Best Makeup Colours : Soft Summer

It’s a good thing Soft Summers are so wonderfully even-tempered. A certain fortitude helps for the group who have most often been assigned 2 or 3 different Seasons. The very fact that the coloring is not obvious is precisely the concept of this Season. Therefore, nothing else about the appearance should be blatant either. Dark liners, yellow highlights, or golden bronzers might be ineffective or undetectable or other Seasons. On Soft Summer, they are shrill.

At her most aligned, Soft Summer dresses for an art gallery opening. She wears her makeup the same way. Ultimately tasteful and sophisticated, she would be invited anywhere. She is never inappropriate, bold, or abrupt, and her makeup is not either.

In 12 Season Colour Analysis, Soft Summer is the Neutral Season that is basically a Summer, incorporating the earliest feeling of Autumn. Still more an intuition than a very obvious shift, True Summer’s cool/soft palette is now observed through a veil of light grey smoke. Here on the outskirts of Autumn, the light taupe that settles over the entire palette is not yet warm enough to heat these colors. What it does is dull them. (See How The 5 Springs Add Yellow for more on how heat is added to the warm Season personal colour palettes).

If you looked at True Summer’s colours through the sky in the picture above, they might look like the cosmetic colors palette below. Look at the effect the mauve-grey-taupe has on the grass and trees, relative to the colors in the foreground. A little warmer, certainly more muted and quiet.

I could have sworn those blocks were lined up when I made this. Let’s not notice that. Instead, we could notice that the entire palette seems to fogged, even a bit blurred. If I’d really been on the ball, I would have softened the edges of all those squares and put the lightest mushroom color over the background.

There are no extremes of darkness or brightness. The overall effect is cooler than warm, so no gold, warm beige, or orange. The feeling is gentle but not fragile, an oak tree rather than a crystal vase (which would be Bright Spring). Soft Summer could share their cooler makeup palette with True  Summer, but not with their warmer neighbor, the Soft Autumn, whose colors are much too golden to perfect this skin tone.

The  most beautiful eye appears to be coming out of a misty lake. Eyeshadows and liners are hazy tan greys and mauve greys. The eyeliner is not much darker than the eyeshadow, to avoid creating an obvious line which only looks severe. In this Season, liner can distinguish itself by being a different color than the shadow, instead of a darker color.

The tan browns can be used to fill in brows as well. Eyebrows should never be the first thing people notice on anyone, or they’re overdone. On this group especially, brows may be darker or lighter than the hair depending on the individual, but they should diffuse into the face. It’s the eye color we’re trying to energize. Brows, blush, lipcolor, and hair are there to support, heighten, and accentuate eye color. When the natural features flow so seamlessly into one another, makeup must be exceptionally undemanding to not take over.

The lip and blush colors are interesting. Soft Summer and Dark Winter share certain characteristics. Both add neutral brown to a pure cool Season, True Summer and True Winter respectively. Dark Winter’s brown is much darker as Winter imposes blackness. Both are Neutral Seasons, so have cool and warm choices. Cool for Soft Summer is dusty plum, while warm is tan rose (still definitely a cool version). Cool for Dark Winter is not dusty or greyed at all, quite the opposite, but it is a browned plum; warm is saturated coral pink, dulled a bit with a drop of dark brown.

I love Soft Summer’s red. It is not fire engine, scarlet, blood, or anything else that activates. Summer is restorative, not catalytic. We’re still in the realm of rose petals, they just live on a dusty road.

There are 2 makeup items that are truly out of place on this type of natural coloring. The first in bronzer. You might think it would work, since a light touch of it can be quite outdoor-glowy on Light Summers. The difference is that the heat is so not-obvious in Soft Summer that bronzer stands out. You can’t find taupe bronzer, and who would put a grey layer on their skin anyhow? You’re so much easier to look at in a powder that respects the coolness of the skin and is two shades darker than a match. Use it with restraint, more to contour than to add heat, or skip it altogether.

Shimmer in makeup is the second means of over-gilding this lily. A satin finish in a lip product, maybe, so much easier to find. This Season is an exception where matte choices are actually plentiful. High shine is insistent and feels too childish to fit into this supremely elegant atmosphere. Add shimmer to many Soft Summer eyeshadows, and they become Dark Winter’s.

35 thoughts on “Best Makeup Colours : Soft Summer”

  1. I Love this! About time, indeed. I have just begun wearing the darker shades of Soft Summer’s pink, and I have gotten compliments! I always thought pale pink or nude were the only lip colors I could pull off, and all through high school that’s all I wore. The problem is that I wore lots of eyeliner as well, to try to do the mod look. Well, it closed my eyes up and made me look tired. Now I curl my eyelashes and that is often it besides a little soft blush, and I can pull off a fresh look with a lucious plummy pink lip. It looks great! Thanks, Soft Summer makeup! :-)

  2. “Add shimmer to many Soft Summer eyeshadows, and they become Dark Winter’s.”

    This reminded me of something I’ve been contemplating lately Christine, how corner seasons relate. By corner, I mean the seasons that bracket in a set, so Soft Summer/Dark Winter (both on the edges of Autumn), Dark Autumn/Bright Spring (corners of Winter), Bright Winter/Light Summer (corners of Spring) and Light Spring/Soft Autumn.

    Would it be accurate to say that Soft Summer’s colors are softened, greyed versions of Dark Winter? And likewise, that Soft Autumn relates to Light Spring in that they are similar colors, one muted with soft brown? Or that Light Summer relates to Bright Winter shades but with a slightly greyed white added to lighten and subtly soften them? The relation between Dark Autumn and Bright Spring is the one I can’t quite work out. Almost as if Dark Autumn is Bright Spring’s colors heated up with a rich, warm, brown…?

    Or, maybe there is no relation really and I’m imagining the correlation?! That’s entirely possible as I see patterns everywhere that others don’t seem to notice. :-P

  3. Glad to help, Nicola. Far too many women are doing mod, bohemian, Brazilian, beach, pop, retro, whatever, whatever. Once you finally look like yourself, it’s as if you can breathe again.

    Tiara, if you’re imagining it, my head is in the same place, so you’re not alone. I think about the bracket Seasons too. Remember that any 2 pure Seasons have 1 thing the same and 2 things different in the 3 Colour Scales. So Summer and Winter are cool, but Summer is light/soft and Winter is dark/clear. So Soft Summer is certainly softened relative to Dark Winter, but it’s also a bit lighter. When I said “shimmer Soft Summer eyeshadow and it’s Dark Winter’s”, I was really generalizing, because that would only apply for the Soft Summer’s medium-dark selection…which is about where Dark Autumn takes off toward even darker shades. But there is definitely a relationship in the degrees off a pure cool starting point and the type of warming.

    Soft A and Light Sp : yes, though again there’s also an element of darkness since Autumn is a medium-dark group, though not very dark yet in the Soft version.

    Light Su and Br W: yes, sure. Light Su’s bright red lip is Br W’s starting point.

    Dark A and Br Sp : yes, right, darker and brown instead of yellow. interesting that it’s very easy to confuse these people until you see how awfully awful Autumn drapes look on Bright Sp.

  4. Hi,
    Thank you so much for this post Christine. You do write beautifully. I am intrigued that this season is the hardest to type. Despite poring over CMB books etc for 20 odd years, I still sometimes wonder (hope!) if I am just into soft autumn, but I have classic SS colouring, cool, fair pinkish beige skin, medium ash hair and eyebrows, except that my eyes are misty green outer with almost topazey centre. Look warm olive from afar. My eyes connect with warmer greens, corals etc etc but my skin does kidney failure! People who are uninitiated in PCA always think I am an Autumn. Interestingly, because the eyes are warmish green, they zing out in the cooler, purpley colours. I have to watch lipsticks, too rosey and they look like they have been photoshopped into an autumn face bacause of the eyes.
    The depth thing is interesting too. In the 4 season analysis I am def a summer, but the powdery blues everyone lauds are not so good on me. Overall look is not really fair at all.

    2 makeup finds which may suit the darker soft summers. Clinique moss easy eyeliner (the retractable one with smudger on other end) in moss is charcoaley with a hint of green (but no sense of “colour”) is great on me. I have just bought “a different grape” lipstick, about as dark as I can go but again, wow the eyes have it. Nice for evening. perhaps you might think it’s a deep winter colour.

    Incidentally I once had a CMB analysis. She was a bit miffed I had an opinion on my own colouring, and typed me as deep Autumn. The then boyfriend’s only comment was: I don’t like your lipstick.

    I am sure my fascination with PCA is born out of the misery of 7 years in a school uniform that was black, white and bright red!

    I’m getting highlights on Friday. Will carry the pine cone image, but most hairdressers make thinly veiled comments re dead boring hair colour and want to warm/ brighten it up. I am resolute on light ash brown. Will let y’all know how it goes.

    Thanks again for the blog, love it.

  5. “The relation between Dark Autumn and Bright Spring is the one I can’t quite work out. Almost as if Dark Autumn is Bright Spring’s colors heated up with a rich, warm, brown…?”

    I’m glad the relative similarity between bright spring and dark autumn mentioned, given that more than a few us here, and at A Greener Tea, have thought ourselves to be a dark autumn or a bright spring. Both have some degree of “winter-ness” (dark, clear), so both seasons share a common thread there.

  6. Thank you for replying Christine, nice to know I wasn’t imagining things! ;-)

    Yes, I was generalizing too, the light/darkness aspect is certainly important when thinking about how they relate. This whole bracket thing struck me as another way to understand the seasons, how someone could be typed as something seemingly clear across from what they appear on the surface (like a photo typed Soft Summer draping as a Dark Winter or vice versa). As well as helping to understand the colors, like understanding the difference between Dark Autumn’s browns and teals and Bright Spring’s browns and teals.

    I’m hoping this helps me decipher the commonality in colors within my swatches so I can translate them into makeup, since I haven’t been draped in Sci/Art yet, so I don’t quite know which recommendations to follow! ;-)

  7. Ah, those are kind words about soft-summer being frequently mistyped, and something of a absolution. Perhaps this is some kind of ultimate inter-season? (Prior to the definitive analyses, About the only thing I’d never considered as a possibility was spring, though it’s got to be said (now I’m slowly wising up) that it takes a special brand of self-deluded daftness to look at ash blonde hair and wonder about winter (in my defence, this would have been back in the very dawn of populist PCA, around the time the first CMB books were circulating …)

    Ruth, you could be onto something profound with your comment about school uniforms – am sure my determination to be diagnosed as some species of Autumn had a lot to do with the too-cool summer hues of mine, and that’s going back 25 years …

  8. Over the last few years, I finally realized that I am a soft summer. No one could figure me out, as I have cool skin tone but hazel eyes that have gold/brown/green colors, primarily warm. The veins on my wrist are blue, indicating coolness.

    I am now 67 , and my hair is partially salt and pepper, and I am told I look best with a champagne blonde hair color. Are there any other blond hair colors that would work?

  9. Honest truth, Jeanie? Leave your hair colour as is. Two reasons: One is that I’ve never seen a Soft Summer look better blonde. Two is that one of the most beautiful S Su I know has the hair colour your describe, though she’s probably about 42. It looks simply incredible with her makeup and clothes.

  10. I love you sharing your knowledge with me. I to have been searching for years. Is there any place I can purchase the make-up for a soft summer. I love the containers shown. I am 68 years old and would love to look my very best now. I keep buying shadows and blushes that look good till I put them on. Too much color or too pale. Hope you can help me out.

  11. Yvonne,
    Two places – has lovely and perfect makeup custom-coloured for the 12 Sci\ART Seasons. This is loose powder colour but it really is lovely. You can see the colours on the website.
    Also, Lora at http://www.prettyyourworld. com has a store with Season-coloured makeup, closer to the Color Me Beautiful palettes. What do they call their Soft Summer? I can’t recall…I think it’s still Soft Summer?

  12. Hi Christine.
    What lip colors do you recommened to a soft summer who has a highly pigmented lip? I feel like snow white sometimes as I’m usually the second lightest foundation color and my lips are a dark rose/berry color. The eye shadow colors you suggested look fantastic on me, but I always feel like I should try to go for a softer lip, but since they are so dark, all soft pinks turn a wretched BRIGHT pink or turn purple on me. Needless to say, when I do that soft eye color and leave my lips bare with just a bit of balm or gloss, my natural lips dont match! I’ve tried blotting out my lip color with foundations and then putting on lip color, but then the lipsticks go chalky. Am I destined to mulberry lips forever????

  13. A very good lipstick for Soft Summer: L’Oreal’s Colour Riche “Vagabond Mauve”.

    I love L’Oreal’s Colour Riche lipsticks in general because they offer department store quality at drugstore prices.

  14. Sarah,

    I am also a SSu with very light skin and highly pigmented lips. I have had good success with L’Oreal’s Colour Riche “Tender Pink” as an everyday go-to lipstick. It is a tan pink / rose color that doesn’t turn garish on me.

  15. Thanks Lena, I will check these out. I have found that if I go with soft autumn lip colors, they end up looking soft summer on me. I guess the slight browned down pinks tone my lips down and looks more natural. I seem to like Rimmels Asia, a pinky brown color.

  16. I love the autumn colors I had talked myself into a soft autumn. My natural hair color is mousy brown. Due to my mistaken color palette my hair has been altered from paprika to golden blonde. I was never happy with the results. I chalked my dissatisfaction with makeup, hair and clothing choices to aging. That’s likely why I appear matronly at 56! Perusing your articles without preconceptions, I used a medium ash color and my face isn’t so old anymore! Yay I believe I’m onto something. Sadly my closet is FULL of high contrast and inappropriate colors. And where in the world can I shop for clothing in my colors I wonder. I’m a plus size moving down to my normal healthy weight. Can you suggest a shop that doesn’t just carry tangerine or black? I love your site and your insights thanks

  17. Pattie – finding better hair colour is a huge leap towards taking back control of our appearance. Congratulations! You know, I think the bigger challenge for you won’t be to find a shop that carries your colours. I write newsletters for my own clients and I put together 2 SA to any one of the others. Your job will be to step into stores and never again be able to see black. Own your palette and learn to only see those colours. You can do this. It takes practice, I know that, and some mistakes, I know that too. But you’re moving to a better place – and you’re most of the way there already.

  18. Beautiful color poetry. I’m a soft summer exploring
    Jane iredale liquid mineral foundation.
    Neutral or cool be better skin undertone?
    Thank you,Ann

  19. It depends more on the particular cosmetic company than on the word, Ann. Generally Neutral and tending Cool is better. But they all warm foundation differently. They all cool it differently. And then they give it different names. Sigh.

  20. Hi dear Christine,
    I’m a self diagnosed Soft Summer (after years of struggling in the dark seasons because i’ve got dark brown eyes and hair so typically everyone would put me either in the DA or DW), and your articles in the website have helped me so much through this journey of self discovery. Thanks a ton for taking so much time and doing all these detailed analyzed of the seasons!

    So i had this question: right now i’m very comfortable with the soft summer colors, and in many online swatches for colors i’ve seen many peach and brown variation being put on as SSu’s ideal fits, but i can’t seem to pull off most of them, especially in makeup. (I’m the worst with peaches, they dont work at all) I meant to ask, is this natural? To not fit in a specific spectrum within a sub-season and not being able to pull all the colors off??
    And what’s your opinion on SSu’s pink-pitches and browns? what shade, how warm or cool, or should we be using peaches at all?

    Here in this picture i put a question mark on the hues i had the most problems with:

    So i’d really appreciate your views on it, thanks in advance!

  21. Hi, Farimah,
    I’m happy that you have found information of value here. This is a big Q with an answer that may be a little different for each woman asking it.

    Generally, everyone within a Season can wear the colours pretty equally in clothing. The woman herself might not agree- one issue.

    The colours you’ve marked look about right for S Su and are accommodated by that skin tone. I would agree that peach and brown are not ideal on S Su but those colours in your image don’t say peach and brown to me, they are variations on soft pink, perhaps soft pink flesh tones, but not all the way to peach and brown – so another issue, people see and name colour differently. I can’t answer your Q about what shade of peach and brown, how warm or cool, verbally. If you search the Pinterest boards for Soft Summer, you’ll see a palette based on the SciART system. That’s my closest estimation. Palettes based on other systems would not necessarily concur with my beliefs.

    Third issue, while people within a Season can wear most of the colours well, though maybe not equally well or in equal sized blocks to be ultimately perfect, this is not true in cosmetics, especially in the Neutral Seasons. Every woman finds her own heat and darkness level inside her Season palette.

  22. Navy can be good if eye colour is blue. For many, eye colour is warmer, with teals and soft yellows, and I find Soft Black (charcoal colour) better.

  23. Hi Christine, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Your posts are so beautiful to read. I was analysed as a Spring with Summer as a second season. In my youth I had an Elizabeth Taylor complexion. Can your season change with maturity or with medication? Lately I have become very unhappy with my colouring: where before I I used to be complimented on my peaches and cream complexion, now all I see is yellow. I changed my hair colour from dark brown to golden blonde and felt I looked yellower and yellower. What I want to ask is whether that rule about the wrist vein being green in warm complexions and blue in cool tones is absolute? My vein is green. I have asked for an appointment with an analyst but she is abroad at the moment and won t be back soon. I seem to belong to all the seasons except where there are mustard colors.

  24. Season is very unlikely to change unless you were extremely on the border to begin with, and even then, it depends which Season you started in. I can’t say much about the yellow without an analysis, but it sounds like an overtone. It may be that you’re in the same Season but need to make a few adaptations in how you wear the colours. I don’t know much about vein colours and never use them as part of an analysis. Don’t even glance at them because I have no way of measuring them, so the result would be too subjective for my comfort. The thing to do is wait till a well-trained analyst with a scientific approach and set of drapes can see you.

  25. Absolutely love your site and the poetry behind the way you describe colours. I have been described as a soft summer and the colours suggested are all good on me, particularly the pale blues.
    What colours would you suggest for eyeshadow and eyeliner if your eyes are greeny-blue with some yellowy spots? My lips are naturally pinky-plum and pale pink blush suits best?
    Thanks for any help.

  26. I’m a neutral eyeshadow person, Abigail. Brown eyeshadow is not my preference for SSu, gray is. Su grays are a little mauved. Neutral gray to pewter is great too. NARS Tokyo duo and Lhasa. Mercier Pewter, Sable, Plum Smoke. Clinique Neutral Territory duo. Like that. Do have your colouring analyzed before you spend any kind of money on makeup and have the most skin-flattering hair colour. Makeup is just too expensive.

  27. Dear Christine,
    I’m enjoying your blog and my huge interest tends to the posts about Soft Summer colors and makeup especially as I am Soft Summer. I read your recommendations Laura Mercier Lipstains from Gilded Garden collection in Hibiscus and English Rose few years ago. They were limited collection unfortunetly, but they had so beautiful color! Could you recommend the same colors in lipsticks from current brands?

  28. I wish I could, Julia, but I don’t keep a record of what those colours were from back then.

  29. Can you recommend some stores for shopping in my soft summer palette. It seems everything in my closet is either black, magenta or royal blue…definitely not my coloring, and I need to start over acquiring a few things in the proper palette so I don’t look my age (60), but feeling like I’m 45. Thank you for your posts, I really enjoy them.

  30. Ssu stores…JJill comes to mind. Anthropologie. SSu colours seem to abound anywhere I look. Macy’s, Nordstrom, Kohl’s. What determines the store for me more often is the archetype. Soft Surroundings, Garnet Creek, Territory Ahead, Coldwater Creek, and Modcloth all have loads of these colours but they are dressing different women’s body types.

  31. The question, Lorraine, is “When is someone from South Africa coming here to be trained?” I doubt I will ever find myself, my drapes, lights, etc, etc. in your location.

  32. Christine, I’m on a desperate but so far unfruitful search for a lipstick matching the “red” (top right) in your makeup graphic. Any ideas? Thanks as always for your informative posts.

  33. Probably as good as red gets on SSu, in clothes and makeup. You know, as I look at the graphic, if I were to remake it today, I would make lighten the eyeshadows and warm up the whole thing. I will find time to do that and post a new version.
    Insofar as that lipstick, we have two jobs. One is to find that colour. Give me some time and I will do that for you. The second will be to find the one that looks like that, or your image of that, on your face. At least, a month from now, you will know the product.

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