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| How Summers Intensify Eye Colour

How Summers Intensify Eye Colour

access_time 2010/06/3 account_circle chat_bubble_outline 36 Comments
The attempt to strengthen eye colour with more makeup has two possible outcomes:
  1. To strengthen the eye colour.
  2. To strengthen the makeup at the expense of the eye colour.
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 liberally 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 by its larger area. The bit of separation is also more forgiving and less distracting than the same colour right next to the iris.

Try the closest matching colours, and also the neighbour colour on the colour wheel. Green eyes look greener when wearing blue.

Wear your white. Every colour in your palette will clear the white of the eye, just as it clears the skin, but white captures the eye white most immediately. This creates a perfect showcase for your eye colours.

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.

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?  This is the reincarnation of the silver bullet we know as ‘the lip colour that suit every skin tone’.

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, all Seasons and skin tones appear in all families of eye colour. A blue Summer eye will not be the same as a blue Spring eye, and their eyeshadows will be different too. If the eyeshadows are made for a cool-skin woman, it will drain the colours of a woman with warm skin.

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

In 12 Season PCA, 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 when they are gazing out of a misty pool of cool, soft grays, which may have a cast of cool yellow to appear greenish, or a wash of blue or lilac.
  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.  Rosy browns create the right warm-cool contrast with these blue eyes.

Soft Summer

These eyes are gazing out from a cloud of 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.
Smokey Tonal soft summer

The eyeliner is the bodice colour.

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. Think of a pine cone. Beach (and bleach) blonde highlights do not work, they look like grey stripes, like a strangely intended aging effect. The right highlight is cool taupe, not too much lighter than the base hair colour.

3. Contrast. The Season is low in contrast or separation of colours on a light to dark or warm to cool scale. Saturation is quite low and makeup is most sophisticated when it continues the subtlety of the palette. Neutral Seasons have a little heat in their skin, and cooler and warmer choices in their palette, and part of the magic of this colouring is its ability to make these small shifts appear meaningful and effective. Combine taupe with pewter and smoky brown with mauve for an expensive look in which blue-green eyes dance. These are the ranges for the complementary colour in Summer.

4. Attire! This is usually a blue or a blue-green eye, where the eye color becomes very strong in pine green clothing.


Light Summer

A Light Summer eye is shown 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 sampled 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 with one another.

Light summer eye and greys
  1. Eyeshadows are soft dove grays and silvered blues. Use 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, a beautiful accent 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. Complementary colour effects are beautiful when wearing your mauve and purples in clothing. These will bring out the pale yellow sunlight you may have in the eye, an uplifting and sparkling effect.
  4. Contrast. While there are no light/dark extremes in a Summer Season based in lightness, all Seasons have their lights and darks. The palettes are pre-set for the ideal light to dark range for each Season. All you need do is know which is yours.
To not do

What detracts from eye colour?

1. Avoid too-warm yellow in the hair unless Nature gave it to you. 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, or softer navy blue, which is excellent.




36 Thoughts on How Summers Intensify Eye Colour

  • Cathy

    The Laura Geller cosmetic line offers liquid eye liner and mascara in a color called “Double Charcoal” and both are in one wand. Her cosmetics are available on a tv shopping channel (either QVC or HSN in the U.S. but can’t recall which one).

  • Suzy

    Laura Geller makes some NICE make-up! Lt and (lighter) True Summers should try her Eye Liner Pencil in what she calls “midnight blue” and I would describe as faded lt denim blue — VERY pretty! (folks that don’t need / want a light-colored pencil complain that it “doesn’t show up!”)

    Also, Jane Iredale makes a lt/med gray mascara that is expensive, but nice and conditioning — I love it!

  • Suzy

    Hi Christine:

    Try “Cloud” or “Diamond Lil” to match that light gray for Light Summer… They’re not matte, but one of the colors might be “right” and me, personally, I like a little shimmer (not sparkle, shimmer…)

    Next time I’m in Sephora I’ll have a look — well, doesn’t look like Sephora is carrying as much Stila, anymore…. 🙁

    Wonder if this line is being discontinued, too? Anyone know?

  • Jo


    I bought some Laura Geller eyeshadow in Spumoni/Sinful Praline and ended up giving it away to a Soft Summer friend of mine.

    I have never seen her eyes looking so wonderful as when she wears that shadow. She has blue/aqua/turquoise eyes and (not surprisingly) Soft Summer skin. The shadow is a divine blend of blues and pinks which create dove grey, and browns and teal which create a deeper ash grey. And yes – all the shades are shown in that great pic you have of the dress.

    Does anyone know of a navy blue or charcoal mascara that is waterproof/smudgeproof?

    I know she wants to switch from black mascara, but the only softer colours she has found are smudgy and leaky.

  • Chiara

    Hi Christine, I really like your blog and how you explain everything concerning color seasons so clearly! The study of colors and how they react with each other is so fascinating…Before reading about color analysis I could never have imagined that colors have the power of changing people quite dramatically. That explains why I’ve always felt unconfortable looking at the photos of myself as a teenager wearing black make-up and black clothes. Now I know black is too harsh for me, it makes my eyes disappear in all that black and I seem older than I am! However I haven’t thrown away my black clothes…I keep wearing black but I always try to keep it away from the face or match it with other colors (I no longer cover myself in black from head to foot :D) Also my make-up now is subtler and I’ve found very good alternatives to black. Overall I can really say that now I almost see my true self 🙂 It’s been months since I tried to figure out which season I am and I think I am a True Summer. I know you said in “Colour, Complements, Clothes, and Cosmetics” that eyes might contain traces of several seasons, but do you think it’s possible for a True Summer to have Light Summer eyes? Because I have cool pale skin and cool medium ash brown hair, but my eyes are blue-grey (or blue-green, because sometimes they seem blue-grey, sometimes greenish blue…they have no definite color, they depend a lot on the sorrounding colors and lighting) with yellow sunlights around the pupils. They haven’t that deep blue characterizing most True Summers, though they were bluer when I was a child. So do you think pine green is ok for True Summers? You said it enhances blue-green eyes in Soft Summers, so I wonder if it might have the same effect on True Summer eyes. I tried pine green in make-up and I may say it’s not bad at all…I’d like to try it in clothing, too 🙂 what do you think?

    • Christine Scaman

      Hi, Chiara,

      Any Season can have any eye color. The line patterns can help, but more than half the time, I’ll see eye color distributions that could easily belong to other Seasons, or line patterns that indicate Seasons that don’t bear out in the skin with the drapes.

      Most people have trouble pinning down their eyes to 1 definite color, unless they’re dark brown or very blue. True Summer gets a variant of pine green, though it’s cooler (bluer, less brown) than Soft Summer’s. It’s all in the degrees : )

  • Patricia


    The Bobbi Brown shimmer wash eyeshadows are great with my “summer” eyes – Rock is a really nice gray that gives a soft, smoky, sheer wash that lasts.

    Bobbi Brown also does a very nice bronzing powder, with no sparkle and no orange.

    For lips, right now I like MAC cosmetics “Kinda Sexy” – a neutral pinky rose, and also “Please Me”, a muted rosy tinted pink.

    L’oreal True Match blush colors can be really nice and are coded as warm, cool and neutral. Finding the right blush has always been more difficult, along with the right color of mascara. I am going to check out the gray mascara colors suggested above.

    What do you think about Clarins Wonder mascara in blue?

    • Christine Scaman

      Thanks for naming your products. Women find this so helpful. It gives them a starting point for what to look at and what to ignore.

      Navy mascara can work as a way to look softer than black if the viewer doesn’t perceive odd blueness, and it’s a more smoky blue rather than sapphire. Maybelline Define A Lash in Soft Black is a grey color, a reliable woman tells me.

  • Caroline

    I enjoyed reading this. I loved the specific information you provided, along with the eye photo. Please do the same for Autumns!

    Another pencil eyeliner recommendation for Summers (not sure which of the three): Lancome Bleu Gris. It’s been discontinued, of course, but still available through some online retailers. I have 6 of them that I don’t use. A makeup artist convinced me that the soft blue grey color worked with my soft eyes and skin tone. So I bought 6 of them, knowing it would be discontinued! Needless to say, this happened before my Sci\Art PCA where I found out that I’m a Soft Autumn who has no business wearing blue grey. (In fact, I’m on the warm end of Soft Autumn, just touching True Autumn.)

  • Nicola

    Thank you for this post! I just realized I am a Soft Summer, after seeing some no-makeup pre-hairdye pictures of me in natural sunlight outside in a watercolor themed dress that did absolute MIRACLES for my skin tone and eyes. I had been pressing Soft Autumn for a LONG time and it tended to look blah on me, although I can really pull off some of Soft Autumn’s palette very well because of the natural golden highlights in my hair and the green in my eyes. Yet, I am definitely, truly a Soft Summer. The makeup you described, the details like “Soft summers have pink in their eyelids” oh GOODNESS that is me. And my VERY best go-to color for eyeliner and mascara has been a greyed Navy, from times eternal. This is SO helpful! Thank you!

    • Christine Scaman


      It’s great to recognize oneself. You wonder why it wasn’t obvious before and at the same time, so many pieces click into place. Which eyeliner?? Women are asking me.

  • Jessica

    I totally agree that the “wear orange-y browns to bring out blue eyes” trick does not work for summers!!! What good are bright blue eyes if my skin looks muddy or jaundiced? 🙂
    Nicola, your description of your coloring sounds a lot like mine. I have natural golden highlights in my hair, so I used to think I was a soft autumn. Soft summer’s palette suits me so much better, though.

  • Megan

    This is very interesting indeed. I’m pretty sure I’m a summer, and I’ve been having trouble with makeup always looking too harsh on me. Now I know why!

    Coincidentally, would you happen to have any idea what season Lauren Graham is? I recently figured out that with her dark hair like mine, and eye color and overall skin tone, her coloring is a lot like mine. Though in some pictures her eyes look a LOT bluer and her hair looks a lot darker, so I was confused. But in certain pictures… like here, her coloring and hair and eye color are close to mine:

    And then her not looking so good: (I don’t like that red lipstick on her!)

    I’m intrigued as to which of the 12 seasons she might be, as sometimes she does have quite dark hair and can pull off more dramatic looks, like with black, but at the same time vivid colors like red seem to easily overpower her. Well regardless, she’s quite pretty!

    By the way I love your website! I’ve always had a fascination with color, and how color can react with our features fascinates me just as much, especially with my strong interest in fashion. I look forward to reading more of your entries!

  • Janice

    I am a bit confused by the eye makeup recommendations for Soft Summer. You say “1.Repeat the tan brown in the eye with eyeliner. The eyeliner is the bodice color. ” But I don’t see brown in the picture. I see a grey, deep purple and light purple dress. Is my monitor off?

    • Christine Scaman

      No, Janice, your monitor is probably fine. I think we’re just calling the same mauved grey-brown by a different name. I was meaning the shoulder strap color, which is mauved grey, but also a bit brown- browner, let’s say, than steel grey. This color is more like shadow. It’s in the many variations of the word “grey”.

  • Eden L

    The Light Summer grey iris swatch is a MAC shadow called ‘Scene’. A beautiful mid-tone grey with a peachy warmth to it. ‘Copperplate’ is also a nice soft grey. The other one could be ‘Wedge’ also by MAC. ‘Kid’ and ‘Era’ are light neutrals that would also blend well. Top it off with just a bit of grey eyeliner on the top lid.

    • Christine Scaman

      Thanks for the makeup matches – readers find this extremely helpful.

  • Eden L

    Sorry…’Omega’ not ‘Wedge.’ I get them mixed up!

  • Jeanine Byers Hoag

    Do African-American soft summers have pink in their eyelids? Because I have been thinking that that is what I am, but do not see pink in mine.

    • Christine Scaman

      To me, pink in eyelids has no correlation with any Season. Perhaps in wrong colour, many people have pinkish rims to the eyelids, but that’s the closest I can think.

  • Marisol

    “Megan – Lauren Graham has been analyzed as a True Winter. I think you had a feeling about this, since you mention “her coloring is a lot like mine, though her eyes look a LOT bluer and her hair looks a lot darker”.
    True Summer + Much higher contrast = True Winter

  • Megan

    Marisol – Looking at some more pictures of her, I can see that. I guess Lauren Graham wouldn’t be the best person to get inspiration from then, considering that the one thing I do know is I am overpowered easily color-wise. The only lipstick color I’ve been able to pull off thus far is a cool brown; even the color “Barely Nude” seemed too pigmented for my skin. (This is me in natural lighting: …).

    Ah, color analysis is a fickle thing! I’m currently in Hawaii so a PCA is not viable. Maybe one day if I’m back on the mainland…..

  • Rebecca

    Walmart carries a makeup brand called GeoGirl that makes a grey lash tint. Because it’s a lash tint it doesn’t add length or volume, but I have been wearing it over a lash primer and the effect on my lashes is similar to Maybelline Full n Soft mascara. GeoGirl also makes a mascara which they call grey, but swatching it next to the lash tint it looks black.

  • Tina

    Lilac/lavender eyeshadow has always been good for me. ULTA Bloom is a shade I have success with. Prestige Topaz eyeliner is a medium deep silver blue that is a match to my eyecolor. Cover Girl Tapestry Taupe is my favorite brown eyeshadow. Rose brown I have to be careful with or it makes my eyes look irritated. Gray on me is meh. Aqua and turquoise are too bright and compete too much. A medium deep cool purple liner is good. Jordana has a nice selection. I have to be very careful or it looks like I have too much on. A light hand is best.

  • Deb Ross

    I remain confused as I read about color. I have been analysed as a Soft Summer by Color Me Beautiful many years ago. I still bounce all over the place with makeup purchases. The colours that I purchased from their Essentials Beauty Line (I don’t think that that they carry that line any longer) seemed to have a lot of misses. I will add prior to having this analysis I was told that I was a Clear Spring by another Color Me Beautiful consultant (this was definitely wrong) and again the Essentials line of make up colors seemed to have alot of misses (way too bright). More recently, I ordered some soft summer colours from Elea Blake, and these colours were OK but I can’t say wow. In frustration, I resurrected some colors that I purchased 3 years ago from Caryl Baker Visage, that I loved at the time. When I wore them again people just said how good I was looking. The lipstick was a sheer lipstick called raspberry which was a very soft pinky red, the matching blush was a 4 colour palette that just gives my skin a light glow and when blended a soft coral colour, the bronzer is similar to the blush and is very soft (I have a real issue with bronzer just looking wrong usually(other than Bobbi Brown Aruba a soft Golden Bronze) and I really like Lover’s Blush a warm golden blush by Lauder. The eye makeups from the Caryl Baker set are a golden / bronze palette and do well on my grayed blue green eyes. There is also a Lauder set called Surreal Skies that seems to work well (it is more soft beige taupe and soft violet). These look better than the greys and plums on my eyes which can tend to make me appear tired. The best foundation that I have found is Estee Lauder Golden Sands Foundation which isn’t really yellow but a nice neutral shade. When I am having pictures taken I always use a soft coral based lipstick over my soft summer colours, as I look so much better in the picture. So I remain frustrated and confused as what seems to me and from the comments of others to be good, does not align with the soft summer palette. And my wardrobe remains mix of things my go to being jeans, white tees and black jackets (except tor business but where I am most comfortable from a style perspective).

    • Christine Scaman

      We need to bring you up to date, and I believe we will be doing just that 🙂 Bring your makeup with you.

  • Heather

    ILIA mascara in Asphalt Jungle is a beautiful dark gray! Can purchase easily online.

  • Sandra Roberts

    This is a very interesting column. I have been reading most of the mail concerning eye color for Light Summer. If it is difficult to find the correct gray eye liner, I think I may have a solution. Find the gray shadow that suits you, have a thin eye liner applicator, wet the applicator just a bit and run it through the gray eye shadow and apply it as you would a liner. I have done this many years ago and it seems to work fine. The liner applicator can be made thinner by removing some of the hairs of the liner brush.

    • Christine Scaman

      That’s a good idea, removing some hair from the brush, Sandra. Eyeshadow as liner works really well. There are some products that create a cleaner, more solid line without the opacity of liquid liner. I agree that liner for Light Summer than doesn’t take over is not always an easy find.

  • JC

    Hello Christine—-

    After many years of reading your articles, I continue to do so because I learn new things all the time— I understand your points more deeply than I did in the past.

    Here’s a bit of background—and a question:
    I am a SSu, with a need for more contrast than some SSus. My eyes contain a range of greens and yellows, with orange/brown surrounding the pupil. They seem to fall midway between the beer bottle and the brick in terms of brightness/transparency. If my eyes were the only feature determining season, I would probably be considered an Autumn. You once spoke of “swamp green” eyes and I would use that descriptor for my eye color.

    I am finding that using a medium shade of matte, dull olive green as an eyeliner/shadow brings out the green in my eyes. I assume the shade I use would be considered a SA rather than SSu color. I pair it with grayed plum in the crease and all my other makeup is clearly within the SSu range.

    What do you think about that kind of isolated crossover for SSus with a strong Autumn influence in their eye colors? I’d be very curious to learn your thoughts—especially given the importance of the eyes in overall appearance.

    • Christine Scaman

      JC, your question is excellent but the answer may involve personal preference and opinion from your colour analyst who is familiar with your draping reactions. My answer would be rather general, to say that even within a Season, individual variations exist and within our Season, we can make it our own. This might artistic additions or strategic use of colours from other palettes, as you describe. Many SSu have Autumn-influence in the eye colours, though their skin and draping reactions clearly belong in SSu. I enjoy a slight ‘outside’ colour, such as a soft toffee element in a blue-green scarf, for example. What you describe seems similar and may work very well.

  • Larisa

    Good evening, and many thanks for your wonderful site. It is very multimodal and provides satisfaction in more than one way – beautiful pictures, musical wording and the sound wisdom.
    I have a remark. Here you are writing about enhancing the eye color. If Soft Summer colors make my smallish and brownish eyes to suddenly stand out and start shining green light, and my pale skin look reddish, is such enhancement a desirable thing? How do these colors achieve that effect?

    • Christine Scaman

      The effect you describe does not sound like the result we seek Larisa. Your Season is the same whether your eyes are open or closed and to find Season. Also, because eyes and hair are only partial indicators of Season, we look to the skin for the complete and accurate answer. Our natural colours are harmonious, meaning that in your own Season, the skin, eyes, and hair are all enhanced at once. The reason for your observations cannot be understood without seeing you and the colours in person, and then comparing with other Seasons to see how your colours react to outside colours, which is what the colour analysis experience does.

  • Mary Ellen

    Christine, I think the moon and stars must have been aligned just right, because you finally trained a lovely and exacting color consultant in Florida. I have been playing with finding my season for a very long time and now know that I am a Soft Summer. When Color Me Beautiful was popular, I ws first analyzed as a Bright Spring. I knew that wasw incorrect because the salmons and oranges just didn’t work for me. Then I was analyzed as a Summer, but that was too cold. It’s interesting that I am a SSU because True Autumn colors make me look tired. It really is magical when you get it just right. My hair used to be medium brown with a hint of red in the sun, so I guess I need that hint of gold added to Summer to make my skin come alive. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am with Michelle’s work. She did a fabulous style analysis for me as well..

    • Christine Scaman

      I’m so glad you met Michelle and found your answer, Mary Ellen. Michelle is a lovely person and for my part, I’m delighted that we have an analyst in Florida. For interested readers, you can find Michelle in the Directory under the Colour Analysis tab on this site and at

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