I used to know the hair color and eye color of all my major characters - minor ones too - I may have had a chart. But then I found that all my characters were distinguished by their hair color and hair style.
Barb, with the long blonde hair, spoke to Joan, whose dark hair was in a braid down her back.
Yeah. After awhile that didn't really work for me (though I still have to guard against it.)
Now I find that sometimes I go in the opposite direction - and have no descriptions of my characters. Often I can remedy that with a quick word or phrase (I just try to not let them all be about hair.)
As I was revising today I saw a note one of my critique partners left that a relatively minor character needed some description. And she's right. I have nothing. Just a name and her job. I have two problems (well three - but that one is motivation and stems from it being late). 1) I don't actually know what she looks like and 2) I'm not sure how to integrate a description into the introduction of her. I don't want to say "Jamie, the nurse my mother had hired came into the room. She was a tall woman with buck teeth and sensible shoes".... It seems too forced. I need to make it natural somehow.
I'm guessing that once I take a break from it, I'll come up with a solution - but in the meantime, here's my question: How do you make sure your characters are adequately described - without sounding like a police report?