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Which Season Are You?

Knowing your colour season can be of great use when developing a personal colour palette. But finding out which season you are can sometimes be tricky.

This guide is designed to help you determine exactly which of the twelve seasons you fall into. So let’s get straight into it.

Note: If you find that you don’t fit any of the descriptions or you are unsure of your season, try determining your season using lipstick.

How Does Seasonal Colour Analysis Work?

The twelve seasons are a result of the combination of the three aspects of colour – which are hue, value, and chroma. (If you want to learn more about the theory behind seasonal colour analysis, please refer to this post.)

Each of these aspects has two extreme ends which results in six characteristics. They are:

I. Hue & Temperature

Seasonal Colour Analysis - Hue & Temperature - Warm vs Cool - the concept wardrobe

II. Value

Seasonal Colour Analysis - Chroma - Soft vs Clear - the concept wardrobe

III. Chroma

Seasonal Colour Analysis - Value - Light vs Dark - the concept wardrobe

Each two-way combination of these characteristics results in one of the twelve seasons:

12 Seasons Colour Analysis Wheel - the concept wardrobe

The 12 seasons - A result of a dominant and a secondary characteristic

One of the six characteristics will be the most prominent in your overall appearance – this is your dominant characteristic.

Together with the secondary characteristic of your colouring (which is less prominent), you will fall into one of twelve possible combinations – or seasons:

Dominant Characteristic

Secondary Characteristic

Seasonal Category

Clear

+

Warm

=

Bright Spring

Warm

+

Clear

=

True Spring

Light

+

Warm

=

Light Spring

Light

+

Cool

=

Light Summer

Cool

+

Soft / Muted

=

True Summer

Soft / Muted

+

Cool

=

Soft Summer

Soft / Muted

+

Warm

=

Soft Autumn

Warm

+

Soft / Muted

=

True Autumn

Dark

+

Warm

=

Dark Autumn

Dark

+

Cool

=

Dark Winter

Cool

+

Clear

=

True Winter

Clear

+

Cool

=

Bright Winter

Now we can take a closer look at how to determine your dominant and your secondary characteristic.

The Dominant Characteristic

The dominant characteristic is the aspect of your natural colouring that dominates your overall appearance. When analysing yourself in terms of colour, the features you need to look at are your skin, hair, and eye colour.

But when you are determining your dominant characteristic you don’t look at each feature individually. Rather, you have to look at your overall appearance. What strikes you first when you look in the mirror?

Let’s go through all of the six characteristics in more detail:

[Note that when you are comparing your own appearance to the examples given, you might notice that you don’t look like any of them. The point of the images is to show you how the dominant characteristic can present itself. Look for a similar effect in your own appearance, not an exact match].

I. Warm

Your dominant characteristic is warm if all three features – skin, hair, and eyes, have warm undertones and you have an all-over warm glow to your colouring. Your skin has an obvious yellow, golden, earthy, or peachy undertone (with clear green veins).

Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is medium. No feature is extremely light or extremely dark compared to the rest.

Eyes: Light to medium brown, olive green, dark hazel, light hazel, warm blue (often with a yellowish rim around the pupil).

Hair: Neither dark nor light, has a medium intensity – light to medium golden blond through to brown, or strawberry blond through rich and warm red (copper) to deep auburn. Darker ethnicities may have deep golden brown or even black-brown hair with warm undertones.

Main aspect: The obvious warmth coming from your appearance. If you are muted, it might not be as obvious as the warm glow coming from a clear individual. However, there are obvious warm undertones in all of your features.

Secondary characteristic: Clear or Muted

II. Cool

Cool Dominant Characteristic - Seasonal Colour Analysis Long 1

Your dominant characteristic is cool if all three features – skin, hair, and eyes, have a cool quality to them, and your overall appearance has a frosted or icy appearance. Your skin has an obvious greyish, blue, pink, or red undertone to it (with clear blue veins).

Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is medium to high. You may have very dark hair in contrast to a lighter skin tone.

Hair: Ash blond through to brown, chestnut brown with no reddish highlights, silver ash blond, grey/silver mix. Darker ethnicities may have dark brown, brown-black, or black hair.

Eyes: Blue-grey, hazel, softened blue, violet, soft dark brown, charcoal grey, black.

Main aspect: The obvious coolness coming from your appearance combined with a higher contrast between hair and skin.

Secondary characteristic: Muted or Clear

III. Soft

Soft Dominant Characteristic - Seasonal Colour Analysis Long - the concept wardrobe

Your dominant characteristic is soft (or muted) if your overall colouring is somewhat neutral – a mix of warm and cool. The result is a ‘greyed out’ appearance due to the high content of grey pigments in your features. Your skin, hair, and eye colours are all very similar and blend together. You can at first appear to be light, but you have a richer look. Your colouring can also be described as ‘ashy’.

Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is low to medium. Skin, hair, and eyes have a similarly low intensity. Features blend rather than contrast.

Eyes: Blend in with skin and hair – hazel, brown, grey-green, grey-blue.

Hair: Neither light nor dark – may appear mousy. Golden or ash blond through to dark brown, strawberry blond through to soft auburn, medium to deep ash brown, light grey.

Main aspect: The lack of contrast in your appearance and the absence of bright colouring in any of your features.

Secondary characteristic: Cool or Warm

IV. Clear

Clear Dominant Characteristic - Seasonal Colour Analysis Long 4

Your dominant characteristic is clear (or bright) if your overall colouring is very high in contrast and saturation. Your eyes have a clear, bright colour which is intensified by your hair. Your features have a bright colouring and there is nothing ‘grey’ or soft about them.

Contrast: The overall contrast level of your features is high to very high. Your eyes may stand out against your skin and hair.

Eyes: May stand out against skin and hair – clear blue, turquoise blue or green, bright green, emerald, or sparkly amber/topaz, brown, dark brown, black. The whites are clearly defined.

Hair: Black, black-brown, medium to dark brown, bright golden blond or red hair, very golden white-blond.

Main aspect: The very high contrast between the features and their saturated colouring. The contrast may be slightly lower if you are warm; if you are cool, the contrast is usually higher.

Secondary characteristic: Cool or Warm

V. Dark

Dark Dominant Characteristic - Seasonal Colour Analysis Long 3

Your dominant characteristic is dark (or deep) if your features are dark or have a depth to them. This characteristic is one of the more confusing ones. It can either mean that your features are dark for your ethnicity or that there is a certain depth to them that requires darker colours to bring them out.

Consequently, this does not mean that dark is the dominant characteristic of all ‘dark-skinned’ people. The point is that the colouring is darker in relation to your ethnicity in combination with a high contrast. On the other hand, a dark blonde person with dark blue eyes can have a deeper colouring than what is typical for blonde individuals because they have a higher contrast between the features (although this is quite rare) .

Contrast: The contrast between your skin, hair, and eye colours is medium to high. Your dark hair and eyes stand in contrast to a lighter skin tone.

Eyes: Black, black-brown, red-brown, brown, dark green or dark hazel; in some instances a very deep, dark blue. If you have an eye colour other than the ones stated, you are not dark.

Hair: Very dark – Black, black-brown, chestnut brown, medium brown, dark auburn. In very rare cases, dark blonde.

Main aspect: Dark or deep features in combination with a high contrast between hair and skin. Your features are dark in relation to your ethnicity.

Secondary characteristic: Warm or Cool

VI. Light

Your dominant characteristic is light if all of your three features – skin, hair, and eyes, are light for your ethnicity. You have the lightest and most delicate colouring of all types.

Contrast: The contrast between your skin, hair, and eye colours is low – meaning that all features are rather light.

Eyes: Light to medium blue or green and light hazel. You are not light if you have brown eyes (see Soft).

Hair: Very light – Light to medium ash or golden blonde, or soft/light auburn.

Main aspect: The lightness of the features’ colouring (not to be confused with soft colouring). It’s not very muted, but much more lively.

Secondary characteristic: Warm or Cool

Note

If you are still unsure what your dominant characteristic is take a look at your eyes. They will generally have many of the same characteristics as your overall appearance and so give you a clue to your season.

Bright & clear

Bright eyes that stand out against the skin and hair are often blue, green, or hazel, but they can also be brown. They are an indicator of a clear dominant characteristic.

Soft & muddy

Muddy, muted, or even “smudgy” eyes are the opposite of clear eyes. They blend into the skin and hair and don’t stand out. Often, they have a greyish undertone. They can be any colour and indicate a soft dominant characteristic.

Warm & golden

Those with a warm dominant characteristic typically have warm eyes to match their complexion and hair. Earthy tones – such as warm green, and golden brown, with yellow undertones are the basis for warm eyes.

Dark & deep

Dark eyes are easy to recognise. From black to the darkest brown, they are usually intense with little to no contrast to the pupil. The point is that they are dark in relation to your ethnicity. They indicate a dark dominant characteristic.

Light

Very light eye colours with a high contrast to the pupil indicate a light dominant characteristic. They are usually blue, green, or light hazel.

Seasonal Colour Analysis - Cool & Greyish Eyes - the concept wardrobe
Cool & greyish

Cool eyes can easily be confused with light eyes if they are on the blue or green spectrum. However, they have a distinct cool quality to them with a strong grey undertone. Compared to soft eyes, they are not muddy but clear. Brown eyes with a grey undertone also fall into this category. These eyes indicate a cool dominant characteristic.

The Secondary Characteristic

You should now have found your dominant characteristic – the one that determines your overall appearance. To determine your seasonal category, you will also need to identify your secondary characteristic. This is the second most important aspect your colouring, but it is less prominent than the dominant characteristic.

To do this, you will need to study your features in more detail, without makeup, and in the best light possible (preferably daylight).

Determine your undertones (warm vs cool)

If your dominant characteristic is not warm or cool, you can look at whether warmer or cooler colours look better on you. Otherwise, move on to determining your chroma below.

I. Skin

The easiest way to determine this is by identifying the undertone of your skin. There are three tests that can help determine whether your skin has warm or cool undertones.

Note that neither may give you accurate results because your secondary characteristic is not as obvious as your dominant characteristic. If you can’t decide on whether you are warm or cool, take a look at the seasonal examples below.

Test 1

Get a sheet of white (it must be true white) paper or a white towel and hold it to your face in natural day light.

Cool: Against the white paper, the skin appears to have pink, red, or blue undertones.

Warm: Against the white paper, the skin appears to have yellow, golden, or peachy undertones.

Test 2

Take a look at the veins on your wrist in direct sunlight.

Cool: The veins on the wrist appear blue.

Warm: The veins on the wrist appear green.

Test 3

Push back your hair, so that it does not influence the test. Then wrap a piece of gold coloured fabric around your face. Do the same with a silver coloured fabric. If you don’t have fabrics you can use gold and silver jewellery.

Decide which colour makes your skin look even and glowing; which one highlights irregularities and intensifies dark circles?

Cool: Silver makes your skin look healthy and even; gold makes you look sick and off.

Warm: Gold makes your skin look healthy and even; silver makes you look sick and off.

II. Hair

Like your skin, your natural hair colour will also have either warm or cool undertones. Note that if you dye your hair you can change your perceived season, but if you want to know your actual season you should use your natural hair colour. On the same note, the wrong hair colour can make you look off and knowing your season can actually help you choose the right hair colour.

Blondes
Golden blonde

Golden, honey blonde hair that gets warm highlights when you’re in the sun has warm undertones.

Ash blonde

Ash blonde hair that appears greyish or mousy has cool undertones. Cool hair typically all-over colour with no highlights.

Brown / Brunettes
Golden brown

Golden brown hair that gets warm highlights when you’re in the sun indicates warm undertones.

Ash brown

Mousy or greyish ash brown hair with no natural highlights has cool undertones.

Blacks
Natural blacks

Naturally black hair usually has warm undertones. Black hair dyes often offer a blue black which has cool undertones.

Reds
Natural reds

Natural reds tend to have warm undertones. But it’s important to note that red hair dyes also often come in cool red shades.

Together with your dominant characteristic, the result of the analysis will give you one of the following seasons:

Dominant Characteristic

Secondary Characteristic

Seasonal Category

Clear

+

Warm

=

Bright Spring

Light

+

Warm

=

Light Spring

Light

+

Cool

=

Light Summer

Soft / Muted

+

Cool

=

Soft Summer

Soft / Muted

+

Warm

=

Soft Autumn

Dark

+

Warm

=

Dark Autumn

Dark

+

Cool

=

Dark Winter

Clear

+

Cool

=

Bright Winter

Let’s have a closer look at what these look like:

The Clear Seasons

If your dominant characteristic is clear, you will either be a Bright Winter (if you are cool) or a Bright Spring (if you are warm).

Below you will find the colour palette for each of the two seasons along with the examples from before. All of these ladies are clear, but the difference lies in the hue.

Can you see how the lighter-skinned Bright Winters appear more frosted and icy than the Bright Springs? Similarly, the darker-skinned Bright Winters appear redder, whereas the Bright Springs appear more golden.

The Soft Seasons

If your dominant characteristic is muted, you will either be a Soft Summer (if you are cool) or a Soft Autumn (if you are warm).

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t tell straight away whether you are warm or cool. Since soft’s colouring is very understated, it can be hard to tell the difference.

Below you will find the colour palette for each of the two seasons along with the examples from before. All of these ladies are soft, but the difference lies in the hue.

Soft Summers tend to appear more greyish than Soft Autumns. Whereas Soft Autumns tend to have a lot of green and walnut in their colouring.

The Dark Seasons

If your dominant characteristic is dark, you will either be a Dark Autumn (if you are warm) or a Dark Winter (if you are cool).

Below you will find the colour palette for each of the two seasons along with the examples from before. All of these ladies are dark, but the difference lies in the hue.

Can you see how Dark Autumns have a richer colouring than the Dark Winter, who have a higher contrast between their features?

Secondary Characteristic - Dark + Cool or Warm - the concept wardrobe

The Light Seasons

If your dominant characteristic is light, you will either be a Light Spring (if you are warm) or a Light Summer (if you are cool).

Below you will find the colour palette for each of the two seasons along with the examples from before. All of these ladies are light, but the difference lies in the hue.

Can you see how the Light Spring’s have a much more colourful appearance than the Light Summers? Their skin appears to be more matte.

Now that you have found your season, you can check out the colour guides help you find the colours that look fabulous on you.

Determine your chroma (clear vs soft)

If your dominant characteristic is warm or cool determine your chroma next. Is your appearance more soft or more clear?

The way to determine your chroma is by identifying the contrast level of your overall colouring. Does your appearance contrast or blend?

If it contrasts, your chroma is clear. If it blends – i.e. your skin, hair, and eyes have a similar intensity, your chroma is soft/muted.

Together with your dominant characteristic, this will result in one of the following seasons:

Dominant Characteristic

Secondary Characteristic

Seasonal Category

Warm

+

Clear

=

True Spring

Cool

+

Soft / Muted

=

True Summer

Warm

+

Soft / Muted

=

True Autumn

Cool

+

Clear

=

True Winter

Let’s take a closer look at the seasons:

The Warm Seasons

If your dominant characteristic is warm, you will either be a True Spring (if you are clear) or a True Autumn (if you are muted).

Below you will find the colour palette for each of the two seasons along with the examples from before. All of these ladies are warm, but the difference lies in the chroma.

Do you notice that the True Spring’s have a glow about them, whereas the True Autumns’s features more matte?

Secondary Characteristic - Warm + Clear or Muted - the concept wardrobe

The Cool Seasons

If your dominant characteristic is cool, you will either be a True Summer (if you are muted) or a True Winter (if you are clear).

Below you will find the colour palette for each of the two seasons along with the examples from before. All of these ladies are cool, but the difference lies in the chroma.

Notice how the True Summers’ appearance is more matte? There is no real glow about them. Whereas The True Winters have a more frosted and icy look.

Secondary Characteristic - Cool + Clear or Muted - the concept wardrobe

Now that you have found your season, you can check out the colour guides help you find the colours that look fabulous on you.

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7 comments
  1. Only white people can fit in those seasons? It’s incredible that in 2019 some color analysts still try to ignore black women as if they aren’t meant to use color theory in their favor…

    1. Hi Mo,

      thank you for your comment and for raising a very valid point! I completely agree with you, everyone should be able to use colour analysis to improve their wardrobe. Unfortunately, seasonal colour analysis often fails women of non-Caucasian backgrounds. But not just that, it sometimes also fails Caucasian women because simply not everyone will fit the standard descriptions. I am currently working on a few blog posts to remedy the situation and I’m hoping to create different colour analysis tests that will work on anyone regardless of their background or ethnicity.

  2. You put Sulli in as a Bright Winter (she’s the Korean girl pictured under Bright Winter), but she’s actually warm-toned and a Spring type according to Koreans.

    1. Hi Michelle, thank you for your comment. I didn’t know the name of the girl but after looking at more pictures of her, you are of course right; she is warm! I have updated the image with another example now.

  3. Hi, thank you for the article. I always had doubts about my season, after this, I have more sure I’m dark winter. Sometimes could get very confused. Could you please explain to me, why in summer, when I got bronze(after get red), I get more similar to autumn? Should I change my palette in that case? I don’t know. Anyway that was the best I read so far. Tks a lot 💖
    Sorry about english 🇧🇷

    1. Hi Helena, generally your season wouldn’t change. You might want to move to a different section of the palette though or borrow colours from the Dark Autumn palette.

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