Naturals has two meanings in this post: Natural image archetypes (IA) or to achieve a no-makeup, natural look.
I enjoyed this article about the psychology of fitness clothing, in a bigger picture of how our clothing choices inform others about who we are. Those choices are informing us as well. Like haircuts with a shape that works with our head, clothes that are built for our body help us sit up a little straighter. “Enclothed cognition” applies to makeup too.
The point is made of not changing too much, too fast. That new hair colour or lipstick might be fabulous but not only are we not yet ready to see it, we are not ready to be it. In the early days after learning your Season, I often want to advise the client to do nothing for a week or a month except absorb the label, the palette, and the online resources that will gradually unlock a world of meaning for her.
We can create our own futures on our own terms with patience and clarity about what we want. The future being where I live, this question helps me gauge my appearance on days when it matters:
What conversations do I want to be having tomorrow, with whom, and regarding what? Am I dressed for that? Am I behaving for that? Exercising for that? Reading for that? Would I choose or hire me to represent the me that I truly know myself to be? Would they even be close?
There’s one other question to ask: What am I willing to do?
Naturals can feel love/hate about makeup. They don’t like the clutter to carry around, the stuff on their face that closes them in, the added steps to getting ready, and the implication that we’re not good enough as we are. These are all valid reactions that nobody would disagree with.
Every woman who wears makeup had to get over all that or stay exactly where she is today. Saying, “I want to look put together but I don’t want to do anything any different.” cannot happen. There is no right or wrong, just clarity about what you want and are willing to do.
Have you read Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth? In the most conversational voice, with very honest emotion, and the sympathy possible from one who’s been there, Roth talks about eating as a means of deflecting other problems. Among the very real advice is that same question: What are you willing to do?
Appearance is the visual language of potential and potency. Others pick up on it like they pick up on posture. Great makeup, which ranges from subtle to strong, signals possibility. I react differently when I sit across the table from a professional woman, or any woman, wearing good makeup and one wearing no makeup, far more influential than what her clothing cost.
If I drew my life on a timeline, many of the important sightings of what I could expect from myself were coincident with appearance changes that brought my real self into view. Those were the breakthrough times. Once I could see myself clearly, I finally knew what I could do. Presumably from the reaction, others see it to, indeed long before I ever did. Our ultimate and truest self is like a little person sitting at the centre of one of those maze games that has multiple entry points, of which appearance is most definitely one.
This article at Quartz is about ‘vanity capital’, what we spend on looks and how to measure it. If you hear that the appearance industry (including PCA) is alive and well, you would not be wrong. The POV leans to a definition of appearance as a form of showing off, also not wrong, qualifying that by saying showing off is not utterly superficial.
Appearance choices are symbolic (the wedding ring). They are a language that speaks to other members of our species. They also speak back to us, as “self-actualization through self-improvement and self-focus”. A new generation of colour analyst exists in the world today, women who instinctively know all of this. They seek the training because they are already aware that enabling this deeper connection with self through colour is fundamentally what they want to share.
Whether you want makeup or not is up to you. Make your choices for the right reasons. I do not lie, ever, not to you, and I’m even harder on me. Humans convince themselves too easily that they don’t want or like a thing when raw honesty would admit that the thing is simply intimidating. Don’t wonder or wish about makeup. It is too easy to make this one come true. There are so many of us here to help you.
When I begin a colour analysis, I reassure the client that she has only two tasks. The first is the most important: To pretend that she doesn’t know the woman in the mirror. No doubt the woman carries around beliefs about her appearance as all women do, but we don’t know what they are any more than we know the beliefs of the woman walking past the window. A degree of detachment makes for a good colour analyst. Just see what you see. Then decide, this one or that one? Who do you want others to meet when they shake your hand? Of which face could you expect what you want to achieve in this day, in this year?
(The second task is to remember that it’s all a bit of an illusion, a trick of light and our visual systems, albeit real and powerful illusion that we can use to our advantage or disadvantage, another choice.)
The Bright Season Natural
We were inspired to write this for the Bright Season woman who feels better in a Natural look. Rachel is posting today with clothing suggestions and tips for The Winter Natural, The Natural Winter. For the makeup, we thought we might offer natural look for the women of all 12 Seasons.
Whom are we meeting?
Between the Bright Season and the Natural archetype, she feels enough conflict to disown one or the other.
She knows she doesn’t want to look like it’s cleaning day but explicitly does want to look safe. That is her good and conscious choice. She has sidestepped the makeup by wearing sheer colours but they don’t have the effect she wants. Next Q: What does safe look like to you?
The client’s job is to tell the analyst what she does want. Part of the information gathering before the PCA begins, after she has described where the problems lie, is to understand, “What is your vision for yourself?” We can’t know what you want unless you tell us. Since ‘vision of yourself’ is too big and abstract, bring a picture of the look you want to achieve today. Saying what we want is the hardest thing but it matters. Others will almost always guess wrong if we give them no other option.
I asked Rachel this woman’s vision for herself.
“She might be a hippie or want to be seen that way, effectively. Someone who is really conscientious, not interested in status, the rat race, etc. Drives a jeep from the late 90s. Grows her own vegetables and has a chicken coop. She wants to feel confident in how she looks, without changing those other things about her that are really important to her. She will wear makeup but is not willing to have it be noticeable. Is there a way not to worry about her recognizing herself? Is it possible to find cosmetics for the Bright Season woman that still have her feeling like herself?”
Just because she drives a Jeep does not imply that she doesn’t have sophistication. She may be highly educated, widely read, the aunt that the nieces and nephews in the family go to for advice, serve at the women’s shelter twice a week, and hike in the Andes every year. She is strong, accomplished, and generous. The face she would like to speak for her is a little more defined, a little more cleaned up, without anyone knowing she’s wearing makeup.
Eye makeup is a breeze. Eye liner and mascara, gray and black if you are a Bright Season. The mascara part if easy to find. Eye liner is a little harder but your analyst can suggest one or knows where to ask. If you have time for eyebrows, good. It will help you. Just do it every day. Don’t negotiate with yourself any more than you negotiate about whether you feel like brushing your teeth. In 2 weeks, you’ll feel odd if you leave that step out.
Makeup Colours and Online Recs
Spring at any level can be the person who thinks best outside the box. Thinking inside the box is a strain. Rules can frustrate them, causing them to feel trapped or the need to oppose something. It’s the rule they’re resisting, not the subject that the rule is addressing. To insinuate that Winter-influenced faces look better with makeup or that more of it looks healthier with age sounds like a rule.
Here is where the natural tendency to refuse to go along with anything that feels like a box is a huge advantage. When it comes to online makeup lists, deploy it at full strength.
As Terry says, outward appearances in any Seasons lie on a bell curve. You have the medium people who look like the descriptions, wear makeup and clothing quite predictably, and are easy to imagine reacting to colour as their PCA result suggests. Thing is, the curve is tall and skinny in the center. Then, it stays wide and flat for ages before coming back to the baseline and transitioning into the next Season.
More than half of the people in any Season are out at the sides. They don’t look like the middle group, though they do respond to colour in the same way – because that’s what PCA is. Nevermind about what you look like just standing there, it won’t connect you with the visual transformation possible. Colour analysis is a reaction in real time. Switching the colour under a face is like stretching an elastic and letting go. Something happens in 5 seconds or less. That something is the event that the analyst interprets to know your Season, your group of the 12 natural colouring categories. The reaction remains once the 5 seconds are up but our visual system adapts to it. You get the read when the colours switch.
When it comes to makeup, not even women in the center of the curve react predictably – which is why using cosmetic to determine Season can be pointless.
Maybe that’s too inclusive and too vague. Rephrase: Using 12 Blueprints cosmetics to determine Season is a waste of time. The colours were selected all along the bell curve. There is no colour that suits every person. For some women, not one of the colours for their Season is striking. For others, they all are. Most women will find something gorgeous in the group, but certainly not all of them. There is no cosmetic, no analyst’s drape, hair colour, or anything else that is the very best on every woman in any Season. As a reality check, hoping for that is either wishful thinking or willful blindness, not sure which.
Small Gives, Big Gets
Much of this could apply to the young Bright Season also.
Tinted moisturizer is as hard to put on as sunscreen, feels no different on the face, and makes a world of difference, youth, and health for the skin. Self-adjusting sheer foundation (eg, Almay Smart Shade) and BB creams can be great too.
Draw in enough eyebrows so they do something. This is beyond easy. You will not look fake if you ask your colour analyst to help you.
Allow one pretty thing just because you are a girl.
Rustic is not how Brights do Natural. Not in makeup colours, not in jewelry. If it reads Cheyenne, Marlboro, Santa Fe, etc., your money could be better spent. This is Rachel’s department and I comment only according to my taste, but no matter how N you are, you do not look like the log cabin. What would you hang on the wall of a beach house? What colours would you paint the walls? What is the furniture made of? Are there rugs?
Charcoal eyeliner, waterproof so it doesn’t smear during the day. The industry makes many of these. Your analyst can help or she can ask one of the makeup geniuses in our group, who can pull this information from the top shelf of their brains in a split second.
Black mascara with a normal application, not Mega Venus Lashes or Deep Space Black.
Lipstick in sheer colours. Will you need to reapply? Yes. Annoying. Try a matte colour with a balm over top. Modern formulations are remarkably stay-put and comfortable.
Don’t get talked into hair colour. It is usually not great on Brights, especially over 40. Your own hair is so much better, unparalleled once it lies against your new clothing colours. Hair colour is costly to fix and not easy to grow out.
A little bronzer, especially on Bright Spring is lovely on Natural faces. This purchase does need care and education, so for sure, have your analyst connect you with the right product. Autumn bronzer will be dipping your makeup brush in dirt. Many Brights can do without, for instance an Asian face, a pink/blue/silver- looking Bright Spring, or the very fair Scandinavian face.
Finding My Lips But Better is essentially solving the same puzzle that faces the Natural woman who wants a minimal lip look.
All colourings, even Softs, even Natural Softs, need life in their lips. Nude lips, beige lips, gray lips, what for? They might be pretty enough as a swatch on canvas, a Pin of an 18-year-old face, or a magazine ad treated to the miracle that is Photoshop, engineered for you to notice the lipstick and nothing else. These have nothing to do with the rest of us.
How often do you stare at lips except in pictures? Never. We defocus more than that to take in a whole head. For an effective mouth, or mouth colour, we want to look in the eyes and have the mouth in our awareness. The mouth brings balance, shape, and definition to the entire bottom half of the head. The lower half of the face can’t balance the top half or do much of anything if it’s floating around in space. It also gives more substance and grounding to the words that come out of the mouth.
Without lips, if the viewer perceives a blank space in that area, it can look almost like a skeleton head when we smile and there are no lips. Put lips on the face the same as you put eyebrows on the face. Missing features are weird. Picture a face with one eye or no nose. Weird.
The MLBB recs here were not chosen to be naked or lip erasers. They were chosen to be where you begin and it’s up from here.
Winter is Red
Of the ideas below, you might say, “Well gosh, these were supposed to be my lips but better. This colour you’ve given me is a lot redder or darker. Why do the other Seasons have colours that are nice and calm?”
Winter makeup is far from where the face begins, one of the many big distances that this group will travel with cosmetics. If makeup colour is wimpy, the natural pigmentation will turn it clear, or worse, gray. Red and violet are still your lips. The Season result confirms that those pigments are there.
Many Naturals feel comfortable adding one makeup item, usually lip colour or eyeliner. That can be fine for any of the 3 Summers, Springs, and Autumns. For the 3 Winter groups, the face risks losing balance. Even at the MLBB level, each addition can seem a lot more than the bare face until the additions are balanced.
The payoff is that a Winter woman does that Winter thing. The TV goes from the fuzzy B&W you had in college to what you watch today. Mom and friends are a little quieter when they see it, being emotionally invested in their previous image of you as a component of their image of themselves. The Natural thinks they’re staring at the makeup and pulls her baseball hat down lower till she can get the makeup washed off.
Without makeup, winter skin can seem quite bland. It may be a little gray or green-gray. The face doesn’t seem to have much energy or activity compared to the lively, sparkly, glowing, rosy, pretty Spring and Summer faces that just ran out to pick up milk and eggs. There is little or no natural blush in the cheek. The whole face can be quite red, an excessive flush, a red that only calms once the person wears Winter colours. The eye colour can be so much that the rest of the face might as well not be there, or nothing much till the right colours surround it. The natural pigmentation in the skin dulls other-Season clothing so the overall effect is even drabber. Natural lip colour can be almost the same as skin or so strong that lip products need a definite pigment deposit to just look normal. Then she applies the right makeup. And the ground shifts.
Dark Seasons can take dark cosmetic colour and seem to lighten it. They can take a medium colour that could make a lovely blouse and candy-fy it to become Miami Beach Coral. If they draw their normal&natural lipstick on a paper for you, you look up at their lips and say, “Really? That’s what you’re wearing? It looks so much darker on the paper!”
True Winter and True Summer lipsticks exist on a continuum. There is movement between them. The True Springs and Autumns are totally different in cosmetics, except perhaps the odd brown eyeliner. Autumns wear baked, tan, coppery, brick, and brown tones. Awful on all 5 Spring colourings, like smearing curry paste on the mouth. Fresh fruit juicy mixtures of peach, coral, orange, and clear red are the answer for Spring.
DO NOT BUY WITHOUT TRYING. THERE IS TOO MUCH VARIABILITY AMONG WOMEN IN ONE SEASON TO PREDICT THE OUTCOME OF ANY MAKEUP TRIAL. I KNOW YOU’RE TIRED OF READING THIS BUT I STILL GET EMAILS ABOUT ONLINE RECS NOT WORKING. BESIDES, I HAVE NOT SEEN MOST OF THESE ON ONE LIVING BEING.
1. Gray lips look dead and concealer lips look like chalk, or greasy chalk, dry and wet papier mache, if gloss is added. Summer lip colours might look a little greyish next to Winter colours, but so what, it’s not a Winter face that’s going to wear them. When seen next to their palette or person, they become highly colourful and very energized. For instance Lancôme Rose des Cygnes for Soft Summer, Bare Minerals Raise the Bar, Or Bare Escentuals Pop of Passion in Lip Oil-Balm in Rose Pop (may also work on True Summer).
While Soft Summer is flattered by some darkness, there is a definite upper limit. They are Summers, after all and one of the hallmarks of that group is light, as in light-cool-soft. Lightness is the thing they have in common with Spring. For Soft Summer, picture holding the True Summer colours in the shade. What happens? Colours would darken, and importantly, they would mute. The reds would not look as red. The blues would be less blue.
That combination of darkening and losing some pigment concentration towards the gray scale is what Soft Summer wears so beautifully. Some Soft Summers wear darkness fairly easily, and some at fairly high saturation, just as there are some fabric colours that are a little beyond the Soft Summer palette in darkness and saturation. What made them not-Winter was that Winter colours drained the fabric and noticeably took over. If the line is really fine, the fabric is often given to Winter because I’d rather see the woman than her shirt. If it’s that hard to tell, does it really matter IRL, enough to pass up the purchase? No. For most Soft Summers, the end of the palette is the darkness max and requires that the colour be noticeably muted.
2. For any lipstick in any Season, if you have a colour that you feel works well but is too heavy or opaque, ask the sales staff to match it in a sheer stick or gloss. They are surprisingly good at it. Stay towards the middle of your palette – but stay with the palette as much as possible. For Bright Spring, get a sample of Dior Fireworks. Also look at Bare Escentuals Oil-Balm in Pink Pop. Don’t wear Light Spring lipstick if possible, which looks weak, why spend money for that, or use it as an entry point and graduate to your own level asap.
3. Play with the similarities between Seasons. Neither True Winter or True Summer should spend any valuable time searching for a beige, brown, or skin coloured lipstick. Your MLBB is a version of violet because your lip colour is violet. Both Seasons could wear Urban Decay Sheer Lady FLower, and also Obsessed for True and Light Summer. Bare Escentuals Plumberry Pop is worth looking at for any Winter and True Summer. The 12 Blueprints Cosmetics have just been intro’d through your colour analysts. For True Summer, Transcending is the one light one, Supreme the deeper one.
As scary as it looks on paper, red can disappear into Winter coloured faces. True Winter looking for a healthy, red lip that isn’t jumping red could try Lancome 335 Framboise Etoile.
True Summer looking for a healthy soft red lip? Lancome Lip Lover 353 Rose Gracieuse (different name in US, this is it in Canada), also a pretty cool coral for Light Summer. She’s purple and violet, this girl, not nearly red as Winter is.
4. The Light Spring can wear versions of beige very nicely, as Lancome Lip Lover Beige Adage. YSL Rouge Pur Couture 7 is a nice peach beige for Light Spring, where 9 is a beauty of a colour for True and Light Spring. Dior 750 Rock and Roll for both Light Seasons. Buxom Mistress is quiet beige pink for Light Spring. Bare Escentuals Peach Pop is pretty.
5. True Spring has a lot of natural-ness about its colours and its feeling, related to a healthy, young, growing planet. With all the yellow, they do peach and golden beiges beautifully. Dior New Look is pink peach also for Light Spring, and 643 Dior Diablotine is a subdued earthier peach beige for True Spring. NARS Niagara (and the bit redder Mercier Mango) is a natural orange, not a jellybean factory, still with the fresh energy a True Spring coloured person needs for vitality. Cover it with a golden gloss. For Springs, YSL Gloss Volupte 1. Bare Escentuals Tangerine Pop too.
6. Bright Winter is like Bright Spring in that the more colour she wears, the better she looks. I asked Rachel‘s advice since nobody I know embraces the BW lipstick spectrum so well. YSL Tint in Oil #5 is a good barely-there colour. Lancome Shine Lover 120 is also worth looking at.
7. Try colours from the lighter Neutral Season, choosing the darker ones if you’re Winter side borrowing from the Summer side, or lighter if v.v. After knowing my Season, it took me years to get out of darker Soft Autumn colours into my better home of warm Dark Winter red. Do I kick myself? Yes, a bit. When your colour analyst pushes you to wear your own Season colours, she is trying to save you time and money that you will want back later. Bright Spring might look at Urban Decay Sheer Streak, (sheer or not) which could work as a darker option on Light Spring.
8. Dark Seasons need to go pretty dark to have a mouth that balances eyes and hair. In the same way that jewelry that is light can be hard to see on them, whereas dark jewelry sits up beautifully, so can they wear darker lipstick than anyone else without having it look too dark. Sheer formulas feel more at home. Both Dark Seasons might love NARS Gypsy.
This colouring also wears opacity well – and wet shine less well, so if you feel dark and opaque colour make your lips look smaller, choose a bit less dark and metallic instead of a lot less dark and wet . Browns that are red enough to not look like dirt or food on Dark Autumn could be Urban Decay Rapture (both sheer or not), Fiend, and Manic. Dark Autumn, it’s 12 Blueprints Volcano.
Dark Winter can try UD Manic and Lancome Jolie Rosalie, a less saturated version of Smashbox Fig. Dark Seasons don’t really have much use for gloss. It can look oily because the skin doesn’t reflect light in that way. Shine via metallic flows better into the face. A very good natural mouth that lasts can be achieved by applying a lip, even a matte one, blot, reapply, blot.
My eyes see red as Winter’s neutral lip, a difference with Dark Autumn who wears browner flesh-tones well. 12 Blueprints True Brit is quite safe as warm, smoky reds go, my personal favourite. Saw a photo of it on analyst Cate Linden, a Dark Autumn. Swoon-beautiful in that very chic, Parisian way where lips look normal and always have.
Try a slightly lower intensity of your Season. Maybe the heat level and darkness are pretty good, you don’t want transparency or a wet look, but you would like to drop the intensity a bit. Dark Autumn could try Bare Minerals Get Ready (a new colour at Sephora in Canada).
9. Soft Autumn. Hourglass Fawn. Bare Minerals Speak Your Mind. Lancôme Rose Rendezvous. Bare Escentuals Nude Pop. Perhaps the easiest makeup shopping Season of all.
10. True Autumn. Bite Heather. NARS Toledo. An antique gold gloss makes everything look like a golden sunset. Sephora She Sparkles, maybe for evening, not on its own. Glitter lips feel disco to Naturals. Locate a sample of 12 Blueprints Grown Up (analyst list in the article introducing the makeup, linked just above the crocuses).
11. Light Summer: 12Blueprints Flowergirl. Bang on. If you’re searching for a heartbreakingly beautiful red, try 12 Blueprints. Come Dancing.
Since it was a Bright Spring woman who inspired these posts, she has a couple of extras. When Bright Spring is ready to up her game, look at Hourglass Muse. When she is ready to up it even more, Marc Jacobs So Sofia is waiting.
Remember that photo of yourself that you brought to show your colour analyst? Copy it and stick it on every flat surface in your world. We move towards what we see and think about. Inside of a month, it will become your new normal. Whether you are wearing lipstick or not, you will always be able to recognize yourself.