What are Clear and Soft Colours?

Let us say that every colour begins as grey. Drop by drop, you add a colour pigment. As you increase the amount of pigment, so do you increase the saturation. The colour is becoming more clear and intense. Finally, there is no grey left and what you have is a pure colour.

Understanding saturation in 12 Season Colour Analysis is key to using your colour analysis swatches correctly for selecting clothes and makeup.

Colour Saturation

In the progressions below, you can see how the grey lessens while the pigment colour becomes more dominant in the final colour. We began with a soft, muted, dusty colour of low saturation and ended with a more pure, vivid, brilliant colour of high saturation. Another word for saturation is chroma.

Muted colour is heathered. Clear colour is pure. It is very far from gray. It is closer to full saturation.

Here is another comparison chart. The colours on the right are not becoming darker, or warmer, or cooler. They’re just clearer or brighter, relative to gray.

Playing with colour parameters

You could darken a colour without removing the gray. Gray goes to heather mist, then lilac, lavender, and mauve. We’re playing with a different aspect of colour, namely the lightness/darkness. The saturation is not changing so much. These are all soft, muted colours.

You could equally change two parameters of colour at once. Wedgewood blue to sky blue to sapphire raises darkness and saturation at once.

Colour has a third parameter, that being warm/cool. Personal Colour Analysis is determing exactly where your colouring stands in terms of all three criteria. All the colours you are made of, your teeth, your freckles, your veins, eyes, teeth, suntan, they all have the same setting on these three scales. That’s the unifying thread that keeps your colouring in perfect harmony.

True and Neutral Season colour saturation

Summer and Autumn colouring wears muted colours. Though Autumn is more golden and Summer is mauve, both are softer than the clearer Winter and Spring shades.

The Neutral Seasons are born with a personal colour palette that is clear to some degree. It is in the particular combination of the degrees that you arrive at the 8 Neutral groups.

The saturation of gray

Can gray itself be more or less clear? It sure seems crisper and sharper in the Winter than in softer Summer.

Winter’s grey is pure. That means that it is made of black and white. That’s it. It can read a little blue or red at times. The feeling is of ice, stainless steel, or coal.

Summer’s greys have blue and pink in them, as pigeon colours. Spring’s have yellow, as sunlight on pebbles, and Autumn’s have brown, as elephant or asphalt.


How about a pure vs. muted yellow? Daffodil to butterscotch.



Brown is a little complicated. Brown is dark orange. Low saturation brown implies gray plus orange. That reads as earthy, tan, tawny, toffee, desert, SantaFe, and so on. High saturation, clear brown as you’d find in Spring, looks like the various colours of beer.

It is quite important to get it right because it is such a wardrobe neutral and cosmetic colour staple. The Mystery Of Brown is the topic of the next article.



9 thoughts on “What are Clear and Soft Colours?”

  1. The Bright seasons have the highest-saturated colors, so they’re more saturated than TW and TSp.

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