Tag Archives: 4 Season Color Analysis


Introducing Colour Analyst Amanda Roberts (California)

I would have been so happy if our training with Amanda and her lovely fellow student had gone on for  weeks. Her aptitude for colour analysis is extremely high. In her person, she combines glamour, energy, optimism, perfectionism, targeted intelligence, and natural friendliness.

So strongly do I believe that waiting on a dream just pushes it further away that I align instantly with people who move to make dreams real despite obstacles. Amanda arrived here with her baby, Milo, and baby genius Mom, Phyllis. Every few hours, Milo and Phyllis would appear at the door so Milo could be fed. The course would not have been the same without them. I could write a page about how beautiful, grounded, supportive, and stabilizing Phyllis’ presence was for all of us in that week. Allow me to introduce these beautiful people whom I hold so dear. Here are Amanda’s beautiful Dark Autumn Mom and baby, Season yet unknown.


Before the course, I say to students that I hope they have been analyzed into several different Seasons. I hope that they have encountered great difficulties in getting the previous PCA to work for them. Only then can they be sensitive to the many kinds of support that will help their clients in those moments. By having traveled this road, Amanda brings the following to her client,

I definitely have a heart for anticipating those who are a bit unexpected in their palettes, and figuring out how to be of service to them. I want to make sure I also address apparent warmth/coolness/hue to their skin’s overtone, as well as anything notable about eye/hair color, and clarity/mutedness within their season… painting a unique masterpiece with each person in that season.

It is exciting when women of Amanda’s generation join the PCA industry. In bringing science-backed, evidence-based colour analysis to their communities, they become role models and advocates for modern methods, equipment, and belief systems that have taken giant strides forward, even in the past year.  From the moment we met and still today, one word resonates in my head about Amanda as a person and as a colour analyst: brilliant.



From Amanda,

Hi! I wish I could sit down with each one of you and chat over coffee or tea, but as we are such a geographically diverse group, this will have to do, right? Here’s my story of discovering my colors, and finding myself a certified color analyst in the process!

I was first introduced to the concept of four season color analysis through my mom’s Color Me Beautiful book, which I stumbled upon in elementary school. I felt an instant connection to the idea that different people should wear different colors, even as a kid, being a very visually sensitive person. My precocious young self determined that with my pinkish fair skin, light blue eyes, and blond hair, I had to be a Summer. I struggled with insecurities about my physical appearance as I fumbled through adolescence, as so many of us do, and I never felt like I had much “oomph” in the Summer colors that I tried to wear- but figured in my teenaged despondency that I was just a person without much pizzazz anyway.

During my later years of high school and increasingly throughout my time in college, I became more exploratory with what I wore, including with colors, and the color analysis concept gradually faded from my mind. As a college student, I loved going to local thrift stores and discount shops, stretching my meager income to come up with creative outfits for school, social events, and dates. I dyed my hair several times in tones from red to brown, and even to black, and probably had multiple outfits from each of the 12 seasons! I did notice that unfortunate things would happen to my skin when I wore extremely muted colors, so I learned to avoid those.

Fast-forward a few years- I’d gotten married to the love of my life, and had quit my full-time office job to stay home with our firstborn, and for some reason color analysis popped back into my head. Maybe I was needing to feel more centered while dealing with a child in the terrible twos! Google led me to Christine’s website, and I was intrigued to learn that the four season concept had been expanded into a twelve-tone system by some who found it a more accurate way to analyze human coloring. I read everything I could about what had been going on in color analysis during my many years of hiatus! I eventually became convinced that the 12 season approach, particularly the Sci Art method, made a lot of sense, offering a visual precision and objectivity that deeply appealed to me.


Here I am with my hubby and our sons. My husband is a True Winter, and he loves pictures in black and white- makes sense to those of us who are color geeks, right?

At that point, there were two things that I knew I needed to do. First, I needed to have a PCA to experience it for myself and figure out which season I was (I know many of you reading have felt that pull!). Second, I knew that it might be a possible career option for me, as I had long been interested in doing something professionally that required visual precision and artistry. My PCA appointment finally came, and my husband and I traveled a couple of hours together to a Sci Art analyst. I went into it guessing that I could be a Light Summer, but had the eye-opening experience of discovering that I was a Bright Winter. I left the appointment feeling convinced of the result, but also quite shocked! I was thrilled to finally know my colors, and found a lot of new clothing and makeup that felt great to wear, but I did hit a couple of speed-bumps in adjusting to my palette. As I shopped for new outfits, I found it difficult to get the visual balance right, being a somewhat light-haired and light-eyed person with a palette containing a lot of dark colors. I also felt off in many of the prints and garment lines that I would find in Bright Winter colors, which felt discouraging. Born out of this dilemma, I began looking into the concepts of body types and body lines, and began to suspect that therein was my answer. Around the same time, Christine began to post about color and body lines frequently on her blog, to my great delight! I saw Sci Art color analysis working so well for many people, and found the science behind it to be very sound, so I decided that I would look into training with Christine if she ever opened the opportunity, knowing she had the expertise to help me resolve my questions before sending me out to help people with theirs.

Lo and behold, I was six months pregnant with my second child when I heard that Christine was beginning to offer training. I treasure the memory of sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops with my husband, and opening my laptop in front of my already quite pregnant tummy to discover the news. He reached over and told me I had to do it- what a keeper! Along with my husband’s support, I received a lot of encouragement from family and friends as I made plans for my new venture. I think they were all relieved that I was finally doing something with color analysis, after a couple of years of talking their ears off about it! I decided to make the trip from my home in Southern California to Canada when my youngest son would be about six months old, and my mom agreed to come with me so I could bring the baby to training, which is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.


On the plane!

Our unlikely trio made it safely to Canada in August 2013, and thus began one of the most intense but fulfilling weeks of my life. Although we as students had read an extensive training manual before arriving, nothing could compare to actually doing PCA’s with a woman who has dedicated a great deal of her time, energy, and notable intellect to becoming one of the world’s experts in this field. My fellow student and I learned to see for ourselves the subtle skin reactions and definition of facial features on which PCA hinges, while simultaneously developing our right-brained, gut reaction to the whole picture of the client in front of us. Not only were we acquiring the skill to get the season right, we also were experiencing the very human side of PCA, with each client bringing their own unique beauty and story to tell. I went into training suspecting that I might fall in love with this PCA thing, but I underestimated how deeply it would affect me to actually meet people and be a small part of their stories. I cling to the belief that humans have inherent dignity and worth, and here I was, learning a fascinating way to affirm that each person is worth something, just as they are. Sure, we are just talking about colors here, but if I know one thing about humans, it’s that we’re complicated. Sometimes an indirect approach can play a part in getting the message through to us that we really do matter.

Lest I leave you hanging, Christine did help me with my questions. I didn’t tell her the result of my first draping, and during my PCA with her, which also resulted in Bright Winter, I made sure I could embrace the result without a single doubt left in my mind. Christine provided a helpful objective voice not only in helping me see myself as a Bright Winter, but also by affirming my suspicions about my physical delicacy, curviness, and gentle appearance, which just couldn’t gel with a lot of my shopping finds. I started to accept that, for example, dark matte lipsticks and very linear patterns or shapes don’t make visual sense on me even when they match my palette, because of my body lines. Each of us has our own way to use the colors in our palette, and it will be as individual as our fingerprints, voice, and laugh.

Since I’ve been home, I have settled into how I fit in the Bright Winter palette with a great deal of enjoyment, and I am very passionate about helping my clients understand how they fit uniquely into their palettes too. To serve my color clients who desire greater understanding of their body lines and development of their personal style, I am currently building a stylist portfolio and can customize a style appointment upon request (in-person only). Keep your eyes out for my style blog featuring a 12 season approach to fashion- it’s in the works! I have seen almost 30 PCA clients since I was certified, and I am so thrilled to be able to offer color analysis in my community. I believe that this is a service that can benefit everyone, and I hope it becomes something as standard as getting a haircut! Self-knowledge is so powerful in both internal and external matters, and sometimes a gain on one of those sides of the equation affects the other side positively too. Being attuned to which colors enhance your unique personal power and attractiveness is a confidence boost that we all can use. Becoming a more informed and selective shopper with a wardrobe you love sure doesn’t hurt either!


Thank you so much for reading this. Being a part of the color community has been life-changing for me, and each one of you adds something special to the ongoing conversation of understanding our colors and ourselves. Thank you as well to my husband, family, and friends- I wouldn’t be writing any of this without the way you’ve cheered me on.

Here is some practical info for those who are in my area. My studio is located in my home in Southern California, convenient for clients in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego, as well as surrounding counties. My standard PCA appointment offers:

-a few opening questions from me about you and what brings you in as a client

-an intro to PCA and the color theory behind it

-a color analysis in the Sci Art method as taught by Christine Scaman, using official 12 Blueprints test drapes

-makeup application and tutorial for female clients, discussing colors as well as finish, and how to enhance your own unique features with your palette

-photo opportunity with drapes and color fan

-discussion of shopping with your color fan, including color harmonizing, swatching makeup, and how to determine if a pattern works with your palette

-conversation about any factors about your coloring that may influence your individual use of the palette

-time for questions- this is your opportunity to ask about anything from hair color, to the lipstick and dress you already bought for an upcoming event (I have had clients bring in items that they have burning questions about, which I welcome!)

-follow-up support with outfit ideas in your palette sent via Pinterest, as well as my continuing availability through email

My website is amandarobertscolor.com, and email is amandarobertscolor at gmail.com. My website also connects to my Pinterest and Instagram accounts for my business if you’d like to follow me. I have boards for each of the 12 seasons on Pinterest. I welcome your questions, and look forward to hearing from you if I can be of service in any way!




A Brown-Eyed Summer

And not just a Summer, but a Light Summer!

Geoff was one of the people I analyzed as part of my training, with Terry there to guide me. Though I wasn’t tuned into people’s colouring back then, his impression seemed very medium and still is in my memory. He had medium-dark sandy brown hair and eyes that seemed twinkly somehow, but light or medium in depth, no idea what colour.

It has been pointed out that if I believe that eyes and hair are irrelevant to Season (and I do), then why do I keep talking about them? Because skin is hard to talk about. In a previous article, Jocelyn Is A Bright Winter, I had watched her at work for years, so I had some idea of how her skin reacted to colour. Geoff and I just met that day, which is the case with most clients.

His Season was Bright Winter. At the time, I had no idea what the significance of that was. He could have been any Season and it would have seemed perfectly plausible. Every one of the 12 Seasons had an exactly equal outcome probability. That precious trust is one of the hardest things to hang onto as experience brings expectation, complacency, and ruts. The beginner is far more willing to wander off the beaten path, too naive to know what the implications are.

As time passed, I often wondered if I would ever have the confidence to a call a medium-colouring person a Bright Winter without Terry standing beside me. Terry had analyzed hundreds of people, probably thousands, having been an analyst since the 80s, first with one of the biggest brands in PCA, and eventually settling more comfortably with Sci\ART.

In PCA, the average is the exception. The general population, the people at yoga class, your family, nobody quite looks like the pictures in books. Those perfect averages are as rare as the patient with a disease who shows up with all the textbook signs and symptoms. At least, I never see them. Most everyone has something that seems not to fit.

Let’s call this lovely woman May. She had been analyzed many years ago as a Summer, in a 4-Season system. It was closer than the other choices, though she did wear some Spring colours, especially the robin’s egg blues. May is remarkably colour perceptive, even to the fine details, and could decide even with the first drapes which was better. She is one of the few women I see who came in wearing her best colours.

We began as Light Seasons always do. Terrible, but terrible in Autumn. We could have counted 15 different problems. Overwhelmed by Winter’s aggressive darks. No surprise so far. True Summer made the skin a bit greyed, but it looked younger and more evenly coloured. True Spring brought an easing of lines and that typical smoothness of skin of this Season, but she was too yellow. Very typical of the Light Seasons. Seen this many times.

And I’m feeling a bit nervous because those eyes are brown and they are not changing, though the skin and eyelids around them are changing dramatically. Eye colour intensity or crispness of outline of the iris don’t change equally in everyone, but as I get to the better Seasons, these factors are usually helpful guides. Contradictions can happen, as the Soft Autumn eyes in skin that has cooled and softened to Soft Summer in a woman in her 60s, and skin always matters most. The eyes won’t change in a face while the skin remains the same, it’s just easier to see in the eye as we refine the very best colours.In May’s case, we seldom looked at her eye colour or sharpness. We did it entirely by looking at skin.

Life often teaches us what we most need to know at the time we are truly receptive. I get challenged a fair bit about ignoring eye and hair colour, and sometimes I question myself. May came along, I believe, to teach me to stick to my guns. If eyes don’t matter, and any Season can have any hair and eye colour, then it was time for me to put my money where my mouth is.

We knew True Summer and True Spring were not right. I kept seeing those dark eyes and going back to Bright Spring. Bernice Kentner of CMAS, whom I hold in highest esteem, has said that a brown-eyed Spring is mostly a Winter blend, and that has been my experience so far. There was no way. May is not crisply cool to look at, and Bright Springs usually are. Her eyes were gentle brown, not containing any perceptible black.  Those drapes were not only draining, but they looked crazy, like the woman and the colour were separate and had been Photoshopped together.

I thank May for sitting there so patiently, Summer that she is. PCA is like a video game. It doesn’t let you see any level of clues till you’ve mastered the previous level. It holds back knowledge you’re not ready to use correctly. We tried Light Spring and Light Summer a few times and couldn’t choose. I never belabor these moments, I change the energy. We went backwards, tried Soft Summer and the True Summer and Spring again, just to give our eyes more ways of seeing. Then, it was obvious. Light Summer was clearly and obviously the one. Her skin was the absolute youngest, without being yellowed as Light Spring caused. In a 12 Season Personal Colour Analysis system, Light Summer is the person whose inborn colouring is predominantly Summer’s, with a trace of Spring clear, light, yellow sunlight.

I wonder if she was a Light Spring as a younger woman. Her skin may have cooled and softened into Light Summer. But a brown-eyed Light Spring is still most uncommon. And those eyes are brown, but fascinatingly so. A blue-eyed Light Summer has a very clear open wreath around the pupil, like this:

See the browner doughnut around the pupil? And see also the absence of lines and spokes and specks and other detail throughout the iris? Very typical of all 3 Summer groups.

In May’s eyes, substitute all the blues for browns and you’re there. Same very prominent open wreath, actually even wider doughnut than the eye above, same absence of strong lines, and of a darker brown than the very slightly lighter brown outside the wreath.

What else was fascinating? Her eyelashes are light-medium blonde, about like the eye above or perhaps a bit lighter, and far lighter than her eyes. Her eyebrows are extremely fair.

Her hair colour is lighter than her natural light brown was in her earlier years, and her natural is now gray. Hair is hidden during the analysis, so imagining her in darker hair would not have made a younger face.

If you can’t buy a brown-eyed Summer, what else can you picture? Nothing I can think of. Try putting other Seasons makeup on her. I can’t see it. She is wearing the lightest silvery taupe eyeliner I have. Even through tinted lenses, can you imagine darker without the eyeliner being an obvious dark line on this skin? Not really. May is wearing quite a bit of light gold-peach bronzer and carnation pink blush and lipstick, but the white analysis lights are still on so the skin seems a bit whiter.




How Summers Intensify Eye Colour

We often see the attempt to charge eye colour with more makeup. When were you not just staring at the makeup? Natural skin and eyes can only compete with so much pigment before the cosmetic takes over. Luckily, when the colour is one that already exists in you, you can apply it quite heavily and it will appear as a believable part of your face, but there are limits.

There is a lot more to intensifying eye color than eye makeup.


Never underestimate the power of colour analyzed clothes colours to amplify eye colour. This alone will do more than makeup on anyone. It is a way bigger block. How much color can you create with a skinny line of liner or a tiny eyelid worth of shadow?

It is not only your same-as-eye color clothes that charge up eye color, though those might work best. All the colors in your Personal Colour swatches can do this. Each one will clear the white of the eye, just as it clears the skin. Your pinks, greens, and grays should all intensify eye colour.

Brows and Blush

Colour Analysis will bring attention to your eyes like never before, even if you do not wear makeup. Groom your brows, have them beautifully shaped, and pencil in the thin spots. Think of eyebrows as the picture frames for the eyes. They matter.

Once many women get the right shade of blush, their first comment is  that it brings out the eyes. Absolutely it does, instantly and strongly. Look for that effect to happen when you buy blush. All makeup should strengthen the eye colour. The eye is the jewel in the face, the focal point of the entire appearance.

Eyeshadow Palettes for Eye Colour

Think twice about investing in palettes made for certain eye colours. Have you ever seen them work? Have you ever said to a woman, your eyeshadow makes your eyes look so much greener, and really meant it?

There is no universal formula for every green eye. The makeup that works on one skin will be too weak or too strong on another. There are many greens in a green eye,  too confusing to be able to pick out the correct ones. Besides, green or blue makeup next to green or blue eyes sets up competition and distraction from the eye itself.

Also, any skin can have any eye color or combination. If the eyeshadows are made for the green-eye cool-skin woman, then it dulls the skin of the warm-skinned woman. This is the reincarnation of the silver bullet we know as the lip colour that suit every skin tone.

Using the right browns and grays,

And understanding that not everyone can do everything,

And that without a Colour Analysis, cosmetic colour browns and greys are the hardest of all colours to understand by a long shot,

Intensifying eye colour happens with repeats, complements, and contrasts.

This is 12 Seasonal Colour Analysis. There are 3 Summer Seasons, the True, the Soft (blends an Autumn trace), and the Light (a dab of Spring).

True Summer

True Summer eyes look best to me when they are gazing out of a misty pool of cool grays. Soft grays, not sharp grays.

  1. Soft navy eyeliner, not blackened sapphire. True Summer often has very deep blues in the eye that can be repeated. Take care when you select a colour that it looks good with the entire swatch book. Too often, we see eye makeup in colours that nobody would pair in an outfit with the colours in the eyes or wardrobe. If the combination is uncomfortable in an outfit, how can it be attractive on the face?
  2. Denim eyeliner repeats the overall color and darkness level of the eye. Annabelle Blue Grey is one of the best I know for True Summer.
  3. Cool gray or blue gray eyeshadow (much more gray than blue, like rainclouds) repeats the True Summer undertone and blends nicely into the skin. Mauve-gray can work, but many Summers have pink in the eyelid rims, which risks an eye looking bloodshot.
  4. The contrast of a cool blue eye with a warm brown shadow is stunning, so the magazines tell us. Warm brown shadow on the True Summer skin tone is mud. There is no heat in this skin. Rosy browns will read as warmer against a blue eye and can act as the complement for the blue. Sally Beauty Chocolate Truffle Trio is good.


Soft Summer

These eyes look best when they are gazing out of a pool of fog and lavender smoke. Neutral tan-brown and mauve-browns are lovely, with misty pinks and antique whites as base and highlight colours. No hard edges, everything quiet, blurred, and diffused.

  1. Repeat the tan brown in the eye with eyeliner.

The eyeliner is the bodice colour. The Canadian Superstores carry a line of clothes/makeup called Joe Fresh. Their Twist Up Eyeliner pencil in Charcoal is the right one.

Your medium and dark eyeshadows are all contained in this dress (linked to Jones New York, but no longer available).

2. That tan brown can be repeated again in the highlight colour in the hair. Beach (and bleach) blonde highlights do not work, they look like grey stripes, like a strangely intended aging effect. The right highlight is browned down. All the Autumns can repeat hair color and eye colour. This is beautiful, real, natural hair for a Soft Summer, on Jennifer Aniston. They often get her too blonde. Immediately, her skin yellows and her eyes fade.

3. Any contrasts? The whole concept of the Season is low contrast, so you have to be exceptionally subtle with all makeup. Neutral Seasons have a little heat in their skin, and cooler and warmer choices in their palette. We are still mostly cool here though, the skin still muddy in warm brown colours. The skin looks heavy and the heat of warm brown in the eyeshadow can yellow the white of the eye in a subliminal way, looking unhealthy. There is no contrast I know, not light/dark, warm/cool, or hi/lo saturation.

4. Any complements? I am often asked if orange-toned eyeshadows work on blue eyes, or purple tones on green eyes, etc. This is usually a blue eye, sometimes surprisingly pale, or a blue-green eye, where the eye color becomes very strong in pine green clothing. The orange-toned brown eyeshadow for the blue eye is awkward on this skin. Choose the taupes from the palette instead.  It will be lovely and intensify the blue eye. The green eye could be accentuated with a dusty plum shadow. The viewer should not see purpleness.


Light Summer

These are the eyes that get more makeup piled on, hoping to make them pop. Either that, or someone has the hope that a dark line will look good against the light eye colour, which is altogether too much hope. The eye cannot balance either effect, the end result being to close in the eye. All we see is makeup.

This is a Light Summer eye below. Black mascara has no place here. You could barely find any colours that are even medium in darkness. Gentle light colors are key. Airy and fresh is what will look healthy and young. Imagine the colours you would paint around a rainbow to define it from its surroundings without dimming its gentle magic.

In the middle swatch, Photoshop extracted the gray shade from the middle of the iris around the 4 o’clock position. It is an excellent eyeliner. The lower colour is a lovely eyeshadow, barely yellow as Light Summer skin is, finding the very same colours in the iris and elevating them further.  Because the colours are a harmonic match, there is no competition. Quite opposite, they have an additive effect on one another.

  1. Eyeshadows are soft dove grays, not brown. Use very light colours because the eye color is very easily overwhelmed.
  2. Repeats? In makeup, although coloured eyeliner takes over and drama is the only thing anyone will see, an accent that is beautiful is a cloud of cornflower or periwinkle at the outer corner of the upper lid. In clothing, the aqua and cornflower blues from the palette are superb for intensifying the iris colour.
  3. Complements? Not in eyeshadow. However, since there is heat in the skin, it can support some bronzer believably, as the Spring contribution is sunshine and the outdoors. A light application of a peach-gold will bring out the eyes without looking artificial. Remember, the best beauty looks like it could have happened by itself. I like Cover f/x Bronzer f/x in Gold. Also, wearing your mauve and purples in clothing will bring out the pale yellow sunlight you may have in the eye, which is pretty.
  4. Contrast. No light/dark extremes I can think of. The whole Season concept is not dark.

To not do

What detracts from eye colour?

1. Avoid yellow in the hair unless Nature gave it to you. Your most delicate skin will go red or yellow. Your eye will dull and gray out when the white of the eye goes yellow. Your highlight is just on the neutral beige side of silver if you are a True or Light Summer. Some Light Summers wear a yellower beige than others. Many Light Summers look far better with no highlight. Avoid also hair that’s too light (because your lightest colours are pastels, quite far from white) or hair that is one big highlight (which interrupts the natural outdoor vibe and looks parlour).

2. Big dark lashes. Unless you are aiming for the look of false black eyelashes. The viewer can barely peel their eyes away from the lashes. It may sound good but think of a time when you saw this on another woman. Her lashes feel like they’re not part of her. To paraphrase Isak Dinesen, when God wants to punish us, he grants our wishes. Summers should wear dark grey mascara, which is all but impossible to find. Soft navy blue, not too dark, is excellent.




Best Makeup Colours : True Autumn

True Autumn colours might be unexpected. At least, they are to me.

True Autumn is one of the 4 True Seasons. Far more people fall into the 8 blended or Neutral Seasons. This is 12 Seasonal Colour Analysis.

This person does not look very dark. The palette colours reach a darkness level about like black coffee, somewhat darker than True Spring. It is when the entire palette is fanned out that we perceive more overall darkness.

What these colors are, above all else, is warm. This is the pivot point of the Autumn cosmetic colour and clothing colour palette: warmed by gold.

Gold is grayer than yellow, hence the earthier colours relative to the fruit salad feeling of Spring. Are the colours drab? Maybe if the only colour in sight is army green. Pumpkin, curry, warm turquoise and teal, deep periwinkle, and bronzed red and purple are a long way from dreary. There is way too much heat and glow to be monotonous. True Autumns are often practical women who run from excessive show, so they need practice to get comfortable in their colour temperature.

The colour I most typically think of as simple brown is not here. It is located in True Spring, in Soft Autumn, and other groups, but not here. Most Autumns love brown, and wear a lot of it, but very often some other Season version. In True Autumn, browns are grayer, greener, redder, or more orange.

The  skin of True Autumn wearing her colours can look like a recent dermabrasion, the skin tone is so smooth in the right colours. I see this skin smoothing effect with correct colour in Soft Autumn also. The person seems lit by an Arizona sun. Seems a shame not to work that a little. Matte bronzer is a fabulous way to heighten the warm burnish of the skin. Pink blush is not ideal, but a touch of warm gold, brick, or adobe blush along with the bronzer is hard to beat.

They also can have metal colors (gold, copper, bronze) in the iris, a most amazing effect. A warm gold eyeshadow, placed as a dot in the center of the upper eyelid, just above the eyeliner, then covered with the usual matte eyeshadow, adds dimension and accentuates that impossible antique gold in the eye. It is like fire inside the eye. A particle of MAC Woodwinked works well.

The makeup looks like this. Are there other possibilites? Sure, your Colours Book gives you about 15 eyeshadow/lipstick/blush choices.

Are you a True Autumn? Look at Clinique lipstick in Paprika, Lancome Couture Suede, and Revlon Sandalwood Beige. Do they look too bright? Is it because your hair color is too light/blonde/cool?



Best Makeup Colours : True Spring

We each have a map, an inborn GPS that aligns us with our best makeup.

The makeup that looks most believable, youngest, the least severe (synonymous with aging), and the least fake, is found in our natural colouring.

Anything else can look as off as a herd of grazing cats. It just feels wrong, you know? Not impossible, just crooked.

Choreograph your appearance to keep repeating.

You begin with a natural colour palette that is specific, not random.

Repeat it with your clothes.

And again in your hair colour.

Again in your makeup.

Once more in accessories.

Level after level after level of building blocks that stack up precisely. Every element is aligned. That looks like strength.

Learn which of the 12 palettes is yours with Seasonal Colour Analysis. The cosmetic colour palette below will be in your personal colour palette swatch book.

We will go through the True Seasons first. They do not have a cooler and warmer alternative. The True Spring is purely warm, the most important thing about its colors.

This palette is a little different from True Summer. Even purely warm Seasons have greys, they’re just warm.

The best lip and blush fuse with the basic undertone of your skin.  Lip and blush colour look great when they’re quite similar. On real faces, when these colours come from the palette itself, they seem to accord on their own. There’s no need to own more than  two or three of each, mostly for variety. They work with one another quite interchangeably, and also with the wardrobe.

You adjust the depth of your makeup colors to the darkness of your colouring or complexion. The lip colours should be about the same intensity as the eyes  and hair colour.

An unexpected paradox happens in that by learning who we are not, we experience greater freedom.

In understanding who we are, we feel renewed. By wearing our own colouring as cosmetics, we also look rejuvenated, by 10 years at least.



Best Makeup Colours : True Summer

Makeup is the look factor that most confuses women. Our choices are all over the place. Our wardrobes, though not always correct, often follow more order.

Among makeup products, lipstick is the single item that most women want to learn to get right. There has to be a logical method driving the choice. It cannot be just random, buy what I like, hit-and-miss. That will miss, by a little or a lot, but it will miss.

The only sensible place to start when decorating your house is considering what is already there. The only sensible starting point for makeup has to be an understanding of your own colouring, the canvas on which the makeup will be painted. It has its own inherent colour scheme. It is easier and much prettier to go with it, instead of against it.

What if we could wear cosmetic colours that are an identical match with our own? A mesh so seamless that nobody could tell where the makeup ends and your face begins? When the alignment is that good, the makeup looks custom-colored for your face.

For True Summer, it looks like this.

In Seasonal Colour Analysis, this Season cosmetic colour palette is cool, soft, and light.

There is a simple system that matches up every piece of the makeup puzzle so it works together, and with the person, with their clothes, with their hair. The legwork is done for you forever more. You have a map of your own coloring. Personal Colour Analysis is the GPS that points you directly to your best makeup colours. This degree of color precision cannot be reached any other way.

To know what you are, you need to know what you are not. 90% of what is at the makeup counter is what you are not. The other 10%? Fabulous.



Skin Undertones

You may want to skip this post. There will be no concrete answer at the end. It will be a thought repository for my ramblings till someone helps me understand this.

Traditionally, undertones are thought to be either cool, neutral, or warm, not coloured.

Overtones are the outside colour of the skin, like the names of foundation, as porcelain, bisque, buff, natural, warm beige, and so on. Light/medium/deep also refers to overtones. The overtone must be in the top epidermal layer.

You can get any combination of undertone and overtone. So warm undertone + ivory overtone, or cool undertone + ebony overtone, etc. Porcelain and ebony overtones can share the same cool undertone.

Worth noting too is that you can have a false overtone. The red flush in the skin of women with too-yellow hair, or the yellow overtone in the cool dark Seasons when they wear too-warm colour, these are just effects created by wrong colour. They clear away as soon as you change your shirt or hair colour.

Where is the undertone and what exactly is this colour that we are calling cool-neutral-warm?

I looked for input from respected sources.

1. Bernice Kentner of Color Me A Season, always ahead of her time, describes undertone as a real colour, a combination of 4 variables. From her book, The Magnificent Eye, she describes undertone as the result of an equation made up of 4 variables:

. the thickness of the skin which varies by Season and determines which colours show through

. the yellow-brown colour of all skin, beneath the top layer

. the meshwork of oxygenated (red) and non-oxygenated (blue) blood vessels beneath the skin

. the velocity of blood flow in those vessels; so Autumn has faster blood flow which shows more red of arterial blood

I do not know about the blood flow velocity. I would think that ultrasound would have detected those differences among people.

I absolutely agree with her that Seasonal Colour Analysis is not about overtones. If it were, yellow skin would wear warm foundation, but it often does not (or should not). If it were, wearing our skin colour would be flattering but it isn’t. The apparent surface skin colour does not appear in the swatch books for the 12 Seasons because surface colour is not a good representation of our true pigmentation.

2. Lauren Battistini at Color My Closet makes the fundamentally important point in this post, that undertone refers to how skin reacts to colour. If your skin is most perfected by cool colours, then your undertone is cool. Not certain if I can extrapolate this far, but maybe this means that undertone is not a real colour at all, and could not be found anywhere in the biological layers of skin. It is a reactionary term.

Personal Colour Analysis is about identifying the precise degree of darkness, warmth, and saturation in the colours of your body, and so in the colours that harmonize with your native colours when you wear them. It has nothing to do with overtone really, which is why suntans and rosacea do not affect the PCA result. Those are surface effects. The PCA process looks through the surface skin layer to evaluate reactions in the lower layers.

In the Comments, Lauren says that each Season has a core colour, using the example that Autumn is orange. Each Season does have a signature or core colour (Winter=red, Summer=blue, Spring=yellow). This overlaps with the undertone concept but isn’t exactly the same.

3. Imogen Lamport at Inside Out Style Blog writes an excellent blog with practical real-world advice. In this post on skin tone and makeup, a client writes in with a question. Imogen offers several examples from her experience as a colour analyst.

If I understand this right,

Now you may be more obvious and have a warm yellow or goldish undertone and overtone and therefore warm colouring, or you may have a pinkish undertone and overtone and be cool.

This means that the True Seasons are those where overtone and undertone accord. She cites examples where the two may conflict but I remain confused.

4. Beauty School Blog is written by makeup artist, Jen. I find it a fresh take on makeup blogs, with good lessons, a genuine voice, and a wider spectrum of topics. I found this article very thorough. If the undertone is a real colour, then which colour is it exactly, and where is it?

5. Variations of the pigments. There are certainly different colours of melanin and carotene. How about hemoglobin? Do different people have different coloured blood? I have never heard a surgeon say this (not counting the different colours of venous and arterial blood). To the naked eye, I can tell you that dogs and cats have the same colour of blood. How much can the pigmentation of a hemoglobin molecule be altered without affecting its ability to carry oxygen, certainly a life-threatening event that evolution might not have permitted. I have only questions at this point.

6. The 12B concept of undertones. The pictures posted along this article show how undertones appear in my head. There is no scientific testing here, only what I see when I look at this skin. (Dark Autumn could be redder. Bright Winter could be lighter and yellower. Light Summer, I couldn’t decide. Close enough to make the point.)

What use is it?

Foundation is matched to undertone (cool/neutral/warm) and overtone (ivory to ebony).

For some, these are the fundamental lip and blush colours, the from-within, most intrinsic colours. Using them for items such as eyeglass frames, ties, scarves, and accessories looks good, though the viewer would never know why.




Matching The Swatch Book : Coral

This is Part 2 of the post that answers a client question regarding deciphering her blues and corals when shopping with her Colour Book.

Part 1, along with the original question, is at Matching The Swatch Book : Blue. Today is about True Summer corals. This would not apply to Soft Summers, who have very different colours. Light Summer may have an occasional similar swatch, but not a whole page.

Coral is one of the more difficult colors to predict in 12 Seasons Personal Colour Analysis. Any color, like turquoise or peach, that has an inherently warm and cool component, is tougher to grasp confidently.

As we said in the Blue post, it is often colours in more distant, seemingly unrelated, Seasons that can be most similar rather than in immediate neighbour groups. I looked for the most similar corals to True Summer.

They are not among the 3 Summers (except maybe the odd one in Light Summer). No coral in the Spring or Autumn palettes would confuse you if you had your Colour Book.

The corals of True Summer and Dark Winter are similar tones. Side by side, Dark Winter certainly has a dark brown element that takes away the rose-petal freshness of True Summer’s but they are quite close.

This makes sense. Dark Winter is a warmed and muted version of True Winter. True Summer is too.

How might you tell them apart?

1. True Summer is more soft and heathered. The swatch seems to contain less red pigment than the Winter version.

2. If it is a cosmetic colour, avoid comparing makeup colours on your arm or face. None of us can ever be objective enough about our face and arms get messy. Paint a good solid 1 inch square on white paper to compare it to your Colour Book. Lay the swatch book beside the makeup swatch and flip the pages while looking at both the book and the cosmetic. The Summer cosmetic will not seem strong or pure enough in colour to truly balance the Winter swatches.

3. Does the item convey a feeling? True Summer should express cool, serene, fresh, feathery, and delicate. Choose a visual to help. Rose petals, watercolor, mist, and water are True Summer.

For True Summer, the reds are as watermelon, not Dark Winter’s geranium. Soft plum, not deep eggplant. Soothing, not strong. The personal swatch book may feel hard to interpret, but when you see it in the entire piece of clothing, the colour is easier to figure out.

Neither Season is noticeably warm with yellow or gold. However, Dark Winter can impart a heavy or smoky appearance that is its version of warmth.

In reality, the Dark Winter coral is strong, quite red, intense. The True Summer coral in textile is noticeably muted, how you might picture dusty rose wallpaper.

4. Compare the item to 2 items that you know to be warm and cool. It will be easier to position yours accurately when you have a range with endpoints.

5. Consider the fabric. Colour is an emotional expression that is conveyed by weight, by combination, by style and stitching lines, as well as hue.

If you feel a heavy or somber presence, it is probably off. Even when True Summer gets darker, the feeling is still graceful and fine. Winter colours look (and feel) aggressive on a True Summer.

If the colour feels like it would have to be velvet because the feeling is so solid, that is not True Summer. If it feels made of gauze or linen, it is right.

If the colour were curtains, the True Summer would let light through. Dark Winter is occlusive because of its degrees of saturation and darkness, both higher than Summer.

6. What story is being told by the colour? What background does it create? a watercolour or an oil painting? a sheer or a tapestry?

7. In a swirl with other Summer colours, would it be dominant, or too aggressive, and overshadow all the more delicate colours?

All True Summer’s colours are very slightly faded. Spring has the odd similar swatch but it is distinctly more saturated, a clearer, juicier colour. In the graphic above, I could have softened (reduced the saturation, grayed) the Summer colours even more. As soon as Spring appears, the colours become rainbows to parrot plumage. By comparing swatches, True Summer is just the slightest bit washed out. On the person, the colours are just as vivid as Spring colours on a Spring person.

If you love the item and your instinct is that the colour is right, buy it if you can return it. Try it with the rest of your palette, in different lighting. Often, a colour that is extremely close can be made to work well because of what it’s combined with, since so much of Season harmony is conveyed by how your colours are worn together.

Above, the red is dominant in the composition and feels Winter. The other colours are less intense, cool, misty, and appear Summer.

Keep practicing. You’re still moving forward.



The Reason For The Season is You

Among the 4 True Seasons in Personal Colour Analysis, there are two groups of people whose coloring has a  cool undertone. They are the Summers and Winters. Their nature also tends to be less energetic and a little more reserved and slow-moving.

The Warm Seasons of the Springs and Autumns have skin with a yellow or gold undertone. They are lively, busy, talkative, and active.

Colour makes us feel certain feelings and think certain thoughts. A big block of why that is comes from the most primitive associations humans have made with colour. It is embedded in our genetics and the evolution of our brains from the beginnings of our consciousness.

Just as the energy of the 4 True Seasons follows the course of the year, from

the short-lived but almost frantically busy, almost reckless, activity of Spring


the hazy, flowing, genteel days of Summer


the time of yields and returns in the fields, of efficiency, and security, and responsibility in Autumn’s solid personality


Winter withheld reserve and its contrast of frozen yet shocking beauty. How can such austerity and colour severity be so beautiful? How can something so motionless be so compelling?

Frozen in time.

So does the warmth and coolness of the Seasons alternate in every 24 hour cycle.

Spring is a colour riot. It corresponds to the early morning optimistic business. The light is pale yellow, but there is a definite promise of heat to come.


Summer colours are seen between noon and 3 PM where activity slows as the heat induces a softness and relaxed peacefulness to how we feel, as well as what we see.

Late afternoon light mellows and heats the colours of the world around us, just as it does to the coloring of people in the Autumn seasons.

Winter individuals, whose personal decoration in clothing, makeup, jewelry, and hair colour is stately, formal, and symmetrical, look best in the colours of the darker time when motion settles. This is a feeling of colour restraint worn in simple, contrasting ways.

Though there are 12 colour groups, or Seasons, among human beings, each has their special edge, their special effect. Learn what yours is and your appearance will crackle. Colour is above all a feeling. People will keep looking for why you send sparks but they will not know.

Your thoughts project outward from you as a vibration. They are like your inner colours. You send an energy vibration by the colours of your body too. You have a wavelength all your own. Wearing wrong colours is a constant irritation because the wavelenghts don’t jive. You’re emanating too many frequencies that are all clashing.

Trying to look like what you could not be never works. Think about how you were intended to look. You came here, meant to look a certain way. Are you close? You’ll feel it when it happens.



The Mystery of Brown

This article is the second of 3 connected posts. The first one was What Are Clear and Soft Colours?

There, we talked about muted colours belonging to Autumn and Summer. They are lower intensity. Brown appears in Summer as lighter, softer grey browns, as mushroom colours, or with a blue or mauve tone, as pigeon colours. Autumn browns are span light to dark as latte or browned creams to coffee.

Spring and Autumn Browns

Spring has true brown colours too, just like Autumn. When you shop for clothes or makeup, how do you pick Spring’s camel coat from Autumn’s?

Left, Spring. On the right, Autumn.
Left, Spring. On the right, Autumn.

These colours are not rendered precisely. If you own a Colour Book for True Spring or True Autumn, you may notice that. It doesn’t matter. This illustrates the point well enough.

A color like camel can be very soft, or low saturation, or it can be very bright, or high saturation. It depends on how much gray is in the mix. Look at the two camel browns in the middle row. The Autumn one appears more golden, darker and heavier, even opaque.

The Spring brown feels closer to you because of it lightness. Light colours visually advance. It almost feels more transparent, though transparency is not one of the ways in which we define colour.


The Springs have a yellow undertone, while the Autumns have a gold undertone.

All of the Spring colors have yellow added to them, and all of the Autumn colors have gold added to them. So, the difference is between yellow and gold. Gold is a deeper, grayer, and darker shade of yellow.

Spring colors feel light and bright. Autumn colors feel deeper, richer, darker, lower in saturation.

Autumn browns are of lower saturation than Spring because there is more grey in the mix. If they were musical notes, Autumn would resonate far more deeply. The register feels lower. Autumn colours are more golden, but a golden color has more gray in it than a yellow based color. Gold is a darker version of yellow and it is of lower saturation, hence its place among the Autumn colours.

The color brown is actually orange that has been darkened. A dark orange is a brown.

Shopping with knowledge

When we get to 12  Tones, as opposed to 4 Season Color Analysis, the differences are slight, but do make a huge difference in the additive final result. The key to having your entire wardrobe work as one, within itself and with you, is for every item to follow your inborn synchrony. For those who have been draped, you saw that your runner-up Season was not the same as your best.

Below is an example of how to apply this information. It is easier with clothing than cosmetic colours. This is a Laura Mercier palette.

Looking only at the brown eyeshadow quad, do you notice that it is not gold or orange? The colours feel bright, lit with a pale yellow light. The musical note would be high and clear. These may be browns but they are not earthy, which gives a much heavier feeling.

That’s the easiest rule of thumb: Spring browns have no orange in them. Is it fail-safe? No. There are other Seasons with non-orange browns. This just helps you exclude a few of the wrong ones.

Laura Mercier eyeshadow quad at Sephora.

The no-fail guide

But you know, with your Colours Book, you have few worries. You might think that the camels and honeys and light browns are quite similar between Seasons. When you actually look at the swatches in the Books, they are obviously different. Match your personal colour palette as closely as possible and you will succeed. Colour is always best understood when compared to another colour.

Try not to shop from memory. Your success rate will drop to 50%. You do not remember colour as well as you may think. Always, always shop with your Book so you can meet our goal, which is to never, ever have you buy the wrong thing again.

Do your matching in natural, slightly overcast daylight. Take the article up to a window to check the color, or be sure to ask the sales clerk if it can be exchanged if the color is off in natural light. Stores usually use the cheapest lighting possible, which is the worst for viewing true color.

I scribble the product on a piece of white paper because the swatches are painted on white cotton canvas. The sales assistant is standing there watching and possibly feeling quite irritated, but at least it’s not unsanitary.  Then, I flip the pages of the whole swatch book past the cosmetic and decide if they look right together.