Dark Autumn / Dark Winter

What is the difference?

True to their names, Dark Autumn and Dark Winter are the darkest of the 12 colour seasons.

And even though they share their dominant characteristic (dark) and may appear similar, they are not the same.

Let's find out how to tell them apart!

Seasonal Characteristics

To understand the key differences between the two colour seasons, we have to first look at each one's colour dimensions:

Dark Autumn - Colour Dimensions
Dark Winter - colour Dimensions

And it's quickly becoming clear where the differences lie: While both seasons sit at the darkest end of the value scale, Dark Autumn is warmer and less bright than Dark Winter, which is also cooler.

These differences are reflected in the two seasons' colour palettes: While Dark Autumn's colours are more muted and warmer, Dark Winter's colours are brighter and there are more extremely light and extremely dark colours on the palette.

Dark Autumn - Colour Palette
Dark Winter - Colour Palette

Dark Autumn vs Dark Winter

Now that we know the difference in colour dimensions between Dark Autumn and Dark Winter, we can identify what makes someone a Dark Autumn or a Dark Winter.

Take a look at the following example: both of these women are clearly dark. Their features have real depth to them and stand in contrast to their relatively lighter skin.

But the woman on the left is a Dark Autumn because her colouring is warmer. The latter, in contrast, has a cooler and and even darker appearance with even more contrast between her features.

The Draping Test

If you ever have any doubts about your season, the best thing to do is to select the most prominent colours of the palette you are testing and drape yourself in them (or use lipstick with the same colour aspects).

For our purposes, we will use Olivia Culpo and Halsey as examples, and we will drape them in a few Soft Summer colours as well as Soft Autumn colours side-by-side, to see which ones work on them.

We can see already that the brighter Dark Winter yellow doesn't work as well on Olivia as the earthier yellow. The latter harmonises really well with her natural colouring and blends into the image.

Now let's see how the same colours look on Halsey.

Halsey is the exact opposite! She looks washed out and drained in the Dark Autumn yellow. But the brighter Dark Winter lifts her appearance and brightens her.

To make sure that we are seeing is consistent, let's drape the two ladies in some more colours.

The blues paint a similar picture. The warmer, more muted blue looks very harmonious on Olivia. Whereas the cooler blue doesn't look as good.

Halsey, on the other hand, needs the brightness of the cool blue to come to life. On her, the Dark Autumn blue looks bland.

And lastly, the greens confirm our analysis. The cooler Winter green is not immediately bad on Olivia, but it does make her look slightly pale. In contrast, the warmer Autumn green harmonises very well with her colouring.

The opposite is true for Halsey. The warmer Dark Autumn green washes her out and highlights the shadows on her face. But the cooler, slightly more intense Dark Winter green looks stunning.

Therefore, we can conclude that Olivia is a Dark Autumn and Halsey is a Dark Winter.

The lipstick test

If you are still unsure whether you are Dark Autumn or Dark Winter, try the lipstick test.

Both seasons can comfortably wear dark lip colours without looking like a vampire, but Dark Autumn cannot wear the cooler, more purplish colours of Winter. In contrast, Dark Winters fare better in cooler reds and purples than warmer ones.

Although not exactly a dark purple (which would be the ideal colour to test), we can see here that the cooler pinkish-red doesn't sit well with Olivia. She looks much better in a slightly warmer red.

Halsey, on the other hand, can pull off the dark purple and looks amazing in it. The warmer red, though, drains her and diminishes her natural appearance.

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