We’ve just come back from a stellar analyst meeting. The part of the program that most everyone requested again next year was asking a woman to role play. We invited Sandra to join us for an afternoon. She had been analyzed as a *Light Spring. She understands the palette but cannot get the look to work.
The Sandras are among my favourite clients. They are done trying things over and over, spending random money in random ways. They reach a place of accepting that they will not figure out their best appearance on their own, and admitting that nothing they tried themselves convinced them. Now, we are ready to get somewhere.
Nobody is a carbon copy of anyone else inside a Season. It may take a few weeks or second visit to put every piece in place. A returning client who can only say, “I don’t look right. I can’t get it to work.” will not become a constructive conversation. We asked Sandra to bring fashion images of the look she would like to achieve. I expected Versace from our conversation and got Burberry and Hugo Boss. Bring pictures of what you envision.
Together, the analysts did a thorough repeat PCA. We arrived at Light Spring once again, the cool side. It is important for anyone who sits on the warmer or cooler side of Season XY to remember that they are still Season XY. The Sci\ART palettes are the 12 Blueprints drapes come to life. If you are drapes XY in your analysis, then it follows that you are palette XY. Stay within its heat parameters.
How can you tell when you shop? Suppose you are one of the cool-neutral Seasons who does not want to go too warm, how about Soft Summer? Lay the open Soft Summer fan on your garment where you are deciding between Soft Summer or Soft Autumn. Look at the cooler lipstick colours and cooler neutral colours in the palette. If the garment is too warm, those colours will clash.
For a Light Summer who wants to avoid Light Spring colour so as not to turn yellow, she will lay the open Light Summer fan on a garment. If the cooler reds and blue greys make attractive combinations and feel good together, she will probably be fine. If the cool reds look cold or severe, or remind you of bruises, or the blued grays look harsh, dark, and not an ounce of fun, while the garment seems weak or too yellow, that is exactly how it will feel subconsciously to others seeing you wearing it. That is how a Light Summer fan looks on a Light Spring colour. If you were the drapes, then you are the fan, so when we say you can wear the warmer colours, it is still best to treat that as Light Summer’s warmer colours.
So many concepts in PCA are from the 4 Seasons approach.
The idea that True Winter is dark and very saturated, for instance. It is neither extreme on a 12 Season scale. Back when there were only 4, yes, then it was the most of each. When Kathryn Kalisz brought professional pigment standardization and Munsell classification to Personal Colour Analysis, that concept needed modifying.
When Kathryn brought the Neutral Seasons into a sensible order with defined boundaries, she created 12 stand-alone voices. The language of each Season is quite pure. They can drift together, certainly, with similar heat and the same priority in colour dimensions (I hesitate to say TMIT), but they are not the same. Light Summer has a lot more colour muscle than I used to believe.
To keep in mind as you learn about your colouring:
- Don’t spin your wheels in the Season. The analyst can help you see yourself in the colours of any palette. With the analyst group, we created colour combinations to add sophisticated beauty and refinement to Sandra’s Light Spring palette. Every Season and every Archetype can wear every palette. Everyone can find colour combinations that are interesting and look expensive, a term that I use because the opposite is the only other choice. Whatever the Season, certain colours will only ever look tacky, even in cashmere or silk, while others will look rich even if they are yellow and lime green.
- Don’t spin your wheels in the stereotype. That stereotype is usually better embodied by one of the Neutrals than the True Season. Even if it were in the True Season, the person who fits it perfectly is the unicorn in the herd. There are too many variables. When you read my book or any other, at least allow a big burp of doubt if you don’t feel you fit in with the Season whatever-I-wrote personality. The typecast of Bright Winter as rare…good grief…in the past, their rarity depended on their clear eyes…Bright Winter eyes would read as plenty clear if they were transplanted into any other face.
- Don’t spin your wheels in the words. Dark Seasons are not necessarily dark to look at. For some reason, this one is particularly hard to dislodge, whether it be Dark, Light, Soft, or Bright. Dark Autumn is not especially dark at all, at least in Caucasians. Once ethnicity gets into it, they can darken fast, as JLo or Halle Berry, and deeper from there. Same on the Spring side, an Asian Bright Spring may have much more apparent black in the eyes and hair than a Caucasian usually would.
While many have the tawny and coppered skin of Autumn, lots of Dark Autumns have pinker skin, regardless of how warm or cool or light or dark the eye colours, or how close they are to the neighbour Seasons. Thank you to *Hannah for showing me Bobbi Brown Beauty Balm SPF 35 in Light as a beautiful foundation option for a group who can be challenged to find this product. Our runner up, near identical colour on her skin at least, was Lauder Double Wear Light SPF 10 in Intensity 1.0.
- Be careful of well-meaning friends. They can see that the outcome is not perfect. They know you feel frustrated about something. They want to offer helpful suggestions. And they lack enough knowledge, application, and flexibility of the colour system to come up with the answer. The usual advice is that the Season is incorrect. That can be the case, but most often not. The adjustment is either in the harmonizing of the palette or the correction of some other thing, maybe hair colour, maybe makeup. Very often, the expectations of the makeup are the roadblock. Women may feel that their best lipstick range is surprisingly narrow. Yup, true for most of us. The Bright Winter who has not fully understood the makeup possibilities will try to back away from the figure skater image in her head and email that she might be a Bright or True Spring after all, as her friend believes. So now you have a dark and imperial 30 year old with a flat, wide, boring face. Friend finds relief with the return of the face she is used to and Client being less agitated. Friend never saw the potential in the face with better choices. Meanwhile, Bright Winter Client is being reduced by what looks on her like a Disney costume instead of defined and elevated by her apparel. Call your analyst back first.
- The True Seasons can drift warm or cool also. I recall two PCAs in which I was certain that we were sailing smoothly towards True Summer, only to have the wind turn at the final drapes. Light Summer, True Summer, Light Summer, True, back and forth, compare the Luxury Drapes, tiring for everybody. Excellent though. This woman takes home two palettes and receives an email detailing how she will use them.
- Every bad thing is a good thing in disguise. Sandra knows the why of her Light Spring colouring. Soft Autumn gave her skin the heat her native colours want, plus muting, which her skin also loves. Hazy (Summer) agrees with certain parts of her. Juicy (Spring) looks pretty but has a definite upper limit. Light Summer colouring needs some dark if they want eyes, a nose, and a chin. Don’t think in terms of Season labels. They are a starting point to identify the mountains of stuff that you can forget about once and for all. Shopping finally opens up after that. Many of my own clothes could swatch into True Winter if I want something to wear, but I can tell you which 10 Seasons they never swatch into. Sandra said to me after, “I am ready now.” Best thing I can hear.
As Terry says, people can be any Season when they walk in. When they leave, they should look like what they are. Therein lies the entire point of it all, to look like what you are.
Seeing a Season in a presentation that I have never experienced before is a thrill for me. Julie has Italian parents. She looks like a mix between Denise Richards in her facial geometry and Mena Suvari in the complexion and overseas quality. Her skin appears golden and olive at once, like a blonde Mediterranean. Eyes contain a lot of Summer gray, with generous amounts of gold, brown, and green. Hair is medium-dark ash brown. Brows are light-medium brown with a touch of apricot. She is so strongly Summer that she figured that out on her own. The drapes agreed.
The PCA progressed much as a Light Summer does. She is easily centered in the Season, turning yellow instantly, in fact faster than usual, in Light Spring. This On/Off sensitivity to one degree of excessive heat is common of all colouring that can have a yellow overtone. Soft Summer and Dark Winter are much this way.
Listen now: People who appear yellow are usually cooler. Think about this. When we look at someone, all we see are overtones. Unless we have Xray vision to see under the surface skin or access to a calibrated comparison system, nobody can eyeball a colour anywhere, especially in a human being, and know what it is. Nobody, IMO.
Truly warm people do not tend to get those false yellow overtones. Why would they? They are the ones who do not turn yellow in too-warm colour. Only the cool people do that. Warm people can be yellow or tawny as their real colouring, but they do not look overly yellow. They look normal, just as normal as Bright Winter eyes look normal only in a Bright Winter face.
How do you tell these false and true yellow people apart?
Back to Answer A: Acquire Xray vision or know how to use a calibrated comparison under controlled lighting. Why about the lighting? Because light determines what colours come back out. No light in, no colours out. Blue light in, blue colours out. Yellow in, yellow out. Full spectrum in, full spectrum out. So simple, so obvious really.
This existence of an olive type skin in a Summer colour base was new and fantastic to me. Foundation needed to be deeper. As happens to women far too often, she had been to the cosmetics counter, someone saw the yellow, and ‘matched’ her to a too warm, too orange, too dark foundation. Now, not only is the skin too yellow from the hair and clothing, the foundation on top is giving a self-tanner effect to the face but not the neck. Not only can nobody look at skin and know, I enjoy that the sales folks get miffed when such a thing is suggested.
We liked Marc Jacobs 38 Beige Deep best of our three top choices. We tried about 12 before settling on these. There is no reason to believe that foundation can be matched by Season, because the final colour is influenced by the overtone, the undertone, the idiosyncrasies of the face, the pH of the skin, and the list goes on for an hour. Eyeliner, blush, and lisptick still came from the Light Summer rec’s but towards the darker side.
On Julie, lip colours (not the other makeup) changed drastically from the tube/swatch on white paper to her face, far more than I have seen. Raspberry and plum-pinks that seemed so elegant became lighter, opaque, crayon colours. Our final adult, elegant, balancing and defining lip was a mix of Clinique Very Currant and Paula’s Choice gloss in Festive Rose (this colour comes in a promo pack of 4 glosses every now and again). She will find many others on her list, but knows to never buy one tube without trying it first unless she is ok with burning that money. This might apply to you too. The products below must be tried, not taken at face value from online lists.
The blonde highlight that works well next to white skin will be too pale. On the Know Your Best Hair Colour board at Pinterest, I pinned a Mena Suvari picture of a hair colour that would work with this complexion, unite the eyebrows with the hair and skin, and still qualify as Spring influenced (beige and yellow) rather than Autumn (brown and toffee). I think it’s gorgeous.
Light Summer Makeup
In trying to find new colours or different lines for this series of posts, Light Summer took more work.
Autumn abounds at the cosmetics counter. I can think of makeup lines where 8 of the 12 blush colours are for Autumn! And yet they are good at colouring foundation. How is that customer awareness disparity possible? Because when we are not sure what to buy, we see those flesh tones and think, “How far off could they be?” Well, I will tell you, they are not good. Autumn is the worst Season on many people with Spring influence.
I want excitement in lips and cheeks. I cannot tell you how I look forward to the day when fashion swings around again, once they have sold us all the gray lips and cheeks they possibly can. More choice in reds will allow us to appear as it we have blood. Blood is alive and exciting.
The trick with Light Summer is keeping things fresh and clean in a delicate way. So many that I try to like (Armani Lip Maestro 503) take over with the amount of red pigment. They can be applied lightly, blotted, and gloss added. With today’s stains, they might even last a few hours. Benefit Benetint is a grand choice. For these articles, I am looking for colours that can be applied liberally, even by makeup novices.
Light Summer manages some darkness as do all Summers. Some features might even improve in black DEPENDING on the other colour being compared. Many people of this colouring love black for how their light hair looks against it. The problem is that black gives the face a 5 o’clock shadow, the total look feels cookie-cutter-news-anchorwoman, and her face fades back. She often tries to fix this with makeup effects that look more bizarre than elegant. Cool dark grays in clothing, feather colours, are so much better. Everyone relaxes.
As with Light Spring, I see little use for darker contouring eyeshadows. A little bit darker in the pan or on another face is a whole lot darker on this person. Even medium colours look plenty dark. To contour the eye, packing the medium darkness eyeshadows a little thicker works just fine. Eyeliner also need not be dark. This eye will define with even a faint gray line. That said, women like Julie will wear a darker gray than the middle of the Season.
Smoke and drama are out of place unless the desired effect is to have people staring at, and trying to ignore, makeup. Using their own colours, anyone could do a smoky eye shadow design but the fierce effect reads too tough, which the Light Summer woman seldom is in any persuasive way. What I find more beautiful and far more interesting is to use coloured accents at the outer part of the upper lid. I do not say this lightly. Makeup that reads as obviously blue, green, or purple can sabotage a woman’s ability to get taken seriously. If you want to wear these colours, be sure to know your Season version of them. They stick out on a face a thousand times more than grays.
Colours are dusty. On my screen, they are dustier than they were in Photoshop. Welcome to software. You may need to angle your screen up and down to see brighter versions.
Being a Light Season means lighter makeup than other Seasons. Light is not near-white in this context. Too pale is draining and chalky. Lips that are about the colour of skin are appropriate and attractive on young girls. Too much darkness or opacity of product on teenagers (as so many models are, which is why those media images are appealing) looks like playing in Mom’s makeup bag, meaning they will be taken less seriously, not something I would promote for a woman of any age. I have never seen a human being who looks better with no lips. Teenagers with pale gloss still have lips. We 50 year olds do not. Aim for the middle of the swatch book to the dark end depending on the woman and the occasion. Mature women have more presence and more power in the face. Their makeup needs the same if it is to do what it could.
How to swatch makeup to Season was described in the Light Spring article.
Some pictures will post on the Makeup for Your Natural Colouring board at Pinterest in the next day or so.
Blush: Inglot 362. Bobbi Brown Pretty Pink.
Eyeliner: Urban Decay Mushroom. UD Ether is a gray that was nice with the palette, with a purple sparkle to used carefully, perhaps for evening. Marc Jacobs Shoshanna is a pretty accent colour that could work for any Summer, blue-greens being so well accepted by these colouring types.
Eyeshadow: Dolce&Gabbana Romance. Urban Decay SWF and Bust. We spent a long time at the Inglot counter at Macy’s, found 465 and 117R as lovely choices, with 420 and 459 as darker choices. Bobbi Brown Slate powder and pot paint, Cool Ivory, Shell, Pink Chiffon.
Lipstick: D&G Princess. Benefit Rouge Shine 23 is a nice day colour, Tarte Elite being up at the intense end of a similar colour (a little weak on a Bright Winter, where Tarte Dreamy has more presence but she could wear either. Comfort level matters.) Marc Jacobs Have We Met is a pretty lipstick; I wanted to add Roll the Dice here but it would be the only thing people see. Inglot 72. Bobbi Brown gloss #11. Thanks to Rachel for showing me Laura Mercier Fresh Raspberry, possibly an ultimate red for Light Summer colouring. Bare Minerals Call the Shots is good, and I wanted to like Risk it All for the freshness but it’s too plastic/candy next to this palette/face. Plastic lips are only slightly better than gray ones, looking fake and dead in that order. Worn on a different colouring, plastic can look normal. If a lipstick is gray enough to look dead on a Light Summer, it has little hope of coming to life.
Bronzer: It can be pretty here. I always add some unless the woman is near True Summer. The colouring does well with a certain darkness to define bones, where a light peach-beige-gold colour is plenty to achieve the effect. The colour is like a new penny but calmed down, say, halfway between new penny and white gold. Cover f/x Gold is good. Others I love are Hourglass Luminous Light and Radiant Light. Dior Sunlight can be good, as could Smashbox Sunkissed Matte, these being dark enough. The idea here is to use it sparingly, to create gentle apricot golden warmth and gentle contours. A light application still allows the muted native skin to blend in, creating a lovely outdoor glow without noticeable heat.