Saturday, 25 June 2016

Personal Colours Update

Think, think, think, it's not Winne The Pooh you are eavesdropping on it's me.

There are a few problems with wearing the True Summer palette that I haven't been able to escape so they've been rattling around in my brain like dried peas in a whistle.  I've found my colouring difficult to pin down because sometimes I look very cool, and while I do lean towards cool I often have a reddish tint to my hair and always have, though my hair is getting darker and ashier as I age.  My skin is cool-neutral and my eyes are cool though they contain a taupe colour that while a cool taupe still warms them up a little bit as opposed to pure grey or blue.   I have always been drawn to soft, warm colours though they never looked quite right on me if they were very warm and yet, at least some of them also do not look terrible.  They may, in fact, be better than bright cool colours.  The signs are pointing to my not being purely cool after all,  although I can sometimes photograph that way.  In looking at many photos indoors and out, to get a sense of what I most typically look like, I am more neutral than predominantly cool.  Although my photo experiment lead me to conclude I was a Cool Summer I have changed my mind based on real world experiences and in looking at a range of photos.

I will attempt to succinctly explain why.


Although I've always had difficulty with yellow I have discovered a yellow that is good.  It's not easy to find in the shops so I may not have it in my wardrobe any time soon but I have it in an old sheet which I've kept because it's the yellow I love.  On  a whim I wrapped myself in it and it looks good!

 I want to say it's butter yellow but that depends on which brand you buy.  I hate to say it's margarine yellow but it might be.

As usual, I am frustrated by the inability to accurately capture the colour in a photo so you will just have to trust me, I am wearing it well though no plans anytime soon to wear a bed sheet outdoors.


Then there is the fact that I've received compliments in a warmer pink shade than I thought would work for me, again suggesting that there is a subtle warmth in my colouring. 

The True or Cool Summer palette is often pretty looking on me but you see the clothing before you see me.  It's the difference between saying "oh that's a pretty top" and "you look great".  I've learned that one of the ways to see this difference (because we all have lots of colours that look second best, good enough, and nobody would say oh that isn't doing anything for you) is to see if the clothing blends with you and looks like part of you, or rather if it makes your head/face recede.  That's when you get the effect of seeing the clothing first, then the person.  The more saturated the colour, the more I get that effect.

 If it's softened a little, very slightly more mauve or rose pink, a touch of brown in it instead of a bublegum pink, then it harmonises with me and looks like it belongs on me.  There are few if no pinks I look terrible in, but it's a matter of finding which ones are best.   The lipstick recommendations should have tipped me off to this sooner-I look best in the Soft Summer colours and most of the True Summer coloured lipsticks are a bit too much on my face.


Another small incident that made me reconsider the True/Cool Summer palette was not only my favourite pink tee shirt but my favourite green one.  I compared it to  True Summer  greens and it was not quite as pure and cool, and I realised it was a Soft Summer green and not a True Summer Green.  I had been drawn to it for it's softness.  Although I find the True Summer colours very pretty they still feel a bit bright to me despite their being less saturated than Winter colours.  I told myself I was choosing the lighter colours of that palette but really I was choosing Soft Summer colours.

Here is my favourite green tee shirt draped against my face.  Forget that; the image refuses to be uploaded to Blogger.  Trust me, I look amazing.

And here is a darker version of green in a favourite teal-green blouse.  It is also in the Soft Summer palette.  The Soft Summer palette darks that feels right to me and I have otherwise been shunning darks.  The 'darker' versions of colour on the True Summer palette are too  saturated.  I feel like I am wearing a candy store even with the darker colours.

Speaking of candy, in addition to feeling squeamish in bubblegum pink, I've never been fond of mint green and yet as a True Summer I should be able to wear it.

This lovely collage from here features the candy colours I just don't feel right in.

This mint is too saturated, too intense for me.  But this silvered or greyed mint found here looks like it could be a soft summer version of mint green -more of a silver sage-and I would definitely wear that.

Another green incident that made me keep questioning my palette is a winter parka I have in a rather odd green that is not quite warm and not quite cool.  It changes somewhat with the lighting actually and it's a somewhat drab colour and yet I consistently get complimented when I'm wearing it.

 Receding Head Syndrome-you don't want it

This beautiful scarf was a gift from Joni and the mossy green in it goes well with that parka (which I've just called 'odd' but I do really like it)  It also goes perfectly with me, the ivory matching the 'whites' of my eyes, the blue-grey picks up the blue-grey in my eyes.  Neither my head nor the scarf come forward at you, but look balanced, I think, and you notice my face.  I think the scarf is more in line with the Soft Autumn palette but that's a palette a Soft Summer is likely able to dip into.  The fact that this Soft Autumn scarf works for me is another indication of my not being a True/Cool summer.

What do you notice first here, my face or the colour of my shirt? I think the pink and the mauve-pink are better than the lavender and the mauve-pink is the most harmonising. I feel good in it, whereas the other pink shirt I wear to sleep in because I don't feel quite right in it.  It feels too bright though I think that is more about my personal taste. The lavender is okay but possibly it stands away from me a little bit and I think it's just a bit too saturated and not muted enough to be best. 

Point of Note:  Just because my colouring is muted and blended doesn't mean everyone will look as muted/soft/blended as I do in their best colours.  Looking muted, soft and blended is what suits me best.  If your colouring is deep, clear or saturated you will look harmonious in colours that also are.

You might think I am being too picky and for goodness' sake, most pinks, blues and purples are good enough.  I am being picky.   It matters to me and interests me because I feel out of balance when I don't wear colours that visually harmonise with me.  I think this is probably akin to people with stronger colouring feeling blah in muted colours and the pervasive fear of beige.


I don't usually wear beige, though I do wear taupe and now that I have said I don't wear beige I did buy a tee shirt that probably qualifies as beige.  I don't look horrible in it.  It's not a wow colour but it is a harmonising colour and it's still a beige that skews cool.   Pink-beige also works for me.  Essentially they are my versions of wearing nude but if I use them I use them along with other colours and accessories.  That is, unless nobody but the cat will see me.  Still, here I think that while you won't say "wow that's a great shirt", you will see my face.

                                 I seem to be attempting a fierce face but it's just squinting into bright light.


Soft Summer colours are what I have instinctively bought in makeup because I prefer a natural look. I want me but better, not to change my colouring.  Even back when I was misdiagnosed as a Winter I tried to argue with the analyst that my best lipstick shade was a mauve-rose.  (My mother told me I was being rude and clearly I've never forgiven her.)  True Summer colours are pretty and sort of suit me but they sit on my face and could look clownish if I didn't use the bare minimum and blend blend blend!   They are too blue, whereas the Soft Summer pinks have a brown tone that warms them up a little without them actually looking warm.  One sign that you've got the right palette in your makeup is that it's really difficult to put on too much.

There was time, back in the winter I think, when I experimented with a red lip.  It never really felt right but the closest that did was a red that was slightly warm, not a blue red.  I was briefly fond of Revlon's Rum Raisin and it almost worked.  It was the nearly the right kind of red (Although bit skewed to Soft Autumn more than Soft Summer, something about my natural lip colour tempered that) but it turned out to be much too saturated.  I tried wearing it very blotted but eventually gave up on it.   A mauve-pink applied straight from the tube tends to read as a red lip on me.

I tend to paint my toenails in colours like this mauve-pink, a long-time favourite.

                                             Demure Vixen-found on

Working My Way to a Conclusion

I read an article on finding your colour palette that said if you've got the right palette every colour in the palette will suit you.  It might not be your favourite and there will be some within the palette that are your very best while others are supporting players but it's not your palette if you say "I wear all of the colours except the Xs because they don't look good on me."  I found I was doing this with the True Summer colours, cherry picking just a few as the ones that I would use.  As I began to find words for how I was tweaking this palette I realised I was tweaking it into a Soft Summer palette and I had instinctively bought Soft Summer colours even though I thought I was trying to select True Summer ones. 

The Soft Summer palette is honestly my favourite of them all, but I was afraid to let that sway me.  Since I am attracted to many colours from all of the palettes I didn't trust my sense of "Oh I like that" to be accurate for what suited me.  And perhaps I was right not to trust that until recently, as I became better at seeing myself.  Previously I thought that while Soft Summer was my favourite, what suited me best was the True Summer and that I could learn to love that because it would make me look good.  I've had a difficult time seeing myself clearly but persistence is getting me there.  I am mostly cool, a little bit neutral, soft and muted.

Not everyone will agree with me as we all bring our biases to colour assessments.  For some people it's nearly impossible to get past their liking for or dislike of a colour and see how it works for the person wearing it.   Some people have very specific taste which happens to match their appearance, essentially getting lucky in finding and wearing their best colours without really trying.  While my own taste should have gotten me into the right ballpark sooner (I had to drag out an old metaphor eventually) I was too influenced by the opinions of others and went astray.

Opinions that Sidetracked Me:

*A colour consultant deciding I was a Winter Season, thus for years I tried to work with that

*Being typed a Winter made me certain I must be very cool in colouring

*The general attitude among many that soft colours are boring ( As though I owe it to    anyone not to be boring!)

*The general belief that brighter colours are happier and perk up one's appearance

Here is my best attempt at natural light and a white top for neutrality and some red dents left by my glasses at the sides of my nose.   I would wear some of the colours from the True Summer palette, but I would wear ALL of the colours from the Soft Summer one and the colours I own now are in line with the Soft Summer palette.

And here is a comparison of Soft Summer and Soft Autumn.  I think it shows that Soft Autumn wouldn't be awful but that Soft Summer is better overall being slightly cooler.  I'd probably wear just as many colours from the Soft Autumn palette as I would from True Summer, or more.

Soft Summer  and Soft Autumn palette shown above found on PInterest via here

True Summer palette shown above found on PInterest via here

A Note on Personal Colour Authorities
There are differences among the palettes offered by different companies though the basic principles are the same.  Some Soft Summer palettes seem a little warmer than the one shown above and photographs and computer screens will also affect the way they look.  I have taken this into consideration in all my research.  Due to my love of and interest in colour theories I've ordered a book by a highly respected personal colour analyst Christine Scaman who uses a system  based on a scientific understanding of colour mixing and you will see it refered to as Sci/Art or 12 Tones.
Christine's blog is called   12 Blueprints.  I've ordered her book called Return to Your Natural Colours and expect to review it on my blog eventually.


  1. Love your haircut Shawna.

  2. I would agree you are soft Shawna, I think the fact that you have a contrast between hair/skin/eyes that is slightly more vibrant than a traditional soft might have thrown a spanner in the works. I desribed myself to a colour expert on youtube (and she saw a profile pic which I'm not convinced reflects my true colouring as my hair always photographs more red than it is in real life) and she declared me to be a true Autumn, which in no way am I convinced about. Like you I have both warm and cool elements, hopefully someday I will figure it out! I'm pretty sure I have read that the soft seasons in particular can flow into and overlap each other with colours so your soft autumn scarf does support the soft summer analysis to me. And the teal green is unquestionably one of if not the best colour I've seen on you! :-) xo

    1. Thanks, Steff! The teal green pretty much matches one of the predominant colours in my eyes. I am convinced that for all of us our very best colours are the colours that are actually in us. I am basically a mauve-pink, various shades of taupe, ivory, and grey-blues. These are the colours that look best on me. Getting these sorted out helps in narrowing down the season. These colours will be in the season palette and all the other colours are the versions that work best with it. My desire for natural looking makeup also lead me to finding the colours that are truly in me. Me-but-better lipstick always has a mauve-rose, slightly brown tone. The purely blue-pinks are too intense and the coral-nudes look wrong. Maybe you are soft autumn.

  3. Oh I just love the grayish-blueish outfit with white - I can see you in it, it's very you! :)

    1. Brown sandals and a brown cross body bag and yes, I would wear that outfit. xoxoxo

  4. I have had a similar conflict figuring out my best palette . I think we share very similar coloring . I was an ash blonde child that turned caramel honey , then dark auburn . Pale skin with peachy pink under tones, a mix of blue and green veins in my wrists. Very confusing for me . I think I'm a soft summer that can borrow from the pure summer or cool summer palettes . A vibrant cornflower blue and vibrant bright peach also work for me . Teal is good for me also .
    I think the game changer for me right now is that I'm letting my hair go silver , borrowing some cooler tones is suiting that .
    I've read that hair does not rule over skin undertones , but it does seem that I can now pull off some colors that before I couldn't .
    It would be interesting for me , if someday a summer palette for silver hair was made . Or maybe that would be a whole new catagory ?

    1. It depends on which colour guru you listen to as to how significant hair is in determining your palette. Christine Scaman of 12 blueprints and others who use the Sci/Art system say any hair is possible although there are norms for each colour type. It's skin that reacts to colour so skin is most important. Hair colour might direct us towards our best colours within the palette perhaps or tip a soft autumn more towards the blues/purples and greys of the palette. If you are a soft type I'd be surprised at vibrant colours being good ones for you. It's so easy to over think this but I finally got into the right ball park. My journey took me from a misdiagnosis as Winter, recognising some softness so moving to True Summer, seeing that was too cool so trying Soft Summer, finally recognising the warmth so moving to soft Autumn and then realising that warmth is my dominant feature with softness second so True Autumn is best, Soft Autumn is a bit too greyed and not warm enough. I probably stray into True Spring sometimes but in general the Spring palette is a bit clearer than the Autumn one and I am better with the muted, muddy colours than with clear ones. I believe I have finally gotten it right but it took ages to figure out, tons of experimenting and I probably spent money on experimental clothing that would equal the cost of colour consultation. There just isn't one in my area. Good luck with your efforts and thanks for visiting and commenting. :-)

  5. I totally relate to your journey .
    I can't wear orange and most yellows . I can do a certain shade of yellow but I don't see it often and have no idea what it would be called . Something like a medium lemon shade maybe.
    Off white and cream look hideous on me . So do any neon colors . The soft summer palette has colors that suit me but I still experiment and rule out as you say you did . Any color with a blue base or a pink base works well : lavender , candied violet , cornflower , pink with purple to it , all work . However , pastel pink and powder blue with no purple to it , wash me right out .

    I feel as you do , that clothing color , is a major part of looking organic . I.E. see me as a part of my whole look , and not the outfit first .

    The bright peach that I spoke of , is more of a color with no name . It has much more pink than peach but it is not a pastel. The top comes from India and is made with that breathable gauzy fabric with a shimmer here and there . It's a medium warm shimmer, if that makes any sense .

    I might be one of those lonely neutrals in the world . Ha

    I believe too , that my skin tone may have changed slightly a long with my hair . I may not have noticed it as much before as I do now .

    I did have a makeup consultant claim that I was a spring back in younger years ( I'm 54) , but I just cannot wear those oranges etc . So that left me a little confused when I view spring palettes.

    My natural hair shade is a warm gray , almost like some type of warm ash blonde . It's hard to describe that color but I think it resembles Lauren Becall's hair shade in some of the old movies .

    My eyes are blue -gray and the outer ring has a lot of violet blue tone . The inner eye has bursts or shards of a green yellow color that I have no name for . My skin looks paler to me now with my natural hair , but that's maybe an illusion .

    I colored my hair since after high school . I haven't seen my natural shade in years . I'm quite liking my new journey and finding suitable colors is a fun part of it !

    Good info you have provided here in your blog . I much appreciate it . It is most helpful . Thank you . ��

  6. Just found your blog on pinterest and honestly, I could have written it myself. I too was diagnosed as a winter many years ago but the consultant add "Well maybe your a summer" How confusing??!! I found myself opting for the summer palette over the years but now as Im getting older I'm finding summer in it's purest sense too cold. It's been a challenge to accept any warmth in my palette. Lovely to read your blog. I even have your colour hair and eye colour, even a similar hairstyle, my skin has a more red undertones so thank you I'm becoming a little more confident in my colour choices

    1. I think I know the Pin you mean. I was startled to see it recently. LOL This post is old so I have been through more of a colour journey. I discovered that the white balance on my camera was not set properly so I was looking at photos of myself and seeing a cooler version than reality. I discovered this because I was trying to photograph something yellow and it kept coming out white. I have worked myself right up to True Autumn which is a long way from the Winter diagnosis and my dabblings in summer palettes! Good luck with your journey and thanks for commenting!


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