine. The analyst must use all 3 drapes. Christine and I both feel that having 5 colors gives us just that much more information.

Step 4 – Red Test Drapes – 4 sets of drapes in 4 Value levels (Light to Dark). Each set includes a Warm, Cool, and Neutral drape. (The 12 Blueprints drapes also have the Cool Neutral and Warm Neutral drapes to help identify which type of neutral.) All drapes must be tested in all 4 levels. This test helps confirm whether a client is warm, cool, or neutral. Again, if the analyst doesn’t make at least one comparison per drape, they could be missing the information they need to lead them to the best result.

Note:  Some Sci\ART analysts only have 12 drapes in this set, which were issued by Kathryn Kalisz, that consist of a Warm, a Cool, and a Neutral. This again is okay. Christine and I decided that a Warm Neutral and Cool Neutral in each level would provide valuable information.

Step 5 – 12 Test Drapes – 5 drapes for each of the 12 seasonal tones. Each set contains a White, Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue drape. (The 12 Blueprints drapes also have a Proof drape to help when there is difficulty between two adjacent neutrals or between the two true seasons.) This set of tests helps with seasonal elimination. It can help confirm a True season. If the client is a neutral season, or if a True was difficult to identify, the analyst should be able to narrow it down to two or three seasons to test against each other and eliminate one after each comparison to get to a result.

Note:  Some Sci\ART analysts only have 3 drapes in each season, which were issued by Kathryn Kalisz, that is fine. Christine and I decided that having 5 drapes plus a Proof gives the analyst more information even more vital information.

Step 6 – Luxury Drapes – 15 drapes in each of the 12 seasonal tones. The analyst can use this set as a tie-breaker if they are having difficulty between two seasons, as one set will be noticeably better than the other. This set is used for the “reveal.”

As you can see, the Sci\ART method uses individual colors to drape with. Each drape color gives us information about a client’s complexion and features needed to determine which colors are best. Some color companies and analysts use drapes, flags, or other materials, where the colors are sewn together and are seen all at once. Nice idea. But even though each color in the multi-colored drapes are of the same season, the scientific principles of color still apply….that every color we see is altered by the color next to it. By draping one color at a time, each drape color produces different reactions on the skin for analysts to evaluate. If draped in a block of colors, similar to this illulstration, the visual messages are obscure.

Some analysts put the Red Test before the 4 True Season test, thinking if they can determine warm, cool, or neutral right up front, they can eliminate several seasons and save testing time. While this makes sense logically, it is a bad idea. I tried this several times, being of the same reasoning, and did not trust the outcome even once. It’s too easy to throw a season out prematurely because you can’t glean sufficient information from the Red Test alone.

Our human brains need time to gather and process information. We need to “learn” the client’s face. Each person reacts similarly but yet differently from another client. We know so much more by the time we get to the Red Test to help us “read” those drapes better. If an analyst wants to do the Red Test first, request they do the process in the above order.

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13 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    March 30, 2014

    If one is clearly a neutral from the red drapes, and winter and autumn are the two best of the true seasons, is it correct to just test dark autumn and dark winter, or could another season still be correct?

    Reply

    • Avatar
      March 30, 2014

      Yes. That would be the logical sequence. Further testing can be in order in a couple situations. One, if the analyst comes down to these two seasons but wants to make sure she didn’t miss something along the way, it is appropriate to test these against another season to confirm this is the right place to be. Two, if the client has been told she’s a Bright Winter, or has been living as one and has doubts, the analyst would test DA and DW. If DW is the clear winner, she should test DW against the BW so the client can she which is best. Analysts shouldn’t just show you what season you are, but also what season you are NOT and WHY.

      Reply

  2. Avatar
    March 31, 2014

    I’m wondering why 10 seasons would be eliminated at that point. Could a Soft Autumn be missed in that way, for example?

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    • Avatar
      March 31, 2014

      Every draping warrants less or more testing. I was answering the scenario given, assuming the analyst was 100% confident the client was better in True Winter and True Autumn than True Summer and True Spring, eliminating those trues and their offspring. Then she doesn’t have to end up testing 8 neutrals. It’s often not that easy. Sometimes we have 3 true seasons in play because it has been difficult to rule something out. Each client’s draping is unique. There is no “pat” answer. You test where the drapes lead you, whether you need to test only 2 neutrals or all 8.

      Reply

  3. Avatar
    March 31, 2014

    Thank you so much for posting this, which I am sure will help so many people. I don’t know what my analyst did, but it wasn’t this. Looking back, it doesn’t seem that any sequence was followed. I wish I had known more about the correct process beforehand as I would have been able to ask what she was doing. As it was, I just trusted that she was the expert.

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  4. Avatar
    March 31, 2014

    Thank you so much for posting this information! I am so tired of secrecy in the field of color analysis, it only serves to confuse the potential client and creates bad will among those already draped. I am glad that you are reinstating some concrete guidelines so that we who are paying for a draping will also be aware of them. It will surely lead to more satisfied clients in the future. More transparency can only be a good thing.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      April 01, 2014

      I agree. This is my whole purpose for writing these articles. Clients should know what should take place during a PCA and have enough knowledge to ask questions, even before they see the analyst.

      Reply

  5. Avatar
    March 31, 2014

    If you eliminated all the other seasons this way with the trues, and your client lives in the better of the two tested for 6 months but has doubts, would you redrape with the other seasons that were skipped?

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    • Avatar
      April 01, 2014

      How I test (and teach my students to) is to test everything against everything in the 4 True Season Key test and the 4 True Season test. Nothing is skipped here. Also, nothing is truly eliminated until after the Red Test. Sometimes I have a good idea which True Season could be dropped, but I let the Red Test help confirm that. More often than not, after the Red Test, I still have 3 True Seasons in play. I use the 12 Test drapes to help eliminate seasons in a logical, methodical way. I can never emphasize enough that an analyst needs to compare the seasons and confirm and reconfirm before eliminating anything. If a client doesn’t feel right in their colors after several months, a re-drape could very well be in order.

      Reply

  6. Avatar
    March 31, 2014

    Thank you for posting this demystifying information. I see a system that is aiming for great clarity, but also one that is requires a lot of discrimination on the part of the analyst. People who do this work need to have an aptitude for it – I can tell just from reading the description that I would be visually bamboozled by the amount of information and subtle changes requiring interpretation.

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    • Avatar
      April 01, 2014

      Correct. Aptitude is a must. You can teach students what to look for, but they have to have the color sensitivity to see it.

      Reply

  7. Avatar
    August 28, 2015

    I have a question on the first four drapes. I was draped by someone trained in this system and they eliminated two of the seasons at this stage because she said my face lost definition, and therefore I needed the two darker seasons – black/winter, brown/autumn – which meant in the end we were only testing DW and DA. I wasn’t happy with the result. But my question is, there are darker colors in all of the palettes once you find your season, so is it fair to eliminate Summer based on the silver test drape? Because it’s one of the lighter colors. How would you know one of the darker Summer colors wouldn’t be ok?

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    • Avatar
      August 30, 2015

      There are light, medium, and dark colors in all 12 seasons. I train analysts to NOT eliminate any seasons until after the Red Test. There is no way there is enough information with the first four drapes, whether an analyst takes 15 minutes or one hour with them. Those first four drapes can give us an indication, but we need to compare the 4 True Seasons and Red Tests to support it. The beauty of this system is all the checks and balances. Each step is to confirm what we have been seeing with the previous steps. We must test them all.

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