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Eyeliner Darkness for Soft Summer

Eyeliner Darkness for Soft Summer

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In the top row, the same blue.

In the third row, the same green.

Both often found in Soft Summer eyes. The green is a level darker than the blue.

In the second and fourth rows, eyeliners. Same colours in both rows, made from the same starting colour. If you added the pigment back into the gray, you’d have red with a mild orange tendency, a warm-leaning red.

Eyeliner darkness levels on a 1-10 gray scale where 10= black: 
left= 3.5-4,
middle= 8.5-9,
right= 6.5-7.

Wider line in the blue eyes, narrower in the green. No reason, just to see what would happen.


Which darkness is right?

Define ‘right’.

  • Outlines the eye without making the shape smaller.
  • Makes the shape crisp and separate from the background.
  • Is noticed for what it does, not particularly in its own right.
  • Adds a boost of intensity to the colour of the eye without altering it.
  • Looks great with the eye colour and would make a good combination in clothing, say blouse and jacket, shirt and tie.

Pick one.


OK, blue row, the one on the right. Green row, not obvious.

It’s not a trick question. Just say what you see.

Left side eyeliners are doing nothing and making the overall shape blurry, like an out-of-focus picture, and weirdly ghostly.

Blue row, middle eyeliner takes over. We’re looking at the makeup or trying not to look at it. And this is 8/10 black; picture 10/10.

Green row, middle is pretty good. It would be less severe if it were just a touch lighter, meaning if it were a top and skirt, the green might appear weak. In a Season collection, colours have equal energy in any combination; no colour at the expense of any other. Green row, right side is wishy-washy and almost pointless.

Are any of them perfect?

Never be afraid to say what you see. Don’t worry if opinions differ.

I’d say none are perfect but we’re close. 

We could try a darkness level between middle and right. An easy way to do this is to go over the right-side gray with a darker eyeshadow for the Season. 

On the right sides, the blue shape is more distinct than the green. Could be because the green is darker than the blue and needs a darker liner to give it a shape, but still not as dark as the middle. 

Is width important?

A narrower line is easier to look at when colour is darkest, but for colour, I’d still settle between middle and left.

Is eye colour important?

Within the same Season, maybe a bit, not a lot.

Inside a Season, colours react to outside colours in the same way. Cosmetic colours are similar, needing only minor adjustments. Neutral colours, like gray, taupe, charcoal, and pewter, are especially adaptable to variations within a Season.

Warmth, saturation, and skin tone

The image above is intended as a darkness demo. 

When we talk colour, we still have a few questions towards a better result. Think like a colour analyst and ask them one by one.

a) How warm or cool?

Would you want the eyeliner to be more blue or gold?

I wouldn’t see more gold or orange. The effect might be muddy. 

I would try a cooler, bluer version of the gray, hoping it might give crisper focus without needing a darker colour. Darkness, as we see, has a ceiling and we have other variables to play with.

b) How bright or soft?

Keeping darkness the same, would you prefer eyeliner with more colour to it, taupe or pewter, or less, steel or charcoal?

As a wear-every-day neutral, this colour seems close to home. 

A little more pigment might be OK. I’m not a fan of obviously coloured eyeliner all around the eye. It pulls attention away from the eye colour and prevents the product from doing its job (see above, under Define ‘right’.) 

Less colour pigment? I doubt much would be gained. Steel or charcoal might feel hard or cold next to an eye colour that is neither.

We’d have to try to know but the bright/soft level seems about right and it’s easier to adjust darkness and warm-coolness in eyeliner colours.

c) What about skin tone or hair colour?

It once surprised me that within a Season, all skin tones and hair colours seem to work with the same cosmetics. By now, I’ve seen it many times and expect it. Even foundation colour is the same or close among women of the same complexion darkness. (see above, under ‘Is eye colour important?’)

The darkest natural hair tone at age 25 is usually pretty good as eyeliner but how are we going to figure that out? Hair colour is deceptive even if you’re in your 20s. And who really remembers what the colour was, or which colours it might have been compatible with? 

Your Season palette knows and will for as long as you stay a Soft Summer. Which is always.



3 Thoughts on Eyeliner Darkness for Soft Summer

  • JC

    This topic is of great interest to me as I’ve never been able to find an eyeliner that works very well for me—until recently when I bought your SA Jungle eyeshadow and began using it under my eyes as an eyeliner. I recommend that SSus with hazel green/brown eyes like mine experiment with Jungle. It certainly brings out the green in my eyes, which is an interesting feature that I like emphasizing. My eyes seem to benefit from the smoky, hazy, indistinct line that shadow creates rather than a sharp, clear line.

    As always, Christine, I learn so much about colors and makeup from your articles. I’m very grateful to you.

    I’ll end by saying that as a SSu, I believe that I look best in a cooler wardrobe palette combined with a tiny bit more Autumn warmth in my cosmetics.

    • Christine Scaman

      Thank you for your thoughts about Jungle, I’ll remember to try it on SSu. Eyeliner can be challenging because so much of the market is dominated by black or colours, and it’s impossible to test. This is one item where the colour palette is incredibly useful for comparing.

  • JC

    Hi Christine—-It’s interesting because Jungle looks wonderful under my eyes, used as an eyeliner, bringing out the yellow-green in present in my eyes. But it doesn’t work at all to apply it as a shadow in the crease above my eyes. In the crease, it’s too warm for my SSu coloring, heavy-looking, and not at all flattering.
    I can rub a bit in, however, on my upper eyelids, where it adds a little drama, and again, brings out the yellow-green present in my eyes.
    I’ve learned that, as a SSu/ neutral season makeup lover, playing with the warm and cool boundaries of the palette—and even occasionally crossing over (with discretion!) with a warmer or cooler element—- can create an unexpectedly lovely effect. The key point, though, is that it’s got to relate harmoniously to colors that are naturally present in one’s natural palette.

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