Have you ever wondered which colors suit you best? Have you ever tried on a color you absolutely adore, but it completely clashed on you in a way you couldn’t quite put your finger on? For me, it was a mustard yellow sweater. I’ve always been drawn to earthy tones, so you can imagine my disappointment when – to add insult to injury, under harsh fluorescent lighting – I somehow looked equally blotchy and washed out all at once. How was this possible? Was my beloved marigold an unrequited love? I embarked on a journey to get answers, and I’m here to share with you how to find your color season.
This is both complex and very simple – not every color suits every skin tone. While this may seem obvious, the science of color analysis is a fascinating means to understand how different hues can enhance or detract from our natural beauty. Color seasons are meant to help individuals of any race identify a palette of colors that complements their skin tone, hair, and eye color. Come along with me as I explain how I found my color season and the hues that make me shine, even in fluorescent lighting.
Providing Some Color
Before diving into how I discovered my color season, it’s crucial to grasp the basics of color theory. Color, in its essence, is the result of the way our eyes perceive different wavelengths of light. Sir Isaac Newton first demonstrated this phenomenon by passing sunlight through a prism, revealing a spectrum of colors. This spectrum forms the foundation of the color wheel, which is divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Understanding these basic color relationships provides a foundation for identifying harmonious color palettes that suit individual skin tones.
One of the key factors in determining your color season is understanding your skin undertones and overtones. Undertones are the subtle hues beneath the surface of your skin, while overtones are the more apparent tones seen on the skin’s surface. Undertones are typically categorized as warm, cool, or neutral, providing a basis for selecting colors that harmonize with your complexion. By assessing whether your skin undertones are warm (yellow or peachy), cool (pink or blue), or neutral, you can narrow down your color choices.
Benefits of Knowing How to Find Your Color Season
Knowing how to find your color season can significantly impact your overall appearance and confidence. Much like discovering your body shape, It’s not about limiting your choices—it’s about feeling like the best version of yourself. Here are just some of the reasons why knowing your color season can make you feel your best:
- Enhanced Wardrobe Choices. Armed with knowledge about your color season, you can curate a wardrobe filled with hues that harmonize with your natural coloring. This not only enhances your style but also simplifies the process of mixing and matching outfits.
- Radiant Complexion. Wearing colors that complement your skin tone can make you appear healthier and more radiant. On the contrary, wearing colors that clash can create a dull or washed-out effect.
- Confident Makeup Selection. Knowing your color season aids in choosing makeup shades that enhance your features. From lipstick to eyeshadow, selecting colors that align with your palette ensures a polished and cohesive look, and saves you from blowing money on the wrong products.
- Effortless Browsing. Armed with the knowledge of your color season, shopping becomes a breeze. You can quickly eliminate options that don’t align with your palette, saving time and preventing impulse purchases. You can streamline the process and minimize those regrettable buys or, even better, try clothing rental via Armoire.
- Consistent Image. Understanding your color season provides a consistent and harmonious image across your clothing, accessories, and even hair color. This coherence contributes to an overall polished and put-together appearance.
The Four Seasons
The four main color seasons consist of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. The colors associated with each in fact do correspond closely with the usual hues associated with each season. For Autumns, think earthy rich browns and rust reds, whereas Winters boast cool, dark dramatic tones. Within each season lie different subtypes as well, but we’ll dive into that later. For now, here is the breakdown of the four main seasons:
Spring – Light & Warm
Springs usually have warm undertones with golden or peachy complexions. Their hair tends to be in shades of strawberry blonde, light to medium brown, or even golden blonde. Eye colors may include hazel, light blue, or green.
Best colors: springs shine in warm and light hues, such as coral, peach, warm greens, and golden yellows.
Steer clear of: harsh, dark colors like black and cool tones that may overpower your warm undertones.
Summer – Light & Cool
Summers have cool undertones with fair to light skin. Their hair is often ash blonde, ash brown, or light brown, and their eye colors can range from blue and gray to green.
Best Colors: Soft pastels and cool tones like lavender, rose, periwinkle, and mint complement the natural coloring of summers.
Steer clear of: Harsh, vibrant colors and overly warm tones can wash out the cool undertones of summers. Avoid oranges and yellows that may clash with your palette.
Autumn – Deep & Warm
Autumns boast warm undertones with golden, olive, or peachy complexions. Their hair ranges from rich reds and deep browns to auburn. Eye colors may include warm greens, hazel, or light brown.
Best Colors: Earthy tones like rust, olive green, mustard, and warm browns enhance the beauty of autumns.
Steer clear of: Cool, icy colors and pastels, as they can create a stark contrast with the warmth of autumn complexions.
Winter – Deep & Cool
Winters have cool undertones with fair to deep complexions. Their hair can be black, dark brown, or platinum blonde, and their eyes are often deep blue, dark brown, or green.
Best Colors: Crisp and clear jewel tones such as royal blue, emerald green, burgundy, and pure white complement the striking features of winters.
Steer clear of: Muted, warm tones and earthy colors may not be as flattering for winters. Steer clear of oranges, yellows, and muted pastels.
Take It From the Pros: How to Find Your Color Season
Now that you understand the basics of color analysis, I’m here to explain how to find your color season. It’s a bit more complicated than a TikTok filter, so I took this matter to a pro at House of Colour in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Yes, there are professional consultants worldwide who specialize in conducting color analysis for their clients—and let me tell you, they are thorough! My hero Nicole spent almost THREE HOURS performing my color analysis.
“You should wear the color, the color shouldn’t wear you.”
— Nicole, House of Color Ballard
Wearing no makeup and with my hair up in a hairnet, I was made into a completely blank canvas to discover which colors authentically suit me. After lots of swatching various colored textiles over my neck and shoulders, there was a clear winner – but I’ll save the big reveal. If you want to try this at home, here are the general steps:
How to Find Your Color Season in 4 Steps
1. Examine Your Skin Undertones
Hold up a piece of gold fabric and a piece of silver fabric to your face separately. Notice which metal complements your skin better. If gold enhances your complexion, you likely have warm undertones, aligning with Spring or Autumn. If silver is more flattering, you might have cool undertones, indicating Summer or Winter.
2. Analyze Your Natural Hair Color
Consider the natural color of your hair without any dyes or highlights. Springs and Autumns generally have warmer tones, while Summers and Winters lean towards cooler shades.
3. Assess Your Eye Color
Look closely at your eyes and identify the dominant colors. Springs often have light and warm eye colors, while Summers may have cool and muted hues. Autumns typically possess warm and deep eye colors, and Winters exhibit cool and intense eye shades.
4. Wear Test
Experiment with different colors by draping fabrics in various hues around your shoulders. Notice which colors brighten your complexion and make your eyes sparkle. Your ideal color season will likely become evident during this process.
More On How To Find Your Color Season: Subtypes
But wait—there’s more! While the broad categories of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter provide a foundation for understanding your color season, it’s essential to recognize the nuanced variations within each palette. Within these main seasons, there are subcategories that further refine and personalize your color choices, taking into account factors like intensity, depth, and clarity.
True Springs typically exhibit warm undertones with clear and bright complexions. Their hair color tends to be light to medium warm tones, and their eyes often feature bright blues, greens, or hazel.
Clear, warm tones like coral, periwinkle, and true reds enhance the vibrancy of True Springs. Avoid overly muted or dark colors that may overpower your natural radiance.
Light Springs share warm undertones but with a softer, more delicate appearance. They often have lighter hair shades like light blonde or light brown, and their eyes may be softer blues, greens, or light hazel.
Pastels and soft warm hues like peach, mint, and lavender complement the gentle features of Light Springs. Steer clear of overly vibrant or intense colors.
True Summers possess cool undertones with fair to light complexions. Their hair is often ash brown or ash blonde, and their eyes may range from soft blues and greens to grays.
Soft, muted tones like dusty rose, lavender, and cool blues harmonize with True Summer’s delicate features. Avoid overly warm or intense colors that may clash with your cool undertones.
Soft Summers also have cool undertones, but with a slightly deeper and muted appearance. Their hair colors may include medium ash brown or soft blonde, and their eyes often feature muted blues, greens, or hazel.
Subdued tones such as mauve, dusty teal, and soft grays complement the understated elegance of Soft Summers. Avoid overly vibrant or harsh colors.
Deep Autumns showcase warm undertones with a deeper and richer overall appearance. Their hair is often deep brown, auburn, or rich red, and their eyes may be warm hazel, deep green, or dark brown.
Rich, earthy tones like olive green, terracotta, and deep mustard enhance the warmth and depth of Deep Autumns. Steer clear of overly bright or pastel colors.
Warm Autumns share warm undertones but with a softer and more muted appearance. Their hair colors may range from medium brown to auburn, and their eyes often feature warm hazel or light brown.
Soft, warm hues such as camel, warm olive, and burnt orange complement the gentle warmth of Warm Autumns. Avoid overly dark or intense colors.
True Winters have cool undertones with a striking contrast between their fair complexion and dark hair. Hair colors may include black, dark brown, or platinum blonde, and their eyes are often deep blue, dark brown, or green.
Clear and intense jewel tones like royal blue, emerald green, and true reds highlight the striking features of True Winters. Avoid muted or overly warm colors.
Cool Winters also have cool undertones but with a slightly softer and muted appearance. Hair colors may include medium to dark brown, and eyes are often cool blues, greens, or grays.
Crisp and cool tones like icy blues, emerald, and magenta complement the refined features of Cool Winters. Steer clear of overly warm or muted colors.
Understanding these variations within each color season allows for a more personalized and precise approach to choosing colors that enhance your natural beauty. Experiment with different shades within your subtype to discover the hues that resonate most with your unique features and express your individual style.
I just know the suspense is killing you, so I’ll spit it out: I’m a Summer!
Nicole and I determined that my cool undertones, light green eyes and ashy hair tone are the classic recipe for this cool and light season. The colors I popped in truly took me by surprise – they include pastel shades of periwinkle, lavender, and dusty rose, hues that I wouldn’t normally wear. However, once Nicole had draped my “Wow Colors” – as she calls them – on me, the difference was palpable. My skin was noticeably even and the whites of my eyes were practically glowing. Who knew the pastel palette was the one for me?!
Renting Your Color Season
So, as it turns out, my affinity for mustard yellow really was a one-way street. Thankfully, I’m embarking on a new romance with bright, light hues that make me feel my best, as any good relationship should.
Clothing renting for your color season allows you to experiment with the best shades for you without the commitment or overconsumption. I know for myself, I had a field day exploring baby blue sweaters on Armoire after my session with House of Colour. I’ve ditched the department store disappointment and clashy colors for hassle-free rental and a palette that makes me pop. To help you find those “Wow Colors”, we’ve curated collections in the associated colors for each season.
Embarking on the journey of color analysis and knowing how to find your color season empowers you to present your best self to the world. The art and science of color analysis add a layer of intentionality to personal style, allowing you to express yourself authentically while enhancing your natural beauty. So, dive into the world of hues, uncover your color season, and let your true colors shine. Remember to avoid certain colors that may clash with your palette, and embrace the confidence that comes with knowing you’re presenting your most radiant self to the world.