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Best Makeup Colours: Light Summer


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 Summer. 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. Together, the analysts did a thorough repeat PCA. We arrived at Light Summer once again.

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. Very often, the client is crossing over between colours and styles, when they should be kept separate. Every Season appears in every body type and clothing style, but some go together with less searching. Burberry and Light Summer is not automatic; conscious colour choices are learned once you have awareness of the categories.

How can you tell when you shop? Work with your entire fan, not just the colour you are matching. This is because every colour in your will be seen next to the garment, not just your blues with a blue blouse, or your greens with a green one.

Suppose you are one of the cool-neutral Seasons who does not want to go too warm, such as Light Summer. Lay the open Light Summer fan on your garment. Look at the cooler lipstick colours and cooler neutral colours in the palette. If the garment is too warm, those colours will clash.

To know colours that are too warm, a Light Summer will lay her open colour fan on the 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.

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Solving your Season

To keep in mind as you learn about your colouring:
  1. Don't spin your wheels in the Season. The analyst can help you see yourself in the colours of any 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, including yellow and lime.
  2. Don't spin your wheels in the stereotype. Many ideas about the Seasons were cultivated when there were only 4 choices. Testing systems today are more refined and objective, with 12 defined groups, each with its own colour language. Idea shortcuts took hold, then as they do now, but they led to less clarity, not more.
  3. Don't spin your wheels in the words. Dark Seasons are not necessarily dark to look at. Dark Autumn is not especially dark at all, at least in Caucasians. Everything about colour is relative. Light Seasons may look light or medium and they have their own versions of darker colours. If you placed their hair or dark colours on a Dark Season person, the lightness would suddenly be obvious.
  4. Be careful of well-meaning friends. They can see that the outcome is not perfect. They know you feel frustrated and 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. 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.
  5. Every bad thing is a good thing in disguise. Sandra now knows the why of her Light Spring colouring. 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.
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Light Summer Makeup

The trick with Light Summer is keeping things fresh and clean in a delicate way.

Using their own colours, anyone could do a smoky eye shadow design. 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 be taken seriously. If you want to wear these colours, be sure to know your Season version of them.



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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 may be appropriate or attractive on young girls. 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 theLight Spring article.