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The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring

The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring

access_time 2012/11/12 account_circle chat_bubble_outline 35 Comments
Feeling Imbalance

I went to a meeting. As the women arrived, one woman distinguished herself immediately as a leader in any crowd. Her physical presence was noticed first because she was quite tall and strongly built. Her face was equally strong, in the colours of coffee, cream, and golden piecrust, with clove brown eyes. Wearing bronze eyeglass frames with copper glints, her only makeup a beautiful deep cinnamon lipstick, she was striking and beautiful.

She moved through the crowd with confidence. She had the business savvy to put in a plug for her company, as smooth as could be. Her natural qualities of character were as manifest as her beauty. Her choices in clothing and jewelry, although of high taste and quality, were confusing.

Nobody is ever unattractive. Every woman is truly a beauty in her face and her heart and I can look straight in your eyes to say that. But there are better choices. Better ways to spend our money that look more truthful and less artificial.

In a white dress with splashy flowers in primary colours, suddenly, the random blonde hits in her hair stood out as disorganized. The coloured glass bead necklace looked plastic because our energy modifies not only colour but also texture and everything else that comes near it.

In the white jacket, we find our thoughts drifting to skin that’s seen too much sun. It’s uncomfortable now. We have thoughts we don’t want to have. She, in turn, alters simple white to become strident and look, well, a little cheap. Thoughts we don’t want to have.

We love this woman. It doesn’t feel right that we can’t settle in her presence but our visual system is on a roller coaster with too much to process. I’m always reminded of a light-coloured person wearing those Christmas sweaters in strong reds and greens with shiny ornaments appliqued on the front. Like wearing garland. We’re feeling effort and distraction. Subconsciously, we’re scanning the room for somewhere easier to be. She is an Autumn, probably True Autumn, wearing colours and feelings made for another woman.

Where’s the balance? How can we know the way to enhancing what we are in a way that attracts people into our presence?

By wearing the colours and lines that we are.
Cool Shimmer

Summer skin is most beautiful when it’s smooth, silky, and dry.

Summer skin’s reflection of light is the diffusion of moonlight. There, we can find no sun, no hardness, no glitz, no wetness. There’s no winking of fireflies (that’s Bright Spring), no sharp gleam of platinum (True Winter), no dew (Light Summer), neither iron or lead (Dark Season feelings), and on it goes. Moonlight is not blingy (that’s Bright Winter’s normal).

Moonlight is very cool and very soft. In a morning sky, it’s a sheer cloud-white curtain moving in a breeze. At night, a cloak of pearly, silvery light.


daytime moon

Photo: Bongani


In the way of Summer skin to mirror the colours and textures it wears, it will shimmer in brushed silver, pink, lavender, or blue, since these are the notes found through the entire palette, including the grays.

Even satined makeup requires caution. Satin on Summer skin can convert into frosty because these colours are already so extremely cool and the complexion is delicate. Only you see your clothes on a hanger or your makeup in the pan. The rest of us see them compared to your own colouring right under your face. We look best when we continue the colours, harmonies, and colour feelings that we possess innately.

Textile that mutes colour is effective. Summer is more swirly than thick, straight, or hard. It sweeps like a porch swing, a branch in a breeze, the lines created when you pour liquid slowly into liquid.

The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring: dreamy.

Summer colours are light (compared to Autumn and Winter), cool, and soft. Summer surfaces look muted and lightweight, with brushstrokes or a gently buffed texture. The softness is feathery. Fluffy is good. Downy is great. Good dreams have fleecy edges.

Shiny surfaces shift colour to appear lighter and brighter. That’s great on Spring but makes no sense with Summer’s colours. They don’t cooperate. Since those same colours exist in Summer skin, it won’t cooperate either. White feathers can be almost blue in moonlight but they’re never the colour of lightning (Winter).


blue eye white fur cat

Photo: ilco


The Summer Skin Finishes

Integrating Summer into the Spring and Autumn we’ve already done,

Bright Spring: glass

True Spring: persimmon

Light Spring: petal


Light Summer: peach

True Summer: cotton

Soft Summer: flannel


Soft Autumn: suede

True Autumn: velvet

Dark Autumn: leather


True Summer

Paper to pearl finish.

Use face powder for a matte translucent effect.

The Shine Stopper at Paula’s Choice is very good. It works well on the T-zone.

Stay with calm, fresh, gentle contrasts. Summer light colours are pastels, meaning more pigment than Winter light colours that are closer to white. Avoid too much distance between lightest and darkest elements in hair, cosmetics, and clothes. Keep them closer together.

It’s quite important to settle in your mind how far from white your lightest colours are. Look at them and notice that it’s a long way to white from the coloured pastels for all three Summers. The eyeshadow highlight for Winter is some version of ice. On Summer, choose pastels for the brow bone, as muted (grayed) shell pink, where the amount of graying depends on the Season.

Use eyeshadow instead of eyeliner or diffuse the liner well by applying shadow over it.

Light Summer

Pearl to petal, as daisy, as butterfly wing. A little more fluff than Spring, a little more dry-down.

light summer flowers

Photo: mcoot


The True Summer section applies. There is more warmth here as a first warm weekend in May. Outdoor glows are great but controlled. A pale pink gold gloss or an uplight on the cheeks is plenty. You are a Summer, not a Spring, so restraint is needed. A May picnic isn’t the same as the beach in July. Stay cooler than warmer in everything you add.

Every palette has light and dark colours and should wear both. For the Light Seasons, the dark colours don’t get very dark but they are still important, as eyeliners, for example. Dark colours may appear darker than it is on this colouring, so try to match your palette in daylight and don’t exceed the darkest level. Draw the product on white paper and smear it out to see the nuance in the colour.

Face powder still applies. Use translucent, perhaps with a slight piny peach  tint.

The Spring stroke in Light Summer often places the outer corner higher than inner. Follow that with the liner if your eyes have that shape, but again, use an appropriate colour.  A too-dark choice and a cosmetic effect may feel artificial or forced. The effect is better in eyeglass frames than eyeliner. Another great option is a cloud of aqua or cornflower blue at the outer corner of the upper lid.

Many True Summers have a very round eye, almost square. If the outer eye corner seems to pull downwards, then don’t extend the line at all, just keep it close to the rounded outer corner of the eye.

Soft Summer

Paper to flannel finish.

From our textures above, Soft Summer becomes more woven, drier, and thicker as we move deeper into Autumn. Cotton to waffle weave.

Contour is an excellent effect on all Autumn-influenced colouring by enhancing the 3-D effect that Autumns do so well. Choose a cooler-than-peanut-butter, matte colour. A powder foundation 2 shades deeper than you would wear can work well. Since Soft Summer contains golden warmth, albeit a small amount, a medium-dark pink-gold powder can mesh well with the face and other cosmetics.

foggy mountains

Photo: riceguitar


On Summer, application is gentle and swirly. There are so sharp lines or edges. Diffuse one product into the next. The canvas is drier, using powder to ensure that products don’t catch and jump. If using cream products, apply them to the skin before the powder so they appear from within.

4 Season recap

Summer:The skin is soft and dry, setting up gentleness and gradual muting. The features are blended into the skin with colours that create a soft flow or diffusion instead of sharp definition. As colours flow into each other as hazy mists, it feels difficult to tell where one feature ends and the next begins.

Autumn: The skin is contoured, setting up lowlights. The features are defined from the skin by colours that are warm and velvety and the judicious use of metallic glints.

Spring: The skin is dewy, setting up highlights. The features are fresh, lively, distinguished from the skin by being very colourful, moist, and vibrant.


35 Thoughts on The Best Skin Finish on Summer Colouring

  • Janine

    Christine, I just wanted to say how much I adore your article. Whilst I know I am a Summer (draped in real life) I have always been uncertain as to whether I was True or Soft Summer in Sci/Art but this article has really clarified things for me and I’m now certain I am True Summer.

    Translucent powder completely transforms my face. Lip shine as opposed to lip gloss looks much better. I love the reference to the moon light and the big cat eyes. I love marcasite, I love brushed silver, I have a silver moonstone bracelet that I adore.

    You should be able to see this image: … It really makes me think about what you were saying about True Summer skin and cotton.

    I struggle with wearing eye shadow. Anything too dark looks heavy, or anything too matt. I seem to need a very delicate, pale shimmer, which is hard to find without going too sparkly. If you have any eye shadow recommendations for a True Summer I would love to know. I tend to stick with teal green or navy eye liner (blended so the line doesn’t look too sharp). I love wearing the colours of water and representing the movement of it.

    Thank you so much!

  • Paz

    Brilliant, and worth waiting for! Thanks so much, Christine!

  • Janette

    Hi Christine,
    Excellent article thank-you.
    When I saw Nikki n London in January she did just what you said with the drapes.
    She put the silver drape on and said “Ah I see where this is going,interesting”.
    She went back to the silver drape 2-3 times inbetween and it was *just* so right I smiled each time as did she.
    I have recently discovered moonstone and love it.
    Janette (TSu) x

  • Elizabeth

    “The lips should look about like unpowdered, natural skin or just a bit shinier. Gloss = goop in a heartbeat. I’m not telling you to have powdery lips, just stay with reasonable, believable lip moisture, not a whole lot extra.”

    Yes! I have a tinted lip balm that gives the lips color and the appearance of moisture. On me (a summer) it looks close to gloss. On a spring, I’d imagine it would be underwhelming. Thank you, thank you Christine! I’ve been waiting for this post and it has exceeded my hopes. Beautiful writing as always.

  • Emma

    Just wanted to say that you ARE brilliantly good!

  • Tina

    Oh, yeah….I remember that silver drape. Even the gray cape I wore looked good. The story of the silver drape is a further reminder to me TSu is my best fit. 🙂

    Janette, I love moonstone. It is gorgeous, especially when set in sterling silver. 🙂

  • Tina

    Janine, I have to watch it with eyeshadow, too. I wear either an all over lavender, pink or rose brown. I do not ever do a smoky eye or contouring. It is too much for me. Silver and light gray are good. Medium/dark gray is good as a liner. I look better in a slightly frosted or pearl eyeshadow rather than a matte. I keep the color depth at a light to medium light value.Look at Coastal Scents for really inexpensive but good quality eyeshadows. They do a great job of describing the color of each individual shadow so that you know what to pick. I hope that helps. 🙂

  • Janine

    Thank you Tina, that’s really helpful! 🙂

  • Nirmala

    Dear Christine,

    Thank you so, so much for writing this post! I must admit that I have been waiting for it, and I was not dissappointed!
    Your one word descriptions for the skin finishes for each of the seasons are immeasurably helpful! I LOVE that my SSu skin finish is described as Flannel, I can totally relate to that!

    Seeing all the textures side by side just gives another really good perspective on how the nature of the colours for each season goes hand in hand with their very TEXTURE.
    Interestingly, I have always loved flannel textured plaid shirts in soft colours- before I even knew about being a SSu, so to have confirmation of that is just amazing! I even love sweaters that have a flannel type effect- downy soft in texture but without excessive fluff. And don’t even get me started on the numerous flannely/fleecy throws that I have dotted around the house! I guess it was always meant to be! My mum is Soft Autumn, and she actually LOVES suede, always has, and it suits her incredibly well (in that Palomino colour- her favorite horse) so that’s interesting too.
    Loving those cat pictures too. I have a friend who looks just like that second cat there. Eyes so mesmerizingly blue surrounded by that silvery haze. Pure beauty! She MUST be a cool summer- she only ever wears cool summer colours, naturally- anything else is just so blatantly terrible on her (including black and white). I don’t know about you, but I find that people whose season is true find it easier to hone in on their correct colours. Perhaps it’s because the truth is so cut and dry with them, there’s no neutrality to make any allowances for wrong things.

  • Londonmakeupgirl

    …and now I’m wondering if I’m actually a Soft Summer rather than a Dark Winter. Well, I have an appointment booked with Nikki for March, so I’ll find out (or perhaps be completely surprised!)

    Nyx Taupe blush might be a good option for a Soft Summer contour/bronzer. It has no discernable warmth and mauve-ish undertones. The new Chanel Notorious contour powder might be another option, apart from the fact it’s limited distribution and too shimmery for a contour for my eye.

  • Susan

    Brilliant article. Love the comparisons. Those help immensely. As you know I am a true season, and I can vouch for starting at the end when a true is involved. Pretty sure of my season within five minutes of the draping, but still wonderful to see with the eyes.

    Thank you for this amazing information to contrast/compare the different seasons. Your use of imagery gives one a stronger handle on what the mind knows connecting with what the eye sees.

  • RK

    Just wanted to say that I think the: “the best skin finish”-articles are the best you have written yet.

  • Melinda

    Hey Christine,

    I really enjoyed this article because it made me think about myself in a different light and perspective. Do I think that it applies to me completely? Well… no. I think I have wanted to find a place in the 12 seasons and use all of the amazing information that you have listed, but I still don’t feel like any season really is a good fit for me. That’s okay, I really like how your articles seem to say to me that we are all on our own journey to discover who we are. No one can make that journey for us, we must discover it on our own. I see myself as a mixture of seasons, being able to use this and that color, or this and that technique. I know that some people cringe at the idea, but it really does seem to work for me. When John did my draping and style he put it this way:

    ‘You are someone that can wear a chiffon scarf, in a camo pattern, with blues and purples – and strangely, it works’. He also mentioned how normally classic and natural sort of fight each other in people, but strangely they get along and work in me. I have the same percentage of both.

    What I’m wondering then is how much does style and color affect each other? For example: I find that it is best to use my colors and combine them as Summers combine them using a blending technique with whatever values the colors I am wearing have. Water color blends or atmospheric techniques are wonderful in patterns, but the patterns can also be polka dots or the previously mentioned camo. I still can’t do much shine or texture due to the Summer influence, but I can do V necklines, turtlenecks, oval necklines, and round necklines due to my Autumn and Spring influences as well as my classic and natural style influences.

    Like I said, it REALLY got me thinking. lol

    If I picked out how I best like my makeup, it would be a combination of suggestions. No matter how much powder I use, my skin looks ‘glowy’ like silver moonbeams AND sunbeams came out to play on it. I can’t seem to calm them down at all and eliminating one or the other just doesn’t work. If I do that, I loose any trace of the natural elements that already exist there and just look like I’m swimming in makeup. I currently only use a light layer of foundation powder and it still looks like the sunbeams and moonbeams are fighting although they each take turns at the helm with who wins that day depending on how I do the rest of my face. If I wear warm cheek blush, the sunbeams win. If I wear cool pink cheek blush, the moonbeams win. The only blush I have found that doesn’t seem to do that as much is an Elea Blake Light Spring blush that I had a sample of. I’m getting that one thank goodness!

    Does any of this make sense? lol I have the same problem with my eye makeup and my lipsticks. Not too matte, no glitter, but needing some type of shine (the glow of moonbeams and sunbeams would be awesome, but try to find that in an eyeshadow or gloss!). Trying to find a balance is really difficult. It seems the same way with balancing color as well. I have colors that go really dark and really light. As long as I stick with the blending/low contrast of Summer and swirl the makeup as you mentioned, then it looks great, but I also have to have a fine balance of that moon and sun. Have you seen this on anyone else before?

    Perhaps this IS what you are talking about with Summer and I’m just not understanding, but any insight you have would be wonderful. I understand though that since I haven’t been draped by you, and you have never met me, that it might be difficult to help with.

    As always, best regards and I am so grateful for your time and your writings!

    • Christine Scaman

      To everyone, thank you so much for your comments. I can think about theory till forever but it’s when you apply it and find that it works in your own lives that the information finally locks into place.

      Thinking about your question, Melinda. The sun/moon – it makes me think of L Su, but I suppose that it could be applied in some way to any Neutral Season. And does style affect colour…even tougher Q to answer. For sure, it does. But how can we use your observations to come to conclusions about your colours that are true? All I can say is that you sure sound like a Summer blend. John is so good and he seems to be concluding Soft Summer.

  • Yelena

    Christine, have you ever seen a TSu with yellow skin?

    I was draped a TSu in SciArt but everything I read about True Summer skin doesn’t sound like my skin at all. Mine is not cool or silver-moonish. It’s noticeably yellow (the best foundation match ever was 2Y from Aromaleigh – which is pure yellow).

    I love love love your book and your blog posts, but every time I read that TSu skin is cool and moonlight-ey, I start doubting my season… My eyes are blue with yellow sunflowers around the pupil and I get some freckles in spring/summer (spring influence they say), yet my second best season was actually SSu (LSu colors looked cartoonish on me). I am dark haired (for a TSu).

    And another thing is, how do you envision a TSu TR? TRs are supposed to be all sparkly and glittery which is too much for TSu? Which should trump – the Kibbegory or the season in this case?

  • AmyS

    I was waiting on pins and needles for this post and am glad for it. For a minute it made me question my light summerness because of the description of TSu eyes since my eyes are cooler. Further testing today confirmed(yet again) I am LSu.I do get that eye pop effect tho by wearing less color than more on the face. I think I’m finally getting this! I do still feel like I need a little bit more shimmer to the lip tho, but maybe old habits die hard(or Spring tries to insert itself here.)

    I found a (holy grail) drugstore mascara that comes closest to grey that I’ve seen so far: Cover Girl Exact Eyelights in Black Sapphire. Goes on soft and doesn’t clump or smudge. The non-waterproof formula only (I had flakeyness with the waterproof version.) It looks like a soft charcoal with a hint of navy.There appears to be some shimmer but it’s unnoticeable and have never seen it fall out anywhere on the skin.

  • Tina

    Yelena, I know you did not ask me personally, but I happen to think TSu’s can do bling in small, scattered amounts. Think diamond dust as opposed to three carat stones. I think season trumps Kibbegory every time. Try R if TR is too much. Hope that helps. 🙂

  • Melinda

    Thanks Christine! I really appreciate the time you took to answer my question. Lots to think about. Have a wonderful day and good luck with your new training. Very exciting!

  • Carrie

    Hi Christine! I wonder are you going to write about Winters skin finish?? I am a Dark Winter, very anxiously waiting for!

  • Jennifer

    Blessed by this post. There is such a bias in the beauty industry of what beauty truly is…and we forget that it changes-season to season, year to year, decade to decade. I love what you do here-no one person is more beautiful than another, we are all just different & that in itself is a thing to marvel at. You only give information to make the most of what we already have:)
    I am grateful for this post as well, as i am a SN TS. I appreciate your kibbe interpretation:)

  • Zuzu*s Petals

    Christine, thanks for another great article. it reinforced my TSu preference for subtlety, but I’d been trying to force my face into the makeup recommended for aging skin (dewy/glossy). Even though I bought such items, I continued relying on my sheer powders and creamy matte eyeshadows.

    I have one question for you, because it’s been BUGGING Me for months/years. Do you think there is anyplace for bronzer in a True Summer’s makeup kit? The golden and orange-based bronzers make me look jaundiced, and the taupish ones … just dirty. If I were to tan, my skin would be a very light rosy brown.

    If Summers can wear bronzer, what might you recommend? Not a brand/item specifically but a color range to look for (and obviouysly not one with shine)

    • Christine Scaman

      Bronzer in a True Summer kit? No place I can see on the faces I know. I have a lot of respect for the eleablake 12 Seasons of colours, and I haven’t seen their T Su or TW bronzer so maybe they have a good one. I could see using a slightly darker powder than one’s foundation to mimic sun, which works really well. As you say, if a rosy brown could be found, it may work. T Su certainly tans just like everyone else, but they do easily look muddy. Some can appear to tan quite warm too, but it isn’t warm, it’s just what you say, rosy brown.

  • Ann

    Zuzu’s Petals, what about using a matte mauve-brown blush like Bobbi Brown Desert Rose as a bronzer? Or using a product meant spefically to contour as a bronzer, like the MAC Sculpt line? If you can find the right shade for your skin, it will not be too gold, orangy, or gray.

  • Zuzu*s Petals

    Muddy or ruddy, which is just as bad in my case!

    eb sort of offers a bronzer. It’s called June love, but they did not match the color to any color chip on the 12 Tone fan.

    A sample arrived the other day, and I swatched it on the back of my hand and then rejected it as being too warm. It is also very shimmery. But I really should test it in my face and will do so later this morning. I’ll report back if I find it’s a keeper, but I suspect my skin just isn’t meant for the faux flow. (For any other TSu’s reading, elea blake True Summer makeup is stunning, though I have begged them for more cool beige/taupe neutrals from sleeves 1 and 3 in the fan. EVERY true needs Bashful eyeshadow!)

    I will take another look at the darker eb foundation samples, to see if one will give me the sun-kissed look. That said, It’s been almost 20 years since I purposely tanned, so warmed up skin looks a bit alien to me.

  • Zuzu*s Petals

    @Ann, thank you for the suggestions. I think my most challenging issue, beside being purely cool toned, is that my skin is very naturally rosy, so adding more rose/pink to my skin (in non-cheek areas) can make me look feverish or even scalded.

    All MAC colors, including their sculpting powder and blushes and bronzers are much too warm on me. As for BB, I once own the Desert Rose blush, and though it was a beautiful color to look at in the compact, it was too muted and warm on my skin, so I threw it out before considering it as bronzer even reached my level of consciousness. (Her Pale Pink is my ideal color). I recently tried her Luminizing Bronzer in Antigua, which is a brown-based rose, but I didn’t care for how it looked on me. Unfortunately, 99% of BB products are just too warm. So pretty to look at, but deathly on my skin. I can’t help but wonder if Soft and Deep seasons do best with her line.

    Anyway, I have managed to live my entire life without adding a faux glow, so I should probably give up the idea and work with the assets I have, meanwhile embracing my inner Casper.

    But if I *do* decide to fake summer, elea blake’s “June” mineral powder is lovely. I applied too much yesterday and got that feverish look, but today I used a Hakuhodo fan brush and I love the way it looks. I detect no obvious shimmer, but it’s a grey day so I will reserve final judgment until the sun comes out.

  • Wednesday

    Apparently cosmetics companies no longer believe in Soft Black as I can’t find any at my local drugstore. I can’t afford high-end mascaras either. Or is it possible that they’ve just renamed Soft Black to Black and Black to Very Black? Does anyone know?

  • Anne

    Wednesday, I just picked up Maybelline Soft Black mascara at Target.

  • Ashley

    If you’re unable to find Soft Black, Hard Candy has some cool-toned dark brown mascaras that might work for you. I think mine was called Dark Chocolate.

  • andrea

    I was recently analyzed as a Soft Summer, and I am loving the palette. Your article on skin finish is spot on for me. Never liked sparkly, frosty, bronzy or shiny make up on me. Interestingly, I’ve always been drawn to silk, flannel–“dry” textures in my clothing. I like cotton too, but it has to be very soft. I also like very fine, fuzzy wool. I find it gives the colors a gorgeous muted tone.

    I’ve experimented a lot with clothing color–because I love color so much. Honestly, I’ve never felt better than when I’m in a dusty rose top and swirly blue and green scarf. It feels literally magical.

  • Emma

    I can’t live without a translucent face powder and the best I have found is Chanel loose powder (the lightest shade, Translucent Clair 1). It makes an amazing finish, people have been commenting on my wonderful skin spontaneously, the prize is not very low but a little goes a long way.

  • KimM.

    Does anyone know of any True Summer pressed powder foundations? All I’ve found seem too warm. I have combo skin but leans more to oily. I love Laura Mercier foundation powder (not the newest one though – it’s awful) but it seems too yellow. If I can’t find a foundation powder I may just have to go to a translucent finishing powder only. As far as mascara I’ve been wearing Lancome Definicils in Dark Brown and really like it. It’s a cool brown and not as harsh as black on me. I have dark brown hair, medium brown eyes, and very pale skin.

    • Christine Scaman

      Truly and properly cool foundation color is difficult to buy for anyone in any formulation. I’m assuming that you’ve looked at all the usual brands like Clinique, Chanel, and Dior? Make up forever’s pro Finish line does a fairly good product with a very wide assortment of colors.

  • Jane

    KimM, do you have The Body Shop in your country? They have a mineral powder foundation that has a genuine pinkish cast to it, can’t remember the name/number, but might be worth checking out.

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