How The 5 Springs Add Yellow

We discussed How The 5 Autumns Add Brown To Hair Colour. It only seems right that we go through Spring yellows.

But first. As I look at the original Autumn graphic below, I notice that I have combined 2 concepts. I melded the type of brown with the appearance of Winter red.

The original picture:

The 5 Autumn browns, subtracting Winter red, would look like this:

The Soft Season browns are still being influenced by Summer gray, I know, but the particular brown is right. Soft Summer = campfire smoke. Soft Autumn = peanut butter. True Autumn = amber gold. The same gold is warming them all, but the effect is different when the amount is less or more.

From there, ignoring the redness of Winter, but allowing its blackness, Dark Autumn = dark neutral taupe. Dark Winter = black chocolate.

For Spring, let me confine myself to the type of yellow only. In 12 Season (Tone) Colour Analysis, we include the True Spring, and its strong blends of Light Spring (blend with Summer) and Bright Spring (blend with Winter). We also include Spring weak blends, as the Light Summer (Summer takes precedence) and Bright Winter (Winter takes precedence).

For each of the 5 groups, the yellow being added by Spring influence is affected by the amount of Spring and what Season it is being blended with.

Spring colours are light because of a particular property of yellow. As it increases in saturation to satisfy Spring’s pure clear colours, it gets lighter. Compare that to Winter, which gets darkened by the higher saturation of the colour blue.

Before Spring : A kitten is True Summer white. Their best hair highlight is silver beige. Not white or platnimum, but certainly not yellow, which causes an illusion of a red, shiny nose and center of the face.

Gradually, Spring will light up the palettes. Light Summer is marshmallow. A trace of yellow from Spring and a trace of blue-grey leftover from Summer. This woman is predominantly a Summer. She looks better in Summer style of wearing clothes, but brightens and lightens it. Sometimes, the lightening effect can be less obvious and need not be conveyed only by pale pastel colours. For instance, a fabric can convey lightening as weightlessness or floatiness. So can a print like bubbles, mist, or foam. When added to hair, this watery yellow looks best as a cool beige. (See How Light Summer Goes Grey)

As we move into Light Spring, colour becomes yellower and clearer. The variability in human colouring, even within a given Season, is the challenge of personal colour analysis. There are many texts and websites, including this one, that may show you a human example of a Season. Trying to find those averages among your friends is another thing altogether. Your colour analysis will tell you the hair colour and makeup colours that look most natural on you, within a small range. The range may go from warmer to cooler, or lighter to darker, depending on your position within your Season. Louise (in Louise and Stevan Are Light Springs) is very much on the cool side of the Season, with more ash brown than warm brown hair, so her highlight will be cooler than Stevan’s beachy, sunny yellow. From a colourist perspective, this will be hard to fine tune with bleach alone, but they have many shades of blonde to work with to give you the right highlight. You will know what to ask for when you walk into the salon.

True Spring has a clear yellow in the largest quantity. Though the hair may not be yellow at maturity, and is probably brown, her hair highlight is buttery, almost peachy, yellow. The harmony with the skin is extremely spontaneous and likely. Her natural hair colour is probably dark blonde, and may be glassy, like the caramelized sugar glaze of a Creme Brulee.  As colour transparency in eyes is high in Spring, so is it in hair and skin, and therefore lovely in cosmetics. Autumn base colour is medium to dark brown and velvety dense, and of course, Autumn would never wear a yellow highlight.

Bright Spring is a clearer stronger yellow. In reality, the same yellow is added to the various groups, yellow pigment is yellow pigment after all. The different appearance is due to the amount of yellow and relative influence of the other colours. Because there is less than in True Spring, there is none of the buttery softness of True Spring. All I did was raise the saturation. Dark hair and dark eyes are very common here. When the complexion is deeper, the person looks Mediterranean, as Spanish or Italian. Dark hair and fair skin may look Celtic. If the person has white hair and turquoise-glass eyes, she is the only person outside her family who knows her eyes are turquoise, not blue, because she dresses like a Summer. You have to use judgement to harmonize the person and the makeup on the Light>>Dark scale, and on the Warm>>Cool scale, among the colours offered in the Colour swatch Book. This colouring is very unique. No hair colour from a bottle is likely to improve on what you were given. The finest tuning balances the complexion with the natural hair colour, but won’t believably tolerate big creative shifts.

Out at the Spring frontier of Bright Winter, there is very little yellowness left. The difference between this and Light Summer yellow is the amount of gray. This yellow is icy white, lighter than the colour above (icy colour is hard to replicate on a screen and convey the frostiness). This person is a Winter, with very little Spring remaining. The Winter most important rule is high contrast, so very light with very dark blocks. Therefore, to be called icy, the light colours Bright Winter chooses move very close to white. Also fascinating hair colouring, be careful if you mess with it. If quite dark, leave it alone. If medium brown, almost ashy, and eyes and skin are light enough, a little blonding at the ends of the hair can give a sunkissed suggestion. Don’t go overboard. If the hair is dark, leave it be. Dark and dynamic force is uniquely Bright Winter’s radiance. Now why would you reduce that?



20 thoughts on “How The 5 Springs Add Yellow”

  1. Yet another great article from you.Thank you.

    I’m analyzed in another system (Beauty For All Seasons), and my best yellow is right between your examples for True and Bright Spring. I am a medium Spring in the BFAS system.

    So I can relate to what you are saying for both categories.

    Yellow is VERY important to us Springs. It’s magic. Life itself. Hope. Happiness.

    If yellow did not exist in this world, I would not want to be here!

  2. Your blog is simply wonderful. I am a True Spring, and shopping has always been difficult for me, especially for fall clothes, since it seems that half the offerings are always in black or other Winter colors and the other half are in Autumn colors. This blog has helped me zero in on the few things which ARE the right colors for me. I check it daily.

    Is there any chance you will write a book containing all these posts at some point? I live far from Toronto, and can’t travel for a consultation, although it would be lovely to have one of your swatch books.

  3. They (the yellows) are so beautiful! Like a breath of fresh air. I would want to wear my britest yellow on the stormiest days. Maybe if you suffer with “SAD” (the syndrom that people get due to lack of sunshine in their area…like the northwest) this might be a refreshing color. I agree with you, Jenny yellow is a very hopefull color, especially in these brite shades.

  4. Hi, Heidi,

    A color system has to be easy to use and apply in the real world – which is hard to do sometimes. I’m glad you find information here that helps. True Spring and True Autumn have somewhat unpredictable palettes, I’ve always found. Would I write a book? Yes, certainly. For women who know their Season among the 12, it would be fun and interesting (and hopefully, useful). If she’s not so sure, it would not help a woman know her Season any better than back when there were 4 Seasons. If you’re in Canada, I can mail you a Colours Book. Send me an email to if you want to go ahead . With HST, the cost is about $92 before shipping. I hesitate a bit in case you ever do have a PCA and find you’re a Light Spring, or some other Season. This would not be a returnable purchase, but quite glad to do it.

  5. Hi Christine,

    Just wondered what you meant by True Spring and True Autumn having somewhat unpredictable palettes?

  6. It might just be this monitor, I’ll have to test it on another, but the Light Summer yellow looks a lot more like the Light Summer white than the yellows I have in my swatch book. I can barely see it against the white background!

  7. Tora,
    Light Summer has many many yellows. I was trying to illustrate only what version of yellow Spring overlays on every colour in the palette. And monitor issues are always there, which is why Light Summer and Bright Spring look so alike.

  8. Hi Christine,

    I appreciate all the work you’re doing! For your Bright Winter comment “a little blonding on the ends of the hair can give a sun-kissed suggestion” – what shade would the highlight be? The silver-beige of light summer? Would the same apply for Bright Spring? I am a cooler end Bright Spring with a med-dark ash brown hair, growing out yellow-blonde hair colour (!!). I’d like to get a few highlights while I let the base colour gradually take over. Please could you clarify the highlight tone for Bright Spring/Bright Winter?

  9. Hi, Julia,

    Hair suggestions are hardest of all, even more one-woman-at-a-time than making. Why? Because hair colour is not tightly linked to Season. There are many presentations in any Season. The Bright Winter and Spring can have very dark hair, and also a rather medium ash brown that makes people think they’re Summers if their eyes are light. Start with your own colour, medium dark ash. I’m thinking of Megan Fox. My own taste prefers nothing be done. Highlights are never a necessity, even many Light Summers are way better without them, but on any person with a trace of Winter, my hair preference is dark and lustrous and sleek. But I get that in some cases, hair is ash or just medium, or all your friends are highlighting and you are too, dammit. So, no, not Summer’s light blonde, you’ll look like processed tiger stripes. Don’t interrupt the dark force. You’ll look like you’re frosting your hair with grey. I’d think about just the slightest tone-on-tone lightening of the tips, to look like last summer’s sun. That’s it. OK, I’m boring. But hey, I’m classy :) :) (Not really).
    In one article, I suggested we dress someone who looks like us. Same for hair. Who has your natural hair colour and Season? Katy Perry? Zooey Deschanel? Audrey Tautou? All Bright Winters. Milla Jovovich may be a Bright Spring. Google them and scan their Images. Their hair changes constantly. What does your eye like?
    Also the amazing and truly classy Lauren Battistini, the Sci\ART analyst who owns Color My Closet in Houston, is a Bright Winter who lightens the tips of her hair very successfully. Check her website or facebook page. Lots of photos and videos.

  10. Julia – I Hope you don’t mind if I add a comment. Like you I am a Bright Spring on the cool side, and perhaps my experience can help.
    1. What colours does your hair have at the very base? At the neck? You write that you have medium dark ash brown hair. I thought I had that. But I have seen my self on video today (from a sporting event) and was surprised how dark my hair actually is. It is close to black, it has shadows that are black. I have heard people call me black haired, but I knew it was brown and when I studied the ends of the hair it was quite light. I mention this, because you might benefit from seeing photos of yourself. You may discover new colours.
    2. Perhaps you could add stripes of your own base and some a bit lighter and some a bit darker? I had light ends left from summer and some highlights. After my PCA I wanted to change that to something more natural and cover some of the beginning greys. In stead of highlights I had dark stripes added. The hairdresser took two dark colours almost the same as those of my own hair at the base and the neck. Not even my best friend could see that I had stripes added. It blended in very well. You could look for a hairdresser who does organic hairdressing and organic colours. They don’t leave a sharp mark of “roots” as the hair grows.
    Good luck.

  11. Somebody mentioned “SAD.” I was always told I was a winter, and wore very dark colors (as they were easier to find than the brighter winter colors). I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m actually a Bright SPRING, and have been wondering about the influence of the wrong (dark, heavy!) colors on the emotional state of someone designed for bright, “airy” colors.

  12. Just had my colours and emerged as a Bright Spring rather than the Autumn I thought I was. I am pleased and excited about the possibilities of the new palette.

    I note Christine that you said that Bright Springs can rarely improve upon nature with bottle dye. My hair is salt and pepper grey or would be if I ever let it grow out. I currently colour it with using 6N and 6C to attempt to get a neutral brown. It always ‘pulls’ the warmth out of any dye and I end up with a variety of warmish brown. My consultant was very positive about the benefits to my colouring of growing out the grey. We also talked about attempting to colour it with more of an ash tone, using just 6c for example, to bring it into better balance with my colouring. Milla Jojovich seems to look best with a neutral brown with an ashy tone I note.
    Do you have any thoughts on this?

  13. Really hard to say without knowing you, Kathryn. Hair is adjusted one woman at a time. I will say that any Bright Spring wearing her own grayed hair colour looks superb, and it’s excellent with the bright makeup and face. But I also understand not being ready to go gray quite yet. Milla has fabulously good hair colour in its natural ash brown state. That’s a good colour on B Sp, part of why they’re so often confused with T Su. I’m not a hair colourist so I can’t really talk in terms of levels and how much ash to add. You sure don’t want too much ash, you are warmer than cool, but I guess it depends where you start from. If your hair keeps going to a different colour than you intended, perhaps it’s trying to tell you something? What was the colour when you were about 25, before the darkening of maturity? That’s often a pretty good colour.

  14. Hi Christine,

    Thank you for the article! Pale Marigold Yellow brought me here!

    I thought I was a soft Autumn, but I noticed many of the colors between soft Autumn and Toned Spring (Light Spring Soft) are very similar. I glow in a color between warm pink and light peach, look amazing in Pale marigold yellow (yellow with hint of orange), light warm gray looks wonderful, and Terra Cotta is nice but peachy orange sherbert tends to make me look brighter and blends into my skin like a second skin. Reds are difficult, it seems that coral between red and pink suites me well and this color looks better than the reds on my autumn 12 tone fan. I have not determined my best shade of blue but robin’s egg looks flattering and I can wear teal. White is clashing, I am better in off whites like ivory and pale camel. Soft Autumns browns seem a little too warm and a color I tried between milk chocolate and warm gray was far more flattering and actually quite like my eyebrow color. I prefer Rose Gold Jewelry as it seems to blend with my skin.

    I’m not sure what defining factor or color will say you are Light Spring Soft w/ tone of grey versus Soft Autumn w/ tint of white. oddly enough I think that perhaps the Autumn might be graying me a tad even though it’s colors have a tint of white? If I am Toned Spring under the 16 season’s how do I find a color fan… they seem non-existent although I heard you could use Bright Winter’s light grayed colors?

    Thank you!

  15. Hi, Heather,
    I would love to help but not sure that I can since the systems you refer to are different from the one I use. To sort out SA, LSp, or some other Season, and before spending $100 on a fan, you just have to be correctly draped. Very few women figure it out themselves, and even if they do come to the right answer, they don’t really understand what that means. I use the fans from True Colour Australia but they won’t translate exactly to Toned Spring, as Sci\ART has no such palette category. I don’t understand what BW’s grayed colours means and can’t imagine how that would guide you to your best shopping decisions. IDK if the 16 Season systems you mention sell colour palettes to go along with their Seasons.

  16. Hi Christine!

    The 16 season is from Lora Alexander. Her book contains swatches from all the seasons.

    I was professionally draped as a True Iridescent Summer from the Color Alliance Program. I think that this draping was close in proximity but not correct. The analyst said that she had the hardest time between Autumn and Summer but she though summer was a tad better. I have teal veins and eyes and was swatched to have skin and hair in the warm season, yet somehow I came out cool as better. I am positive I am warm but share with cool like Light Spring. The light spring colors that are softer than other springs and lighter than Soft Autumn tend to make me glow, where as summer washes me out too much and makes me look pale, brings out circles under my eyes, and almost unwell. My face is very sensitive and dangly silver earrings tends to take the light from face.

  17. It’s such a fine line – the difference between B. spring and True spring, until you get it home! When it’s wrong…It’s very wrong! I’ve made a few mistakes when selecting my colours thinking if it’s clear and bright than it’s for me but too bright and it makes me looks sallow and weak! the right colours for a True spring make me look and feel strong and confident-especially my Yellow!! Thank you for your in-depth and intelligent thought provoking posts!

  18. I tend to make the same mistakes, Deanna. Besides, it’s harder to find true spring colours than bright spring ones. Fabrics tend to be either bright or muted. Paintwise, when colours are mixed in the process and a warm one gets mixed with a cool one, the result will be muted (a lot or just a bit). Only when cool is mixed with cool or warm with warm the result will be clear (that is, as clear as the mixing colours were in the first place, and as similar their place on the coolness or warmth scale). When fabric designers want clear, they automatically tend to add extra pigments, I guess, to be sure the clearness will be enhanced. But that means first of all bright.
    May be the case to some extend, who knows.

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