We live in a world exploding with colour; from the moment we wake to the moment we sleep we are surrounded by it. Some we choose for ourselves, some are chosen strategically by others and some are gifts from nature. Colours are visually stimulating for us. They can affect our mood; many of us have a favourite colour evoking feelings or associations. It is hard to describe something without using colour. The green grass, the blue sky; images are instantly conjured up. Colour has been used throughout history for religious and cultural symbolism, with each colour having different qualities or meanings. Certain colours are meant to bring luck in some countries, while in others they are linked with misfortune. It can be used to influence our choices or warn us against things. Yellow is the first colour we notice, and thus signals danger in every language. Colour is more than often the first thing we see, and what we remember most rather than the finer detail. How many times have you remembered the colour of a car but not the model? What would happen if one day, our world were stripped of colour? Ok, so black and white are arguably colours, but what if they were the only two with varying shades of grey in between. Would life be the same?
Nature provides us with a full spectrum of colour. Vivid tropical birds, golden sunsets, breathtaking landscapes, and the wonder of a rainbow after rain are just a few examples of nature’s finery. All beautiful to us as bystanders, but with distinct purposes too. Think of the splendour of a peacock’s tail wooing his mate, or a gorgeous red rose attracting a bee for pollination. If there were no colour, would this still happen?
Colour can have a profound effect on our emotions. It can lift our spirits even quicken our heartbeat. This knowledge can be used to many an advantage. Employers can paint the workspace with a colour to induce calm and tranquillity. A balancing green can help reduce stress or a soft blue can increase productivity.
We can decorate our homes with colours to enhance our wellbeing, a warm sunny yellow kitchen is said to be the best way to start the day. A neon colour in the bedroom might not be the best choice to lull you to sleep. Think of the bright yellows and reds of a certain fast food chain. At first they excite you and draw you in, but you never want to stay long right? You’re not meant to, the bright colours are to ensure you don’t get comfortable, making way for the next punter.
Chromotherapy is a popular way to utilise the psychological effects of colour. Used to promote balance and healing within the body, the therapy can be as simple as wearing a certain colour or sitting under a coloured lamp. Taken to a more spiritual level, many believe that our bodies have seven main energy centres or chakras. Each chakra corresponds to a different colour and different parts of the body. Colour therapy can be enlisted to help unblock stagnant energy and restore our bodies to a state of harmony.
Colour plays a key role in fashion; seasonal trends bring different hues to the limelight. Designers take inspiration from all around them, using colour to make their collections desirable and stand out. The clothes we choose to wear can be an expression of how we feel that day, or an attempt to change how we feel. A splash of colour can transform a temper, it can lift a tired complexion or indeed make one worse! A brightly coloured outfit is sure to get you noticed while grey attire might leave you lost in the crowd. A red lipstick can be a weapon to a woman and empower her, but it can also make her feel self-conscious by attracting attention. Colour can be used to make a statement, to declare our individuality. How many people have dyed their hair for an image change, at least the first signs of grey would no longer be an issue!
Advertising is another industry that relies heavily on colour. How else would they entice us in? Bold and clever use of colour makes us pick up that flyer, or remember that poster. Smart marketing knows that the right shade of purple will appeal to a certain audience. They also know to release products in more than one colour, playing up to consumerism. I guess we would buy less if adverts and products were void of colour. Might do our bank balances a favour; keep us in the black so to speak.
It is difficult to imagine a world without colour; it plays such an important role in our everyday lives. There is no doubt that black and white hold a strong place too. A sharp black suit or a little black dress is hard to beat. I know for sure that I look best in a black and white photo! But would they be enough on their own? I’m not too sure; I think life would be a little dull….
See the full COLOUR Beauty Story for Issue 'C'