Dark Winter

Make-up palette

Dark Winter  combines darkness with coolness. This sub-season is part of the Winter family and flows from Autumn into Winter.

Its colours are dark, neutral-cool, and somewhat bright. Dark Winter's natural appearance is dark and quite high-contrast. Consequently, Dark Winter make-up is at its best when it's dark and contrasted with defined lips.

Natural appearance

The contrast in Dark Winter's natural appearance is high. The skin is typically quite light and in contrast to the dark hair and eyes.

Dark Winter eyes are also generally quite intense.

The combination of all of these factors makes the Dark Winter overall appear intense and contrasted.

Consequently, these natural characteristics will need to be repeated in your make-up. So remember, a natural look on you is a contrasted look. And the Dark Winter colour palette lends itself well to creating the required contrast.

The Colour Palette

True Autumn's dominant characteristic is dark, and its secondary characteristic is cool. If you want to learn more about the Dark Winter colour palette, check out the comprehensive Dark Winter guide.


The colours lean towards the cool end of the scale but are not extremely cool. This means they contain more blue than yellow. So even if you choose yellow (which is the warmest colour of all), you will find only cooler shades that have a tint of blue. You will also not find many shades of yellow-based colours, but more shades of blue and cool pinks.


In line with this sub-season's dominant characteristic, the overall palette is dark. And while some of the colours are very light (the white and icy colours), there are many more dark ones. Pairing light and dark colours produces the high contrast that is required for this sub-season.


Typical for Winter colours, the palette is fairly high in chroma; meaning the colours are quite saturated, bright and vibrant.

Make-up Colours

Dark Winter make-up colours are taken from the same colour palette that is used for clothing.

Complexion Make-up

Complexion make-up includes foundation, concealers, and bronzers. These would typically be taken from the neutrals palette.

Foundation & Concealer

Dark Winter skin is neutral-cool. It ranges from alabaster over cool olive brown to rosy brown and deep black-brown. However, it's not possible to give recommendations on complexion make-up - such as foundation and concealer. These must be colour-matched to your individual skin.

Generally though, foundation and concealer are best when they are matte, smooth, silky, and pink-based.

Avoid strongly yellow-based foundations which will clash with your naturally cooler complexion.

Bronzer & Highlighter

Like on Summers, bronzer looks unnatural on Winters. And even though you flow from the most bronzy season of them all - Autumn, this isn't a make-up product that will improve your appearance. My recommendation is to skip bronzer altogether.

Eye Make-up

Eye make-up colours are also taken from the neutral area of the Dark Winter palette with the exception of eyeshadow colours. Highlight eyeshadows come from the complementary and accent colours area on the palette.


Neutral eyeshadow colours are the whites, taupes, greys, and browns on the palette. As a Winter, you are also able to dip into black for a more dramatic look.

For highlight and accent eyeshadow colours, opt for the purples, blues, and greens on your palette. Greyish greens work well and dark purples work especially well on brown eyes.

Your eyes are usually very intense, and don't overdo the intensity with very dark or bright eye make-up.


As a Winter, you can comfortably wear black mascara. This colour would be too harsh on any other season, but Winters can handle it without effort. Since you flow from Autumn, you can also wear deep brown-black mascara.


Eyeliner colours are similar to mascara with the addition of chocolate brown, dark grey, and the more colourful dark blue. Choose an eyeliner in a colour similar to your eyes to really bring them out.

Since your eyes have a natural intensity, avoid eyeliner colours that are overly bright.

Lip & Cheek Make-up

Blush and lip colours come from the pink, red, and coral area of the Dark Winter colour palette.


Which blush colours work on you will depend on how dark you are. If you are on the lighter side of the Dark Winter spectrum, stick with the lighter blush colours - such as raspberry and dark punch. If you are very dark, opt for the darker end of the scale with colours like pale mulberry or pale rasin. Some trial and error might be required here to find your perfect shade.

Blush is not the most important make-up product for Dark Winter, so make sure not to overdo it.

Avoid peachy colours that will clash with your naturally cool complexion.


Lipstick is where Dark Winter excels at! This season can get away with deeply intense colours that would make other seasons look like vampires. But Dark Winters generally look best when they let their lips take centre stage in deep shades - such as plum and burgundy. Since your eyes have a natural intensity, a bright lip can balance out your face nicely.

Even if you want to create a natural make-up look, avoid a nude lip (skin-colour). This would just look strange on your otherwise intense appearance. Don't be afraid of going for a deeper shade as this is what will look natural on you. If you find them too intense, apply them with a light hand or opt for the one of the lighter shades..

Avoid overly warm, orange-based lipstick colours - such as coral and copper, as they dull your complexion.

Make-up Looks

Natural Looks

Dark Winter make-up is at its best when it's dark and contrasted.

As mentioned before, when we think of a natural make-up look, we often think of nude or bare lips and very little eye make-up in neutral colours - such as brown and taupe. However, this type of "natural" look does not work on Dark Winters. And it's a wrong idea that we need to get out of our heads.

A natural make-up look is one that will mimic the characteristics of your natural appearance. For a Dark Winter, this means intensity. A nude lip on a Dark Winter will make them look washed out and off. What is required here is a bold lip.

Can you see in the image below how effortlessly the dark red lip blends into Zhang Ziyi's natural appearance? It doesn't look overly dramatic and it also doesn't take any attention away from her. It just melts into her natural appearance.

Make your lips centre-stage with a deeper lipstick. How deep you can go in your natural look will depend on how deep you are naturally. If you are on the lighter side of the Dark Winter spectrum, stick with the lighter lipstick shades. If you are on the darker end, reach for the deeper shades.

Since your lips are the main focus, be sure to keep your eye make-up to a minimum. Dark Winter is not made for playing with different colours within the same look. A taupe eyeshadow and some black mascara will keep your eyes intense and your lips in focus.

Since Dark Winter is naturally intense, keep your make-up colours to a minimum of one or two colours per look. Since your make-up colours are also quite bright, too many different colours could leave you looking like a circus clown.

Dramatic Looks

For dramatic looks, the same principle as above applies. Don't mix and match too many different colours. Simply take your natural look a bit further with an even deeper lip and slightly more eye make-up.

Classic options for the Dark Winter are smoky eyes, either in a black and grey combination or a brown version. The other option is the pin-up look with light eyeshadow, winged black eyeliner, and a dark red lip.

Save this article

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

The Shop

Wardrobe Building Essentials

Need assistance building your wardrobe?

Check out the handy products in the shop that will make your life so much easier.