Thursday, 4 August 2016

Soft Summer Celebrities

 This turned into a very long post.  It seems to be the way I do things lately-huge post once a week.  It's just me, sorting my thoughts, getting it out to make room in my head.

 Many of the Soft Summer celebrity examples have darker skin and are notable for a low-medium contrast between hair, skin and eyes.  However, most celebrities are also likely to have dyed blonde hair and a faux tan.  It has been close to thirty years since I've gotten a deliberate sun tan and in avoidance of the so-called farmer tan I always applied sunscreen when I went out to do any gardening.  Any slight colour I may pick from brief exposure is generally not noticeable to anyone.  It has also been a good twenty years since I've attempted to be a blonde and in the past year I've given up all dying experiments and am just wearing my natural hair.  Until I discovered the Soft Summer category of personal colour analysis I thought I was dull and boring looking.


We are not taught to see beauty in the soft and subtle appearance that is natural to the soft season categories.  Anyone who has ever had her hair colour called mousy or dish-water believed that in order to shine she had to correct her hair.  In the picture above, Kerri  Russel is wearing makeup.  She probably has the whole works-brow pencil, eye liner and shadow, foundation, blush, lipstick-but it is applied lightly and the colours are soft.  There is no bronzer.  There are probably highlights in her hair but they are subtle, just one or two shades away from her natural colour, thinner and thicker sections coloured but not too many of them.  Her dress is a beautiful soft blue.  She looks gorgeous and you could believe that she just naturally looks like this.

A Soft Summer can pull off black but a muted softened black is best-more slate or charcoal.  Typically, wearing black does require some dramatic makeup to balance it.  Kerri pulls off this look though I would make the dress a softer slate colour and the lips less icy pink if I could.  I prefer the look in the picture above but sometimes we dress ourselves to suit the situation more than to suit our own natural look.  The eye liner used here does not appear to be black, though it is dark. 


This is what happens when Soft Summer wears black eye makeup.


So much prettier without, in my opinion.  Now we see those stunning eyes!


The best glamour photo of Kerri Russel I have found is this one.  The makeup is still more dramatic than every day makeup but it's soft, smokey, blended, and the lips are not ice-pink.  Photoshopped, yes, but still stunning.  Keep this stylist!


 Here is another glamour look that is less soft but still works because it is how Soft Summer does bold.  It's still softer than the red dress photo above.  Kerri's best version of a red dress would be less saturated and a slightly bluer-red. I have a medium-dark mauve pink lipstick that reads as red on me.  The lipstick Kerri is wearing is probably more pink looking in the tube but it has the same effect as a bold red lip.  Her eye-liner is probably charcoal, not black and it's smudged slightly.

 When I get my makeup wrong it sits on top of my face.  You look at me and see makeup.  If I am in the right general region of colour you might see pretty makeup.  That's what happens when my makeup colours are too cool, and what I discovered when I experimented with the True/Cool Summer colours.

Of course you can do whatever the feck you want to.  If you like neon purple lips and rainbow eye shadow you are clearly not aiming to look like you woke up like that.  If you are goth and line your eyes heavily in black because you like the goth look, not because you think you are making your eyes more beautiful, then you are aiming for something different from what I am talking about.  In fact the goth look probably works best on those of us who don't wear black well, since the whole look is aiming for death warmed over slightly.

  When we see celebrities or models we are usually seeing them in a highly manipulated state, regardless of whether the manipulations are believable looking or not.   Thus you will see the same lighter coloured celebrity typed sometimes as a summer and other times as a spring, or a darker coloured one sometimes as an autumn and other times as a winter. It can be difficult to determine if someone is Soft Summer or Soft Autumn just going by photos. 

Thus, Finding celebrity examples of your seasonal colour type is probably not overly helpful.  Looking at celebrity images may have actually delayed or confused my journey to identifying my own colouring.  I had initially thought I was Soft Summer and then with so many of the celebrity examples having duskier skin than I do, many of them tanned whether faux or real, I kept second guessing, and thinking that my slightly higher contrast level must mean True/Cool Summer.  I eventually realised that my photos were not always going to be accurate representations of my colouring in the same way that they aren't always for celebrities.  Different lighting can enhance or detract in different ways.  I became frustrated with taking outfit photos because I couldn't get accurate lighting so the darks looked much darker and the lights much lighter. I have seen photos of myself where my eyes and hair looked nearly black. 

 I can get very natural lighting in my kitchen sometimes but I now know that my camera is still making the image cooler.  I learned that trying to take photos of some beautiful yellow fabric which kept showing up as white in the photo.  In brighter sunlight I look a little more golden and that is also closer to what I see in the bathroom mirror because I have a skylight in my bathroom.

These photos are about a week apart, taken in different rooms with different levels of sunlight coming in the window.  I am probably wearing mascara in the top photo, and no makeup at all in the bottom one. 

                                                      Here is the difference.

So, figuring out a celebrities seasonal colour type from photos is tricky and it's not the way to figure out your own either unless you use a large quantity of photos for comparisons and eliminate the obviously inaccurate pictures.  Comparing pictures of yourself or even your reflection in the mirror with pictures of celebrities is not the best or easiest way to figure out your own type either though it might help narrow it down.  Photos like the top photo of me lead me astray in the direction of True/Cool summer because the picture is very cool toned.  I do wear the lightest shade of makeup available in foundation but it's a neutral one, not cool or warm.  The cool ones are too pink and the warm ones too orange.

 When True/Cool Summer wasn't quite working I noticed it first in the makeup.  But I also realised that I was instinctively selecting Soft Summer colours and convincing myself they were True Summer colours.  Without a comparison the difference is subtle.  I just naturally sought the softest and most muted cool colours I could find.  I also am drawn to cool shades of brown which do work for a Soft Summer and typically do not work for a True/Cool Summer who is best in light to medium grey. While dark colours can drain me if they are heavily saturated, Soft Summer colours do include darker tones than True/Cool Summer does. T/C Summer is brighter. 

I decided there was a hierarchy of what suited me.

Best:  soft and cool-neutral

Second Best:  cool tied with very soft neutral-warm

Second Worst:  dark and strongly saturated

Worst:  bright and saturated

Deadly:  bright and warm

I also noticed that while many of the celebrities identified as Soft Summer have a sort of slightly tanned, dusky skin tone (a caveat being that they are probably also spray-tanned) there were some identified as Soft Summer who at least sometimes looked as fair skinned as I do.

Naturally darker haired, paler skinned celebrities thought to be Soft Summer include Kristen Stewart, Bianca Balti and Rachel McAdams and Emilia Clarke as well as Kerri Russel, who I began this blog post with.

                                          Emilia Clarke     Source

                                          Bianca Balti      Source

And finally, I read that Soft Summers are often misidentified as Winters, especially so in the days of Color Me Beautiful and only four seasons.  That is exactly what happened to me.  I knew it was wrong and I was miserable with the designation.  Winter colours felt oppressive.

I am going to stop right here....okay not quite here but soon.  I bought myself a second Soft Summer colours fan to use when shopping.  I ordered it from True Colour International, an Australian company,  and am very pleased with it.

It's difficult to find photos with accurate colouring but this one is really good.  It's just not quite the whole fan.

                                     Source: Pinterest further links seem to be dead

Here is the fan spread out.  Also found on Pinterest but with a dead link.

I am currently obsessed with the Soft Summer yellows.  Expect my next post to be about yellow.


  1. Oh Shawna, the Keri Russell anaylsis is one that I have mulled over many times! Mainly because especially when I was younger I constantly got compared to her (I think this was largely due to our similiar hair (her curly hair is sadly gone for good it seems!), I've also been likened to Nicole Kidman who I look nothing like!) But with Keri, in her younger years she wore much more autumnal tones in her show Felicity so I did think we were possibly the same type when she kept coming up. If you look at younger pics of her her highlights were much more golden, and do not look unnatural. But I can see now that she is truly cool, and I am not. I have cool elements, but I could never wear that pale blue. Her hair looks great ashy brown with cooler highlights, mine is better with a bit of warmth. Her green eyes are also cooler than mine (it's so weird to me, how two light brown haired pink skinned green eyed women can not be the same type, but there we have it!. I can do muted black and gray around the eyes, overly bronze or warm eye makeup is not good on me. I think I'm maybe closer to SJP, who I do believe has a bit more warmth in her colouring? I think Keri does perhaps overegg the cool-ness, as you say that baby pink lip is not nearly as nice as a coral or peachy pink would be. But she pulls is off, just. That shade of pink would be insipid on me. You make an excellent and relevant point here re: celebrities and colour typing, they are over-used and often not very helpful, as I can attest!

    1. Anyone in a magazine or on television can be made to look a different type, to some degree. We are also used to seeing makeup that just sits on the face, looking pretty but not perhaps organic. There is a picture somewhere of Kerri Russel on a talk show and she is wearing really warm colours-golds -and it does nothing for her at all. I think, since she is a Soft Summer, the icy pink is almost good, but a peach would be wrong too. The Soft Summer makeup colours are like brown toned pinks. Just slightly warmed up. Browned pinks and mauves are my hands down best colours so that definitely tipped me off about being Soft Summer. Any season can have any hair and eye colour. You can even have cool skin and warm eyes. When trying to figure out your season go just with skin tone, then when you've got your season, keep hair colour in sync with it but your natural colour is always right. We are really used to seeing blonde highlights on everyone so think it looks normal or better. Cool people get told they need to be warmed up a little. Especially if they are soft cools. Darker cools can seem dramatic.

      I still think you are an Autumn, probably dark autumn. Your skin can have a pink overtone and still be warm. My son is like that. He is fairskinned and pinkish looking but is Soft Autumn. He doesn't look good in white or black, though black is culturally acceptable. I have learned that overtones can confuse us. It's the undertone that matters. I have a slight yellow overtone. Put my hand next to my ex husbands and his looks red and mine looks yellow. Deep Autumn is a neutral season so not as warm as True Autumn.
      SJP is heavily spraytanned and her hair is dyed blonde. She is naturally an ash brown and her natural skin tone is cool. She seems to enhance the warm look and so do many photos of her. I used to think maybe she was Soft Autumn and not Soft Summer but I don't think so anymore. Olive green and peach don't really do anything for her. You are right though, she is a cool-neutral so there is that little bit of warmth. I have that too. I've got reddish looking hair in sunlight and the yellow overtone I mentioned. My foundation colour is L'oreal true match N1, taupe brown eye liner is much better than grey and my lipsticks all have a bit of brown in them.

      What are your wow colours? My problem was second guessing this and not trusting what I knew. Think about not only what the hue is but other qualities. If your wow colour is a green, what sort of green? Is it dark, rich, muted, yellowish, neon, lime, forrest? If you can, figure out the hue and qualities of your three best colours and your very worst colour. This helps narrow it down a lot. This got me to the decision between True Summer and Soft Summer because pinks and blues are my wow colours. True summer is predominantly cool and also soft. Soft Summer is predominantly soft and neutral-cool. It was harder for me to figure out whether I was more predominantly cool or predominantly soft.

    2. I always presumed I was soft because of the lack of depth between my hair and eye colour. But true autumn colours are better on me than soft (I think!). I have been second guessing my "wow" colours lately, I don't know, it's all a confued kaleidoscope in my head! Khaki green "matches" me, but it has to be just the right shade to really pop. Same with coral and blued grass green, I bought two t-shirts on a men's sale rack recently because they were my "wow" colours in the past, but maybe now I'm older they have changed because they don't seem as good as I remember, it's really odd. Maybe you lose some clarity tone wise as you get older, maybe I do need to go softer. I think my very worst colour is a true blue red or most primary colours really - bright cobalt, bright yellow, etc. But pastel shades are limited too. I also suit mauve or browned pinks and taupes with makeup,much more so than peach or bronze which has made me think I am cool despite my warm eyes. I can never decide if gray or brown eyeliner is best, they give me completely different effects but neither is negative. My rims are gray which the gray liner picks up, but my eyes also have browned yellow in them around the pupil (it's actually an abnormality called central heterochromia I have learned on Pinterest, further leading to my colour confusion!). I have freckles but no real "yellow" tones in my skin. It's is mildly ruddy and a bit uneven, maybe that is sun damage, looking at Keri's skin (I know she is wearing makeup but still - I think "Wow we are the same age?" It's so porcelain like!

  2. I have heterochromia too and I read that it is often an indication of a soft season. I think you are narrowed down to Deep Autumn or Soft Autumn. Soft Summer is actually not too far off Deep Winter so maybe this makes some sense. Soft Autumn and Deep Autumn are the two neutral-warm seasons. If you are kind of warm-kind of cool you are a neutral season. Some people are really right in the middle of Soft Summer and Soft Autumn. Maybe that is you! We do soften a little in our colouring as we age but I have read that it's rare to actually change season. You just adjust a little within your season. Every season has a version of nearly every colour so it makes sense that there would be some khaki greens better for you than others. Especially if you are better with a muted version or a deeper, shaded version. It is really easy to get the wrong version just by eyeballing it on the rack. One of your wow colours could indeed be a coral but you have to find which coral. I find using tee shirts and scarves the least expensive way to experiment with colours and do a bit of at home draping. If I were you I would attempt to experiment with the Soft Autumn and the Deep Autumn though it's tricky to know if you've actually got one of those colours. Maybe you could try colour printing or downloading to your phone, some of the colour swatches on Pinterest so you can use them when shopping. Don't try too hard to match colour so much as the general concept of neutral-warm and either soft and muted or deep and shaded. Grey comes in warmer versions too so it may be that you've tried warm grey eye liners. Another tip I've read is to look for colours that make your skin look great before colours that make your eyes pop. Because of the heterochromia and the fact that your eyes will contain both warm and cool colours, there will be more colours that pop your eyes but if they are not quite right they aren't so great for your skin. If you look ruddier or very pink in a colour, it's too cool for you. When I wear some of the soft autumn colours they are in the realm of okay. They aren't wow colours but they look okay. If I get too warm I start to look sickly, with a yellowish skin and darker shadows under my eyes. Too dark and saturated and I look pale and grey. I have freckles too. Many parts of me are a sort of soft camel colour and I look okay in that colour though not great. Kerri is undoubtedly wearing makeup and is photoshopped in most pictures you see of her as all celebs are.

    Another less expensive way to figure it out might be lipstick draping. Truth is Beauty has a post on that and there are probably other places. Certain lipstick colours can help you narrow down your season.

    I LOVE the soft autumn palette and often wish I were that. Or that I could wear both soft summer and soft autumn with equal success.

    I am laughing a little to myself because you are INFP so you are never going to decided on a season. I am INFJ so I really want to get your season decided. ;-)

    1. Ha thanks Shawna I fear the decision is something I will indeed need decided for me at this point! I like the idea of lipstick swatching, my best lipsticks are mauve or browned pink. Or a coral stain. I can certainly wear soft summer colours like mauve and teal, but many of them are as soft autumn colours on you, ok but not wow. I think aI am neutral possibly because cool neutrals are better. Camel is pretty bad on me, and white better than ivory. I appreciate all of your thoughts and advice very much btw! :-)

  3. Have you heard of at home color draping?

  4. I think you could be a spring. Your bright blue clear eyes and ivory skin- and warm hair. Check out pretty your world new color system.

    1. Hi, yes, I have worked me way round to that after thinking I was autumn. I made the mistake of believing I was more muted than I am. I am now playing around with True Spring. I've seen the new colour system at Pretty Your World since exploring all of the online colour sites is a bit of a hobby. Thanks for your suggestion!


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