Determine Your Colour
Season With Lipstick

Usually, when you're trying to determine your colour season, you will start off with the characteristics of your own appearance and then arrive at your colour season.

However, if you are struggling to find your season, or you find you don't fit any of the descriptions, this approach may seem hopeless.

Fortunately, you can approach seasonal colour analysis from the other direction as well. Instead of looking at your characteristics and from there trying to find the right colours, you can simply take the colours, try them on yourself, and see which ones flatter you most.

Now, you could go out and buy all the colour palettes and start draping yourself. But there is a simpler and more affordable way: using lipstick to determine your season.

How does using lipstick work?

Lipstick colours for each colour season generally come from the same colour palette that is used for clothing. So lipstick, quite like clothing, resembles the colour aspects of each colour season. For example, a neon orange lipstick would look terribly wrong on a Soft Summer. Why?

Because it's bright and warm, while Soft Summer is muted and cool. A nude lipstick would be much more suitable here.

Forget what you know about seasonal colour analysis

If you have tried to determine your colour season the traditional way before, I would recommend that you to forget everything you have read. Forget what a typical Light Summer or True Winter looks like and be open-minded. Remember: Not everyone fits the standard descriptions!

What do I need?

You can use any lipstick you like as long as the colour fits the colour dimensions of the colour season you are testing. I will use MAC lipsticks because they are widely available around the world and in a wide range of shades.

In addition, I would recommend that you try two lipsticks from each colour season that you want to test; one from either side of the lipstick spectrum. Why? Depending on the depth and hue of your colouring, some colours of the same seasonal colour palette will look better on you than others. This is because each colour season has a spectrum of natural colourings.

For example, you could be a dark blonde with deep blue eyes, but you are a Dark Autumn. How is this possible? Dark Autumns have dark hair and dark eyes. Well, if you have very high chroma despite your "light" features, light colours will do nothing for your appearance. You need more intense colours to bring out your natural beauty.

However, your contrast level will not be as high as that of a Dark Autumn with brown hair and brown eyes. In this case, the deepest shades of the Dark Autumn lipstick range may look too dark on you, but the lighter ones will strike the right note.

What am I looking for?

A lipstick that suits you will blend in with your natural colouring on all three colour dimensions - hue, value, and chroma. So it will need to tick the following boxes:

Hue:

The lipstick does not make you look sick - by turning your skin either a sickly yellow or red.

Value:

The lipstick is not significantly darker than the colouring of your features. OR

The lipstick is not significantly lighter than the colouring of your features.

Chroma:

The lipstick does not stand out and make you disappear behind it. OR

The lipstick does not diminish your natural colouring and make you look washed out.

Lipsticks For Each Season

Now that we know what we are looking for, we can get on with the testing:

Bright Spring

Colour Dimensions

Bright Spring's dominant characteristic is bright, and its secondary characteristic is warm.

Together with Bright Winter, this colour season is the brightest of the twelve. But what sets it apart from Bright Winter, though, is the warmth in its undertones.

In addition, Bright Spring is lighter than Bright Winter. It sits slightly to the left of the value scale.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for a lipstick that is bright, opaque, medium-light, and neutral-warm. In terms of colour, Bright Spring lipsticks range from intense orange over bright coral pinks to intense plums.

A great lipstick colour for testing is MAC Neon Orange. This is an intense orange that would make anyone that is not a bright season disappear behind it. However, on a Bright Winter, it would be far too warm and look sickly. And so the only season that can pull this colour off is Bright Spring.

Another example is MAC Fusion Pink. This is a very vibrant pink, a mix between an intense coral and a fuchsia pink. Bright Spring and Bright Winter are the only two seasons that won't disappear behind this lipstick. But against Bright Winter skin, the colour will look too orange.

An example of a Bright Spring:

MAC Amplified Lipstick, Neon Orange

SHOP NOW

MAC Amplified Lipstick, Fusion Pink

SHOP NOW

True Spring

Colour Dimensions

True Spring's dominant characteristic is warm, and its secondary characteristic is bright.

Together with True Autumn, this colour season is the warmest of the twelve. But what sets it apart from True Autumn is the brightness in its tones.

In addition, True Spring is lighter than True Autumn. It sits slightly to the left of the value scale.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for a lipstick that is warm, opaque, medium-light, and somewhat bright. In terms of colours, True Spring lipsticks range from warm oranges over peachy corals to warm plum reds.

A colour that can only be pulled off by a True Spring is a warm reddish-orange like MAC So Chaud. This colour is too intense for both True Autumn and Light Spring, and too warm for Bright Spring.

Another options is MAC Crosswires, which is a peachy coral that looks amazing against True Spring colouring. It's too light for True Autumn, and too warm for all other seasons.

An example of a True Spring:

MAC Matte Lipstick, So Chaud

SHOP NOW

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick, Crosswires

SHOP NOW

Light Spring

Colour Dimensions

Light Spring's dominant characteristic is light, and its secondary characteristic is warm.

Together with Light Summer, this colour season is the lightest of the twelve. But what sets it apart from Light Summer, is the warmth in its undertones.

In addition, Light Spring is slightly brighter than Light Summer.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is light, sheer, slightly bright, and neutral-warm. In terms of colours, Light Spring lipsticks range from light, warm peaches over light oranges to warm reddish pinks.

A light peachy lipgloss colour such as MAC Prrr, would be too warm and too shiny for a Light Summer. On the soft seasons, it would be too bright. And on any other season, it would register too light. If this colour doesn't blend into your natural colouring, you are not a light season.

Another example is MAC Scattered Petals, which is a pale clean pink that will be too bright for the soft seasons and too light for all other seasons. On Light Summer, it will look too warm. If this colour looks boring on you or makes you washed out, you are not a light season.

An example of a Light Spring:

MAC Lipglass, Prrr

SHOP NOW

MAC Powder Kiss Lipstick, Scattered Petals

SHOP NOW

Light Summer

Colour Dimensions

Light Summer's dominant characteristic is light, and its secondary characteristic is cool.

Together with Light Spring, this colour season is the lightest season of the twelve. But what sets it apart from Light Spring, is the coolness in its undertones.

In addition, Light Summer is slightly more muted than Light Spring.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is light, sheer, neutral-cool, slightly muted, and either matte or not too shiny. In terms of colours, Light Summer lipsticks range from light, cool, blue-based pinks over light purples to cool corals. All of the above colours will work, but to make it really obvious, we need to select the two colours that will definitely not work on any other season.

One such colour is MAC Snob, a light neutral pink. It's too cool for Light Spring, but not muted enough for True Summer and Soft Summer.

MAC Please Me is a neutral-cool, muted dusky pink. It's a bit too cool for Light Spring, and too light for any other season. It has a matte finish, perfect against muted Light Summer skin, but it's a bit too bright for True Summer.

An example of a Light Summer:

MAC Satin Lipstick, Snob

SHOP NOW

MAC Matte Lipstick, Please Me

SHOP NOW

True Summer

Colour Dimensions

True Summer's dominant characteristic is cool, and its secondary characteristic is muted.

Together with True Winter, True Summer is the coolest season of the twelve. But unlike True Winter, which is clear, True Summer is muted.

In addition, True Summer is slightly lighter than True Winter.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is cool, medium-light, somewhat muted, and leaning towards matte. In terms of colours, True Summer lipsticks range from pale blue-based purples over medium, blue-based pinks to darker, muted rose pinks.

MAC Syrup is a cool, muted medium pink. This colour only works on a truly cool season, but it's too light and muted for a Winter. It's also too muted for Light Summer, but too not muted enough for Soft Summer.

A darker option is MAC Plumful, which is a cool, a pinkish rose-plum that is light enough and muted enough to look great on a True Summer, and washed out on anybody else. It is, however, too bright for the soft seasons.

An example of a True Summer:

MAC Lustre Lipstick, Syrup

SHOP NOW

MAC Lustre Lipstick, Plumful​

SHOP NOW

Soft Summer

Colour Dimensions

Soft Summer's dominant characteristic is muted, and its secondary characteristic is cool.

Together with Soft Autumn, this colour season is the most muted season of the twelve. But unlike Soft Autumn, which is warm, Soft Summer is cool.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is toned down, muted, not too dark, neutral-cool, and more matte. In terms of colours, this season is all about nude lipsticks. Soft Summer lipsticks range from pale, muted, almost grey pinks over cool, pale purples to darker, muted plums.

A great colour is MAC Ripened. It's a grey lavender colour, and would look simply dull on anyone who is not a soft season. Because it leans towards purple, it's too cool for a Soft Autumn. If this colour doesn't make you look washed out, you are most likely a Soft Summer.

MAC Faux is a muted pink, but darker than MAC Please Me and not as cool as MAC Plumful. A bit on the mauve side, this lipstick is too cool for Soft Autumns and too matte for Springs, but fits naturally with Soft Summer.

An example of a Soft Summer:

MAC Powder Kiss Lipstick, Ripened

SHOP NOW

MAC Satin Lipstick, Faux

SHOP NOW

Soft Autumn

Colour Dimensions

Soft Autumn's dominant characteristic is muted, and its secondary characteristic is warm.

Together with Soft Summer, this colour season is the most muted season of the twelve. But unlike Soft Summer, which is cool, Soft Autumn is warm.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is muted, toned down, medium-dark, neutral-warm, and more matte. In terms of colours, this season is all about nude lipsticks. Soft Autumn lipsticks range from pale, muted, almost grey peaches over warmish, pale brown-plums to darker, muted plums and brownish reds.

If MAC Faux was too cool for you but didn’t make you look washed out, then try MAC Twig. This is a muted brownish-pink and too warm for Soft Summer. It will look dull on any other season.

A darker version is MAC Verve, a muted, brownish plum. Again, this is a very dull colour for anyone who is not a soft season. At the same time, it's too warm for Soft Summer, but not warm enough for True Autumn.

An example of a Soft Autumn:

MAC Satin Lipstick, Twig

SHOP NOW

MAC Satin Lipstick, Verve

SHOP NOW

True Autumn

Colour Dimensions

True Autumn's dominant characteristic is warm, and its secondary characteristic is muted.

Together with True Spring, this colour season is the warmest of the twelve. But unlike True Spring, which is clear, True Autumn is muted.

In addition, True Autumn is darker than True Spring.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is warm, medium-dark, earthy, somewhat muted, and matte. In terms of colours, this season is all about earthy tones. True Autumn lipsticks range from earthy brownish oranges and reds to darker, earthier browns and plums.

MAC Impulsive is a lighter, matte, warm brown that would look almost completely wrong on any other season than True Autumn. If this blends into your natural colouring, you are most likely a True Autumn.

A darker colour is MAC Marrakesh, which is a warm orange brown. This colour is far too earthy for anyone who is not an Autumn. For Soft Autumn, it's too rich though; and on a Dark Autumn it reads as too warm.

An example of a True Autumn:

MAC Powder Kiss Lipstick, Impulsive

SHOP NOW

MAC Matte Lipstick, Marrakesh

SHOP NOW

Dark Autumn

Colour Dimensions

Dark Autumn's dominant characteristic is dark, and its secondary characteristic is warm.

Together with Dark Winter, this colour season is the darkest of the twelve. But unlike Dark Winter, which is neutral-cool, Dark Autumn is neutral-warm.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is deep, opaque, neutral-warm, earthy, but not too rich, and matte to satin. In terms of colours, Dark Autumn lipsticks range from medium, earthy brownish oranges and plum reds to darker browns and plums.

On the lighter end of the scale is MAC Brick-o-la. If the True Autumn colours were too warm for you, try this one instead. It's a medium berry red that is intense but not too bright.

If you natural colouring is darker, you can opt for the darker end of the scale. MAC Antique Velvet is an intense dark brown is that would be too warm on a Dark Winter. On anyone who is not a dark season, this colour would be completely overpowering.

An example of a Dark Autumn:

MAC Amplified Lipstick, Brick-o-la

SHOP NOW

MAC Matte Lipstick, Antique Velvet

SHOP NOW

Dark Winter

Colour Dimensions

Dark Winter's dominant characteristic is dark, and its secondary characteristic is cool.

Together with Dark Autumn, this colour season is the darkest of the twelve. What sets it apart from Dark Autumn is the coolness in its undertones.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is deep, opaque, more intense, neutral-cool, and more satin. In terms of colours, Dark Winter lipsticks range from dark berry reds to dark cool plums.

MAC Dark Side is a beautiful dark berry, burgundy shade that looks vampy on anybody else apart from Dark Winter. It looks a bit out of place on the Dark Autumn face just because it’s slightly too cool, and it’s too dark for nearly everybody else to wear successfully without a lot of makeup. On the Dark Winter face it just looks natural and balanced against the hair and the eyes.

Another option is MAC Cyber. This is a blackened purple and will overwhelm anyone who is not a dark season. On a Dark Autumn, it will read too cool.

An example of a Dark Winter:

MAC Amplified Lipstick, Dark Side

SHOP NOW

MAC Satin Lipstick, Cyber

SHOP NOW

True Winter

Colour Dimensions

True Winter's dominant characteristic is cool, and its secondary characteristic is bright.

Together with True Summer, this season is the coolest of the twelve. But unlike True Summer, which is muted, True Winter is bright.

In addition, True Winter is slightly darker than True Summer.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is cool, medium-opaque, somewhat bright, and lustrous. In terms of colours, True Winter lipsticks range from pastel pinks over cool, intense purples to dark cool plums.

If you can pull off colour a pastel pink without looking strange, you are very likely a True Winter. Try MAC Saint Germain, which is a clean pastel pink. It's too light for Dark Winters, too bright for True Summers, and not intense enough for Bright Winters.

If you need more contrast, but the Dark Winter lipsticks are too dark for you, try MAC Rebel. This is a bold berry colour. It looks much less opaque and heavy than Dark Winter lipsticks, and not as bright as Bright Winter lipsticks, while still giving the high contrast True Winters require.

An example of a True Winter:

MAC Amplified Lipstick, Saint Germain

SHOP NOW

MAC Satin Lipstick, Rebel

SHOP NOW

Bright Winter

Colour Dimensions

Bright Winter's dominant characteristic is bright, and its secondary characteristic is cool.

Together with Bright Spring, this colour season is the brightest of the twelve. But unlike Bright Spring, which is neutral-warm, Bright Winter is neutral-cool.

Lipstick Colours

Based on these colour dimensions, we are looking for lipstick that is bright, opaque, neutral-cool, and shiny or lustrous. In terms of colours, True Winter lipsticks range from medium-dark pinkish purples to cool, intense berries.

On the coolest end of the scale, we have MAC Show Orchid. This is an intense blue-based pink that will make anyone who is not a bright season disappear right behind it. On a Bright Spring, it would look far too cool. If you can wear this colour, you are most likely a Bright Winter.

On the slightly warmer end, MAC Ruby Woo is an option. It's the perfect saturated, true red that Bright Winters can wear but that looks too much against every other season. It will read slightly too dark and cool on a Bright Spring.

An example of a Bright Winter:

MAC Amplified Lipstick, Show Orchid

SHOP NOW

MAC Matte Lipstick, Ruby Woo
MAC Retro Matte Lipstick, Ruby Woo

SHOP NOW

Save this article

Enjoy this article and find it helpful? Pin this image on Pinterest so you’ll always have it on hand!

Tired of trying to figure out your best colours?

I can help you with that!