4 Season Color Analysis

It all started with German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). He was the first person to ever analyze colors and the connection between them. But that was just a beginning, there was no mention yet of the connection and reaction between the color of clothes and skin tone.

Itten's Color TheoryBetween 1919 and 1933 Johannes Itten - Swiss painter and teacher at the Bauhaus University Germany- brought more clarity to the science of color analysis. Itten was the first person to discover that only certain colors would look good with certain skin or hair color on portraits. He created 4 different color pallets that he associated with 4 types of people and designated those types with the names of the 4 seasons. The creation of his 4 color pallets made it easier for his students to paint portraits.

Suzanne Caygill (1911-1994) a Californian color theorist took the research of Johannes Itten to the next level. She combined his “season theory” with Goethe’s “color psychology”. Suzanne developed a theory describing how human beings carry information about their personality and style in their own natural coloration, through the pigments in their skin, hair and eyes. In her theory she explained how personal traits relate to the color harmonies in nature. Her research became very popular and served as a solid foundation for many color professionals.

Based on Suzanne Caygill’s research, psychologist Carole Jackson formed her color analysis theory and wrote the book “Color Me Beautiful”. Her theory and book were very famous in the ’80s. Jackson utilized a seasonal color system less complicated than Caygill’s. Carole Jackson divided 1 type of personality per season whereas Caygill’s system described 16 different color personality types per season. Through her simplified harmonious color schemes she made it possible for the everyday woman to facilitate shopping for clothes, make-up and accessories.

4 Season Color Analysis, how does it work?

As mentioned above, the 4 season color analysis by Carole Jackson is pretty straightforward. If you can figure out which your dominant characteristics are (warm versus cool as a first step and then light versus dark as a second step), your “season” will automatically unfold. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The best part is, it really IS that simple.

No need to read the whole book on seasonal color analysis. You can easily do your own color analysis by following the two easy steps below.

1. Determine whether you are a COOL or a WARM type

This is the hardest part of the 4 season color analysis method. Once you are clear on whether you are a cool or a warm tone person, you can quickly determine your specific season type. Then you’re set!

There are different techniques to determine your skin undertone. Some are more accurate than others. Some people recommend looking at the effect of gold and silver on your skin, or to examine the color of your veins. Sounds simple, but for the majority of women these methods don’t result in a clear answer.

I’ve found that the easiest and most accurate method to determine whether you have a COOL or a WARM undertone is the foundation test.

Basically EVERY type of foundation, no matter which brand, comes in 2 different BASE colors, namely pink or yellow. The yellow based foundation will ALWAYS match perfectly with warm tone types and the pink based foundation will blend in easily on ALL cool tone types.

Of course both yellow and pink based foundations come in many different shades and tints to match our skin color. In order to make it easy for you I carefully picked the most suitable shades (one pink, one yellow based) for the best test results.

Ultimate Foundation Test

Ultimate Cool-Warm Test

Buy the ultimate cool/warm test here and try it from the convenience of your home. For a limited time, the cool/warm tone kit is available for only $14.95 (includes FREE shipping!). Guidelines on how to perform the foundation test and detailed instructions on how to complete the 4-season color analysis are included.

Discover your personal season type for just $14.95, that’s 25% off the regular price!

Once you found out that you have:

a COOL undertone –> You KNOW you are a Summer or Winter type
a WARM undertone –> You KNOW you are a Spring or Autumn type

Now you are only one step away from your “true season”.


2. Determine whether you are a LIGHT or a DARK type

Define the brightness (light or dark) of your eyes and your natural hair color.

COOL undertone
Eyes and hair = DARK –> Winter

winter type characteristics
Eyes and hair = LIGHT –> Summer

summer type characteristics

WARM undertone
Eyes and hair = DARK –> Autumn

autumn type characteristics
Eyes and hair = LIGHT –> Spring

spring type characteristics

Finding your season is that easy ! It may be a bit tricky when you have a mix of light and dark. In that case the most dominant character will determine your type.

Now that you know which “seasonal type” you are, keep reading and find your best matching colors.

The best part of the color analysis is discovering your personal matching color palette! Scroll down and find out what garment colors should be in your closet from now on. Once you know your color palette, shopping for apparel, accessories and make-up will be a breeze !

COLOR PALETTE WINTER TYPE

color palette winter type

Winter types should wear colors that are sharp and clear. White, black, navy blue, red and shocking pink all go well with winter complexions. For lighter colors, wear icy tones rather than pastels. Avoid subdued tones like beige, orange and gold.

If you want to see and “feel” the best colors for your type, consider getting a full set of sample fabrics with your best colors and use them for shopping. Check out the convenient “Winter Color Swatch” that you can buy right here. It includes all your winter type color samples in one convenient wallet.

Extra tips:
Use a maximum of 3 colors for your outfit.
Dare to wear contrasting colors like black and white. You are the only type that looks good in black and pure white, use these colors!
For jewelry, silver is your color. Don’t exaggerate with jewelry and accessories.

 COLOR PALETTE SUMMER TYPE

color palette summer type

Summer types should choose pastels and soft neutrals with rose and blue undertones. Lavender, taupe, powder pink and powder blue suit summer types very well while black and orange do not.

If you want to see and “feel” the best colors for your type, consider getting a full set of sample fabrics with your best colors and use them for shopping. Check out the convenient “Summer Color Swatch” that you can buy right here. It includes all your summer type color samples in one convenient wallet.

Extra tips:
Wear a lot of jewelry (silver), try different accessories.
For a relaxed and friendly look, choose pastels.

 COLOR PALETTE AUTUMN TYPE

color palette autumn type

Fall types should select colors with golden undertones, like camel, beige, orange, gold and dark brown. Avoid colors with blue tones, like navy.

If you want to see and “feel” the best colors for your type, consider getting a full set of sample fabrics with your best colors and use them for shopping. Check out the convenient “Autumn Color Swatch” that you can buy right here. It includes all your autumn type color samples in one convenient wallet.

Extra tips:
Use many colors, experiment with jewelry, be daring! The best color for your jewelry is gold.
To convey creativity, mix colors. Make sure to combine colors that match and complement each other well, such as green and red.

COLOR PALETTE SPRING TYPE

color palette spring type

Spring types can wear warm colors like camel, peach, golden-yellow and golden brown. Avoid dark, dull colors. Do not wear black and white.

If you want to see and “feel” the best colors for your type, consider getting a full set of sample fabrics with your best colors and use them for shopping. Check out the convenient “Spring Color Swatch” that you can buy right here. It includes all your spring type color samples in one convenient wallet.

Extra tips:
Don’t exaggerate with jewelry, wear gold (colors).
Light colors look best on you.
Wear reds for all of your personality traits. Blue-red conveys assertiveness. An orange-red would be worn by someone who is lively.

Tips for ALL types:

  • Black makes you look slimmer but is only recommended for winter types, all the other types, choose other dark colors.
  • To convey authority and power, wear your dark colors: black and navy blue. (Why do you think the police and other authorities are wearing navy blue or black uniforms?)
  • Clear colors can be used to make your breasts look bigger.
  • If you are a sales woman: do not use contrast, like black/white or blue/white, use harmonizing colors. The contrasts look too aggressive.

Experiment with these new findings. After you found your personal palette, try to analyze your friends and/or family and check if they are wearing their matching colors. If they are not, tell them about your new gained wisdom about color analysis, they will appreciate your advice !

Go to “trending colors for fall and winter 2013-2014“ to match your color palette with the latest trends. After having seen the new trending colors you probably want to know how these colors suit you. Take a glance at the “galleries” I have put together for each “season” and you will be pleasantly surprised how these new colors will make you look different and special.

Don’t forget to color your day !

 

 

 

30 Responses to 4 Season Color Analysis

  1. Pamela Conley says:

    I have pale skin with a slight pink undertone. My hair is naturally grey but I keep it dyed a medium dark chesnut brown. My eyes are a sage green. A long time ago I helped a lady put together swatches for her color analysis. This was sometime back in the early 70′s. At that time she said I wad a summer but the colors dont feel right now. Can someone change their season as they age? I have a professional job as a mental health case manager and would like to look nice for my job. I am now 59. What season would you say I am?

    • Anja says:

      Dear Pamela,
      From your description I can not really derive which season you are. What I can tell you though is that your personal season will never change. It is theoretically possible to make a color analysis on a baby and the season that is defined at that point will never change. Fact is that the older we get, the more it is advisable to use less saturated colors. If the “summer colors” you used to wear, looked good on you for a long time, I am sure that the color analysis performed back in the 70′s was correct. I would just suggest to try a less saturated version of the colors you used to wear. Good luck and let me know how these “lighter” colors are working for you.

      Anja

  2. Jordan says:

    I have green/blue eyes (from far away they look gray), natural hair color is golden blonde hair (when I was younger I had strawberry blonde hair. I gave myself blonde highlights now). When I look at my veins they are blue. Fair skin. When I blush, I can’t determine if it’s pink or peach.) I don’t know whether I’m a summer or spring. Please help me to know what colors would look good on me.

    • Anja says:

      Hi Jordan, after having read the description of your facial features, I am pretty sure you are a spring type. The fact that you had strawberry blond hair as a child is a strong indication that you have a warm skin tone. It can be difficult to see whether your veins look blue or green. Look at my “spring” color swatches which will give you the perfect indication of which colors will look good on you: http://www.newstartat40.com/product/color-swatch-spring-2/

      Have fun with your “spring” colors !

  3. Kristina says:

    I’m more confused than ever. My natural hair color has always been my dominant characteristic, which is dark brown with red tint (only in the sun does this show up, but was carrot orange when I was little). My eyes are hazel (green-brown), my veins are blue-green, I burn easily (fair-skinned) but can tan if I really try, gold/silver test was never conclusive, but now when I do the foundation test it seems I’m a cool. Yet when I look at these palettes, I only have 1 or 2 colors I look halfway decent in from each. Purple seems to be my only good color, but that’s universally flattering. Maybe burgundy too? No one has ever told me I look good in certain colors so I have no idea which direction to go. Help!

    • Anja says:

      Dear Kristina,

      I don’t know with which foundation you did the warm-cool tone test. If you really like to know whether you are a “cool” or a “warm” type, I would try the foundation kit I am selling on my site. I tried different shades and tints in both “cool” and “warm” tones and I carefully picked those two foundations which will work the best on most people. I will also add instructions on how to complete the 4 season color analysis test. I am sure that will help you discover your “true season”.

      Anja

  4. Amy Miller says:

    Dear Anja,

    thanks for advising me to use the foundation test to determine my skin tone. I used it and it worked perfectly. I now know I am a “cool” type. I had been struggling with this since I find the vein test a bit too unclear due to my “thick skin”. And I definitely liked the instructions you included. They were very detailed and made it easy to reveal my season.

    Thanks a lot, Amy

  5. Trisha says:

    Hi Anja,

    Like a lot of ladies who’ve contacted you already, I am comfused as to whether I am Deep Autumn or Deep Winter as I have some cool and some warm aspects to my colouring. I think there are a lot of us out there who don’t fit very well into either category clearly. I have dark brown hair with some gold/red lights, but overall it reads as just dark brown, olive green eyes with golden brown spots in them. My skintone is ivory – very pale, yellowish, not pinkish, but I have a lot of mauve tones showing from underneath the skin – which is very thin and delicate. My veins are really teal – midway between blue or green. I don’t look better in gold or silver, in fact I look bad in both, silver is too cold, gold is too warm. I tend to wear jewellery in colours instead not have metal showing. Golds, oranges ect are too warm on me and make me look flushed, hot and red. Fuchias, bright emerald greens and most blues make me look cold and mauve/blue toned in the face. I tend to stick to a few shades of dark raspberry red and teals as they feel balanced, not too warm, not too cool. I’m sure there are a lot of other people out there like me, that seem to fall between catergories. My parents are Italian and Irish so one is warm and one is cool, which has maybe lead to this mix!

    • Anja says:

      Thank you for your comment Trisha. You are right, it is great when you can find yourself fitting perfectly and clearly into a certain season. For many of us it is not so easy to find out but you are clearly good at trying and evaluating which colors look good on you and that is great. As long as you look and feel good in the colors you are wearing, you are on the right path.

      Have a colorful day !

  6. Charlotte says:

    Hi, as many I am a bit confused about which season I actually am. My hair is honey blonde (very much golden, I have a couple of red hairs but it mostly looks blonde), light skin with very light freckles, greenish veins (but the most centred one is purple at the wrist and on the palm). I always diagnosed myself as a spring, but camel, orange and grey (anthracite suits me better than black, though) are three of my worst colors. I am not naturally attracted to purple or pink either and I also find that with really light colours (the Light Summer/Light Spring palette) I tend to become so muted as to disappear – I seem to really need bright colours. Could you maybe shed some light on this?

    • Anja says:

      Hi Charlotte,

      From the description of your facial features I read that you definitely are a warm type and more specifically a “spring” type. I understand that you can not like all the colors of the “spring” pallet and you don’t have to do that either. Stick to the colors from the spring pallet that you like the most and if you think that you look better with “bright” colors, try the brightest colors from that pallet, like: golden yellow, warm red, navy blue, … And definitely stay away from the “dark” colors. It is normal that we do not like all the colors of our pallet but it may change over time. When we start aging, many women start liking the “lighter” shades of their pallet better which is a good evolution. I hope this helped !

      Anja

  7. Kerry says:

    Sorry to bother you.
    Is it possible for you to help me determine my season? I thought at first I was a Winter, then changed for Autumn, and now I’m totally lost.
    I have a very pale skin, with blue veins, I tend to burn rather easily. I had freckles as a child, but I do not anymore. My sister told me silver looks a bit better on me, although gold is fine too.
    My hair is a deep brown with somewhat reddish highlights in the sun, and my eyes are hazel (olive green on the outside and golden brown in the center).
    Thank you for your help and sorry for my English, it’s not my mothertongue.

    • Anja says:

      Hi Kerry,

      thank you for your interest in the 4 season color theory ! I really like to help people finding their season but it can be difficult at times. From the information I received from you, it is very hard to define your season because some of the descriptions you gave me contradict each other. If you could send me a face picture of yourself (to: anja@newstartat40.com) it will be more likely I can make a more accurate analysis.

      Kind regards,
      Anja

      • Lotta says:

        One challenge in doing this online, is that every monitor shows colors differently. With pictures, it is also very important to take the picture in daylight (not in the sun, an overcast day is perfect) for the most correct impression of the color shades. E.g. a picture taken inside at night (with artificial light on), easily takes a yellowish/warm tone, even if that is completely incorrect. So if it is not too late, remember to take the picture in daylight! :)

  8. Anika says:

    So, I’ve been trying to figure this all out for a while, but I don’t really feel as though I fit into a certain season… The problem is that my skin tone and the highlights in my hair clash. I have very pale skin, with pink undertones, yet at the same time, I have Golden Brown hair. Originally, I thought I was Autumn just because I have warm-toned brown hair. After discovering my skin tone, I thought that possibly I was just a winter. Later I discovered I didn’t really meet the criteria. For the longest time, I thought I was summer, but since I have Brown eyes, I have become kinda doubtful. A little help would be great.

    -Anika

    • Anja says:

      Dear Anika,

      I can understand your struggle figuring out which season type you really are. It is not easy for everyone to perfectly fit into one of the four “boxes”. Unfortunately I cannot define myself which type you are based on the description you gave me. If you can give me an answer to the following questions I may be able to help defining your season.

      - Do your veins look greenish are rather blueish? Do you look better with silver or gold?
      - Do you tan easily? or do you easily get sun burn?
      - If you wear make up, does it stay on for a long time or just a couple of hours?
      - Do you easily get freckles in your face?

      If you could answer these questions, I will get back to you as soon as I can.

      Have a great day,
      Anja

  9. Marianna says:

    Dear Cynthia,
    I was trying to define my type- please correct me , if I am wrong. I have green veins, golden beige skin – it has more olive in it than pink. Hazelnut eyes and light brown hair, it doesn’t have golden highlights in it- more like ash, but it definitely looks better with golden ones. I guess I am an autumn type( dark or soft I cannot decide). I was thinking about spring at first, but judging from the coloures given as suiting, I am more likely autumn.
    Thanks a lot for the interesting material anyway!
    Marianna

    • Anja says:

      Hi Marianna,

      The description you gave me about your personal features tell me that you are an autumn type. As you probably read in my article the most determining factor for the color analysis is the undertone of the skin. If your veins look greenish you are definitely a warm type, so you could be an autumn or a spring type. When the other features like your eye color and your natural hair color are more on the darker site, the probability of you being an autumn type is very high.

      Have fun experimenting with the colorful autumn pallet !

      Anja

  10. alaina says:

    Blue veins, dark brown eyes, fair yellow skin with pink facial hues, brown maybe chestnut hair. I have some greys coming in and their turning out to be silver/white. I’ve always thought I was a winter but started questioning myself lately so I went to the mall today to ask around and most sales women said I was autumn immediately, one said winter, and another said autumn-winter, which makes me think I’m just a dark autumn. I hear dark autumns and winters are very similar and often are almost impossible to differentiate. I know my best colors are burgundy or mahogany, but apparently I can pull off any red tone. I think my worst might be orange :s

    • Anja says:

      Hi Alaina,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in finding out which “season” your really are. The way you describe yourself does make me think that you are a winter. The skin is still the dominant factor in determining which type you are. If your veins look blue and you look great in Burgundy and Mahogany, this tells me you are a winter. Winters do not look good at all with orange so in my view you are a “Winter” type.

      kind regards,
      Anja

  11. Anita says:

    Hi Anja,
    I have been puzzling over this for a long time. I have yellowish light skin, dark brown eyes and medium brown hair with lots of golden highlights. I have always worn autumn colors but this past year (I’m 55) I’ve noted that they don’t brighten my face like lighter colors do. Isn’t it true that if you wear your season, it will look great against your face? I don’t like wearing the spring colors as they don’t feel like me and I’m not attracted to them but they do give my face more light. I look beautiful in cream, off white and gold jewelry and am very attracted to the deep rich tones so why do they darken my face instead of giving it light? Gold jewelry really helps but I don’t wear jewelry all the time. Any thoughts?

    • Anja says:

      Hi Anita,

      The way you describe your facial features, it really does sound to me that you are an “autumn” type. Therefore gold jewelry will always look good on you. What the color for your outfits concern, if you think that the powerful “autumn colors” you used to wear, do not longer work all that well for you, I would suggest keep wearing your favorite “autumn colors” but in a lighter shade. It can be that the colors you used to wear now look a bit too harsh on you. When we get older, we will notice that slightly lighter colors will look better on our face. Try it and let me know what effect it has on you.

      Looking forward to hearing from you,
      Anja

      • Anita says:

        Hi Anja,
        Thank you for your reply. What you are saying rings true. My most recent excursion has been into Dressing Your Truth with all of it’s blackened autumn colors. I knew right away that I was a Type 3 (autumn in that system) yet the blackened colors darkened my face, taking it’s radiance and was aging. I have been experimenting with lightening up the colors, as well as leaning into the neutrals, and have been very pleased. I still love the deeper autumn tones and am experimenting with creating outfits that give radiance to my face yet allow me to enjoy these colors. It’s all coming together! Truthfully I look stunning in black – especially shiny leather – with bright gold jewelry and am excited about wearing it again after hearing repeatedly that it is “wrong” for me. It really comes down to trusting myself and what I know intuitively expresses who I am. Thank you for the interchange.
        Anita

        • Anja says:

          Hi Anita,

          Nice to hear back from you again ! I am glad you are experimenting with colors, it is always fun anyhow. And even though you are an autumn type -which type is not likely to look great with black- if you feel great in black, who am I to hold you back from wearing it? I can only give you some guidelines and there is always exceptions as you know. Keep experimenting !

          Have great day,
          Anja

  12. Gill says:

    Hi, thanks for this. I have read quite a few websites about seasonal colour analysis and I am still a little bit confused about how to categorise myself. I’m pretty sure that I’m a winter … I have very dark brown hair (can look black), with blue/green (teal coloured) eyes, with paleish skin, warm/pink cheeks, but I have warmish undertones.

    However, I’m unsure if I am a cool or clear winter….bright colours overall do look best on me, but I dont really suit white! It makes me look washed out. I also suit browns but I dont suit muted colours at all.

    Thanks
    Gill

    • Anja says:

      Dear Gill,

      It can be difficult sometimes to define which type you are when you have characteristics that contradict each other. In such cases, I advise to not let the color of your hair or eyes mislead you. Examine the undertone of your skin and define whether your undertone is cool or warm. You wrote you have a warm undertone, which indicates that you are a warm type, most likely an autumn but you also mention that muted colors don’t look good on you. So this is a contradiction. If you tried different colors on your skin and you are convinced that your skin looks great with bright colors, I am pretty sure that you are a winter type. What puzzles me though is that you mentioned that white does not look good on you because winter types are the only types who can wear “black and white”, it looks great on them. So I think there is a chance that you are an “autumn”. Try the gold/silver test or the vein test and find out whether you have a cold or warm undertone. This will help you to define whether you are a “winter” or an “autumn”. Good luck and please feel free to let me know the results of the test.

      All the best,
      Anja

  13. CYNTHIA says:

    I found your information really usefull , you have very good pictures. It is explained clearly. I still have one doubt. I was once color analyzed and told to use cool colors .If they are bright they make me look MUCH better. I also look better in cool eyeshadow, like blue, lilac or pink
    I am mexican, yellowish skin, amber eyes, light brown hair ( it was dark ash blonde as a girl, but now it is brown and not ash anymore) and I have dark eyebrows. I look pale and very bad if I use yellow or military green. I look very good with magenta, lilac , bright red , bright pink.
    Here is my doubt, I have yellowish skin ( you could think I am warm ) but I look much better in cool tones.

    • Anja says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thank you for your comment and sharing this information. I have not seen your picture but you gave a good description about your hair and your eyes. With the description of your skin, one should be careful. To define whether you look good with cool or warm colors, we need to take a look at the undertone of the skin, not to how your skin looks on the outside. You can do the silver/gold test or the vein test. Because you are saying that you look great with bright cool colors I am pretty sure that you look better with silver and have blue veins. So don’t worry about the your skin color and feel great dressed in cool, bright colors !

      I hope this information was helpful,
      Anja

    • Janka says:

      Dear Cynthia,
      I am happy that somebody has the similar problem with skin tone. My skin is also “yellow”. When I compare with my friends and family members, I am sure that I am yellower then they (and they do think so). Who looks at me “live” they think I am of some warm season (light spring or soft autumn). But recently I posted some of my photos to a seasonal-colors blog and ladies answered that I am certainly a summer (soft or cool). I was surprised because of my “yellowness” and warm light brown hair. My eyes are grey-green with yellow flecks, but I have only very little summer golden freckles and very dark (almost black) eyebrows and eyelashes. I think that the photo shown on a computer changes colors to more cool tones. The second fact can be that our yellowness is only the overtone and our undertone (which is more important) is cool. It is difficult when someone is not the “textbook” example :-)
      Thank you for your interesting comment.
      Have nice day!
      Janka

      • Anja says:

        Dear Janka,

        thank you for sharing this information and as you mentioned, not every one is a “textbook” example. I myself am not a clear case either. I had light ash blond hair when I was a kid (till age 8 or so) and then it turned to dark ash brown. I am definitely a cool type (veins look blue) but one would think that I am a summer type because winter types are usually born with dark hair. But after draping summer and winter colors I found out that I clearly am a winter type. The dominant factor in defining which “season” you are is your skin undertone. And you are right, a picture is not the best representation of your skin undertone. Do the silver/gold test and try warm and cool colors on your face and look what effect the colors have on your face. That will help you define which “season” you are.

        Have a colorful day,
        Anja

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>