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!
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.
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.
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.