Understanding Color Theory

Understanding Color Theory

Posted by Samantha Troy on 2nd Oct 2023

Breaking down color theory with Kett Cosmetics! Create your best Halloween looks yet with a basic understanding of color theory, color correcting, and terminology.

The Basics of Color Theory!

Create your best Halloween Looks Yet

When it comes to planning your Halloween makeup, understanding and utilizing color theory is a non-negotiable! Whether you're going for an alluring vampire, a gruesome zombie, or a mystical witch, understanding the science behind color theory can help you nail your look. So, go ahead, embrace your inner artist, and create a masterpiece that will leave everyone spellbound this Halloween!


Color theory studies the way colors work together, how they interact to evoke emotion, and the art of creating visually pleasing combinations! It's the foundation of every makeup artist's toolkit and plays a vital role in designing your spooky looks this season. If you’re just getting started, we recommend picking a basic color wheel! Another great tool for learning how to utilize color theory and coordinate with all skin tones is Terri Tomlinson’s Flesh Tone Fan! These will act as your guide to creating harmonious color combinations!


Breaking Down Color Theory Terminology

Color theory terminology is essential to understand as a makeup artist! It's used to create mood, enhance, color correct, and match skin tones. All aspects of makeup, from skin tones to lip colors, and covering tattoos and blemishes require an understanding of color theory.




Hue: Hue refers to a pure pigment name.

Wash: Wash is a pigment diluted with a lighter pigment. It appears transparent and lightweight, you can still see the original color, but it is diluted. Washed colors are clear, crisp, and pretty.

Tint: A tint is adding white to a pigment. This will make it appear opaque or milky. Tinted colors appear light-hearted, innocent, and sweet.

Shade: A shade is made by adding black to a pigment. The color appears shadowed, deep, or weighty. Black is a cool neutral and will make all warm pigments appear cooler. Shaded colors are serious, profound, and mysterious.

Intensity: Refers to the brightness of a color. A color has low, medium, or high-intensity levels relative to other colors.

Primary colors: Blue, red, and yellow. All other colors can be made using these colors!

Pro Tip: When you mix all 3 primary colors together in equal parts, it will result in brown.

Secondary colors are created by mixing equal parts of two primary colors, resulting in colors like orange, green, and purple!

Complementary colors can be found directly across from each other on a color wheel. These colors complement or neutralize when mixed together. Neutralizing is very important when it comes to color correction and color matching, as opposites on the color wheel cancel out unwanted tones. Alternatively, complementary colors can also make high-contrast, visually striking combinations. For Halloween makeup, think about using complementary colors to emphasize the spooky effect!

Pro Tip: A great way to enhance an eye color is by using its complementary color!


KETT Hydro Color Theory Pigment Set: A complete set of five water-based liquid mediums in Red, Yellow, Blue, Black, and White ideal for custom blending to hue adjusting, or use for special effects makeup. These core essential shades create any color desired and/or imagined. Apply with a brush, sponge, or airbrush with ease! Use with our Muse Beauty Color Activity Sheets and practice elevating your artistry while exercising your understanding of color theory!