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A colour blind person may not know the names of many of the colours they like to wear and may have no idea if their colour choices suit them but nevertheless they are likely to be judged on their appearance, even if only subconsciously, by every person they meet.

Colour blind people are extremely aware of this and want to know the colours of the clothes they buy, not only in the shop but also when choosing clothes from their wardrobe. Clothing labels aren’t much help since they don’t usually give any indication of the base colour. Often the colours are named in unusual ways e.g. taupe, stone, olive etc. which have no meaning to a person with colour blindness. If you are colour blind you need to know if a shirt is pink or grey, dark blue/dark green or black, red/brown or green because you want to know what you can wear with it and you certainly don’t want to have to rely on help from other people just to choose what clothes to wear.

Since clothing manufacturers and retailers haven’t worked out yet that they are losing sales to colour blind people because they don’t provide useful information on clothing labels, colour blind people may need advice from friends or family to help them to choose ‘safe’ combinations of clothes which they can then stick to. The wife of former Foreign Secretary Lord (William) Hague is reported to pin labels to his clothes for this reason whenever he travels without her.

Someone with colour blindness may be not able to appreciate changes in skin colour due to blushing, sunburn/rashes or pallor and these issues are important in relationships. To colour blind people the normal pinkish complexion of a person in normal light will appear to them as what someone with ‘normal’ colour vision would think is slightly murky green.

As with clothing colours, colour blind people also want to know what the colours of make-up are. As well as the one in 200 women who are colour blind and need this information there are also professional, colour blind make-up artists. Leigh Easterhope was open about his condition and the problems this causes him in the TV series Glow Up.

Partners of colour blind people – take note!
If your partner is colour blind and you like to wear make up, you might not know that your partner might not notice your make up at all, or that you have changed the colour of your hair. Some make-up colours, however, can appear to be very odd to your partner. Your foundation colour or the shade of your expensive fake tan may make you appear ‘green’ to them. If you like to wear red lipstick it can even appear to be black to people with a red vision loss! If ‘Goth’ wasn’t the look you were going for at a job interview then this is worth knowing!

I recently took my children to the local leisure centre for my older child’s swimming lesson and went to the cafe with my younger (colour blind) son to get a snack whilst we were waiting. My son ordered what he wanted and waited patiently by my side whilst the girl behind the counter made my cappuccino but I could tell he was itching to say something. He was watching the girl intently but didn’t say a thing until we walked away, then asked in all seriousness ‘Mummy, why does that lady have a green face?’ At first I had no idea what he meant but since I now know about the effects of colour blindness I was able to look at the girl through ‘colour blind’ eyes. She was in her early twenties and was wearing quite a thick layer of foundation that day. Under the lights of the cafe area I could understand that to my son her face would appear much darker than it would if she hadn’t been wearing so much foundation – so to him she really did seem to have a green face. KA-W

So if you’re are trying to dress to impress, especially for a first date, you might look stunning to everyone with normal colour vision but perhaps not to the one who matters to you most!