How Winters Intensify Eye Colour

How the other 9 Seasons intensify eye colour has been discussed in previous posts (Spring, Summer, Autumn). I neglected Winter because I figured these eyes don’t need a lot of help, they tend to be self-emphasizing. I thought I wouldn’t have much to say (will I ever learn?). I was wrong, there are still ways to make what you have better, and really important ways not to make things worse.

Previously, we said you can emphasize eye colour, or any colour, by repeating it, by using the complementary colour, or by using contrast.

For All 3 Winters

1. Coloured eyeliner, of course. Sometimes repeating your eye colour works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, it’s because there’s conflict with your inherent pigmentation, skin and eyes being usually made of very similar pigments. Stick with the personal colour palette. Once you get a perfect colour for your skin, it will automatically be perfect for your eyes and hair. At what point obvious colour in eye makeup becomes too young is your decision, and might depend on your age, your taste, where you live, and what kind of day it is.

The exact colours to buy are in the swatch book. If you try to guess at the best brown/blue/purple/green, you have about a 20% chance of being right. Think of how many blue or green eyeliners are available. If you know your Season, you could look at the colours Sci\ART analyst and makeup artist Darin Wright has posted, and sells, at Go Personal Makeup Colors > Liner > Eye Liners > then pick your Season. Some of us couldn’t scroll down to the lower ones, but one smart woman pointed out that using the up/down/left/right keys works for her, and it did for me too.

You have darkness, so very dark pure plums, violets, and sapphires can look like a softened black if obvious colour isn’t to your taste.

These eyes are very hard to dominate. Heavy liner looks fine, certainly on the Darks and Trues. Bright Winter is a more delicate face, always something of the sprite, and some may need a lighter hand with dark liner. IMO, black doesn’t suit anybody unless you’re very dark, darker than Halle Berry, because it’s too hard. Very blackened browns and greys look more real and less pharaoh.

2. Wearing your eye colour in clothing, which is more effective than eye makeup since the colour block is bigger. The high colour saturation in Winters strengthens the effect even more. Winter looks cluttered and fussy wearing many colours at once but the colour(s) they do wear are very bold. Since there’s less colour distracting the eye, the one colour it does see is maximally compelling. If it happens to match the eye colour, they carry each other that much higher.

3. Wearing makeup. No group looks more heightened with makeup than Winter and they know it, often not leaving the house without a fair bit of it – but, boy, it can take them places. If any group can carry a little too much, it’s this one.

4. Generic brown eyeshadow is too hot, flat, and safe for this group. They are far more silver charcoal gray people. It looks cleaner and sharper. Grey includes a thousand choices from ice to near-black. The Darks will wear iron and diesel smoke. The Trues and Brights wear stainless steel and coal.

It becomes essential to learn your right greys, the colour I think is the most challenging and often the last one people get very comfortable choosing after their PCA, but such a high-efficiency engine in clothing and eyeliner. I appreciate that the idea of saturated grey is oxymoronic. Closeness to greyness is how we decide a colour is of low saturation. What does Winter do, who needs high sat everything?

It comes together in an item that looks densely pigmented, like a heavy layer of paint, not gauzy or watery or dilute or sheer. Light wouldn’t shine through it – or so it should feel, even if the item is sheer. The grey consists of B&W only, which looks harder, not bluish or pinkish or any ishes, which look softer. Sound softer. Hear ish and the whole message softens, like speaking with your head straight (no ish) or tipped (ishy). Seeing another colour with the grey, like Summer’s mauve greys, feels like the compromise we associate with softening or muting, the presence of 2 colours at once. There’s no iffiness about Winter’s colour. It is or it’s not. Water can be lots of colours but nobody argues over the colour of blood. Solid B&W grey feels like no bargain, no deal, no give…why, just like Winter!

6. These eyes can be black brown to the point that no detail can be seen in the iris and the intensity of the colour doesn’t seem much affected by colour. What is strongly affected in every one of these eyes will be the crispness around the edge of the iris. In wrong colour, it blurs and fuzzes, which, of course, is happening to the whole face. The same colour suggestions apply regardless of eye colour if the skin Season is Winter.


7. Complementary colours exist opposite each other on the colour wheel. In each other’s presence, they set up a current, almost a pulsation.

Notice the blueness of the white of the eye above? In right colour, that blueness is accentuated. It acts as a complement for orange-brown in eyes. Self-emphasizing eyes, just by pulling on the right shirt!

This seems easy. The usual pairs are,

Blue if brown eyes.

Brown for blue eyes.

Purple for yellow.

Red for green.

Be careful. You need the right complement. Every single blue and every single orange don’t come together to make the vibration of adjacent complements. It’s not just low-lying fruit. The money shot depends on getting it right. Make your blues more purple, the complements get yellower. Make your inborn blues more saturated and redder, complements get more staurated and yellower.

Luckily, once you know your inborn colours, you Colour Book contains their inborn complements. It’s actually really hard to know your exact eye colour and which pigments matter to make the colour effect work. A blue eyed Winter isn’t going to have big use for yellow in makeup, but can sure wear primary yellow in clothes. She’ll repeat the blue in liner and then contrast the white of the eye by choosing a dark blue liner.

Play with your eye colour and this tool (enter Complimentary under Scheme and play with the Sat and Brightness sliders.)

If you have a brown eye, all the blues in your personal colour swatches will complement the orange tones, brown just being dark orange. Pick the ones that make sense to you as eye makeup, like the black sapphire liner.

Green eyes are obviously not going to pick red eyeliner, they’ll pick red clothes. Many Winter greys have a red undercurrrent because red is a huge part of the undertone. I have really never seen a subtle red presence in grey in clothes or eye makeup. I doubt these items are coloured that specifically. If you could find it, it would be interesting with eyes that contain green.

8. Contrasts

When I say contrast, I’m almost always meaning light-dark contrast, or value contrast, though there are other types. Wearing the lightest lights and the darkest darks at once is as important on Winter as getting their colour right. It applies to  makeup as well as clothes and jewelry.

A very defined and precisely shaped brow is so important. It can be almost old-world movie star stylized. Elizabeth Taylor eyebrows. Casual is not so successful on Winter. Can you even imagine her in sweats? It’s almost impossible. Winter finds it hard to make jeans work and easy to dress up.

Define the brow with pencil or powder of the same colour, not darker, which can be picked out a mile away and looks cliche. Some Winters have a light brow. Go with that. To thine own self, right? It introduces gentleness that’s not expected and is extremely approachable and attractive.

Another way to define the brow is to surround it with light colour (highlight below, foundation above), like they surround the lips with light colour on makeup ads to make them jump out of the page. Always find ways to heighten the contrast on Winter. Winters will choose an extreme icy light under the brow.

You’re using very light and very dark eyeshadows. The eyeliner is quite dark, almost black. These 3 Seasons look good with dark eyeliner on the inner rims of the eyelids. Everyone else looks too vicious. Winter looks fierce, which they already look like anyhow (and are) so the stretch isn’t beyond credibility. It looks hard and they look hard, both in a good way. Great partnership (terrible grammar, sorry, Word is sending me all sorts of flags.) You haven’t altered course. The needle is still pointed the same way. You’re elevating what you are already, the name of the game.

9. Mascara is blackest black and lots of it.

Dark Winter

In 12 Season personal colour analysis, Dark Winter is the group whose natural colouring is mostly composed of the Winter palette pigments, incorporating an Autumn portion that will darken, mute, and warm the colours as though 4 drops of darkest chocolate were mixed in. They might look like Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock, or Paula Begoun.

I apologize to women of colour who get tired of being outnumbered by women of light Caucasian skin in these discussions. My own experience is with light complexions so I’m more comfortable suggesting makeup for that skin. Among my clients, one woman of Indian ethnicity was Dark Winter. Asian women have been Bright Winters and Bright Spring. One African-American was Dark Winter. I used the very same makeup for them that I do for light women and they looked great. No doubt, more intense and darker colour would have worked as well.

Eyeliner is black brown or dark gunmetal. Dark Winter is not playful, they’re functional. When I wear coloured liner, my children say “Mom, you’re just not that happy.” I just found out I am an INTJ personality, same as Bill Gates, which is weird because he doesn’t look Dark. Ben Bernanke, now, that makes complete sense. I quite love the eleablake liners in Currant, Walnut, and Midnight Blue. If Dark is going to do colour, do it right. It gets cartoony quick.

Teal matters. As a repeat to teal in the eye colour or to complement the orange tones in brown eyes, whether in makeup or clothing or jewelry, this is an important colour for everyone with any Autumn in them. Some degree of gold-orange, in this Season it’s the darkest, coolest version as darkest chocolate brown, is present in the skin and overall colouring.

Eyeshadow is dull dark grey with an icy highlight under the brow. Clinique Totally Neutral is good. I see Edward Bess Soft Smoke and Chanel Gris Exquis online and they look good. MAC Smut is a contender, with a good name. Dark Winter grey is like a dark, sooty (not dusty, which lightens as it dulls) grey.

The Darks can do a brown in eyeshadow better than the other Winters because of that browning-by-Autumn element. It is purpley. I mix Dynamic and Groovy.

True Winter

Could be Liv Tyler, Josh Groban, Kim Kardashian, or Anne Hathaway.

Eyeliners are black brown, coal, black if you insist, black sapphire, and dark purple.

True Winter is quiet. They are not working (Dark) or playing (Bright). Shape and outline matter more than colour. A perfectly lined eye using white and mid to darkest gray, that would look no different if seen on B&W TV, has unbelievable impact.

Red is the signature colour of the Winter group…and so eleablake gives True Winter the perfect cool, dark green liner in Eucalyptus.

Of all the Winters, True adds the fewest colour elements. They are perfectly defined and refined by B&W alone in very symmetric but strongly defined shapes. Colour in clothing can almost get in the way of the eye colour. One colour should stand alone, like one leaf left on a frozen tree, one red berry on a bush. Let that one colour be the eyes. And then the lips. I’ve never seen any other group do this B&W+eyes effect with such force. They’re just electrifying (explosive will be the territory of the Brights.)

Chanel Smoky Eyes is a good all-in-one quad. It’s sparkly, which looks good on the young. For the rest of us, those cleanest greys in a matte or satin version are better.

Bright Winter

Bright Winter describes the natural colouring of the person who is primarily Winter, with the faintest yellow light shining on the colours, making them lighter, clearer, and a bit warmer than True Winter’s. Who? Zooey Deschanel, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, the cute pixieness of Spring but the glamour is bigger.

Fun not functional applies to all Spring blends. Winter is the bigger gun in Bright Winter and brings with it glitz and shine. When you mix the two, the flash can’t be held back. Cat eyes, shine, colour, it all works, but stay true to Winter’s need for control and just do one thing at a time in a reserved way. Winter holds too much back to fit 100% with thrills and bright lights.

Here, coloured eyeliner to the point of crayon actually makes sense. It can also backfire if you get it wrong and take away from the eye colour. Depending on your colouring, this is the lightest of the Winters. Your eyeliners are here.

Purple is to any Spring what teal is to any Autumn: important. An element of yellow is present in every colour in the palette/person. Know your purples. Yours are lighter than TW and DW, more variations on sugarplum and poster violet than majesty purple.

The Chanel Smoky Eyes quad is a great choice here too, or equivalent colours. I think L’Oreal makes a Smoky Eyes. MAC has a number of greys, though I wish they weren’t all so dark and similar. They need to make the same grey range that they’ve done so well with brown.


First: Reminder: The importance of blush to heighten eye colour can’t be overstated.

With such strong eyes, a lip with enough colour to at least be natural is important or the eyes look spooky. The TW face seems off-balance. You’ll see the current page number above her photos and the Page option below so you can move around.

The lips should be in contrast with the skin just like every other feature. On a young girl, fire engine lips can look like playing dress up. She’ll wear clear fuchsia pinks, sheer reds, and purple glosses. The whole strong eye-pale mouth look, I never love it on any Winter. Lip colour doesn’t have to be dark, especially if lips are thick or thin, but the lips should not look like they’re wearing concealer or be chalky. Choose a sheer plum. Wear a nude look, but your nudes won’t be in the same tube as Soft Autumn’s.

The bottom of page 2 is bizarre, like Snow Princess disguised as Cinderella-pre-prince. What could be has been diminished utterly. I couldn’t find this girl till the second last photo Page 8. I can’t even talk about the one above it. Hair colour matters. Even on a Winter, spending all your time on the eyes and forgetting the rest isn’t a look that works outside of magazines, like the second one down Page 10.

As a general impression to the viewer, these colours on Elizabeth Taylor don’t hold a candle to these. The eye colour is grayed, the liner is too hot so the whites of the eyes are yellowed, the face looks pudgy. Quite possibly the most beautiful lips ever given to a woman just make you want to turn the page. The next one is the goddess. Do you know what the waterline of the eye is? The inner rim of the lower lid. It’s a makeup effect to draw a white line on it because it looks so clean and healthy (off whites and beiges on other Seasons). In right colours, it will be very white on everyone, very important effect on Summers who can be quite pinkish to begin with. See how white it is in the good photo – that’s been edited in but it just elevates what’s already there. If it were placed in the worse photo, it would look weird or sinister, it could never fit in. And yet it belongs on this woman.



12 thoughts on “How Winters Intensify Eye Colour”

  1. Hi Christine
    Great artikel about the Winter types colours. Just one question :-) When Liz Taylor died was she still a Bright Winter in your opinion ?
    Best regards Anette Henriksen Denmark

  2. Wonderful article, Christine. They are marvellous those winters. What an amazing black brown eye, and the sharpness of the rim, the blueness of the white – just beautiful.
    Though I can’t match that kind of drama I found your article very helpful also for me as Bright spring. Especially it made me see how the idea of earthy natural look is ridiculous on a winter and it is on me too. It also brought new attention to lip colour for me.
    I identify very much with the winter trace in my season – and your comment that the winters need their make up and can do a lot, makes sense to me. I don’t look all that striking without make up. My striking green eyes, which are actually hazel, look kind of soft brown without make up.
    I have read your article on how springs intensify eye colour before, but this made me read the comments too, including a Bright winter who felt she learned a lot from reading about her neighbour palette Bright spring. If you ever again get questions about what a bright spring who is not Asian or has dark eyes might look like, you are more than welcome to point them to my website, if you feel that could be helpful.
    ( ) (oh, yes another Dane – hello Anette :-) )
    The tool for playing with complementary colours was fun. It made me try to detect my eye colour with the colour book again, and to my surprise the large light section that I couldn’t figure out is actually a glassy pale version of Bright springs Icy Mint. My green eye colour is an illusion. There is no proper green in them at all. The are brown at the centre, then yellow, then there is a broad band of mint and then a dark grey rim.
    Icy colours are hard to replicate with the colour tool.
    What would be the complement of Icy mint, would you say? I know from experience that fuchsia brings out the mint, but there might be others worth trying. Thank you!

  3. Wonderful! As a new bright winter this was fascinating reading, I so often find myself in shops now talking myself through what I learn from your articles, is that true winter, is that dark winter with the browning to the colour, what’s the difference if I want to know if something really is bright winter, and that often helps me avoid making mistakes I can make even with my swatches in badly lit stores. It’s always hard to balance the need for contrast with as you say, tipping so easily over into cartoon, or in sliding into the dignity of deep winter colours without the colouring to be able to pull it off.

  4. Anette,

    I’m not sure she was even a Bright to begin with. Not saying she wasn’t, it’s just that I don’t find photos of celebrities very reliable. The eyes certainly made it seem possible, and the intensity of her colouring, but I don’t really buy into that whole clear eye>must be Bright convention. As for when she aged, that’s even harder. The amount of makeup made it hard to see skin.


    You’re right, that tool doesn’t allow icy colour well. Try this one

    and type AAFFC8 into the Hex code box, click Set, and set the box below for Complementary. You’ll get many colours and many versions of those colours.

    I appreciate your comment that one really doesn’t know one’s eye pigments any better than one can evaluate those in the skin. Even if eyes are brown, so are many Autumn and Spring eyes, but it’s not the same brown at all. If you ever pixellate a picture of your eye, you’ll be amazed at what colours it really is composed of. As you so brilliantly put it, our eye colour is an illusion…because all colour is an illusion. It just becomes more fascinating all the time to wrap a mind around it.


    I’m glad to see you’re getting into very discriminating and sophisticated colour territory. Sometimes the DW browning is hard to see. Some items could be worn by all 3 Winters. And it’s all just my opinion, not all of which will resonate with who you are. But when you look back in a year, decisions that seem challenging today will be almost second nature, as you discover not only correct colour and also as you use colour as the language that tells the world who Helen is, and who she isn’t.

  5. Christine, thank you for providing the new tool and the codes. The complementary of Icy mint is one of the many pinks that I haven’t dared try yet (have never ever in my life worn pink, which I perceive as very girlish, but I will find a way to work it). Then I looked for the triadic, which seems to be how my own colouring is put together – the result had me smiling big time. The triadic of mint green is the colour of the drape I felt most beautiful in: the Icy purple :-)

  6. AC I just had to comment on your description of your eyes. I have something similar. To look at me, you’d think my eyes are a brownish green (is that hazel?) But, shine a light on them, and they, first of all seem to have two layers to them, and second of all don’t have a speck of green, anywhere. They’re brown spokes radiating across a gray background. And I once took a picture of my eye and then used a program I found online that picks all the individual colors out of a picture and shows them along with their codes – again, I had grays and a couple browns, but no greens. Not ONE speck of green actually in my green eyes……

    Now to find that program again, so I can input the numbers it gave me for the colors in my eyes into the tool Christine posted.

  7. Jenny: There is the free graphic programme gimp ( Also, there might be some “Paint” programme already installed on your computer, and it does the same thing.

    For me, this does not work very well. I have dark bluish-green eyes, not grey. However, all I get from photos is grey, with almost equal amounts of red, blue and green in the RGB scale. I am afraid that some red eyes effect is almost always present in my dilettantish digital photos, and thus a bit of red is added to the blue and green, thus the grey.

  8. Jenny – I am glad I am not the only one with illusionist eyes. Yours must be quite intriguing.
    I looked up hazel – it means greenish brown when speaking of eye colour.
    I guess figuring out colours for me is a bit similar to riddles and mathematics. I realize that for me there is an egocentric risk of staring at myself endlessly. Which isn’t where I want to go. However, solving some of the mysteries of why certain colours connect so well with my skin, eyes and hair, makes shopping easier and it saves me money. The exercise of observing the difference between what you think you see and what is actually there is very important – and applies to much more than colour, make up and clothes.

  9. I have been matching all my makeup to the 12 tone fans (I have all of them) and I just wanted to mention that MAC Smut matches the SA fan. TW and BW are fairly close, DW not so much.

  10. I am a BW with grey/green/hazelly eyes and I just learned that not only is green the rarest eye color (maybe excepting true violet, which is almost unheard of), but they do not actually contain green at all. They are a brown pigment and they scatter light the same way the sky does (there is a specific name to the effect that’s escaping me right now). In the sky it has to do with the blue wavelength, in eyes the green.

  11. Your comment about being an INTJ with brightly colored liner made me smile, your kids are funny! As a fellow INTJ, i appreciate the sentiment.

    Also illuminates the charicteristics of the different seasons: as a spring (and kibbe Soft Dramatic, that is a factor as well) I wear purple and turqouise eyeliner, and it looks natural and elegant. To create an effect of too much or too colorful, I’d need to use neon eyeliner or a crazy amount of glitter!

    Part of it is personal taste, but another part is definitely the amount of color a spring can balance before things look weird or childish!

  12. I am a high contrast BW and I have the most difficult time with eye shadows! My deep-set eyes only tolerate light to medium shades of shadow anyway, but finding neutral shadows that suit my palette is a real challenge. I have fair olive skin with a very strong green/yellow undertone and I find that grey, even my BW grey looks horrid on me. It’s a no in eyeliner, no in clothing and certainly no in shadow. It turns my skin greyish-blue and casts dark circles under my eyes. Likewise, I always wear gold jewelry as silver is so bad on me (though white gold is fine). My coloring just calls bs on any and all greys. I belong to a draped BW Facebook group and I have found there are a fair number of us ladies who similarly cannot tolerate any grey…and we all seem to share green/yellow undertones. Any thoughts as to what is going on there? My shadows are basically champagne colors and the odd medium taupe, but I long for a few more more to play with!

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