The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring Thumbnail

The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring

The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring

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For any change, including improvement of the status quo, three questions matter:

1. What do I want?

2. Where am I now?

3. What am I willing to do to get what I want?


What Do I Want

Very hard question. Most of us are schooled in what we don’t want. You might want to develop the full potential of your appearance.

If your idea of great makeup is to take what’s already there and make more of it, as mine is, Winter status quo is bright, almost primary colour. Adding just a little more doesn’t move Winter very far from the starting point, let alone full potential. Maybe you just want to know a nice eyeliner and gloss and that’s perfectly fine. There is no right or wrong answer.

There is nothing wrong with being a Winter without makeup. The important thing is to channel what you do towards the outcome that you want.

If you’re a Winter, the time has come. No face is more altered with makeup. Other types of colouring tend to look more similar with and without makeup, which is a definite good thing. But it’s the Winters who can go miles from where they began, and that’s good too. Colour on the face seems to make them appear.

Painting a mouth on the face makes the viewer suddenly aware of the eyes, which seems paradoxical. A better way to say it may be that without lips, the eyes don’t make as much sense. Because the colours are quite intense, each part of the makeup application may seem like too much till all the parts are in place.

Where Am I Now

Once, I’d love the Winter to walk in who is overdone in her Winterness. The young ones are, even without makeup. They’re bringing it. More eyeliner (that we remove), thigh high boots (brown, but they’re trying to be bigger and it’s good), cape flying, doing something luscious with the hair, more ME-ME-ME. In our fifties, we women have toned ourselves so far down that we can lose our discernment of what is just normal and right.

Especially in our later years, when our faces finally carry all the power that took 50 years to build, isn’t it time to stop being so careful? I get that not everyone wants to present a heavily made up, dramatic face, but it’s not even about drama in makeup. There is so much caution to shake off. Drama and glamour haven’t been added for a long time and yet, this is where they are most normal.

Personal Colour Analysis a blinking light on You Are Here.

Then you say, “Oh. OK then. So I’m not over there. I shouldn’t even be looking for myself over there. I’ll look over here instead.”

A Winter Face: both extremes at the same time.

To be more specific:

1. Contrast. There is a lot of distance between everything and everything else, such as:

In features from skin. The skin is very even, smooth, and quiet. Insert into that landscape a mouth, cheeks, eyes, and eyebrows whose colours create a big and sudden jump from the background. Sometimes the eyes are the only colour you register, the rest seeming neutral in your awareness.

In distance between light-dark levels. Eyeliner is dark (it contains more black than any other group). The eyeshadow next to it, the lid colour, is a fair bit lighter (lid colour is medium on the other groups). The next band, the eyeshadow contour, is quite dark by comparison (more about that later). The eyeshadow highlight is icy light, nearly white (not the case for pastel on Summers and creamy on Warms). The brow is quite dark (but not darkened more than Nature designed on anyone).

In adjacent textures, ultra matte to ultra shine. Quiet skin. No special effects. Snow White’s face isn’t contoured (the lowlights of Autumn), dewy (the highlights of Spring), or cottony (airy, dreamy effects ofSummer). Winter’s canvas is an even blanket. The eyes are strong and the lips supply brilliant colour in that blanket. The cheeks have a natural flush of blood without being distracting.

The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring is: Even.


2. Drama. It’s like a deficiency when drama is left out of a Winter eye design. Not wrong. There is no wrong, no answer that works across the board, even within a Season. Drama might just mean eyeliner that is dark enough and on Winters I’ve seen, they not only balance drama, they are enhanced further with it. It doesn’t look even dramatic, exciting, stimulating, theatrical, or otherwise extraordinary. It looks normal.


Photo: Krappweis

Photo: Krappweis

Would the image above make sense with a soft and gentle eye colour or shape (expression)? Winter’s is not a gradual, blended, or soft face.

When Summers buy cosmetics, look for products that have a gentle application. Remember when we applied your makeup and we divided the foundation with moisturizer, as I do on every Summer and Spring, because heavy and matte products look like a mask? The same principle applies to all your cosmetics. Having said that, we also showed you that when a colour is correct, you can apply almost any amount of it and it just blends believably into the skin. That’s true, but these are two different ideas. Summer begins with a product that swatches like a watercolour. Winter is looking for oil paint.


3. Keep the number of cosmetic colours low. 1 is good. Colour is subtracted from winter landscapes. Many steely dark grays, many icy grays or icy colours (means nearly white). Very little colour activity. And suddenly, a  blood-flushed cheek and a red or purple mouth. The colours in the face are shocking on a still and quiet energy.

Remember how on Lights, dark colour takes over? On Winters, it’s colour itself that becomes too much too quickly.

Photo: pixaio

Photo: pixaio

Would this be more effective if we added a buttercup, a bluejay, and a lilac? No, the red would lose its voltage. There are thousands of these photos out there because they make sense to humans by reinforcing something we already know and recognize.


Photo: Nossirom

Photo: Nossirom


4. Intensity. Don’t leave any features behind. Enhance each one to the same degree. Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy. Apply a lot of colour to each feature and don’t blot any off till the whole face is done. Each part looks like too much on its own but it all works together when all the pieces are in place. Blend nothing till every part is done or you’ll overblend that feature back into cautious and unbalance the face.

Thou Shalt Not Be Wimpy applies equally to concealer as lipstick. The blues and purples in the skin are so saturated that a sheer concealer won’t hide them nearly as well as a product with good opacity.


What Are You Willing To Do

Look very different to yourself? Exchanging a plaid duffel coat for a black and white herringbone is a step. Wearing bigger jewelry than all your friends? Be the only one of the girls to wear a fuchsia red mouth?

Draw a lot more attention to yourself? Stand out and apart? As many have discovered, getting noticed for being different isn’t easy, even is it’s a good different.

Wear your real true This Is Who I Am hair colour?

No right or wrong, just questions. Everything looks easy from the outside. Try it, you may find it takes some effort. What are the conditions on what you’re willing to do?


The Nature of Reflected Light

The Spring, Summer, and Autumn articles preceding this one are linked in their names. The idea is that our natural colours have a way of reflecting light. Beyond just the colours of the reflected light, the wavelengths have properties that reach our other senses, as texture for instance.

In Chinese medicine, our fingers are entry and exit points for energy. Of course. How could they not be? They touch everything. They’re up and down-loading who we are all the time. Each of our sense organs is doing the same. Each of the 12 colour Season palettes speaks a certain language, is evocative of certain emotions, reminds of certain landscapes, and makes sense if consistent in colour and touch and sound and scent and taste. It’s all happening at once. The knee bone is connected to the neck bone.

The True Winter surface is smooth and hard. Dark Winter is smoother than Dark Autumn but not 100% smooth; it’s also thick, and not quite as hard as True Winter. Bright Winter is very smooth, shinier, and semitransparent – Dr. Sheldon Cooper, as opposed to Autumn’s Magnum P. I. Though some will cringe, I’m still going with rubbery for Winter skin by comparison with the other Seasons.

So far, we’ve said:

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


Dark Winter: Vinyl

If we start at Dark Autumn and move along to its cooler side, we arrive next at Dark Winter. These are both Neutral Seasons. Dark Winter has more in common with the True Season parent of True Winter, but does share the most important dimension of colour, darkness, with the Neutral it’s paired with and whose descriptor it shares, that is, Dark Autumn.

We begin with Autumn’s canvas, which is strong and textured. As Winter settles in, the skin texture smooths out. Dark Autumn leather is transitioning.

Dark Winter skin throws light back like vinyl.





Perhaps also a car. Metallic like Autumn, but smoother and harder. Industrial, tough, shiny, smooth, waterproof, and useful. Good Dark Winter words.

Not bad words for their jewelry and belts either. Dark Winter takes Dark Autumn’s Rustic Opulent and brings in gladiator. A sweater in black or dark grey metallic looks like chain mail. Stud, armor, and heavy link effects are a natural fit here, scary elsewhere.

Dark Winter is mysterious. Christmas Eve, the dark jewel-toned ornaments, the fireplace, the night, the lights in the windows. Very nice, but there’s something bigger going on. The feeling of waiting for something. Waiting for the reason behind the pretty. Deeper, even darker. Sinister.

Nude lips on Winter looks faded or washed out. Choose smoked berry reds, smoky purple, or dark fuchsia are a great fit, as sheer or opaque as you prefer.

Darkness works. Smoke is natural, like the Autumn muting in the skin. Smoked eyes make sense. The lighter lid eyeshadow can equally well be fairly dark. Any Season can do smoked eyes, but it’s most at home on the Darks. Even the other two Winters are best to exercise caution with darkness so it doesn’t look heavy. They look better in clean and silvery.


True Winter: Ceramic

Even smoother and even harder.

True Winter: ceramic. Like a white sink. Impenetrable, tough, and enduring.


Photo: nade

Photo: nade


Clean. Picture the makeup colours from your palette painted right on that white sink. Dark eyes, red-violet cheeks, red-violet lips. No fuss, no frills. Not smoked (Dark Winter) or clear, as in translucent (Bright Winter). Can you tell this before they’re draped, by looking at them? Absolutely not. True Winter is always the draping surprise for me, even more so than Bright Spring.

For True Winter, that very quiet blanket of skin without a lot of cheek colour, or with an icy light cheek, is excellent, like the picture at the top. For Bright and Dark, colour on the cheek is better, I find. It adds to Bright liveliness and Dark intensity.

Eyeliner is dark. Eyeshadow is quite light and silvered, depending on the anatomy of the eye. Under brow highlight is near white or some icy (near white) colour. Contour and back corner eyeshadow is quite dark.

Darkening the outer back corner of eyes looks good as a way of adding drama. Use a dark gray/black eyeshadow. Go over the eyeliner to fill in holes. Drag the dark shadow out past the crease. Turn around and start pulling in inward above the crease, not in the crease. This enlarges the apparent size of the eye and recedes the skin above the crease that can close in. On eyes where the upper half of the lid is smaller than the lower half, the crease is shallow, or the eye prominent, you would omit this effect. Deposit some dark shadow at the outer lid corner.

Non-Winter Seasons will use a darker shadow that isn’t much darker than the lid colour or skip the effect altogether.

On a Light Season, where dark colour may look darker on the person than in the pan, the eyeshadow contour can just be the medium lid colour packed on a bit more heavily.

On a Soft Season, the liner, lid, and contour are quite close in darkness level, as in medium, with contour only slightly darker. They distinguish their roles by being of different colours in similar darkness levels, rather than Winter’s variations on one colour (gray) in extremes of darkness levels.

On a Winter, light means really light and dark means really dark. You are it already. So be it, as P. said so cleverly.

Most True Winters are a natural fit for blush and lipstick in the pink-fuchsia-purple spectrum. That may be because true red lips are like true black eyeliner, somehow harder and more dramatic than human faces really are. Dark Winter’s burnt rose red and Bright Winter’s strawberry or pink red alleviate the pure redness. True Winter does the same by using violet, meaning clear purpled pinks.

Some True Winters wear red better than fuchsia. There have no common denominator feature, but strong yellow or olive tones may be part of it.


Bright Winter: Silicone

How about Bright Winter? That amazing special blend of innocence with a dark, brittle edge. The geisha could span the Bright Seasons.

Spring has a hand in Bright Winter. Therefore, we need a sugar coating, shiny, fun, and ornamental. Pink frosting on lids, cheeks, and lips, lilac highlights, more play (more colours at once), more theater (cat eye, a few false lashes, fine winged brows, bright lips, hats with veils, cloche hats with beautiful ornaments, because hats and earrings are face accessories). Below, the haircut, the dress print and line, all awesome.




Definitely a lighter palette than the other Winters.

The skin’s reflectance had me searching for an analogy. Fine china with that near-transparent edge? Thinking, thinking,…mostly Winter, therefore rubbery and even, but a little softer with a transparency in the outermost layer… oh, you’re going to love this, jellyfish! Not good? Soft boiled egg? Maybe. Yes.

But jellyfish is so good. Stay with me here.


Photo: drakemata

Photo: drakemata

The flamenco dancer.



Photo: bofft

Photo: bofft

Heavenly and magical.



Photo: zoel

Photo: zoel

You see where I’m going?


How do we translate this to makeup? You don’t have to do a lot, you have this smooth and rubbery (all Winters) clarity (Brights) already. Clear silicone skin. Increase it with intensely coloured products, pigments so pure, you would swear they’re transparent. Brush powders with the slightest finest shimmer effect on all exposed skin. Don’t stop at the jawline. It’s a sprinkling of fairy dust, that sugar topping, an overall crystalline effect.

Bronzer? A little icy gold uplight, sure. Baby peach, always good on Brights. Very little. We feel no bronzer per se here:


Photo: Andreius

Photo: Andreius


Recap: The skin is calm and even in colour and texture. By using strong lines, bold colours, intense pigment deposits, and big distance between light and dark, both adjacent and separate, we create very clear feature definition. There is no question about where one ends and the other begins.

For Summer, we said: 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.

For 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.

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


19 Thoughts on The Best Skin Finish on Winter Colouring

  • "; ?> Emma

    I’ve been looking forward to this post! And it was worth waiting for! LOVE it and recognize myself in every word. Thank you!!

  • "; ?> Heather

    I recognize myself in every word too Emma! This article was pure joy for this bright winter. I feel truly validated. Ever since my early teenage years, I have felt that I looked “deficient” without makeup but at the same time due to outside pressures felt that in order to be more spiritually mature, that ultimately one day I would comfortably brave the world bare faced. Thankyou Christine, through your work I have come to realise that the way I choose to decorate myself is a validation of who I am – someone who will decorate anything that stands still, who loves to create exquisite and dramatic beauty all around me. That’s me and it’s OK. By the same token, I will add that since I have stopped bleaching/foiling my hair (did it for over 30 years) I no longer think I look horribly ill without my makeup, just not “finished and glamourised” which is a very different feeling. I’m no longer embarrassed to be seen “in the raw” by those who don”t love me, just prefer my “decorated” image of which I also will NEVER again feel slightly ashamed. Thankyou, Christine, you’re awesome (as my boys would say)!

  • "; ?> Heather L

    Although I’m not a Winter I’ve found this fascinating. I am so pleased you included the Shiseido image. As I was reading this I was thinking of Serge Lutens and his work (he founded the Shiseido make-up line and look of the brand which endures to this day). I would recommend taking a look at his images. I should think he must be a Winter himself as he’s clearly drawn to this season.

  • "; ?> Nirmala

    Hi Christine,

    Another riveting and much anticipated post! I’m so grateful to you for writing these, I love to be able to have such an incredibly detailed picture of the feeling for every single one of the seasons, and finishing with Winter was the incredible Grand Finale. THANK YOU!!!!

    “Reality is an acquired taste”: how I love that statement, I should make it my daily mantra. Because it’s incredible how many little white lies we tell ourselves on a daily basis, just like those we tell others. And it’s perfectly innocent, but so very revealing of all that “baggage”! But I also realise that we need these tools, such as colour analysis, in order to understand the true beauty of this reality that we’re so desperate to sugar coat because we fear that our real self is either too little or too much. The Summer in me always found myself not enough, especially in comparison to my Winter sister, who (to my great confoundment) always found herself (and still does) TOO MUCH! So I overcompensate and she undercompensates and the result is the same: a false uniformity, and certainly not the smooth, lovely skin finishes that you refer to, whose inherent uniformity is of the radiant kind- whatever that skin finish may be.

    I’d like to add that the message that really comes through quite clearly, with all of your posts, is that this colour science is a highly accurate one, and we just CANNOT second guess it- only a draping will do. You’ve made me a bit of a purist now- and there’s no turning back. I want to see reality, because the truth is, reality is a million times better than that strange delusion that we have of ourselves.

    Thank you so much once again for everything you write!

    Nirmala 🙂

  • "; ?> Trish

    Once again you hit the nail on the head Christine!

    As a Bright Winter its like you are describing me- , cat eye, false lashes, fine winged brows, bright lips, hats with veils, cloche hats with beautiful ornaments, earrings, snow white & geisha influences (tick, tick, tick!)

    Quiet skin: no contouring or highlighting, not cottony. Opaque coverage with a powdered face and defined, evenly accentuated features- lots of eyes, lots of mouth, more blush

    This all rings true to me, which is reassuring. Thanks so much for this.

  • "; ?> Kathryn

    Wow! Just WOW!!!!

  • "; ?> Alison

    THOU SHALT NOT BE WIMPY. Amen, sister Dark!

    I went through this article and just went YES, YES, EXACTLY to the screen, you’re absolutely, dead-on RIGHT. I LOVE that you compare our colouring to a car. Its completely true.

  • "; ?> Kathy

    Thank you. I’ve been waiting for the winter article and I think “rubbery” is a good analogy. (I don’t think I’m rubbery — more see-though, like, literally, you could map my veins out, they’re that noticeable. I think I’m one of the neutral spring seasons.) Sheldon is a good reference for a male BW, but I also think of skater Johnny Weir. This is BW personified, I think.

  • "; ?> Daenerys

    When I tried to guess my own season, I ruled out Winter because I thought I was bad at black clothes. Now I know more, things turn more complicated, not that simple: my eyes are flattered by black. Undenieably. Black eyeshadow, black mascara, and they turn black and intense. So… may I start to consider Winter again?

    • "; ?> Christine Scaman

      Yes, at least one of the 5 Winter types. DA and BSp eyes will connect with black.

  • "; ?> Daenerys

    Thanks for the answer! How puzzling is human colouring; the TMT I have learned from this blog is that things are never what they appear. Perhaps one day I´ll return to my natural hair color.

  • "; ?> Kathy

    ” Black eyeshadow, black mascara, and they turn black and intense. So… may I start to consider Winter again?”

    Interestingly enough, this is what made me tentatively rule out winter, although my eyes are a fairly dark shade of brown — or so I thought. Black liner and mascara just makes my eyes look “punched out” and sort of red-rimmed.

  • "; ?> Alison

    Hi Christine!

    You mentioned Shiseido RD305 – is it the “fleshtone” Lacquer Rouge (Nymph) you’re talking about? What’s the name of the shade?

  • "; ?> Heather

    Hi Christine,

    Thank for the article. It is funny I always thought my skin was kind of rubbery, porcelain, transparent and the contouring look didn’t really do much for me. Bronzer muddies me and so does brown eye-shadow. I have deep saturation of blues and purple showing through under my eyes. Thank you for the concealer recommendations, I can never seem to hide my under-eye blues and purples no matter how much concealer I cake-layer on.

    I also have to say from a previous article, When I read your post about BW characteristics, my eyes widened. That describes me not only as how I perceive myself but as other’s have expressed me down to the facial expressions, the “more quiet” even though I think I am more outgoing than others see me as, the times I slip into being more funny and gestural, and my reserve.

    I have tried Springs clothing for about a month and now that my tan is fading I can see how Spring is not as fitting as it was. I am seeing how those bright jewel tones make my skin so calm and nice. Spring clothes felt like a vacation, like I could be lighter and brighter even in personality but it seems temporary in fullness and truly only a smaller percentage of me. After reading many of your articles and thinking geez… BW really rings a bell for me. Fake eyelash-extensions look so good, skin very fine tuned-feverish face, muddy, yellowed, or grayed if incorrect colors, how my hair looks mousy in the wrong colors even though my hair is not mousy, When I pinch my finger the color is more red than many pink comparisons, I was draped as True Summer previously which may have been close but too muddy for my face. However whatever the drapes may reveal, I am counting down the days till Heather Noakes is in DC!

    Thank you for all the insight from your articles, I have learned only the tip of the iceberg but even that is a vast improvement from where I have started.

  • "; ?> Melina

    Very interesting, that the article tells Winters to enhance each feature to the same degree, when all the conventional makeup wisdom around us tells to enhance just one feature, be it either eyes or lips – i.e. pair dark smokey eyes with a nude lip, or red lip with very understated eye makeup… But in no case enhance both; it’s like a cardinal rule of makeup! 😉 You can’t even open any makeup blog without being told that. I have indeed always been a bit sceptical about that “wisdom”, as to me it leads to a very unbalanced look… And I don’t like it. Would you say this advice applies to Winters alone, or also to some other seasons, even a little bit?

    • "; ?> Christine Scaman

      Every woman will have her own preference, but I agree that faces with eyes only are unbalanced. Who looks better with no lips? Or grey lips? The focal point may be the eyes but they are floating and unsupported, and the gaze is led downwards, which feels heavy and draining. I prefer attire to be support the head, the mouth to be healthy and fresh with similar impact as the eyes and hair, and the energy to continue lifting upwards, such that the facial bones and colours frame the crescendo in the eyes.

  • "; ?> RA

    This article is fantastic and helped me so much to put into words some things I knew intuitively. Now I know to focus on them because they are true – the one colour in the winter landscape hit home for me, and the dark winter gladiator. Thank you.

    • "; ?> Christine Scaman

      I’m glad to hear that the information was helpful to you. An updated version of this post will be published at Chrysalis Colour ( on Dec. 3.

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