Seasonal Color Analysis

Do you ever feel like your face just don't look as good as usual, even when you are well-rested and have put effort into your look? (skincare, makeup, hair-styling) According to what I've fairly recently discovered, it may not be your fault. It may have less to do with you, and more to do with what you're wearing.

About a year ago, I realized I was wearing a lot of the wrong colors. You hear a lot about what style clothing is most flattering, including what cuts, fabrics, and textures make you look your best. What we don't hear about a lot is what colors look the best on us. The reason for this is that it varies completely from person to person. When you try things on, you definitely notice that some colors look really good on you, and others don't, but have you ever wondered why?

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Last summer, I stumbled upon a field of study called  "seasonal color analysis." This area of image consulting is very involved and honestly requires a whole website devoted to the subject, but I wanted to give you a preview of it and point you in the right direction in case you were interested in learning more or doing a self-analysis. It really changed my whole perspective on what to buy.

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So what exactly is a seasonal color analysis? Basically, the theorists have taken into account  the undertones of your skin, hair, and eyes in relation to how light or deep your overall coloring is. They have created 4 basic "seasonal" classifications based on your coloring and paired the seasons with the colors on the spectrum that are most complimentary.

I am borrowing these images from, because I think this blog's pictures do a great job of illustrating the four seasons.  Each picture will show you a different season, and the twelve best shades that tend to look the best on people who belong to those seasons.

When I did my analysis, I determined that my season is winter.  I color my hair to add warmth to it, but my natural color is a very ashy medium brown. When you do your analysis, make sure you go by your NATURAL hair color when you are considering your coloring. For most women, coloring your hair DOES NOT change your season!

It has been so helpful to know my "power colors." Sometimes when I go shopping, I pull up my color palette on my phone and it steers me in the direction of the clothes that I usually end up liking more when I get to the dressing room.My best colors are royal blue, turquoise, purple, and black.

So, what if you try the analysis, but you don't fit into a box? Good news for you. Apart from the four basic seasons, the color analysis has actually been subdivided within each season for a total of 16 seasons.

This website will take you through your own color analysis, and includes all 16 subdivided seasons.

Something else that has bothered me though the process of writing this post is that it seems like most of the content you find online about color analysis is oriented to Caucasian women. More than half of the people in the world are of color. So how are they supposed to do their analysis? They can't all just be autumns or winters because I have seen MANY women of color looking great in spring and summer colors. I did some research on the subject and, finally found a place that does address it in great detail.

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This website  is exclusively devoted to seasonal color analysis for women of color. Apparently, it's a lot more involved and complicated than for Caucasian women. She's not posting anymore since 2013, but you can click through her site and get some good information.

The basic gist I get from it is this: When doing your color analysis as a woman of color, you have to base your coloring in relation to your ethnicity, and not comparative to Caucasian women. A light-skinned African-American woman will appear darker than a Caucasian woman even if they have the same color intensity. However, since her coloring is lighter than what is typical for her ethnicity, she will most likely still be a spring or summer . 


Beyonce is of African-American descent, but she is not an autumn or winter. If you scroll up and look at the spring/summer examples, you will see that those women are obviously a lot lighter than Beyonce, but since Beyonce is light in relation to what is typical for her ethnicity, the spring colors look so much better on her and the fall and winter colors do not flatter her at all. 

Consider this picture. 
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The first picture shows her in an autumn green and the second shows her in a much warmer bright green that is in the spring palette. Do you see how much more the bright green brings out her skin and eyes, and how the dark green washes her out? Now look at her wearing black. 

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Do you see how washed out and tired she looks? The black is literally putting bags under her eyes. Black looks great on Winters and Deep Autumns, but washes out springs and summers. You will notice though, that her sister who is also wearing black, looks a whole lot better in it than Beyonce. You will also notice that her sister has a deeper skin tone, therefore making her more of a deep autumn or winter.

Let's look at another woman of color who falls into a lighter season.

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 Rihanna is a great example of a woman of African descent who, in my opinion, falls into the summer category. Even though she has a lot of warmth to her skin, her natural hair color is very ashy and her eyes are a very cool, almost grayish-green. 

Bright yellow and Royal blue are typically great colors for winters, but can you see how they don't look as good on Rihanna as the softer pink and turquoise colors that make up part of the summer palette?

                                                Here she is again looking positively radiant in bubblegum pink. 

The color analysis is not an exact science. But I have found that 9/10 times, the color recommendations are dead-on. I think that hardest part is accepting finding your true season, especially if you fall between seasons. It's also easy to miscategorize yourself, because you "want" to be a certain season because this would give you permission to continue wearing your favorite colors. When I had platinum blonde hair, I thought I could be a spring or summer.  I really wanted to wear pastel citrus colors like lemon, lime, and melon orange. Sometimes I did. And it looked horrible. 

Does this mean you can't wear what you want? Absolutely not. You can wear whatever you want of course. I am still determined to wear ivory/cream even though I look like a hospice patient in it. I just keep thinking if I find a top in just the right shade, and I do my makeup just right, then it will look great... This is not likely to ever happen. But I do understand being attached to a color that may not necessarily look good on you. A tip for wearing your "non-power" colors if you must: try wearing them NOT next to your face. 

In the interest of not allowing this post to become a book, I will wrap it up. My main goal was to introduce you to the theory of seasonal color analysis and give you a starting point toward figuring out what colors look the best on you. I encourage everyone to take the time to do the analysis, and put it into practice next time you go clothes shopping. I am willing to bet you will see the difference!

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