What is human variable saturation?
This week we tackle variable saturation, which in colour theory is chroma.
In general colour classification, chroma is used to help describe one element of a colour.
The element chroma describes is saturation – how much light the colour reflects and how clear/bright or muted/unclear it is.
Imagine trying to determine the chroma of a human portrait, where there is a range of different tints and tones. Theoretically each tint and tone has its own chroma.
Saturation is theoretically the colour quality responsible for determining the neutrality of human colouring.
Some people have a range of different levels of skin saturation, caused by such things as blemishes, discolouration, scars and freckles.
Considering the diverse range of multilayered human colour qualities, a practical two-word term, variable saturation, has been created to describe human chroma.
‘Variable’ describes the characteristic variables which occur on most people, such as facial freckles and hair, blemishes, wrinkles, scars, discolouration, particoloured skin, hair variance and eye colour variation.
‘Saturation’ describes the purity and evenness of clear skin, hair and eye colouring.
The saturation level of a person’s clear, even skin can be measured, from dull through to vibrant.
The general health of a person’s colour characteristics can make a difference to the appearance and description of the skin, hair and eyes.
If a person has taken care of their skin, including such things as removing dead skin particles and clearing pores, the hydration and purifying of the skin can improve circulation and stimulate the production of collagen.
The skin will be cleaner, healthier and younger for longer and look vibrant and smooth, producing a higher level of saturation through its purity.
If a person has not taken care of their skin through exfoliation and other methods, the build-up of dead skin and impurities will make the skin look dull, older and listless, producing a low level of saturation.
To classify a person’s colour expression a general variable saturation classification is required. To do this, the skin, hair and eyes need to be classified separately and then combined.
The analysing process is complicated further, considering humans are organic, three-dimensional beings and don’t live in a static sterile environment. This means any classification result and its application is also animate.
Every person has their own multifarious range of biological skin, hair and eye colour variations which occur naturally.
However, everyone also experiences individual lifestyle, health and aging effects which affect their colour expression differently.
Facial hair above the length of 4 (4/8 inch of hair) clipper size is classified as hair and not as a variable of the skin.
If the hair has been shaved to a zero and there is no facial shade or stubble, it also will not be classified as a variable.
The clearer and more even a person’s variable saturation is across their skin, hair and eyes the higher it is.
The more muted, dull, uneven, rough and blemished a person’s skin, hair and eyes the lower the variable saturation.
Most societies and cultures view high, clear and even variable saturation of a person’s face as a form of beauty.
This is one of make-up’s main purposes – to keep variable saturation clear and even, which enhances the appearance of youth and beauty.
Variable saturation consistency across the skin, hair and eyes can be difficult to recognise in some people.
It can be especially difficult when there are different levels of tone between the skin, hair and eyes, or the categories of hue in the eyes are different to the skin and hair.
It’s also difficult to determine the level or type of variable saturation of a person who has low-medium saturation, uneven particoloured skin or hair, and blemishes.
Most often, people are born with a similar level of variable saturation across all three colour characteristics.
An obvious example of this is someone who has clear, even skin – their hair and eyes will most likely be a solid even tone as well.
However, there are people who are born with different levels and types of variable saturation across their skin, hair and eyes.
Individual levels of saturation and variables can be difficult to determine, unless they are model-like, with very clear and even skin.
It is also possible to have a number of different variable saturation qualities across one colour characteristic – especially skin.
A person’s variable saturation changes throughout their life, as they pass through puberty into adulthood and older age.
The environment we live in and the choices we make create change.
Changes of all types can be both voluntary or involuntary, and chronic, sporadic, severe or moderate, all of which affect a person’s personal colour expression.
Such changes may be due to illness or accidents, or may be the result of negative or positive lifestyle choices.
These choices can affect a person’s health and consequently the condition of their skin, eyes and hair.
The greatest natural changes to variable saturation are, of course, caused by aging, which continues to affect the variable saturation of a person’s skin, eyes and hair with every day that passes.
Considering human variable saturation includes such a wide range of variables, it is common for a person to develop different levels of saturation within the one characteristic as they age.
Variable saturation is the colour quality which is most affected by a person’s lifestyle and environment.