How Summers Intensify Eye Colour

June 3, 2010 by  

We often see the attempt to charge eye color with more makeup. When were you not just staring at the makeup? Natural skin and eyes can only compete with so much pigment before the cosmetic takes over. Luckily, when the color is one that already exists in you, you can apply it quite heavily and it will appear as a believable part of your face, but there are limits.

There is a lot more to intensifying eye color than eye makeup.


Never underestimate the power of color analyzed clothes colours to amplify eye color. This alone will do more than makeup on anyone. It’s a way bigger block. How much color can you create with a skinny line of liner or a tiny eyelid’s worth of shadow?

I’ll emphasize that it is not only your same-as-eye color clothes that charge up eye color, though those might work best. It’s all the colors in your Personal Colour swatches. Each one will clear the white of the eye, just as it clears the skin. Your pinks, greens, and grays should all intensify eye color.

Brows and Blush

Colour Analysis will bring attention to your eyes like never before, even if you don’t wear makeup. Groom your brows, have them beautifully shaped, and pencil in the thin spots. Think of eyebrows as the picture frames for the eyes. They matter.

Once many women get the right shade of blush, their first comment is most often “It brings out my eyes.” Absolutely it does, instantly and strongly. Look for that effect to happen when you buy blush.

When Good Color Goes Bad

You know I don’t care for purple, green, and blue on eyes if the viewer can perceive the color. I don’t buy that it intensifies eye color. It just looks playful (at least where I live) and it’s usually all people can see. You surrender too much power, not a price I want to pay for beauty.

Eyeshadow Palettes for Eye Colour

Think twice about investing in palettes made for certain eye colours. Have you ever seen them work?Have you ever said to a woman “your eyeshadow makes your eyes look so much greener” and really meant it?

Why don’t they work? Because there is no universal formula. There are 15 greens in a green eye, it’s too confusing to be able to pick out the core ones. Also, any skin can have any eye color or combination.  If the eyeshadows are made for the green-eye cool-skin woman, then it dulls the skin of the warm-skinned woman. This is the reincarnation of the same silver bullet  we’ve dodged before as “the lip colour that suit every skin tone”.

Off the soapbox, now.

Using the right browns and greys,

And understanding that not everyone can do everything,

And that without a Color Analysis, cosmetic color browns and greys are the hardest of all colours to understand by a long shot,

It’s about repeats and complements and contrasts.

This is 12 Seasonal Color Analysis. There are 3 Summer Seasons, the True, the Soft (blends an Autumn trace), and the Light (a dab of Spring).

True Summer

True Summer eyes look best to me when they are gazing out of a misty pool of cool greys. Soft greys, not sharp greys.

  1. Soft navy eyeliner, not blackened sapphire.  True Summer often has very deep blues in the eye that can be repeated.
  2. Dark denim eyeliner repeats the overall color and darkness level of the eye.  Annabelle’s Blue Grey is one of the best I know for True Summer.
  3. Cool grey or blue grey eyeshadow repeats the True Summer’s skin’s undertone. Mauve-grey can work, but many Summers have pink in the eyelid rims, and we don’t want to repeat that and make they eye look bloodshot.
  4. The contrast of a cool blue eye with a warm brown shadow is stunning, so the magazines tell us. Warm brown shadow on the True Summer skin tone is mud. There is no heat in this skin. You can’t fake it. Choose your right, rosy browns since brown is approximately blue’s complement. Sally Beauty Chocolate Truffle Trio is good.


Soft Summer

These eyes look best when they’re gazing out of a misty pool of…mist. Like they’re surrounded by fog, a pale neutral tan-brown. No hard edges, everything quiet, blurred, and diffused.

  1. Repeat the tan brown in the eye with eyeliner.

The eyeliner is the bodice color. This is odd, but the Canadian Superstores carry a line of clothes/makeup called Joe Fresh. Their Twist Up Eyeliner pencil in Charcoal is the right one.

Your medium and dark eyeshadows are all contained in this dress (linked to Jones New York, but no longer available).

Paula’s Choice, the one and only skin care company I place  my full trust in, was making an eyeshadow called Granite awhile back. It was custom-colored for this skin. They were making the best colored, best matte, best priced eyeshadows around, but not many people knew it, I guess. A certain direction as to who should use what…

2. That tan brown can be repeated again in the highlight colour in the hair. Lots of bleachy blonde highlights do not work, they look like grey stripes, like a strange intended aging effect. The right highlight is browned down. All the Autumns can repeat hair color and eye color. This is beautiful, real, natural hair for a Soft Summer, on Jennifer Aniston. They often get her too blonde and her eyes fade immediately.

3. Any contrasts? The whole concept of the Season is low contrast, so you have to be exceptionally subtle with all makeup. Neutral Seasons have a little heat in their skin, and cooler and warmer choices in their palette. We’re still mostly cool here though, still muddy in warm brown colors. The skin looks heavy and the heat of warm brown in the eyeshadow can yellow the white of the eye in a subliminal way, looking unhealthy. There is no contrast I know, not light/dark, warm/cool, or hi/lo saturation.

4. Any complements? I’m often asked if orange-toned eyeshadows work on blue eyes, or purple tones on green eyes, etc. This is usually a blue eye, sometimes surprisingly pale, or a blue-green eye, where the eye color becomes very strong in pine green clothing. The orange-toned brown eyeshadow for the blue eye is deadly. That green eye could be accentuated with a dusty plum shadow, but it’s soft.  The viewer should not see purpleness.


Light Summer

These are the eyes that get more makeup piled on, hoping to make them “pop”. Either that, or there’s the hope that a dark line will look good against the light eye color. That’s altogether too much hope. The eye can’t balance it, the end result being to close in the eye. Once again, all we see is makeup.

This is a Light Summer eye below. Black mascara has no place here. You could barely find any colours that are even medium in darkness. Gentle light colors are key.  Airy and fresh is what will look  healthy and young.

In the middle swatch, Photoshop extracted the grey shade from the middle of the iris around the 4 o’clock position. The lower one is the colour of the eyeshadow I like to apply after an analysis (Shu Uemura M Beige 815, I believe; why get specific, it’s no longer available; Paula’s Choice did a color called Moonlit, also quite perfect, also unavailable). Both swatches are very close to the Personal Colours palette.

  1. Eyeshadows are mostly gray, not brown. Use very light colors because the eye color is very easily overwhelmed.
  2. Repeats ? None I can think of in makeup. Some people have a much stronger turquoise in the eye and can repeat it in clothing.
  3. Complements? Not in eyeshadow. However, since there is heat in the skin, it can support some bronzer believably, especially as Spring’s contribution is sunshine and the outdoors. A light application of a peach-gold will bring out the eyes without looking artificial. Remember, the best beauty looks like it could have happened by itself. I like Cover f/x Bronzer f/x in Gold. Also, wearing your mauve and purples in clothing will bring out the pale yellow sunlight you may have in the eye, which is pretty.
  4. Contrast. None I can think of. The whole Season’s concept is “not dark”.


Not doing the things that detract from eye color is important too.

1. Avoid yellow in the hair unless Nature gave it to you. Your most delicate of all skin will go red or yellow. Your eye will dull and gray out when the white of the eye goes yellow. Your highlight is just on the neutral beige side of silver if you’re a True or Light.

2. Big dark lashes. The viewer can’t peel their eyes away from the lashes – maybe that’s what you were going for with the Diorshow and the Telescopic. To paraphrase Isak Dinesen, when God wants to punish us, he grants our wishes. Summers should wear grey mascara, which is all but impossible to find. Try “Soft Navy” or “Soft Black”, smearing it on a tissue first to be sure it’s not too dark black.

Ask me some questions.

Anyone know the eyeshadows that match those Light Summer swatches?


24 Responses to “How Summers Intensify Eye Colour”

  1. Cathy on June 3rd, 2010 4:55 pm

    The Laura Geller cosmetic line offers liquid eye liner and mascara in a color called “Double Charcoal” and both are in one wand. Her cosmetics are available on a tv shopping channel (either QVC or HSN in the U.S. but can’t recall which one).

  2. Suzy on June 3rd, 2010 7:36 pm

    Laura Geller makes some NICE make-up! Lt and (lighter) True Summers should try her Eye Liner Pencil in what she calls “midnight blue” and I would describe as faded lt denim blue — VERY pretty! (folks that don’t need / want a light-colored pencil complain that it “doesn’t show up!”)

    Also, Jane Iredale makes a lt/med gray mascara that is expensive, but nice and conditioning — I love it!

  3. Suzy on June 3rd, 2010 9:52 pm

    Hi Christine:

    Try “Cloud” or “Diamond Lil” to match that light gray for Light Summer… They’re not matte, but one of the colors might be “right” and me, personally, I like a little shimmer (not sparkle, shimmer…)

    Next time I’m in Sephora I’ll have a look — well, doesn’t look like Sephora is carrying as much Stila, anymore…. :(

    Wonder if this line is being discontinued, too? Anyone know?

  4. Jo on June 4th, 2010 3:07 pm


    I bought some Laura Geller eyeshadow in Spumoni/Sinful Praline and ended up giving it away to a Soft Summer friend of mine.

    I have never seen her eyes looking so wonderful as when she wears that shadow. She has blue/aqua/turquoise eyes and (not surprisingly) Soft Summer skin. The shadow is a divine blend of blues and pinks which create dove grey, and browns and teal which create a deeper ash grey. And yes – all the shades are shown in that great pic you have of the dress.

    Does anyone know of a navy blue or charcoal mascara that is waterproof/smudgeproof?

    I know she wants to switch from black mascara, but the only softer colours she has found are smudgy and leaky.

  5. Chiara on June 9th, 2010 1:04 pm

    Hi Christine, I really like your blog and how you explain everything concerning color seasons so clearly! The study of colors and how they react with each other is so fascinating…Before reading about color analysis I could never have imagined that colors have the power of changing people quite dramatically. That explains why I’ve always felt unconfortable looking at the photos of myself as a teenager wearing black make-up and black clothes. Now I know black is too harsh for me, it makes my eyes disappear in all that black and I seem older than I am! However I haven’t thrown away my black clothes…I keep wearing black but I always try to keep it away from the face or match it with other colors (I no longer cover myself in black from head to foot :D) Also my make-up now is subtler and I’ve found very good alternatives to black. Overall I can really say that now I almost see my true self :) It’s been months since I tried to figure out which season I am and I think I am a True Summer. I know you said in “Colour, Complements, Clothes, and Cosmetics” that eyes might contain traces of several seasons, but do you think it’s possible for a True Summer to have Light Summer eyes? Because I have cool pale skin and cool medium ash brown hair, but my eyes are blue-grey (or blue-green, because sometimes they seem blue-grey, sometimes greenish blue…they have no definite color, they depend a lot on the sorrounding colors and lighting) with yellow sunlights around the pupils. They haven’t that deep blue characterizing most True Summers, though they were bluer when I was a child. So do you think pine green is ok for True Summers? You said it enhances blue-green eyes in Soft Summers, so I wonder if it might have the same effect on True Summer eyes. I tried pine green in make-up and I may say it’s not bad at all…I’d like to try it in clothing, too :) what do you think?

  6. Christine Scaman on June 11th, 2010 4:48 am

    Hi, Chiara,

    Any Season can have any eye color. The line patterns can help, but more than half the time, I’ll see eye color distributions that could easily belong to other Seasons, or line patterns that indicate Seasons that don’t bear out in the skin with the drapes.

    Most people have trouble pinning down their eyes to 1 definite color, unless they’re dark brown or very blue. True Summer gets a variant of pine green, though it’s cooler (bluer, less brown) than Soft Summer’s. It’s all in the degrees : )

  7. Patricia on June 20th, 2010 9:05 pm


    The Bobbi Brown shimmer wash eyeshadows are great with my “summer” eyes – Rock is a really nice gray that gives a soft, smoky, sheer wash that lasts.

    Bobbi Brown also does a very nice bronzing powder, with no sparkle and no orange.

    For lips, right now I like MAC cosmetics “Kinda Sexy” – a neutral pinky rose, and also “Please Me”, a muted rosy tinted pink.

    L’oreal True Match blush colors can be really nice and are coded as warm, cool and neutral. Finding the right blush has always been more difficult, along with the right color of mascara. I am going to check out the gray mascara colors suggested above.

    What do you think about Clarins Wonder mascara in blue?

  8. Christine Scaman on June 21st, 2010 12:02 pm

    Thanks for naming your products. Women find this so helpful. It gives them a starting point for what to look at and what to ignore.

    Navy mascara can work as a way to look softer than black if the viewer doesn’t perceive odd blueness, and it’s a more smoky blue rather than sapphire. Maybelline Define A Lash in Soft Black is a grey color, a reliable woman tells me.

  9. Caroline on June 24th, 2010 5:16 am

    I enjoyed reading this. I loved the specific information you provided, along with the eye photo. Please do the same for Autumns!

    Another pencil eyeliner recommendation for Summers (not sure which of the three): Lancome Bleu Gris. It’s been discontinued, of course, but still available through some online retailers. I have 6 of them that I don’t use. A makeup artist convinced me that the soft blue grey color worked with my soft eyes and skin tone. So I bought 6 of them, knowing it would be discontinued! Needless to say, this happened before my Sci\Art PCA where I found out that I’m a Soft Autumn who has no business wearing blue grey. (In fact, I’m on the warm end of Soft Autumn, just touching True Autumn.)

  10. Nicola on June 29th, 2010 3:24 pm

    Thank you for this post! I just realized I am a Soft Summer, after seeing some no-makeup pre-hairdye pictures of me in natural sunlight outside in a watercolor themed dress that did absolute MIRACLES for my skin tone and eyes. I had been pressing Soft Autumn for a LONG time and it tended to look blah on me, although I can really pull off some of Soft Autumn’s palette very well because of the natural golden highlights in my hair and the green in my eyes. Yet, I am definitely, truly a Soft Summer. The makeup you described, the details like “Soft summers have pink in their eyelids” oh GOODNESS that is me. And my VERY best go-to color for eyeliner and mascara has been a greyed Navy, from times eternal. This is SO helpful! Thank you!

  11. Christine Scaman on June 30th, 2010 12:23 pm


    It’s great to recognize oneself. You wonder why it wasn’t obvious before and at the same time, so many pieces click into place. Which eyeliner?? Women are asking me.

  12. Jessica on July 9th, 2010 1:18 pm

    I totally agree that the “wear orange-y browns to bring out blue eyes” trick does not work for summers!!! What good are bright blue eyes if my skin looks muddy or jaundiced? :)
    Nicola, your description of your coloring sounds a lot like mine. I have natural golden highlights in my hair, so I used to think I was a soft autumn. Soft summer’s palette suits me so much better, though.

  13. Megan on July 20th, 2010 12:56 am

    This is very interesting indeed. I’m pretty sure I’m a summer, and I’ve been having trouble with makeup always looking too harsh on me. Now I know why!

    Coincidentally, would you happen to have any idea what season Lauren Graham is? I recently figured out that with her dark hair like mine, and eye color and overall skin tone, her coloring is a lot like mine. Though in some pictures her eyes look a LOT bluer and her hair looks a lot darker, so I was confused. But in certain pictures… like here, her coloring and hair and eye color are close to mine:

    And then her not looking so good: (I don’t like that red lipstick on her!)

    I’m intrigued as to which of the 12 seasons she might be, as sometimes she does have quite dark hair and can pull off more dramatic looks, like with black, but at the same time vivid colors like red seem to easily overpower her. Well regardless, she’s quite pretty!

    By the way I love your website! I’ve always had a fascination with color, and how color can react with our features fascinates me just as much, especially with my strong interest in fashion. I look forward to reading more of your entries!

  14. Janice on October 6th, 2010 9:21 am

    I am a bit confused by the eye makeup recommendations for Soft Summer. You say “1.Repeat the tan brown in the eye with eyeliner. The eyeliner is the bodice color. ” But I don’t see brown in the picture. I see a grey, deep purple and light purple dress. Is my monitor off?

  15. Christine Scaman on October 8th, 2010 6:54 am

    No, Janice, your monitor is probably fine. I think we’re just calling the same mauved grey-brown by a different name. I was meaning the shoulder strap color, which is mauved grey, but also a bit brown- browner, let’s say, than steel grey. This color is more like shadow. It’s in the many variations of the word “grey”.

  16. Eden L on January 20th, 2011 10:22 pm

    The Light Summer grey iris swatch is a MAC shadow called ‘Scene’. A beautiful mid-tone grey with a peachy warmth to it. ‘Copperplate’ is also a nice soft grey. The other one could be ‘Wedge’ also by MAC. ‘Kid’ and ‘Era’ are light neutrals that would also blend well. Top it off with just a bit of grey eyeliner on the top lid.

  17. Christine Scaman on January 22nd, 2011 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the makeup matches – readers find this extremely helpful.

  18. Eden L on January 23rd, 2011 11:29 am

    Sorry…’Omega’ not ‘Wedge.’ I get them mixed up!

  19. Jeanine Byers Hoag on July 8th, 2011 12:27 pm

    Do African-American soft summers have pink in their eyelids? Because I have been thinking that that is what I am, but do not see pink in mine.

  20. Christine Scaman on July 16th, 2011 9:39 am

    To me, pink in eyelids has no correlation with any Season. Perhaps in wrong colour, many people have pinkish rims to the eyelids, but that’s the closest I can think.

  21. Marisol on July 18th, 2011 12:58 pm

    “Megan – Lauren Graham has been analyzed as a True Winter. I think you had a feeling about this, since you mention “her coloring is a lot like mine, though her eyes look a LOT bluer and her hair looks a lot darker”.
    True Summer + Much higher contrast = True Winter

  22. Megan on September 4th, 2011 6:10 am

    Marisol – Looking at some more pictures of her, I can see that. I guess Lauren Graham wouldn’t be the best person to get inspiration from then, considering that the one thing I do know is I am overpowered easily color-wise. The only lipstick color I’ve been able to pull off thus far is a cool brown; even the color “Barely Nude” seemed too pigmented for my skin. (This is me in natural lighting:

    Ah, color analysis is a fickle thing! I’m currently in Hawaii so a PCA is not viable. Maybe one day if I’m back on the mainland…..

  23. Rebecca on December 31st, 2011 6:47 pm

    Walmart carries a makeup brand called GeoGirl that makes a grey lash tint. Because it’s a lash tint it doesn’t add length or volume, but I have been wearing it over a lash primer and the effect on my lashes is similar to Maybelline Full n Soft mascara. GeoGirl also makes a mascara which they call grey, but swatching it next to the lash tint it looks black.

  24. Tina on July 21st, 2012 10:21 am

    Lilac/lavender eyeshadow has always been good for me. ULTA Bloom is a shade I have success with. Prestige Topaz eyeliner is a medium deep silver blue that is a match to my eyecolor. Cover Girl Tapestry Taupe is my favorite brown eyeshadow. Rose brown I have to be careful with or it makes my eyes look irritated. Gray on me is meh. Aqua and turquoise are too bright and compete too much. A medium deep cool purple liner is good. Jordana has a nice selection. I have to be very careful or it looks like I have too much on. A light hand is best.

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